Oakland's Produce Market  

Produce market photographThe Oakland Produce Market opened near 4th and Franklin in 1916 and is still in operation 80 years later. Both local and imported produce is delivered throughout the Bay area from the Produce Market.

In this photograph you can see the banana tubs on the truck. Bananas in those days came on the stalk weighing 50-100 pounds. The stalks were given a cyanide bath to kill any hiding "critters"--bees, spiders, snakes. Then we hung them on the banana room ceiling to cut them up and put them in the 40-pound tubs. I remember one time this robust trucker hung up a large stalk only to have a huge tarantula fall between his chest and his shirt. There was a lot of yelling and pandemonium. He clutched his shirt in both hands and squashed this huge arachnid, refusing to let go until we had cut away his T-shirt, leaving a large hole and one very upset banana handler. We were paid $28.00 a box car to unload these things. Actually, it was good pay in those days, but not a job for the squeamish. Now, bananas come overseas already packed in 40-pound cartons.

Albert Del Masso
Bay Cities Produce Co., Inc

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

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