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Historical Society’s Annual Heritage Day Celebration
October 19 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pmFree
SHOWING LOCAL CANNERIES
A talk about the robust rise of the Eastern Shore canning industry and its slow decline will be given by Ed Kee at the Federalsburg Area Heritage Museum, October 19 at 1p.m. The guest speaker is the former Secretary of Agriculture for Delaware and the author of SAVING OUR HARVEST.
In SAVING OUR HARVEST Kee writes about the mid-shore canning and freezing industry during its heyday from about 1925 to1965. The canning industry on the shore started in the 1890s but by 1925 it had become an integral part of the shore’s agricultural economy.
Farmers brought their tomatoes on flatbed trucks stacked as high as they’d go. At the John Wright canning house in Federalsburg trucks would be lined up for blocks waiting to be processed. “There were so many trucks and so many baskets that John Wright hired college boys to count the baskets. It seemed like every small town on the shore had a thriving operation”, an older native said.
By the early 1970s canning house owners were starting to see a change in the industry. It was not for the better. New mechanical harvesters, new tomato varieties, and California’s longer growing season made for an uneven playing field and one by one the canning houses started to shut down.
It was a slow death as some processors, like the late Burnley Wyatt of Federalsburg, remained active in the industry in the middle 1980s. Some of the industry giants on the shore were Albanus Phillips; Sylvia Gannon Jarboe; Dave Faulkner; John Wright and Jim, Lou and Chip Sclanfani among others.
Alan Kenton and Jimmy Phelps will have canning house memorabilia on display.
Heritage Day is Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. In addition to the cannery showcase, there are many new displays including an Armed Forces feature showcasing local veterans.
Admission is free and the museum is handicap accessible. For more information please contact us at 443-434-3114, firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website federalsburghistoricalsociety.com