It’s known as Scribner’s Bend. Just 5 miles south of the City of Sacramento, it is an elbow-shaped turn in the Sacramento River. The soil in this farming community is some of the richest soil in the world. Wine grapes, sugar beets, and pears are just a few of the wonderful products grown in this area that is also known as the “Delta.”
Before the turn of the century the Scribner family began growing Bartlett pears. Grandma Scribner told our family stories of the famous Delta King riverboat and its connection to farmers who grew crops on the Delta. This huge paddle boat traveled from Sacramento to San Francisco via the Sacramento River. The short 90-mile trip to San Francisco included stops at the packing sheds that dotted the banks of the river. The Delta King picked up the most perfect produce to deliver to the finest restaurants in San Francisco.
The Scribner family also had a packing shed that contained carefully-chosen, flawless pears. Each pear was wrapped in a tissue that displayed the Scribner Family name. The Delta farmers took great pride in their family logo that was printed on the delicate tissue and lug boxes that contained their fruit. The Scribner family was part of a huge network of growers that sold their product through the Blue Anchor California Fruit Exchange.
A Special Discovery
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered these pear tissues in Grandma Scribner’s barn. The huge stack of tissue had been abused by rain and the elements. After examining the tissue in more detail I realized I was looking at a bit of California history. I recalled the Future Farmers of America and their “creed” of sorts. It begins: “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words, but of deeds.” The creed speaks to the honor and pride of the American farmer. It also proclaims that when an individual strives to be successful, that person is then able to help others in the quest for their success.
Looking at the tissue wrappers, I realized that at one time, the Bartlett pears grown by the Scribner family was the future of California agriculture. It made me wonder if the Scribners had planted all the pear trees alone, or if the other Delta farmers helped them plant the trees. So many questions flashed through my head.
The complete story of the pear trees and the family farming industry was lost when Grandma Scribner died at the young age of 104. Grandma was the living link to the history of the family – she remembered everything as if it had happened yesterday. She told us of how the paddle boat sounded when it stopped at the packing shed. She talked about running to greet the boat to get a peek of the majestic paddles moving through the clear water of the river. Sharing those stories brought Grandma great joy.
Creating a quilted banner to honor the Scribner tradition and the history of the Delta brought me great joy. The little 6” by 6” tissue wrapper that I found in the barn that one day was my source of inspiration. The quilted banner took almost a year to finish, and now twenty-five years later it still hangs in my home. I no longer live on Scribner’s Bend – I have since moved to Idaho. When my Idaho friends ask me where I lived in California, I tell them: It’s known as Scribner’s Bend. Just 5 miles south of the City of Sacramento, it is an elbow-shaped turn in the Sacramento River.
Wendy Haight Scribner is a quilter, designer, inventor, and entrepreneur living in Hidden Springs, Idaho. She began sewing when she was just 8 years old. Her passion for all things fabric has and will always be the central focus of her life. You can connect with Wendy on Facebook or visit her Etsy shop, Wendy Haight Create, to see her hand-painted apron kits and other one-of-a-kind treasures.
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