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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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.

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Women cannery workers in the highly mechanized cannery of the 1930’s, c. 1930.  The first half of the twentieth century marked the boom years of the canning industry in San José.  The production boost during World War I put the Santa Clara Valley firmly in the lead of the fruit packing industry.  In the 1920’s the valley produced 90% of the California pack of fruits and vegetables, a percentage it would retain well into the 1950’s.  Increased mechanization and more efficient processes gradually replaced most hand-work in the cannery.  Labor and management tackled issues of seniority, gender, language, safety, wages and unionization.  Through these years, Del Monte Plant #3 hummed along, producing millions of cans of fruits and vegetables.