Sweet Cron: The story behind the signs

Kerby, Ore. — If you’ve driven US-199 between Selma and Cave Junction, you’ve probably seen them. Signs reading “Sweet Cron”, and they’re posted in both directions. Over the decades the signs have been replaced, or re-painted, but the phrase remains the same: Sweet C-r-o-n. We knew there must be a story behind it, so we went to Kerby to find out.

“When you look at the Google images people make comments ‘Are those poor farmers so stupid they don’t know they spelled it wrong?’ and I just think, ‘Nope, we laugh all the way to the bank.'”

Linda Nelsen has been coming to Nelsen Family Farm since before she was a Nelsen.

“First corn I ever ate in Kerby, came off this farm,” Linda Nelsen says.

That was in 1967. Just 8 years after her would-be in-laws, bought the land. Decades later, Linda now helps run Nelsen Family Farm, and over the years they’ve grown. But when the farm got started all those years ago, corn was their bread and butter. The Nelsen’s used roadway signs to usher people in.

One day, they needed to be re-done.

“My mother-in-law was painting three new signs,” Nelsen explains, “She was in the middle of it, got interrupted, when she went back for whatever reason she got the r before the o. Never realized it, they got out on the highway.”

It didn’t take long for the neighbors, and complete strangers to notice.

“Everybody came in and said ‘Do you know your signs spelled wrong?'”

They didn’t.

But they left it.

And it soon took on a life of its own. Now, from the road signs, to the market stand, “Cron Produce” is a typo turned trademark.

“It really is a simple misspelling,” Nelsen says,”but because of the interest it generated we registered it and we put it on everything.”

Linda says they have no plans to ever change the spelling, and this next year will mark 60 years on the farm.

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