The following newspaper article gives a good account of fruits and vegetables being exported from the U.S. during the WWI era and how the government controlled such exports once the war started. We can tell from the article what food crops were grown for commercial use and it’s pretty impressive that such perishable commodities were successfully transported long distances when during the last major war civilians and military alike suffered for want of food in one area when it sometimes went to waste in another because of an inability to transport it where most needed.
“Perishable Exports. War Trade Board Announces List of Expeditable Articles.
The War Trade Board announces that the consideration of applications for licenses authorizing the exportation of perishable fruits and vegetables listed below will be facilitated and expedited if the applications are filed with the nearest branch of the office of the War Trade Board rather than at Washington:
Potatoes, Lemons, sweet potatoes, red bananas, red onions, oranges, Yellow onions, tangerines, White onions, grapefruit, Turnips, King oranges, Carrots, blood oranges, Parsnips, prickly pears, Beets, with and Without tops, Bartlett pears, Sickle pears, Green peas in pod, Alligator pears, Green beans in pod, Pears, Wax beans in pod, Apples, Lima beans in pod, Crab apples, fava beans in pod, peaches, shell beans in pod, plums, cabbage, persimmons, red cabbage, mulberries, Savoy cabbage, quinces, spinach, strawberries, kale, raspberries, lettuce, blueberries, celery, dewberries, endive, huckleberries, asparagus, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, watermelons, cauliflower, Casaba melons, tomatoes, Swiss chard, green corn, apricots, artichokes, Pomegranate, escarole, red peppers, horseradish root, green peppers, rhubarb, mushrooms, oyster plant, yellow bananas, rare ripes [sic] (onions), cantaloupe, cranberries, honeydew melons.”
The War Trade Board, created by President Woodrow Wilson, was authorized by executive order on Oct. 12, 1917 under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act (Oct. 6). The board controlled both imports and exports during WWI. They determined what goods went out of the country, what came in, and what countries it came from or went to.
Board members were selected from representatives of the secretaries of state, treasury, agriculture, commerce, and the food administrator and chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board. On July 1, 1919, another executive order placed the duties and functions of the board under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
That Oct. 6th, 1917 law was the Trading With the Enemy Act which prohibited American merchants from trading with the enemy or the ally of an enemy without first obtaining the license mentioned above. They published the “Enemy Trading List” for the use of those merchants so that they were at all times held accountable for their actions in transporting goods to or from other countries. The hope was limiting an enemy or ally of an enemy’s available capital which might be used against the U.S. and her allies in the war effort. The scope of activities that were controlled by the board is staggering, such as flushing out foreign interests within the U.S.
[See: “War Trade Board Journal”. Vols. 14-23. Nov., 1918-July 1919.
“Report of the War Trade Board. Washington. 1920].