James S. Crutchfield (1874-1954)
Nelson & Company Produce
American Fruit Inc.
Blue Goose Brand
Born in Goshen, Kentucky, in 1874, James S. Crutchfield moved to Florida in 1891, taking a job with Nelson & Company Produce. Following the 1894-1895 freezes, he moved to Philadelphia to work with a commission house. While there, he learned of the need in Florida for standardization, better shipping containers, more efficient transportation, and refrigeration.
In 1896, he joined with his cousin, Robert Woolfolk, to create the Crutchfield-Woolfolk Company, centered around a new commission house in Pittsburgh. The company later created branches and other productions throughout the East.
In 1903, their firm opened its first Florida packinghouse in Crescent City. Here, Crutchfield helped to work on new procedures for coloring, washing, sizing, packing, and stamping citrus. He also helped to reform the industry’s standard trading rules and practices. Soon Crutchfield’s firm opened numerous new packinghouses within the state. In 1919, Crosby and Woolfolk incorporated their company as American Fruit Inc. This new corporation was centered around the new Blue Goose Brand, for which Crutchfield worked to create name recognition. He also worked with Porcher, Woolfolk, Rule, and Michael in the development of Deerfield Groves.
Crutchfield worked hard during his career to emphasize sound marketing principles. He was a major proponent of improving both appearance and quality. He also improved packaging, supply, and advertising. Crutchfield frequently worked with fellow Hall of Fame members Joshua and Sidney Chase of Sanford. He was inducted post-humously into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1971.