Project Description

The Currier Apricot Pitting Shed

Apricots were a big industry in Simi Valley and all of Ventura County for many decades. There were several “pitting sheds” in the valley, notably on the Montgomery, Wright and Currier ranches.

The fruit was ready to be harvested and processed in early summer. That meant temporary intensive work for all ages. Older boys and men picked the fruit and hauled it to the pitting shed. Women, girls and younger boys worked in the shed. Redwood trays, three by six feet, were set up on stands; the fruit was rolled out onto the tray, and each apricot was skillfully and rapidly cut and laid out on the tray with the cup side up. It was important to make a clean cut to retain the juice for the next step in the process. Workers were paid by the box, so speed was important, but “slipping pits” in order to make more money was not allowed.

The trays full of raw fruit were stacked onto small rail cars and rolled into a smudge house, where sulfur fumes were used to help combat the insects as well as to retain the moisture. The the trays were laid out in the sun for drying.

The Currier Pitting Shed was built in the 1920’s and moved to Strathearn Park in 2001

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