Farmers … didn’t have big acreage, but they always had something coming off. … Strawberries was the first crop – they come off in the spring. Then, we have string beans. We grew two crops of them a year, string beans. Then, white potatoes. Then, sweet potatoes. Then string beans … so we had about five or six different crops, vegetable crops.
We only grew corn enough for to feed the mules. It was all ear corn. You had to pick all your corn by hand. In other words, we break the ear off and shuck it and throw it in the heat and then we pick it up and put it in the horse cart and … then we carry it to the stack, dump it up and then throw it by hand in the stack. We always picked, went through it, and anything – little, teeny ears we call nubbins – we fed that to the pigs. Of course, they were meat for the table in the wintertime. We’d kill about four or five hogs every year – for family, you know.
So we grew about five, six crops. Strawberries – [my daddy] generally had about three or four acres, and that’s about all he could get picked. He had to pick them every day.
And then … string beans – they’d grow probably ten acres, maybe more. And then Irish potatoes – he’d have 15, 20 acres of that – depends on what size farm they were growing, but my daddy – he would probably have more than that.
And the sweet potatoes – they usually have 25 acres of them, because all of it’s hand work. You know, you had to plow them out and scratch them out and throw them in the heat. Irish potatoes – we actually graded them in the field and put them in barrels and then we shipped them by freight car and carried them through the station about seven barrels, eight barrels at a time. A barrel of Irish potatoes weighs about 165 pounds. A lot of the men could handle them by themselves. But usually two of them would pick it up and put it on the wagon.
… Tomatoes – I forgot about that. We grew a lot of tomatoes and picked green tomatoes, and then we picked the red tomatoes and carried them to the canning factory. … There was a canning factory in every town … one in Hallwood, one in New Church, three in Pocomoke, one on Chincoteague, one in Greenbackville, one in New Church. I think there was one in Stockton.
I heard my daddy say – this was in the 30s – he sold ’em for five cent a basket, a five-eight basket. So I mean, you know, people don’t know what hard times are.
From an interview with Bev Fletcher, spring 2010.