Cannery Life, Del Monte in the Santa Clara Valley

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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.

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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.

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California Packing Corporation

California Packing Company, 1949.The California Packing Corporation, or Calpak as it was commonly known, was founded in 1916 by the merger of five major canning enterprises - the California Fruit Canners Association, Griffin & Skelley, Central California Canneries, the J.K. Armsby Company and the Alaska Packers Association.  This merger consolidated control not only of canning, drying and packing houses, but also of the brokers who sold these products and the farmers who grew them. 

Label for Holly Brand, Crushed Hawaiian Pineapple, May 30, 1928.Calpak was a corporate giant which controlled every aspect of food processing from ground to market.  The company entered into exclusive long-term contracts with growers to improve the consistent quality of their products.  These growers were in essence part of the corporation.  With consolidation in the agricultural industry, Calpak would control millions of acres of production.  The corporation’s interests included Alaskan fishing operations, Hawaiian pineapple groves, and of course, seed farms, vegetable farms, orchards, canneries, packing houses and drying plants throughout California and the West. 

From its headquarters in San Francisco, Calpak controlled a vast empire of production, drying, canning and distribution.  The corporation had the financial resources and business ingenuity to create a national – and ultimately global – market for its products.  Calpak focused its marketing efforts on the CFCA’s premium brand, Del Monte