I have a background not only in fruit crate labels but in agriculture. I was raised on a family farm - a pear orchard in Placer County between Auburn and Newcastle. My grandfather had bought the land in 1917, my father took over the orchard and in 1978 my father retired and the orchard was sold.
In 1977, I started working seasonally for the California Department of Agriculture as a shipping point inspector. I would be stationed at different packing facilities throughout the state and basically graded the products as they were packaged. I was licensed by USDA and used USDA standards along with various marketing agreement standards to grade the products. I was stationed everywhere from large grape plants in the Coachella valley which would ship over 500,000 packages a season, to riding around in cantaloupe harvesting machines in the middle of nowhere in 110 degree heat.The conditions sometimes were tough, but there was always something good to eat.
In 1978 I discovered label collecting, at that time there were a couple shops on the pacific coast that sold labels and 3-4 people you could order labels from through the mail. The collector base was very small and many of the collectors were in the agriculture industry. As I traveled up and down the state I would meet different collectors, grape label collectors in Coachella or pear label collectors in Marysville and Lake County. In those days collectors basically traded and it was a lot of fun.
In 1994 I decided to give selling labels a try. I started setting up at antique and craft shows, harvest festivals and basically anyone who would take me. Denise helped me at the shows and for a few years most weekends we were set up at some event. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work and not really very much profit
In 1997 I discovered ebay and everything changed, not only for me but also the label hobby. Over the last 10 years we've literally mailed off well over 25,000 packages. As I write this, my feedback leave on one of my ebay seller ID's is over 15,000 positive comments with an ebay rating of 100%.