Monday, January 20, 2014


For another view of this huge metal mass, click here.

When I was growing up in Hollister in the 1960s, almost every kid I knew had at least one relative working for the canneries. In my family, Auntie Virginia was a regular on the line for many, many years while the Only and Older Bionic Brother worked there when he was attending Gavilan.

I applied for a line job when I was 18 or 19. You had to come prepared to work, with your apron, hairnet, rubber gloves, and, if my memory is correct, a paring knife. You stood in a group with women of all ages, watching women working on the canning line as you waited for the person-who-chose-new workers to do his thing. He looked out onto the mass of eager applicants and picked out women for the openings. What his criteria was, I have no idea. I just knew I didn't fit it.

Back then, there were two working canneries, both on Sally Street, but with one on either side of South Street. Today, all the buildings make up San Benito Foods, which is part of the Neil Jones Food Company.


  1. In Maine in our town we had the sardine cannery. I never applied to work there, but lots of people spent their lives cutting up the fish and canning it.
    Can you imagine that it was ever ok to bring your own equipment to handle food that was being canned? Wow. It's a wonder we lived.

    1. You're so right, Donna! LOL! Maybe we're all the stronger for it.


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