An Orange Tree Nearly 4 Feet in Circumference and yielding 3,000 Oranges – Olive and Pear Trees of Immense size – Fine Growth of Apples

(Anaheim Semi-Weekly Gazette, April 20, 1878)

I recently visited the ranch of Messrs. Wakefield and Barr in Olive district, about 3 miles from Anaheim, and while there was shown an orange tree of huge dimensions. This tree measures 45 inches in circumference a foot from the ground, and the year before last produced over 3,000 oranges. It is said to be about 40 years of age and bids fair to live many years more. I could not help admiring its great size and fine, healthy appearance. Two large pear trees are also worthy of mention. Each of these trees measures 5½ feet in circumference and bears very heavily. There are on this ranch some ancient olive trees, their large size attesting their great age, while fig, walnut, and other trees are to be found of good size and thrifty growth. This place is known as Olive ranch and on it is located the old Santa Ana house which still is in very good condition and is used by the owners as a residence. The crops which Messrs. Wakefield and Barr are cultivating this year, consists of barley, alfalfa, rye and flax. As high as 95 bushels of corn has been raised to the acre, and fields of barley have averaged 60 bushels. When it is considered this land has been continually producing crops for half a century without artificial enrichment of the soil, its extraordinary strength and richness will not be questioned. Adjoining this place is the ranch of Mr. F.G. Mitchell, commonly known as the Alfalfa Dairy Ranch. On the fine, balmy morning that I visited this place, I found Mr. Mitchell at home, and he kindly showed me about and gave me all the information in his power. This ranch was settled over 75 years ago by Teodocio Yorba, and was afterwards known as the Burruel rancho. The old adobe house is yet standing and is used as a dwelling house, but it bears the marks of wear and age. I first examined the trees, which were planted many years ago by Spaniards who formerly lived here, and which have attained great size. An olive tree measures nearly five feet in circumference, and a fig tree nearly as much. There are seven large orange trees which bear heavily every year, and some venerable pear trees attract notice from beholders. Mr. Mitchell informed me that each of these pear trees yields a ton of pears every year. Not far away are 40 good sized pomegranite trees and quite a number of peach seedlings covered with pink bloom. Since Mr. Mitchell has owned this place, he has improved it considerably, and has set out a large number of fruit trees, among which I noticed 1,500 olive cuttings, 400 pomegranite, and 500 apple and peach trees. He intends soon to buy and plant 300 young orange trees budded with some choice variety. The chief object of attraction on this ranch, however, is a field of alfalfa, consisting of 24 acres. Upon this tract of land huge crops of alfalfa can be raised almost every month. This alfalfa field has netted its owner $500 in the last 12 months, proving alfalfa a most remunerative crop, if properly irrigated. It has been thought by some that alfalfa lies dormant to some extent during the winter season, but this has been the opposite of Mr. Mitchell’s experience. This district was one of the first places that was settled, when the Spaniards took possession of this country many years ago, and it is very interesting to walk or ride about, and view the adobe ruins which are scattered around – relics of people who have long since died, or passed away. The scenery, too, is very fine in this part of the valley, and it is a matter of some surprise to me that it does not find more admirers. Perhaps hereafter, when it shall be more fully known and better appreciated, artists will delineate its beauties on canvass, and poets celebrate its glory in song.  [s] Croydon

["Croydon" was the pen-name of E.F. Webber, a local teacher, who wrote several features for the Gazette in the late 1870s. --P.B.]