Sun Maid Natural California Raisins. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Simple Story Behind The Sun-Maid Raisin Mascot
By Nico Danilovich
Sun-Maid raisins are iconic, and so is the red-bonneted Sun-Maid Girl who has graced the company’s packaging for years. It turns out the Sun-Maid Girl was a real person — a 17-year-old girl named Lorraine Collett Petersen.
According to Sun-Maid, Petersen worked as a representative of the company at San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Expo in May 1915, where she handed out samples while wearing a white blouse with blue piping and a blue sunbonnet. She was spotted later on by Sun-Maid folks at her parents' home in Fresno, wearing her mother's red bonnet.
The wife of an executive (presumably company director L.R. Payne) suggested the red bonnet would be a good look for the company as it matched the sun's shade. Petersen was then given a basket of grapes to hold, and artist Fanny Scafford painted a watercolor that made its way onto packaging the following year.