It will be strawberry time before very long. Strawberries used to be the major export crop in Hood River, before apples and then pears dominated. City records talk about dealing with the influx of pickers in the spring. Strawberries would be rushed to the Portland market with the hope they would beat other regions to the consumer.
They are all hiding their hands. I wonder how long it took before the red stain wore off.
I think the 1894 flood devastated the HR strawberry sales for that year because the railroad to Portland washed out.
L.E. on 15th May 2020 @ 7:05am
The world has certainly changed since I was a child in the Hood River Valley. Many people had strawberries planted between rows of baby trees. This gave the orchardist an income off the land, prior to fruit production of the trees. When they started producing or even before the berries were plowed under. I don't recall any child growing up on the farms who could say they truly enjoyed picking, but it gave them a little spending money of their own and the self pride that they has earned it. In some respects, the laws put into effect concerning children working was good, but at the same time it did away with children earning that little bit from the strawberry picking. I went out to pick when I was 8 years old and think I made maybe $15 the entire season, if that, but I was so proud of that money. I first worked for Ole Blackmer on the south end of Eastside Rd. He and Hazel were wonderful people and he often brought us popcyles out to the field. My uncle Walter Wells had a huge field between new trees up on Wells Drive. We worked there and my Mom ran the wagon where the carriers were tallied and berries fixed for market. She was called "the straw boss." Think the reason there was some berry farmers put straw down between rows to keep weeds down.
To my knowledge there are no strawberries grown commercially in Hood River. As Martha McKeown would say, "Them Was The Days."
Charlott on 15th May 2020 @ 7:11am
Charlott, what a wonderful account. For some reason the part about the popsicles makes it come alive to me.
ArthurB on 15th May 2020 @ 7:56am
In the late sixties & early seventies, my boys would get up early, go hop in the bed of a pick up truck that stopped to get them and others and off they would all go to the strawberry fields to pick.
Not much money & I imagine they ate their share of the profits!
Judy on 15th May 2020 @ 12:47pm
When reading Keith McCoy's history on the north side of the river, I always loved the story about Pucker Huddle by White Salmon. Keith said that the name came from William "BZ" Biesanz (whom BZ Corners is named after). BZ saw that teenagers puckered and huddled in barns and sheds after a day of picking strawberries.
Kevin Widener on 15th May 2020 @ 4:58pm
less than fond memories of my attempts at picking strawberrys in HR for $ as a teen....a couple of years ago but still a vivid memory.
Arlen Sheldrake on 15th May 2020 @ 8:04pm
From my great-grandmother Ida May Lafferty's album: "Packing strawberries at the Odell 'ranch.' Mrs. Hagey, Ruth Clark, and Blanche Lafferty. About 1910."
Nancy T on 16th May 2020 @ 12:16pm
Thanks for the photo Nancy. I think I might rather be picking than sitting in a shed all day sorting.
L.E. on 17th May 2020 @ 6:37am
Rather fancy dress for packing strawberries as compared to present day dress code for field work.
nels on 17th May 2020 @ 9:20pm