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Harvest Time

I got started on collecting harvest postcards when I was looking for an interesting cranberry postcard. After I found one cranberry card, I started noticing and acquiring more of them. There is actually quite a bit of variety in cranberry postcards. The cranberry harvest scenes on postcards, most of which come from Cape Cod, seem to be more common than most other kinds of harvest. Maybe it's because of their color, or maybe it's because Cape Cod is popular with tourists.




There are two basic methods for harvesting cranberries--dry or wet. Originally cranberries were handpicked. Beginning in the 1960s, wet harvesting became the predominant method. Dry cranberry bogs are flooded with water the night before the harvest. The following day, the berries are dislodged from the vines and float to the water's surface where they can be more easily gathered up.



It wasn't long before I started noticing postcards showing harvests of other products. I was attracted to these because many have good views of people working. Many also have good views of farm machinery. I especially like the postcards that have both a strong image and a good explanation on the back. I have been trying to find as many different kinds of American harvests as I can.

In my opinion, harvest scenes are one of the most interesting topics to collect on chrome postcards, and the images on chrome cards are usually better than the ones found on earlier postcards. I also think that the harvest scenes are among the best examples of Americana found on postcards. Although not blatantly patriotic, they remind me of the words of songs like America the Beautiful with its "amber waves of grain" and This Land is Your Land.

Travelling more or less counterclockwise from Florida, here are some more of my favorite harvest postcards.


Typical Florida Orange Grove


Picking Cotton


Peanut Pickers


Corn Shucking in Southwest Virginia


The grape harvester machine harvests both sides of a Geneva Double Curtain Trellis at the same time. Agitation drops the berries into the conveyer system which carries them directly to the factory container.


Grape Harvester


The description on the back of the next postcard doesn't explain the potato harvesting process, but it sounds patriotic: "Truckloads of Potatoes from the rich agricultural land of Minnesota and North Dakota will provide the people of America and the world for another season."


Potato Harvest


The Nebraska Wheat Field card is noteworthy for its amber waves of grain and colorful combine. The description on the back simply says "The Staff of Life."


Nebraska Wheat Field


The description on the Montana wheat postcard is more informative:

The miles upon miles of rolling wheat fields is a beautiful sight to behold and remember. The golden grain ripens in late summer. The wheat is usually planted in strips to give the un-used land a rest. Seven combines are harvesting this particular crop.



Idaho is the "Largest POTATO producing State in the Universe."


Idaho Potato Harvest


Washington State is famous for it apples.

During the autumn months the orchards and packing sheds of Eastern Washington are the center of activity. The various varieties of apples which have ripened duting the long days of sunshine have reached the peak of color and flavor and must now be harvested, packed, and stored for release to the world-wide markets during the months ahead.


Apple Picking Time


Moving south to California, we find an abundance of fruits and vegetables. "Ideal climate and soil have made Watsonville the largest strawberry producing center in America, with continuous picking from April to November."


Strawberries—The Crimson Harvest


The next postcard shows carrot picking at Salinas, California.

The great 100 mile long Salinas Valley is known as "The Salad Bowl of the World." It is the carrot capital of the world, from the packing sheds and freezing plants produce is shipped all over the United States to provide the nation's tables with the best in fresh vegetables. Among the other important field crops are lettuce, sugar beets, beans, tomatoes, celery, dry onions, broccoli, artichokes and nemerous other vegetables and small grains are also important crops.


Picking Carrots


Central Arizona's Salt River Valley is "The Lettuce Capital of the World."

Here, the lettuce is being cut, trimmed, and packed in the field. Trucks stand by to haul the lettuce to vacuum cooling plants in cartons, where it is given the proper chilling for shipment to markets throughout the nation.


Lettuce Harvest


Dates are also grown in Arizona. The description on the nest postcard states that "Hundreds of thousands of this delicious fruit are processed and shipped every year from these desert date gardens." The back of the date picking postcard also has a handwritten note:

Oct 18, —'52
Sphinx Date Groves.
Out toward Camelback Mts from Phoenix —
They are picking dates now & must go over the bunches each day to get th ripe ones.

Picking Dates


A green bean harvest in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is shown on the next postcard. This is a winter crop. Three to five crops are raised annually in this fertile agricultural area. Cotton and corn are summer crops, and citrus fruits are harvestd from September to April.


Green Bean Harvest


Cabbage and onions are also grown in the Rio Grande Valley. The cabbage harvesting scene shows the cabbage being crated or packaged at the harvesting site. It is then loaded on a waiting trailer, which itself will then be placed "piggyback" style aboard a railroad flat car and shipped to points throughout North America.


Cabbage Harvesting


Onion Harvesting




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