Cannery Life, Del Monte in the Santa Clara Valley

Browse the Collection

Mission brand yellow cling peaches label

View a database that includes artifacts, photographs, and documents in the History San José collection which relate to Del Monte Plant #3 in San José, California.

View Collection

Sponsored by KB Home

Presented by History San Jose

In Their Own Words

Beatrice and Friends

Learn about Del Monte Plant #3 from the people who worked there.  See videos of former Del Monte employees sharing their memories.

View Videos


In Their Own Words

To document what it was like to work at Del Monte Plant #3, History San José worked with Community Heritage Partner to record oral histories of people who worked there.  In January 2006, five former Del Monte employees were interviewed at Plant #3 before it was demolished later that year.  Nine additional oral histories were conducted at former employees’ homes.  A complete set of oral history videos and transcripts are available at the History San José Research Library, as well as, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Biblioteca Latinoamericana, and Rose Garden branches of the San José Public Library.  Below are selections from some of the recorded oral histories. Click on the still from the interview to launch the video clip in a popup window.

These are just a few of the stories about working at Del Monte.  Thousands of people worked for Del Monte in the Santa Clara Valley.  Share your story.

Russell Camino

Russell Camino's interview clip

Russell Camino worked at Del Monte Plant #3 in the 1980s and 1990s, as the canning became more mechinized.  In this video he describes new computerized machinery that replaced people at the cannery.

Elida Gutierrez

Elida Gutierrez interview clip

Elida Gutierrez worked at Del Monte Plant #3 from 1952 to 1996.  She began working in pitting and sorting, was promoted to “floorlady” and finished her years at Del Monte in the warehouse.  In this video she explains the relationship between the line workers and the floorladies.

Angela Jones

Angela Jones interview clip

Angela Jones began working at Del Monte Plant #3 at the age of 18.  Both her mother, Frances Wells, and her father worked at Plant #3.  In this video she recounts the overwhelming noise of the cannery and what is was like to sort fruit for eight hours a day.

Anthony Paradiso

Anthony Paradiso video clip

Anthony Paradiso began working at Del Monte Plant #3 in 1947.  After working for a few months he was injured on the job.  In this video he discusses repairing the machines at the cannery and how he was injured.

Carmen Villarreal

Carmen Villarreal interview clip

Carmen Villarreal worked at Del Monte Plant #3 during World War II.  In this video she talks about servicemen working in the cannery.

Frances Wells

Frances Wells interview clip #1

Frances Wells worked at Del Monte Plant #3 for over 30 years.  She was one of the first Latinas to move from the cannery line to an office job.  In this video she relates the differences between the two jobs and the jealousy of some workers.

Frances Wells interview clip #2Here Frances Wells explains how she hid her pregnancy while working on the pear line.