Metamora Packing Company

Submitted by: Elberta Noe Dusenberry


History of Metamora Packing Company

Written in the 1940's by Rosina Noe

     The Metamora Packing Company, located in Woodford County Illinois about eighteen miles northwest of Peoria, is a great asset to the local community. It is locally owned and is in good financial standing. The stockholders of the company are: H. J. Waldschmidt, President; John M. Alig, Secretary-Treasurer; S. M. Snyder and F. C. Grob, Directors.

     The business is in the hands of E. B. Niles, now the plant manager and Rosina Noe is stenographer and bookkeeper, both of whom have been with the company since 1930.

     The Metamora Packing Company are the packers of peas, green beans, and tomatoes. Approximately $14,500.00 being paid out to farmers for raw material annually.

     During the past depression the factory has been a great help to the people of the community as it has given employment to over a hundred able bodied persons who otherwise would have been numbered among the unemployed. No children under sixteen years of age are permitted to work. The estimated yearly payroll paid to employees amounts to approximately $8,000.00.

     The first canning crop of the season is peas with an acreage under contract of about two hundred and seventy five acres. The seed, which is furnished by the company is planted in early spring. Canning begins about June 15th, The peas are cut and hauled to viners by the growers where the peas are shelled from the pods, after which they are trucked in boxes to the plant where the canning begins. They are thoroughly washed, graded, and canned within two or three hours after being shelled. This quick handling is necessary due to the rapid deterioration of peas after being hulled. They are then sorted and handled by a group of workers in sanitary washable clothing, the women wearing white caps and aprons.

     Beans is the next crop, the average ranging from forty to sixty acres, the canning season being from July 10th to August 15th. The beans are picked and brought to the factory where seventy-five to one hundred and twenty-five women handle each bean separately, snipping the ends off. They are then taken to the canning room where the regular canning process takes place.

     Tomatoes, the last canning crop, are brought to the plant by the farmers from about August 15th until they are bitten by the frost. Only first grade tomatoes, that is, tomatoes which are firm, ripe, and well colored are accepted for canning from one hundred and twenty-five acres planted. After being sorted and scalded they are peeled by a large number of ladies and are then ready to be canned. The packing is all done by hand which eliminates the mashed tomatoes so often found in canned tomatoes.

     The company has established a market for the sixty to seventy thousand cases of canned goods which are ordinarily packed in normal times in Peoria, Chicago, Springfield, Bloomington, and St. Louis. The merchandise is sold through brokers and shipped out under buyers' labels or under the company's own Market Basket or Metamora Brand labels.

     The Metamora Packing Company is very proud of its sanitary conditions and methods under which the foods are packed as the plant is thoroughly cleaned and washed daily. The canning kitchen is strictly sanitary at all times.

     The company is now being operated under the NRA and expects to operate on a normal production during the year 1934.

     Visitors are cordially invited and welcome to inspect the factory during the usual working hours.

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