20th Century, Americana, Food, History, Minnesota, music, Uncategorized, women

“Hormel Girls”

Inspired_20160720_Text_Hormel-Girls_125-Consumers-1024x572.1498491328

The Hormel Girls, hormelfoods.com

1948
The “All GI Girls Spam Post 570” drum and bugle corps becomes the Hormel Girls—a 60-woman troupe of multi-talented entertainers. They star in a network radio show and hit the road in a 35-car caravan, making music and leaving cents-off coupons across the U.S.A.*

To properly put the Hormel Girls in context, one has to define their raison d’être; Spam. Though many of us now associate the term with unwanted solicitations and advertising on our electronic devices, it was and is an incredible food product. So what is Spam?
It’s a brick of spiced ham, sealed over by an edible gel, and then vacuum packed into a compact tin. **

Allegedly, the tinned meat was birthed out of necessity and Midwestern ingenuity. Hormel foods had tons of pork shoulder that would go bad. An employee had the bright idea to pre-cook spices, broth, and the leftover ham and sell it in a tin. Their frugality and common sense started a revolution; a meat product that seemed to keep forever.

As we entered World War II, Hormel already had the right answer at the right time. Over 150 million pounds of Spam were consumed by U.S. forces during it alone. *** In addition, Spam sustained millions around the post-war world through the “Lend-Lease Act”. ****

The incredible success of the Allies in WWII, as well as for Hormel Foods, brought new challenges and convictions to the mind of Jay Hormel. He wanted every vet to have a job and community upon return. Many of these veterans were women who had honorably served their state and nation as: WAC’s Women’s Army Corps, WAVES Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, and SPARS Women’s Coast Guard Reserves (Acronym derived from “Semper Paratus” Latin for “Always Ready”). To this end, Hormel created the all-female American Legion Spam Post 570 in Austin, Minnesota. Post 570, in turn, birthed the idea of the “Spamettes”; an all-female drum and bugle corp that would be an attractive and wholesome promotional tool for his company. *****

Locals, however, were less enthused. After three weeks, neighbors “filed a motion for a temporary injunction to stop the rehearsing.” ******* Maybe the fault was Hormel’s generous incentives to the young women. Given that they started with a base pay of $50/week, (they were only paid $50 a month in the service), they were offered a $100 bonus if recognized for leadership traits, another $100 each if they placed in a contest, and still another $100 if they won first place!?! ****** All their hard work paid off, placing them at 13th of 49 entries; a very respectable showing considering the men’s groups had been together for years. *****

Wanting to capitalize on the goodwill these young women created, Hormel sought to give them wider exposure through radio. Under the tutelage of choir director Richard Wendelken and orchestra director Eddie Skrivanek, the five dozen Hormel Girls landed on a big band sound with safe arrangements of familiar songs of the day. Many likened them to Sammy Kaye or Kay Kyser; hip but palatable for a wider audience. The first broadcast of “Music with the Hormel Girls” aired on a single radio station, KHJ in Los Angeles, on Saturday, March 20, 1948. *****

From this starting point, the group eventually garnered a nation-wide audience broadcast over 227 ABC radio stations. ***** To enhance their visibility, the group played local shows and made in-store appearances coast to coast driving 35 identical white Chevy sedans. Such a long entourage combined with the posters and promises of coupons, samples, and prizes by an advance team more than piqued local interest in the Hormel Girls, and by association Hormel Foods.***** Nearly sixty years later, World War II Veteran and Hormel Girl member Eleanor Jones recalled that “we really did connect with the housewives. They would flock around us and ask for our autographs.” *******

Lord, thank You for being an inventor. Intrinsically, each form of life is a masterful combination of so many refined systems working in balance. Extrinsically, each individual life balances within a framework of relationships within it’s ecosystem. We can be classified by species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, and kingdom, yet we retain the possibility of adaptation. Everything in Your creation seems to point us towards this paradox; we are individuals that operate as a unity. You are Eternal Father, embodied Messiah, and Holy Spirit. Will You guide us to ponder such inward and outward relationships as we remember the Hormel Girls?

To modern ears it may sound like sarcasm, but today we truly thank You for the invention of Spam; this hardy food helped millions outlast bitter times of war and scarcity! We thank You for the unnamed author or authors of it’s recipe. Will You bless the creativity and diligence of our food scientists’ in the present and future of Minnesota? Will You bless all at Hormel Foods from top to bottom? Will You bless the hog farmers, factory workers, truckers, longshoremen and shippers of Spam? We commend their hard work and overtime in an age of such incredible demand! Will You bless our present and future food industry workers to meet and surpass the needs of multitudes like they?

We thank You for Jay Hormel; survivor and Veteran of the Great War (WWI)! We thank You for the sympathy and empathy for all veterans seared into his soul through that experience. We remember and applaud his acknowledgment of the service and sacrifices of these heroic women!

Where others who had made vast fortunes considered its’ female employees a drain on the bottom line, he increased their pay four times! Then gave them bonuses!
Where others displaced female vets, he saw fit that they had their own place in Post 570!
Where others pushed women out of the factory, he mentored them out of the factory into the spotlight!

Sadly, Jay Hormel seemed to be the exception to the rule. War propaganda that taught our sisters and mothers to be “Rosie the Riveter” now pushed them go home. Dear Lord, for some, this about-face worked, but for others life had permanently changed. We have opposed those we could have lifted. We closed our ears and ears to their talents. We broke faith with them. Forgive us where we offended and wronged Your Image by sinning in these same specific ways against: the WAC’s, the WAVES, the SPARS, and all the women who worked the home front.

We thank You for each and every Spamette and Hormel Girl! We thank You for the lessons they absorbed during their time of service that prepared them for this opportunity. We thank You that they said “Yes!” to so many challenges: to the rigors of travel, the discipline of refining their individual talents, learning to perform for a live or radio audience, learning how to sell to a huge variety of people, learning how to professionally present themselves, gaining skills in representing a company, and symbolizing what is possible for the “girl next door”!

Will You bless all female veterans present and future to: take chances, think big, make mistakes, learn from mistakes, and retain such adaptability to go beyond their classification? Will You give them the same spirit of balance in relationships; to exercise moments of individual greatness while remaining a unity? Will You give them the same sense of humility to recognize Your moments’ for them; even if it’s disguised as an everyday, quotidian tin of Spam?
“The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.” I Samuel 2:7 ESV *********

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.foodwine.com/food/egg/egg0798/slth0798.html
*** Smith, Andrew (May 1, 2007). “The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink”. Oxford University Press. pp. 559–60.
**** Howard Yoon (July 4, 2007). “Spam: More than Junk Mail or Junk Meat” (npr.org).
***** Sullivan, Jill and Keck, Danelle D. “The Hormel Girls”. pp.282-308 https://www.public.asu.edu/~jmsulli/documents/FINAL_Hormel%20Girls.pdf
****** “It’s A lot of Noise Shippan Point Says: All-Women Drum and Bugle Corps, Seeking Legion Title, Arouses Community’s Ire,” New York Times, Aug. 24, 1947, p5.
******* Jones,Eleanor. telephone interview with Jill Sullivan, April 5, 2007. Cited in “The Hormel Girls”.
******** Want to give the Hormel girls a listen? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-4Ok5qI7J4 “Tater Pie by the Hormel Girls”. ArchiveMan78. YouTube. May 7, 2018.
********* https://biblehub.com/1_samuel/2-7.htm

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20th Century, African American, Black History, Food, Food Science, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Transportation, Uncategorized

Truck Refrigeration System Invented

Unknown

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/63jones.php

1935

“Frederick McKinley Jones was a self-taught, African-American engineer who pioneered designs for mobile refrigeration. A former race car driver and mechanic, Jones created the first mechanical refrigeration system for trucks in 1935. Some of Jones’ other inventions were a portable x-ray machine, an air conditioning unit for military field hospitals, and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. A total of 61 patents were issued in Jones’ name.” *

F. M. Jones had a rough start in life. His mother left his father, John Jones, at age seven, who struggled to both stay employed as a miner, and care for a son. In that era, orphanages would not readily admit a child born to an Irish dad and African-American mom. A Catholic priest, Father Ryan, took Fred in, gave him an education, and encouraged his mechanical abilities.**

Fred eventually found refuge on a large farm in Hallock, Minnesota. He discovered that he was adept at machinery and fixing things, and worked  on handyman projects given him by the farm’s owner; Walter Hill. (A relative of rail tycoon James J. Hill) People in his town came to him with problems, and he would usually find a solution.

His concern for others was evident in the utility of his inventions. A doctor couldn’t move some patients for x-rays, and so he invented a portable one. The local movie theatre had issues with the poor audio quality of the new “talkies”, and he developed the Ultraphone Sound System. 

He partnered with Jospeh Numero of Cinema Supplies to market his new audio system. Numero, though initially biased against Mr. Jones, soon came to treasure him as an engineer. Playing golf together, Numero made a joke that their associate Harry Werner “needed a fridge on his trucks” to solve his spoilage problems. 

Frederick took the challenge seriously, and began work immediately gaining several more patents in the process. Mr Jones’ portable air-cooling units revolutionized the safe transport of produce and perishables for both the trucking and freight train industries. His invention enabled the modernization of the grocery store, and changed millions of lives through better access to fresh foods.***,**** F.M. Jones gave this advice to those seeking similar success; 

“First, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to work. 

Second, you have to read. All my life has been study and work.

Third, believe in yourself.” *****

We give You humble gratitude this day, Eternal Father, for being a G-d who generously shares and encourages the inventiveness of humanity! You only ask a few things of us in return: to remember that “I am the Lord your G-d…” (Exodus 20:2), that “You shall have no other gods before me…” (Exodus 20:3), and that “You shall not bow down to or worship…” (Exodus 20:4) the things that we (humans) have made. You have inspired us to create, but have mercifully given us guidelines in the use of our creations so that we do not arrogantly deify ourselves. Our lives are not long enough to express the thanks giving You deserve!

Ruach ha Kodesh, what part of the incredible life of Frederick McKinley Jones do You wish to underscore today, Jesus? Is he a type of Joseph; bringing service to those who oppose him? Is he a type of Daniel; seeing and calling to life that which doesn’t yet exist?

Like the Prince of Egypt, he found himself orphaned, yet under the tutelage of an exceptional teacher as if he was placed there for a purpose. He submitted to authority which honed and refined his character. Though both men experienced tragic betrayals and injustices, they looked to You for their vindication. For Joseph, it came through his incredible and miraculous talents for civic planning, administration, and economics. For Mr. Jones, it came through a heart bent to help others through his G-d given genius in mechanics, science, origination, and innovation.

Similarly, Fred’s life had commonalities with the prophet Daniel. Both of these exceptional men were displaced from their homes, and were valued for their ability to learn. They were groomed to serve those foreign to them and accepted the challenge, yet their abilities went far beyond their stewards’ expectations. Through his disciplined prayer life and connection with G-d, Daniel saw hundreds of years in the future; he was the consultant of all consultants! F.M. Jones saw solutions and worked backwards to achieve them!

This leads the author to ponder the connections between acts of invention and prophetic acts. What say You, Elohim? Prophecy is both a call to the knowledge and practice of the written Word of G-d, and to relational knowledge of the Holy Spirit of Christ which simultaneously exists before, in, and after our conceptions of time. The human being who creates needs both a rudimentary core knowledge of process, matter, and materials, yet inwardly “sees” a connection previously thought impossible. All this to express heartfelt awe of this paradoxical nature of information and the Informer of All!

We remember Fredrick McKinley Jones to You, and ask that You bless his literal and figurative children that find joy in machines, and happiness with dirty hands! We thank You that he chose the high path, and overcame the obstacles the enemy used to wound him: family rejection, loneliness, racial prejudice, and academic bias to name a few. Will You forgive the family of Minnesota our historic and present judgments against the Irishman, the African-American, those with ethnically mixed marriages, and their children? 

Next, we ask that You replace these curses against these specific people groups with specific and powerful blessings. Will You give honor where it was taken? Will You enable these peoples to offer their inventions and prophecies to our society? Will You give our people both gifts of knowledge and commitment to eternal, unbroken relationship?

It’s astounding that the alertness, awareness, and insights of Mr. Jones made him follow through on a real problem wrapped in a joke. This one invention, a portable truck cooler, led to a whole chain of inventions around food distribution that surely was in Your mind first as a means of blessing the whole human race. What if Fred had not taken the challenge seriously? What insights and blessings have we backed down from today? 

Prince of Peace, forgive our fears of doing an everyday task with greatness, or failing to see Your greatness in the nuts and blots of life! You have seen the end from the beginning! Let Your people be faithful each step of the way: in attaining knowledge, in imagination, and in knowing Your benevolent nature.  May we can cooperate in moving Your blessings down the road to a better future for Minnesota and the whole earth! Amen!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/science-and-technology/technology-biographies/frederick-mckinley-jones

*** https://www.shipabco.com/history-refrigerated-trucking/

**** https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/

***** Please watch this excellent synopsis of Frederick McKinley Jones’ life. InspirationalGoodNews!! I.G.N. (2014, December 13) citing Twin Cities Public Television ca 2004. (Making It Happen: Masters of Invention chapter “Hallock’s Handyman) Produced by Daniel Pierce Bergin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy4UkFN2njQ

Jones; photo credits 

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/63jones.php

https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, dairy farming, farming, Food, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, omnipresent history, Uncategorized, Unions

Farmers Protest on Capitol Steps

sa5.2 p20

http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesota-farmer-labor-party-1924-1944

1935

“Protesting farmers bring a starving cow and horse to the steps of the capitol to dramatize the desperate conditions in rural Minnesota. Droughts for the last six years have ruined crops and depleted the land. With little growing, farmers don’t have anything to sell. With so little money in people’s pockets because of the depression, prices are low for whatever farmers can sell. Banks foreclose on many farms; others are simply abandoned. Out of this ferment, a coalition of reformers and radicals formed the Farmer-Labor Party.” *

As a backstory to the political theatre of bringing starving animals to this protest in Saint Paul, we need to understand the dire need and impetus of the groups involved. Below, historian George H. Mayer gives a fine summary of the mindsets of Depression Era Minnesota farmers and workers.

“The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state.” **

Even with bifurcated interests, rural and urban Minnesotans held this coalition together for about twenty six years. They shared the commonality of urgent and real need, and a common narrative of human effort quashed by the manipulations of external economic or political forces. So what were the fruits of this protest iconized by the farmers’ famished cow and the teamster’s hungry horse?

“Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party was the most successful labor party in United States history. Starting in 1918, it was a political federation of labor unions, not just a “labor friendly” political party. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Association, a grouping of associated unions and farmers, provided the organic connection between labor and the party. Before the party merged with the Democrats in 1944, they had elected three governors, four U.S. Senators, and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives.” ***

This protest strikes home with me and my father’s experiences in Depression Era rural Minnesota. His father, F.M. Jaracz, lost his farm in Kelliher, MN which drove him to sell moonshine under the cover of his Watkins route. He was busted under the Volstead Act and did eight years of Federal prison. My dad, Le Roy, became a ward of the state and was taken in by F.M.’s moonshine partners; the C.N. Orvis family. 

The Orvis family also lost their farm, and were forced to live in a tiny, one-room rental in a local fishing resort called Runkle’s Cabins. They eventually lost that and lived on the dredging barge where Mr. Orvis was lucky enough to land a job. The family of eight did  not have more than two rooms until World War II.

Dad was raised eating oatmeal, biscuits spread w/ lard, and “boiled dinner”. (Think of a catch-all “stone-soup” with a base of potatoes, rutabaga, and any meat shavings available. He wore ill-fitting hand-me-downs from the five boys, and wore shoes with cardboard soles nick-named “Hoover leather”. All the kids worked odd-jobs because their income for the family was indispensable. 

So we turn and seek Your wisdom, El Gibbor (G-d of Strength); will You remember us when we gain and lose our vitality? Will You forgive our moments of strength when we arrogantly think we no longer need You? Will You forgive our moments of desperate want when we choose to blame You? We have sinned against You in this era of 1935, and still blame You for bad weather, ruined crops, lay-offs, and hiring freezes; have mercy.

We share the motive-conflicts of these ancestors: we simultaneously want You to shield our successes from You so we can own them, and disburse our failures to You or others so we can disown them. Why do we find it so hard to truly acknowledge our present reality? We are terrified to bring our sacred cows and ignoble steeds to the steps of Your capitol. By Your might, give us the grace to show our hands, especially when are dealt a raw deal.

Will You forgive this era its’ judgments made by farmers towards: the state government, the railroads and middle-men, and the wizards of Wall Street? Will You restore to them what was taken in the Depression? May the growers know Your unmerited favor and “ora et labora” to pass Your wisdom into all future farmers of Minnesota!

“The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.” Psalms 119:61 KJV ****

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** George H. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson, Reprint, (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987) 86-87.

*** Anfinson,Graeme. “A Short History of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party”. 01/07/2014. https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/07/a-short-history-of-the-minnesota-farm-labor-party/

**** https://biblehub.com/psalms/119-61.htm

 

 

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20th Century, Business, Food, History, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, omnipresent history, Unions

First Sit-Down Strike in U.S.

history-1926-george-jay.1498491076

hormelfoods.com

1933

“Workers at George A. Hormel and Company stage the first sit-down strike in the U.S., taking over the Austin meat-packing plant for three days. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.” *

To offer a backstory, we must look at the character and practices of a father and son. George A. Hormel founded the company in 1891, and survived the Panic of the 1893-1897 by setting the standards for success himself. “People talked of Hormel’s passion for efficiency and quality and of his eagerness to work in the plant beside his employees.” Hormel often insisted on doing the key butchering operations himself.**

Jay Hormel was the only son, actually the only child of the G.A. Hormels’. He had an excellent education at Shattuck School for Boys and Princeton University. After schooling he pursued a career as a jazz pianist with some modicum of success. 

Though trained by his father through two years of work at the plant, perhaps he did not retain the personal identity with the town of Austin, his staff, or the business. He married a foreigner, and moved his family out of Austin to a large French style estate. 

Fast forward to the landmark strike. A group of workers at the hog killing floor were unsuccessfully persuaded to join the “voluntary” insurance program being pushed by management. At issue were the further loss of wages, 20 cents per week, and the expectation that those who didn’t join could be fired. The incensed workers shut down the killing floor for only 10 minutes, yet their exasperations had a ripple effect.

In response, hundreds of employees joined the newly formed International Union of All Workers (IUAW), and contributed $600 to achieve its aims. These are out lined below:

“1. An increase in the hourly rate for all workers who are members of the union of 20 cents an hour over and above the rate of November 1, 1933.

2. An increase in pay for those workers on a scale other than the hourly rates so they might receive an increase in pay equal to those on the hourly basis.

3. The abolition of the bonus system and the rate of those affected by the abolition be set by an hourly rate plus a bonus.

4. That when females replace males in the plant, the rate of compensation be the same as that paid to the male workers.

5. An agreement whereby either company or union may present each other with formal requests in writing, the receiving party acknowledging receipt of the request and arranging provisions for a conference within 24 hours of receiving it.” **

The occupation of the plant pushed Hormel into reaching out to both FDR and Governor Floyd Olson for help. Neither of these politicians were in the mood to enact a strike bust, but rather approaching the issue as mediators. Ultimately Governor Olson, without security, calmed the situation and led to the writing of an agreed plan between workers and management. 

Hormel’s attitude towards his employees did a complete u-turn. Instead of seeing workers as his opponents, he saw them as his team. His “Master Plan” was putting out fires before they start; a system of anticipatory welfare capitalism. This plan gained acceptance and trust of laborers so throughly that it pre-empted the necessity of union actions in most cases. When asked by other business men how to deal with labor, Jay Hormel replied; “labor troubles would not occur if business could understand labor.” **

Shall we pray? We give thanks to You, Lord of All Workers, because You truly understand the backstory of everyone who works. We thank You for Your intimate knowledge of each human’s psyche, work ethic, and motives. Will You enhance our watching of this event in history, and bring revelation to Your people everywhere?

Initially we see an example of a father and son, and their differing approaches to the same task of owning and managing a business. We thank you for the leadership style of George Hormel who: lived locally, married a girl from town, and was an active participant in all stages of his company. Will You bless Him, the Hormel family, and those like him in Minnesota’s food processing businesses? It is hard to fault one who leads by practical example. 

We also thank You for the leadership style of Jay Hormel who: thought outside his own town, loved music, and married outside his culture. We thank You that though he originally was known for his weakness to relate to his labor, he discovered that he could change. We give thanks that he was humble enough to learn from his failures in this strike, and grow as a businessman and human being. Will You bless his family and companions in the food trade, both past, present, and future?

We give thanks for the workers and strikers of this event. We recognize their pains and fears in this era. Will You remember those tasks that were done at an immediate and personal loss to them? Will You remember the days and years where they did not complain though they were increasingly chafed at the increase of employer demands with lack of job security? Will You remember how they were faithful to Hormel, and forgive the ways they weren’t? Will You bless them, their families, and generations in their labor to “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”? ***

We remember the insufficient nature of the “isms” at play in this event. Will You temper our collectivists to remember the individuals in their ranks? Will You protect our unions from judgments that can chain them to a permanent state of envy? Will You give the capitalist the humility to see that money doesn’t solve the problems of workers hearts and needs for respect? Have mercy on our business. Have mercy on our strikes. May we receive Your contentment whether on the killing floor on making a killing? Amen.

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Conatz, Juan (2014, July 21)https://libcom.org/history/we-were-poor-people-hormel-strike-1933-larry-d-engelmann

*** Colossians 3:23

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, farming, Food, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

Canning Corn Innovation 1929

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1929

“Big Stone Canning Company introduces its Butter Kernel brand of whole canned corn. A local innovation perfects the process of cutting whole kernels off the cob, bringing canned corn to kitchen tables in addition to the creamed corn previously available.” * 

“Minnesota Canneries

Early settlers grew bumper wheat crops on south Minnesota’s fertile prairies, land that today supplies produce for a thriving 270-million-dollar-a-year canning industry.

Sweet corn canneries opened in Austin and Mankato in the early 1880s, followed soon after by similar factories in Faribault, Owatonna, and LeSueur.  Soon Minnesota’s canners were experimenting with new technologies and new products, and in 1903 the automated Big Stone Cannery Company founded by F.W. Douthitt changed the industry nationwide.  Douthitt’s plant in Ortonville had a conveyor system, mechanical corn husking machines, and a power driven cutter that produced the first whole kernel canned corn.  The Green Giant Company, introduced golden cream-style corn in 1924 and the first vacuum packed corn in 1929.

Corn is still the major canning crop in Minnesota.  The state’s more than thirty plants also freeze and can peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, pork, beef, chicken products, and such unusual items as rutabagas.  Mankato was the site of the nation’s first carp cannery in 1946.” (text of highway marker WM2R64) **

The goal of canning fresh vegetables is long life. The problem with canning, if done or sealed improperly is disease and death. Success in preservation largely hinges on maintaining an airtight seal.

What was it like to be a farmer who knew he had a delicious crop of beautiful sweet corn, yet was at the mercy of the market and the railroad to sell before it spoiled? Surely they dreamed of a way to share this blessing that would take the pressure off to panic sell. How could they sell sweet corn all year instead of dumping all their crop in a few weeks?

F.W. Douthitt created a process that gave sweet whole kernel corn a long shelf life. He had an imagination that overcame the obstacles of the sweet corn industry’s woes. Further, he streamlined the process do a degree that it was affordable for all.

So we pray to the Lord, thank You for the gift of sweet corn to Minnesota! Thank You that You introduced this crop to Native Americans who introduced this crop to the world! We give You thanks for sharing the inspiration of hybridization with those who found varieties fit for human and animal consumption.

We give thanks for F.W. Douthitt and his gifts of processing corn to Minnesota and the world. We ask your blessing on him and his generations, both in his family and in the field of food processing. We thank You for the example of Your word that good business is in the service and betterment of our neighbor as well as ourselves. We thank You for the countless family farms that were saved because they had a new and local market to sell to!

Will You help us, like Douthitt, see our worthiness being part of the process? Open our eyes to the value any aspect of any job adds to the lives of our neighbors? Whether we grow something, chop something, can something, ship something, or design a better can, may we see and know Your pleasure in our labor? May we forever seek feed our neighbor that we too are fed!

Labor not for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for on him has God the Father set his seal. John 6:27 KJV ****

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2R64_Minnesota_Canneries

*** https://www.butterkernel.com/our-story/

**** http://biblehub.com/john/6-27.htm

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, Business, Food, Food Science, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history

A Jolly Green Giant in MN

55813449

1928

“Described by Advertising Age as “a fugitive from a Grimm’s fairy tale,” a hulking green giant becomes the symbol of the Minnesota Valley Canning Company in Le Sueur. The giant gets jollier and more handsome as time goes on.” * 

To provide some backstory, the Minnesota Valley Canning Company was born of the collaboration of 14 merchants in LeSeur, Minnesota in 1903. They initially only sold Early June peas, but sought to market a new variety of a much larger and sweeter pea from England around 1925. “At the time, the company couldn’t legally trademark the name Green Giant to describe the peas, so they created a mascot named Green Giant and sold the new type of peas under that name.” **

We thank You for humble beginnings. We thank you for the vision of the originators of Minnesota Valley Canning Company; canning vegetables means more people can access them. We are grateful for the introduction of the “Green Giant” variety of peas to the diet of Minnesota and much of North America. 

We give You thanks for the technology of canning and vacuum packing! Canning existed long before the MVCC, Louis Appert of France by 1809 had invented a way of sealing cooked food in jars that fed their armies during the Napoleonic Wars.*** Yet, Green Giant would supply multitudes with vegetables that: kept for years, traveled well, were affordable, and quick to prepare. 

Further, psychologically and spiritually icons connect our heads to our hearts; we comprehend information and feel its’ meaning. We remember, Jesus Christ, that Your storytelling, parables, and use of imagery taught both the minds and hearts of mankind. For example, Jesus confronted the religious folks of his day and their masks. He confronted the idea of doing the right things with a wrong heart. 

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” **** Matthew 23:25,26 NLT

So, we give You thanks for the humble tin can and its’ inner cleanliness. Will You clean us on the inside, too, so we don’t spoil quickly. We give You thanks for those farmers, packers, and owners who sought to serve their neighbors vegetables through a tin can made famous by a Green Giant! Amen!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://mentalfloss.com/article/75472/11-hulking-facts-about-green-giant

*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canning

**** http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-26.htm

 

 

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20th Century, Americana, Business, Food, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, women

Betty Crocker 1921

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“The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air”

1921

“Betty Crocker, General Mills’ symbol of the perfect homemaker, will become known to nine out of ten American women by 1940. Created in 1921 to answer letters about baking problems, she becomes a network-radio personality and cookbook author, and lends her name and changing image to hundreds of products.” *

Betty Crocker became the personification of Washburn Crosby Company which later grew into General Mills. The iconic radio station WCCO, whose call letters are an acronym of the company’s name, was rescued by Washburn Crosby to become her voice. “According to Fortune magazine in April 1945, she was the second best-known woman in America, following First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Betty Crocker was known as the First Lady of Food.”**

Lord, how does one pray for a “First Lady”, especially a fictional one? We constantly interact with icons and symbols in the present era: through smartphones and devices, in all kinds of advertising, and through mascots of our favorite sports teams. You also use the power of symbols and icons, Good Shepherd, and lead Your sheep to better know and remember You.

I will begin with thanking You for the impact of Betty Crocker on the state of Minnesota. How many millions or billions of bags of beautiful Gold Medal Flour did she sell? How many farmers, truckers, railroad workers, dockworkers, millers, and barge crew members were kept employed by her friendly voice and baking tips? How many families ate dinners, cookies, and pies that were touched by her red spoon? For these, and so many other unmentioned aspects, I give thanks to her creators, the voice of WCCO, and the Washburn Crosby Company. 

Will You bless this company and the genius of personifying the fairly mundane product of spring wheat flour? Will You help the businesses of Minnesota to take joy in meeting the needs of its customers because they are worthy persons created in Your image? Will You bless the imagery of service that Betty Crocker implies: to her family, for her friends, and to herself through the soul-feeding acts of cooking and baking?

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 34:23 ESV***

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/parties-and-get-togethers/vintage-betty/the-story-of-betty-crocker#!

***http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/34-23.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, dairy farming, farming, Food, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, livestock, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Butter Capital of the World 1899

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1899

“Steele County proclaims itself the “butter capital” of the world, a title it advertises into the 1920s. With 24 cooperative creameries among its 17,000 residents, it’s the leading dairy county in the state.” 

Thank You for this southern Minnesota county, Lord! Thank You that they had a sense of purpose in making butter. Throughout history, You have exhorted believers to identify with their work. ‘Avodah’ is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for worship and work. The root word means to work or to serve. ** The word “worship” in English could accurately be described as “worth-ship”, and the people of Steele County seemed to understand this sacrament.

Father, will You bless Steele County, its land, people, animals, and all who make butter in this state? Will You honor their heritage of taking joy and pride in doing this task, and working to refine their craft? Thank You for creating such perfect pastures, weather, and seasons for raising healthy bovines!

Forgive us who do not comprehend the labor involved, or excellence of our dairy industry. We simply spread butter on our toast, put cream in our coffee, and do not acknowledge the myriad of right choices that were made to ensure a quality end product. Thank You for the dairy farms! Thank You this day for the dairy farmer who is there for every milking, rarely takes a vacation, and is extremely committed ’round the clock to his (or hers) cows’ health and the milking schedule! Will You give honor to these men and women, boys and girls, who choose this of life of dedication? Will You continue to give them Your creativity and imagination for all aspects of dairy farming, and butter production in Minnesota? 

** http://ag.org/top/church_workers/wrshp_gen_avodah.cfm

***Learn more about the dairy farmers of Minnesota? http://www.mnmilk.org

 

 

 

 

 

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19th Century, farming, Food, Food Science, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Hormel Company Opens 1891

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1891

“George A. Hormel, an ambitious entrepreneur and the son of German immigrants, established today’s Hormel Foods Corporation in 1891 as Geo. A. Hormel & Co., in Austin, Minnesota.

George Hormel opened the Hormel meat-packing company at the right time. As corn replaced wheat in some southern Minnesota fields, it created an abundance of hog feed and, as a result, a boom in hog farming and meat packing. 

By 1920, Hormel beat out the south Saint Paul stockyards to lead the state’s meat-packing industry. In the year 2000, only two other states raised and marketed more pork.” * 

Lord, thank You for George Hormel, and his business to make food available and more affordable to more people. Bless his heritage, those who worked with him, competed with him, and the places that they worked. Will You bless the animals, past, present, and future of Minnesota? Will You bless the farms and farmers who raise any animal that is used for food? Will You bless the packers, and all who work in the meat-packing industry?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, farming, Food, Health, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Butter and Cheese Organizes 1882

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March 17, 1882

“The Minnesota State Butter and Cheese Association organizes to promote dairy farming in the state.” *

Lord, thanks for blessing the dairy business in this state and throughout the midwest! To a present-day native Minnesotan, it is strange to think that diary farming would need promotion. Lord, will you do your best for this essential business? Will You bless the farms, farmers, their animals, and generations in the name of Jesus?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

Learn more about the dairy industry? http://www.umdia.org/about.html

 

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