Cannery Life, Del Monte in the Santa Clara Valley

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Mission brand yellow cling peaches label

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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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Plant Number 3 on Auzerais Ave.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1891-1901The old San Jose Fruit Packing Company cannery on Auzerais Avenue was a prime location for the new and improved packing enterprise operated by the California Packing Corporation [Calpak].  The urban site was close to a large pool of labor and within just a few miles of thousands of acres of fruit and nut orchards and vegetable farms.  Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1891-1921Calpak would expand the plant to process a wide variety of products under one roof, maximizing efficiency by running the plant almost year-round. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1917-1929Calpak numbered all of its plants shortly after incorporation; the former SFJPC site at 801 Auzerais Avenue became known as Plant Number 3.  Calpak inaugurated operations at the site in 1917 with the construction of a 14,440 square foot brick warehouse, later called Warehouse #3.  A concrete and brick warehouse - #2 - was added to the south wall of Warehouse #3 in the late 1920’s.  Two additional plants on the site - #53 and #153 – processed the pits and other by-products created during the packing process, turning waste into profit.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1951-1966The main cannery buildings, Warehouses #4 and #20, were constructed in 1941, part of Calpak’s effort to increase production capacity after the Great Depression.  These two massive industrial buildings replaced the last remaining original San José Fruit Packing Company buildings.  They were ringed by an elevated concrete loading dock. 

In addition to the facilities on Auzerais Avenue, Calpak operated several other plants in San José: Plant #4, a vinegar distillery at 533 North Ninth Street; Plant #34, the vinegar works; Plant #39, the pickle factory at 621-55 North Eighth Street; and Plant #51, which processed dried fruit at 50 Bush Street.