A few paragraphs from an Address by Major John Bidwell to the California State Agricultural Society, 1860:
There is no reason why we cannot supply ourselves with the thousands of barrels, boxes, hogsheads, and casks, of dried apples, peaches, nuts, raisins, and other fruits which are constantly imported hither. It will not do to say that we cannot raise apples in California, for it is too well known that our mountains, the country along our extended sea coast, and numerous intermediate valleys, produce in abundance the finest apples in the world. . . .
Almonds grow to perfection here, and can be raised almost as easily as peaches and in quantities to supply all the markets on the Pacific Ocean. We can also grow the Persian Walnut, or Maderia Nut, and without doubt the Filbert also. . .
California is emphatically the land of the vine; and can there be any doubt that we can produce the finest wines? This is an important question, because we are actually importing in casks, barrels, baskets and cases, millions of gallons every year. And yet it is admitted that there is not a land beneath the sun better suited to grape culture than California. . . .
Of peaches and pears it would be vain to attempt description that would be credited abroad—to be appreciated they must be seen. No country can equal much less surpass them. The unbounded enterprise of our horticulturists, has done wonders in supplying the country with these as well as all other kinds of fruit, and to them the gratitude of the State is due for a large share of her prosperity and renown.
We are importing a hundred thousand dollars in figs and raisins almost every year, which can and should, and, by the aid of horticultural enterprise, will be with us as a home production.