California fruit growers espoused this national day.
A century ago, the “C” in Vitamin C meant celebration.
In 1917, March 10 was National Orange Day, and the week surrounding it was National Orange Week.
“This is Orange Week,” read an advertisement placed by Sunkist, the “Uniformly Good Oranges.” The ad, printed in The Evening Repository on Wednesday, March 7, 1917, urged readers to “Eat Oranges for Health.”
“Start today to enjoy this great, annual fruit festival. This is Orange Week everywhere, and Saturday, March 10th, is National Orange Day. You can buy delicious, healthful Sunkist Oranges at special prices all this week from almost any dealer. Order a dozen now, or better, buy a box. Uniformly good oranges such as Sunkist will keep.”
The oranges were “juicy, firm, and practically seedless.”
“They come in varying sizes and prices,” the ad continued. “Ask that your Sunkist be delivered to you in the original clean, crisp tissue wrappers which are stamped ‘Sunkist.'”
A second advertisement, published in the Repository on Friday, March 9, showed a calendar with March 10 circled and labeled “Orange Day.”
Much of the rest of the ad offered outlets for Sunkist Oranges.
“Special prices on all Sunkist Oranges tomorrow, Sunkist Orange Day,” said a small ad by The Quality Fruit Co. in Arcade Market.
Tschantz’s Grocery at 1226 Tuscarawas St. W advertised “Together with everything good to eat we handle Sunkist Oranges.”
Other stores advertising Sunkist Oranges included People’s Grocery at 420 Mahoning Road NE and J.A. Krackers at 710 Shorb Ave. NW.
A. Raber Grocery at 425 Tuscarawas St. W offered specials on cocoa, salmon and rice, along with oranges and other foods.
“(We) offer the careful and economical housewife at all times the best and finest in pure foods, fruits and vegetables,” the ad said, before making a commitment that was timely in its day. “Auto delivery to all parts of the city. Just phone your order, you can rely on us to deliver you the best.”
The second ad repeated the Sunkist slogan about “Oranges for Health.”
“Special shipments, direct from California, of luscious Sunkist Oranges — the uniformly good oranges — are now ready for the special Orange Day sales in scores of local stores,” said the ad. “Sunkist are juicy, practically seedless, tender and they are good for you.
“Order now from your dealer or from one of the stores named below. Buy them by the box. Uniformly good oranges — such as Sunkist — will keep.”
Yeah, Repository readers had heard that Sunkist needed no preservatives. They keep.
But, the California Fruit Growers Exchange — a co-operative non-profit organization of 800 growers in California — just wanted to make sure. This was Orange Week, after all. It was not a time for consumers to think that oranges were just a passing fancy.