monique

Woolgathering
2002-08-05 00:00:00 (UTC)

Baking Day/Bean Picking Memories

I started baking soon after John left for work. I made a
double batch of chocolate chip cookies, a white cake with
cherry frosting (and sprinkles), a loaf of white bread for
dinner, deviled eggs and potato salad. I was finished by
9:30 a.m.

Tomorrow I'll be going to Safeway and to Hentze's Farm. I
found that Hentze's has their own website
http://hentzefarm.com/
and they list what they have available. I've bookmarked it.

Hentze's was the first place I worked and that was almost
forty years ago. I was a bean picker. That's what Oregon
kids did with their summers in those days. In June we would
pick strawberries at 50 cents a flat and when the strawberry
season ended we'd pick beans at 3 cents a pound for the rest
of the summer. We'd get up at 5:30 a.m. and the bean buses
would pick us up 6 a.m. We'd be in the fields picking by
6:30 a.m. We brought our lunches and drinks with us
and sometimes we'd have eaten it all up well before noon.
We picked the beans in big metal buckets, keeping our burlap
bags at the end of the row we were working. It didn't take
us long to start keeping a close eye on those bags as
sometimes older kids would steal them.

We were lucky if we picked 100 pounds in a day, which at 3
cents a pound, amounted to $3. If we stayed till the end
of the season (usually not possible because school would
start before it ended) we'd get 3 1/2 cents a pound. We'd
pile onto the buses at about 6 p.m. and get home,
exhausted and filthy, only to start again the next morning.
We picked six days a week; we had Sundays off. Picking
money was often a kid's only school clothes money. If they
wanted new clothes in September, they had to pick a lot of
berries and beans.

Many mothers, including mine, loved this as their kids would
be gone all day and some kids were as young as seven
(usually sent with an older brother or sister). Some of the
bean bosses were mean but most were okay.

Kids don't pick berries or beans for money anymore. It's
all done by machines now.