Great old video. Thought you all would enjoy.
This is real history of the type that should be taught in schools. I wish my child’s generation had an idea of how hard people worked to survive just a couple of generations ago. To see industrial farming at its early stages is to see the birth of our empire and modern life in general.
First food production becomes more efficient and farms become bigger with more and more work being done by machines. The people who previously did this work move to more urban areas and work in more urban factories making stuff that cheaper food allows people to afford. The selling of these new goods creates more and more wealth and pretty soon you can find cheaper labor somewhere else in the world that is only beginning the process ( the mystery is where this cycle ends).
Now there is a boom of small farms again in this country to provide luxury (not industrially produced) food for the people wealthy enough to afford it.
I love those young women supposedly harvesting the peaches. The skirts are much shorter than I’d have guessed would be the fashion at that time. I bet they thought this movie would be their ticket to Hollywood (and away from the damn packing line).
Wow what an interesting film!!!
Thanks for sharing.
The ladies and girls working the harvest really made a impression on me too. Youre right, its something profound that we have lost.
Had to chuckle at the DDT spray truck. My dad has always told me that back then that they used to pretty much bathe in the stuff…there is video proof. lol
Thanks for video. For many years my dad spent all of August in Grand Junction supervising the peach shipment for the Rock Island R.R. At the end of the month he’d drive home (near Denver) loaded with peaches, Satsuma plums, other goodies- the rear bumper barely clearing the ground. My mother then canned and froze for a solid week.
Wow! That’s hard work to be a grower. Thank you for sharing this video, I really enjoyed watching it.
My grandad owned a commercial apple orchard in the fifties in the grand junction area. Mom has 8mm film of him spraying and working in the orchard. The orchard is still there, mom bought some cider when they were visiting relatives a few years ago. As I understood it some of the trees he planted were still in production.
Here is the YouTube hrl for the video. Interesting video, thanks.
Great and important video. Never seen stilts used during pruning or thinning before. That must be hard.
Refrigerated rail cars and abundant water like seen in this video changed the orchard business in a big way.
Huge quantities of refrigerated fruit shipped across the country became available in the new self service supermarkets which were replacing general stores. Many local orchards started to decline about this same time and eventually went out of business.
Fascinating video Amadio. My guess is it was made in the 50s (from the dress, vehicles and some of the equipment)?
I didn’t know they were still using ice refrigeration for rail cars then, but I googled it and mechanical refrigeration of rail cars didn’t become wide spread until the mid 50s.
Alan brings up an interesting point about this film being history lesson in industrialization of food, and where it will all end. It’s a bit humorous to me that food industrialization (i.e. mechanization, pesticides, transporting food long distances) used to be considered such a godsend that it was proudly displayed in these old videos. Now food is even more mechanized w/ probably more sprays (because the pesticides are less persistent) and is transported across the oceans, but today’s films don’t dare show it (unless it’s an expose’).
Of course it’s all a matter of perspective. President Hoover’s campaign slogan, “A chicken in every pot” was taken seriously because starvation in pre-industrialized agriculture was common. A campaign promise like that would be a complete joke today because of the current abundance of food.
Nevertheless, people in wealthy nations are demanding less industrialized food. Personally I like the availability of both industrialized and local food. It offers more choices. Last night my family and I had a delicious (and affordable) pork roast for supper, courtesy of industrial ag. Yet I also buy food locally as well. One of my neighbors is just getting started in raising chickens to sell the eggs. I plan to be one of his customers (as long as the eggs aren’t priced out of sight). “Yard chicken” eggs have better flavor.
Here I often pay over $7 for a dozen of such eggs and consider it a huge bargain. Once you are used to eggs like them, industrial eggs seems disgusting.
In the '60’s I visited a brother that had won a fellowship to attend a famous university in England. I was surprised then how much more flavor was in their farm food than what I was used to in the U.S. (I’m talking meat and dairy as well as produce). It was all at least twice as expensive. Within a year of the trip I began growing vegetables and tending chickens for my father and myself.
We have a flock of about 80 hens most of the time and sell eggs out of our self serve farm stand. People absolutely love them. Depending on the weather the girls will lay between 3 dozen and 5 dozen eggs a day. We put them out by 7 am and on most days they are sold out by noon. We sell ours at $5 a dozen.
The issue with commercial eggs is the extremely low quality feed they use. The good quality feed we use costs us about $3.75 per dozen in feed…just think about the corners that commercial egg producers must cut to make a profit at $1 a dozen eggs!
We arent able to free range our hens due to coyote pressure here (when we bought the property we noticed that a few neighbors used razor wire like you might see used in prisons on top of their fencing. Initially it worried us that crime was really bad…but we soon learned its to keep coyotes out!) . So all they get is just good feed, and even just that makes a HUGE difference in taste.
Did I hear that correctly? 2,000 hours in pruning, thinning and harvesting in a “typical” 10 acre orchard? Not counting spraying, fertilizing and irrigation?
It’s pretty clear as the film wears on that they really do mean that as a typical size of a typical farmer’s operation. It’s astounding to me the efficiency advances that have been made in even a fully organic operation.
I’m guessing it was filmed in 1954, based on the newest vehicle I see.
Otherwise, I loved it, from the quavering “school movie” opening credits, and that “rural western” accent of the narrator that I haven’t heard in years, which is very pleasing to my ears.
Local eggs sell for about $4.50/doz here at farm markets, a little less if you buy at the farm gate, but I think most things are a bit cheaper in the Midwest. It’s really pretty comparable to the grocery store price. Eggs at the store are running over $3/doz. right now.
I sell my fruit comparable to grocery store prices, sometimes cheaper. I sell peaches/plums for $2/lb. and apples/tomatoes for $1.50/lb. and I pay the sales tax. Sometime stores will run specials for peaches at $1/lb. but most of the time they are $1.50/lb. or higher at the store. By the time the customer has to pay sales tax, they are paying close to $2/lb at the store. Apples and tomatoes are many times more than $1.50 at the store, so I actually sell those for less than store bought. Plus I almost always give the customers a little extra fruit for free (I feel like it makes the close of the transaction a bit more special for the customer.)
It’s interesting I still get customers who complain about the price. The problem is that many times my peaches weigh over 1/2 lb, so they are more than a buck a piece. Many people here don’t like to pay more than $1 for a peach, even if it’s a really large peach.
I think the problem is that most of these people never shop at the grocer, so they really have no idea what fruit costs. At my farm stand (really just a pop-up I set up at the gate) I get a surprising number of customers (almost always men) who ask for something like 1 or 2 lbs. of peaches. When they see how few peaches that is, they generally ask for a few more.
Actually that labor sounds about right to me. That’s 200 hrs./acre. I think that’s about what it takes for my small peach orchard. Unfortunately, those tasks (pruning, thinning, harvesting) are no more automated than they were in the 1950s. Peaches are very labor intensive to grow. There are mechanical thinners, but few growers use them.