Palmer C. Medelson was president of San Francisco-based Mendelson-Zeller Co., Inc. ( File photo )

The following article from The Packer's 75th-anniversary edition, was published in 1968.

As The Packer prepares to publish our 125th-anniversary edition later this year, we are posting some of the writing from previous anniversary publications.

In this article, writer Palmer C. Mendelson gives his predictions for the future of the produce industry, specifically in the year 2000.

An Accurate (?) Projection of Things to Come

By Palmer C. Mendelson

It is a real privilege to contribute to and article for the 75th anniversary of The Packer. Particularly is this a personal pleasure because I, myself, have been reading and advertising in The Packer for exactly 45 years. Congratulations to both of us.

They have asked me to offer my opinions of what the future holds for the produce industry, for myself, and for The Packer. It just happens that I am endowed with a mysterious occult power that will permit an absolutely accurate projection of things to come, like for instance - - - -


The produce industry enters the new century with unbounded enthusiasm and the confidence that in the year 2000 we will have fine crops of all fruits and vegetables. The scientists who now control our weather have indicated that everything will be peaches and cream for the coming season – at least, peaches.

Their controlled weather program, however, has, in all truth, met with some conflicting results. The rain provided by scientists for the wheat growers has ruined the grape crop, and the muchly required dry season requested by certain other crops, has risen merry hell with lettuce growers who have been crying for rain. It is admitted that the application of the lettuce growers rain was just a bit too late in seniority. The weather arrangements by the Department of Agriculture were already in the computers and officially endorsed by the Senate and House of Representatives, not one of whose members has raised a plant or a vine of anything.

There is some casual talk that the boycott on grapes which has been in existence for 32 years will be lifted although no one can remember how the damn thing started in the first place. It does seem somewhat ambiguous now that all grapes are now automatically picked by machines.

The Railway Express Agency is still trying to get out of the perishable business and actually only has 20 refrigerator cars left. None of the 20 are of much use (which is what shippers were complaining about in 1968 when The Packer was about to celebrate its 75th birthday).

The airlines, however, are now handling the major portion of America’s fresh fruits and vegetables although new advances in truck equipment have been able to maintain their status quo.

The railroads continue to protest that their schedule of “no schedule” is, in reality for the benefit of all growers and shippers. It is expected that the matter of “reasonable dispatch” will soon reach the Supreme Court but the general theory is that by that time no one will need the railroads anyway and besides – who knows the makeup of the Court as the Senate is still debating the approval of the President’s choice of a Chief Justice.

Among the kindred industries there are all sorts of experiments with cellophane crates, simulated ice, and lettuce compressed into pills which taste like hell and certainly nothing like lettuce.

In 1999 The Packer was full of pledges by the American railroads that in spite of the fact that they have no guaranteed schedules, they solemnly promise to deliver cars within 35 days from California to New York and if not – tough.

So to the year 2000, an election year. It promises to rival the famous and notorious 1968 for excitement even though the 75th anniversary of The Packer was a highlight of that year. Now that it is 107 years old most of us have become used to having it around.