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Strawberry Picking Boxes

    Strawberry Picking Boxes

    Strawberry Picking Boxes
    Ca. 1970s
    Wood, paint, metal nails, and cloth straps with cardboard berry containers
    Gift of Wendy Hasuike
    Yoshi and Sachi Hasuike (facing the camera, on the right) at a community picnic at Viking Park. From left to right: Robert “Bob” Sunamoto, Jack Ouchida, Yoshi Hasuike, Sachi Hasuike and unidentified. 
    Frank Hirahara Collection
    ONLC 3205, ca. 1948 – 1954

    Many people who grew up near the Hasuike farm have fond memories of picking berries using boxes like these ones. The Hasuikes were a prominent, multi-generation farming family in Washington County that grew mainly berries, but also fruits and vegetables, on their acreage near Scholls and Tigard, Oregon.

    The family came to the area when Torazo Hasuike moved from Japan at the start of the 20th century and attempted to get into logging and other ventures. Those didn’t work out, but he and his brothers bought 40 acres of land near Beef Bend Road to grow berries. By 1941, the family had 80 acres.

    In the meantime, Torazo’s wife Misao joined him, and they had children, including future berry farmers Yoshio and James.

    In 1942, the Hasuikes avoided incarceration by moving to eastern Oregon, outside of the exclusion zone, partially because they felt Misao wasn’t well enough to go to the incarceration camps. Along with other family members and neighbors who helped them move, they drove east and leased farm acreage near Vale in Malheur County, Oregon. It’s there that Yoshio met his future wife and berry-growing partner, Sachiko.

    In the local Washington County community there was a bond among the farmers, many of whom were second-generation immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and Italy. One of the neighbors, the Baggenstos, rented the Hasuike farm while they were gone so they wouldn’t lose it. When the Hasuikes returned in 1947, they had an unimaginable amount of work to do to get the farm up and running, but they kept their land.

    As the business grew back up in the decades following the war, the Hasuikes employed countless local people to pick their berries using wooden crates, like this one painted with the picker’s name, Michelle. Yoshio and Sachiko, part of the second generation of berry growers, were beloved and memories of working on their farm, documented in local newspapers, reveal that they cultivated a strong sense of community among the pickers.

    Eventually the Hasuikes sold a lot of their land, but they continued to grow several acres of berries until at least 2007.