The December 1897 issue of the Sugar Beet Planter’s correspondent had a couple references to s activities at the Los Alamitos Sugar Factory.

In the first he wrote:

The [Chino] Champion says that the sugar company …has arranged to get molasses from the Alamitos factory to treat in the plant here.”

Later he made a much longer report, summing up the year’s activities at the new factory:

From a special note received from the person in charge of the agricultural portion of the Bixby Land Company enterprise I learn that “This is the first effort in Southern California to produce beets upon the great level tracts of land close to the seashore south of Los Angeles, the Alamitos 350-ton factory being but 24 feet above sea level and not more than four miles in a direct line from the ocean.” The purity of beets for 690 loads of four tons each was 84; the average sugar percentage, 18. The Los Alamitos sugar factory made between 35 and 40 tons of raw sugar daily; one-half the crop of beets was worked in seven weeks, the working commencing in July. With the contemplated increase in the capacity next year it is expected that 80,000 tons of beets will be handled during the campaign. Everywhere I learn that the farmers are delighted with the money returns from their beet crops. A general review of the situation is very well given in the Los Angeles Record: ” Clark Bros, did not invest their thousands at Los Alamitos on a blind venture. The Anaheim and Buena Park districts, which are contiguous to Los Alamitos, for the last several years have demonstrated that the vicinity was well adapted to the growth of the sugar beet. Each year’s output from the district, which has been consumed by Chino, has been heavy and rich in saccharine properties.

Thus when the Bixby Land Company, the owner of the Los Alamitos and Cerritos ranches, proffered the Clarks a bonus of 1ooo acres, it was a certainty they accepted. The bonus includes some of the very best and most sightly lands on the ranch. The factory is supplied with an abundance of water from innumerable artesian wells. A spur of the S. P. Railroad connects it with the rest of the world. Sidetracks and switches are so arranged that the factory’s every convenience is thereby served. By the terms of a contract entered into between the Clarks and the Bixby Land Company the capacity must be increased to 700 tons in time to dispose of the crop of 1898. On the other hand, the Bixby Company is under a contract equally as binding to furnish the factory with the product from 4000 acres for the next four years at market prices. For the present season 3500 acres will supply the demand. The saccharine tests so far are very satisfactory. Experts now on the ground say that ’98 beets will far exceed in saccharine wealth the present yield, for the reason that beets never attain their best growth under circumstances similar to that surrounding the Los Alamitos beets of this year, grown on virgin soil. A fair estimate places the income from a single acre in this locality at $50, with the cost of production very light. Most of the crop grown in this locality was brought forth on shares; three-quarters to the producer,the remaining quarter to the Bixby Land Company.”

In the Los Angeles Herald, we read the following: ” Mr. T. C. P. Z. R. stated that he was the representative of one of the wealthiest organizations in Amsterdam, and had been sent here to examine the soil and facilities for manufacturing beet sugar. He also stated that after having made a tour of investigation through Germany and the Western States on this continent, he was in a position to say that he found the soil here better adapted for raising sugar beets than the foreign country or any other part of the United States. When he left he took samples of the soil from Chino, Alamitos and Antelope Valleys. When he reaches Holland the soil will be subjected to a thorough analysis, and if the report is satisfactory, the Holland Company will probably purchase from 5000 to 10,000 acres of land in this vicinity, and a colony will start from Holland, settle on the land, and engage in the raising of beets and the manufacture of sugar. The plans of colonization are already made out. The association will provide twenty acres for each farm, and erect suitable buildings ; then sell the land on easy terms, and so arrange matters that the members of the colony will have homes ready for them from the moment they arrive here.” They have also visited Arroyo Grande, with the view, possibly, of starting a factory. The districts of Black Lake, Oso, Flaco, Santa Maria, Oceano and Huasua, are centers under consideration. No subsidy will be needed; they want the beets and ask no favors. Many of the farmers about Watsonville have siloed their beet pulps: those who have given the residuum an extended trial for feeding purposes have built larger silos than hitherto. We note the following in the Pajaronian : “In no case should cattle be permitted to remain after the first heavy rain upon lands destined to be sowed in beets the next year.” I cannot undeistand why. There was 10,276 acres planted in beets in the Salinas, Pajara, San Benito, Hollister and Santa Clara Valleys ; the crop has not been as heavy as during the past campaign. The San Francisco Chronicle says : “The largest amount of duty paid on a single importation entered under the new tariff was paid yesterday. The amount was $39,040.20, and was paid on an importation of machinery for the Salinas Beet Sugar Factory, invoiced at 586,756, the rate being 45%. The German colony that is to settle on a 10,500 acre tract between Monterey and Salinas (Monterey County), are soon to take up the cultivation of their soil. The machinery for the factory, which is to be located at Crocketts (Contra Costa County), has been ordered from a Cleveland, Ohio, firm, who have had experience in making sugar machinery suited for cane sugar.

Boogs tract. It comprises l00 acres; the company wish 3000 acres of land to be given to them ; it is argued that the farmers here and there could afifjrd to give this land, as when the factory is built the increased value of real estate will prove as profitable to the farmers as to the promoters, for the success of the enterprise depends upon their gift; this bonus differs somewhat from that found in other States. It is said that the company that proposes to build the factory in question is from Wisconsin, and is backed by German capital. The factory is to be built on Mormon Channel, at the junction of Stockton Channel; correct analysis of the beets cultivated in the district is an important move in the right direction. The Union Mills building offers special advantages for a beet-sugar factory; however, this locality, up to the time of writing, was by no means a certainty. The Sonoma County Horticultural Society is agitating the sugar-beet question ; it is believed, say some local journals, that enough beets will be cultivated to justify the erection of a sugar factory. Carquinez Straits appears to be the location to which the Alvarado people give preference for the building of a factory in which Eastern capital will be interested. It is claimed that some place near Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande and Guadaloupe would offer advantages. It is said that this new company has a capital of §2,500,000. Speaking of beets at Alvarado, the Pleasanton Times says: ” Unfortunately, most of the beets are poor this year. The dry weather of the past season has affected them so that they do not contain the average amount of saccharine. There are exceptions, however, and the Pleasanton beets are fine in quality.” I note in a publication of the State Board of Trade, an interesting essay on the beet-sugar industry of this State. As the assertions come from one who has now had some years’ experience, I shall make extracts from the same : ” Ten years ago the beet-sugar industry was in its infancy. The three factories now in operation at Watsonville, Chino and Alvarado produced last season 35,000 tons of sugar—a quantity sufficient to supply half the requirements of the Pacific Coast.” As there are 750,000 acres perfectly adapted to the raising of sugar beets, allowing for proper rotation of crops, about 200,000 acres would be available each season, capable of producing 2,500,000 tons of beets, and the possible production in California would be 350,000 tons of sugar. The table herewith, showing the results and cost of cultivating 238 acres in beets at a farm located near San Juan, is more in detail than any coming under my notice.

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