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Quality Apples: 1926

Washington, D.C., 1926. "National Apple Week. Sanitary Grocery." National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

Washington, D.C., 1926. "National Apple Week. Sanitary Grocery." National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.


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Safe but no longer Sanitary

In 1926, the Sanitary Grocery chain in D.C. and Richmond was among the earliest of many, many grocers acquired in Safeway's rise to national rank among food retailers. But the California-based Safeway waited until 1941 to put its name on the D.C. region's Sanitary and Piggy Wiggly markets.

David Gwynn posted this 1941 Safeway announcement on his blog, along his account of the chain's periodic encounters with Wall Street, its rapid expansion in the 1920s, its contraction with the closing of smaller branches and the opening of supermarkets in the 1940s, and its further acquisitions.

In the D.C. area, where I grew up, "Safeway" was once synonymous with groceries, but the brand has faded as cheaper and classier merchants seized both the high and low ends of the market.

Welsh Walsh Rarebit Rabbit

I love the way it's advertised "by the glass" instead of by the jar. I'll bet quite a few of these jars ended up as drinking glasses.

Sanitized for Your Protection

"Sanitary Lunch" and "Sanitary Grocery" do sound a bit sterile and cold, but consider the times. Starting in the Victorian era, public sanitation had performed what could really be considered a miracle. Before that movement got underway, people died en masse from dysentery and a wide variety of other diseases. It was as simple as separating sewage from drinking water, washing hands and food preparation surfaces, and a few other simple techniques - but it was a revolution nevertheless.

Remember also that a lot of these diseases that are mild inconveniences to us now - because of antibiotics - were a terrifying risk to life then.

So "Sanitary" was a reverential word back then. It's just an implicit assumption now.

Sanitary Grocery

There used to be a Sanitary Grocery in the District along what is now the Red Line. You could see the empty shell when coming into the city, probably south of Fort Totten. It was just west of the tracks, a hulking brick mass with "Sanitary Grocery Co." stenciled on the side. Must have been a warehouse? I remember seeing it when I lived in Takoma Park in the mid-1990s, but don't know if/when it was torn down.

If Farmer Bob sells 10 apples

"The more apples you buy and consume, the more money the growers can realize."

I don't understand this fuzzy math they are using.

National Apple Week

National Apple Week, started in 1906 1904, included a yearly competition between cities to develop the most attractive displays.

Washington Post, Oct 28, 1924

With National Apple week starting Friday night, the committee in charge of the local merchants' observance is busily engaged in making plans to have Washington win one of the silver cups for the best display.

R.S. French, general manager and secretary of the National League of Commission Merchants of the United States, is conducting the campaign for the local merchants and is aiding them in planning for attractive displays.

Bunny Brand

Welsh Rarebit a sharp cheddar cheese sauce. Sometimes called "Welsh Rabbit," hence the Bunny Brand.

[Or, as the ad below calls it, Walsh instead of Welsh. Bunny Brand would be the cheese component of Welsh rarebit -- toast covered with the sauce. - Dave]


The adjective "Sanitary" used to be used quite a bit--we had a "Sanitary Lunch" diner in our town. Even as a kid, I thought that was revolting. Nothing about good food, flavor, cost--dammit, it's clean. A clean lunch. So all the other restaurants and diners without "Sanitary" in the name obviously weren't!

[Let's not forget the Sanitary Barber Shop. - Dave]

Glad they clarified that

40 bushels on its branches = 16 barrels on each tree. I must be too much of a city boy for either of those units of measure to make any sense.

And to paraphrase the Simpsons, "Bunny Walsh Rarebit - I know all of those words, but that doesn't make any sense." Except I don't know what a rarebit is, which is probably at the root of my understandinglessness.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Cheep, Cheep

Birdcage shadow in the upstairs window.

Double Your Apple Throughput

Washington Post, October 30, 1926

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