Anderson Family History

South Dakota Canning

During canning season, Mom would make several trips to Sioux Falls to personally pick out the peaches, pears, apricots, cherries, etc., at the Nash Finch wholesale house on North Phillips Avenue. To make the trip from Center to Sioux Falls and back consumed the better part of a day. The back seat of the old Chevy was removed completely to make room for as many crates of fruit as could be crowded in. The passenger seat in front was one that folded up forward to make additional room for cargo.

Sometimes I would get to ride along on these buying trips. At the warehouse, Mom would inspect nearly every crate of fruit making sure the quality was right and at a degree of ripeness to ensure sales to the housewives of the community. The wood crates were pried open, looked over carefully, then nailed shut and packed into the car in every space available. On the way home I would have to sit on whatever space was still available on the folded up seat. On some trips we would get a sandwich at the dime store before heading back to Center.

Arriving back at the store, the produce was carefully unloaded and all the crates were stacked neatly in the middle of the store. Then Mom would call some of the customers who were waiting for the fruit to arrive and the supply was sold quite rapidly. Word spread over the party-line telephone and when the fruit was about gone, another trip to Nash Finch was planned.

When most of the neighbors were done with their canning and there was still a few crates left over, Mom would fire up the cook stove in the basement, and can whatever was available. Nothing went to waste along these lines, and the basement storage shelves were always full of home-canned fruits and vegetables. Whenever I was sent to the basement to bring up a jar of sauce, I would always pick my favorite, cherries.

By Allan Anderson, 2005.

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