Oakland's Produce Market
Oakland Produce Market opened near 4th and Franklin in 1916 and is still
in operation 80 years later. Both local and imported produce is
delivered throughout the Bay area from the Produce Market.
In this photograph you can see the banana tubs on the truck. Bananas in
those days came on the stalk weighing 50-100 pounds. The stalks were
given a cyanide bath to kill any hiding "critters"--bees, spiders,
snakes. Then we hung them on the banana room ceiling to cut them up and
put them in the 40-pound tubs. I remember one time this robust trucker
hung up a large stalk only to have a huge tarantula fall between his
chest and his shirt. There was a lot of yelling and pandemonium. He
clutched his shirt in both hands and squashed this huge arachnid,
refusing to let go until we had cut away his T-shirt, leaving a large
hole and one very upset banana handler. We were paid $28.00 a box car to
unload these things. Actually, it was good pay in those days, but not a
job for the squeamish. Now, bananas come overseas already packed in
Albert Del Masso
Bay Cities Produce Co., Inc
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
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