Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview I
Narrator: Eiichi Edward Sakauye
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 14, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-02-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

WH: Who consumed this food you grew?

ES: The produce is consumed by the evacuee only, it is not to be sold. You see the potatoes, they're Bliss Triumph, one of the early varieties of potato. So we had to get them harvested before the first freeze or frost, usually comes in about 9th or 10th of September. These are the schoolteachers helping out, so that we can get these potatoes in the root cellar, so they would not freeze. We had a very nice crop, and a beautiful crop of potatoes. This is the first time any vegetable been grown on this soil since the Buffalo Bill's time. There were a lot of snakes when the grounds were turned over, little rattlesnakes. But after the ground cultivated, all the rattlesnakes disappeared. Some made rattlesnake stew, soup, and fried them. This shows how the Bliss Triumph looks. They're beautiful potato. Now they're sacked and their loaded, and taken to a root cellar, which will come in the picture later, and stored for the winter. Heart Mountain farm consisted of about 1,500 acres.

This is another field with one of the foremen. Boy, he's a husky fellow, he just throws it up like it's nothing. The peak on the back is Heart Mountain. Here's Alden Ingraham, Assistant Farm Superintendent, looking over some of the yellow onion which were beautiful. See how big they are?

Now this is takana field, that's been harvested and no longer to be harvested, are cleared up during the winter months before it freezes, for the following spring crop.

WH: Explain what takana is.

ES: Takana is a green vegetable, similar to, I would say... oh, the word slipped my mind now.

WH: Mustard greens?

ES: Yes, it's similar to that.

This is corn field. We had 60 acres of corn, to be harvested for canning the following day. And the man in the dark suit is the project director, and he went out in the field, this is the 60 acres of field, beautiful corn. Not a single worm, because other words, worms didn't know anything about corn growing in Wyoming at the camp, so there wasn't a single worm. And the following day was a freeze. We lost the entire 60 acres. We tried to harvest fresh for the mess hall, but the frosted corn is very bitter, so we lost that beautiful corn.

This Shoshone Highway was just a two-lane highway at that time, with the tankers running to Cody. But today, it's four-lane main highway to Yellowstone National Park. So there's a lot of tourists that goes through there, so the Heart Mountain camp is considered a historical center, and we are trying to bring the camp back to life again.

These little buildings are put there because we get sudden showers. We get sunshine in one spot, and all of a sudden we get thunderstorm and showers. The workers have no place to hide, so these little shacks are put up to hide. This is the one I told about, the grain harvest. They're piled in honeycomb shape like that, then later, the thrasher comes and thrashes for hog feed and chicken feed.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.