Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Tom Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Ridgefield, Washington
Date: May 7, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mtom-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

TM: Well, that year, yeah... that next year went pretty good. Well, then next year, third year or fourth year, really went bad. We can't sell. And I figured about three cents a pound to grow those peas, and we only could sell for half cents. Oh, gee.

AI: That's big loss.

TM: Lots of grower will really shake head, but can't do anything. But we have to do, even lose money, have to hang on otherwise next year maybe have to close everything. Oh, that was a really hard time. Then government was hard. They really was trouble too, see. Some had meeting and government hearing board come and they ask the population cut down the acreage and grow so many pound. Well, they ask, too, whoever, whowever have a responsibility for this shipping business and what you think about this cut down acreage. Well, I told them for my idea, Bellevue Growers they are too small. If you cut down, well, there is nothing left. Well, like in Tony... Italian growers over there.

TI: Aries. Aries.

TM: Tony... what?

RT: Aries, he says.

TM: Anyway, like him idea is cut down, cut down acreage. Nothing to do because they don't grow peas. They just grow the lettuce. They don't grow the peas. Well, then when this hearing board from government he, conclusion, I think, don't have to cut, I think. And we didn't know. We don't cut the acreage. By gosh, year or so, pick them up again. See, that time I think not only is Washington, western Washington farmer, all over was a hard time. Like in Montana sheep ranch, they have to cut down, and they cut down two dollars to the head. Government buy for one sheep for two dollars. They killed all of them and the carcass, frozen, put 'em in the deep freeze. They keep them and the wartime come and the camp prisoner like us all time they have to feed them mutton. That's why the camp food was mutton, mutton every day. That's what they used it for. Anyway, finally two, three years getting better and farmer is getting little better all the time. Then boys is grown up. Then just about every family have a pickup or car or truck. And well... oh, bright side. Then, by gosh, the war start.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.