Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Tom I. Mine Interview
Narrator: Tom I. Mine
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 29, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-mtom_2-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: And then when you graduated, you said, like in 1936, then you could do full-time farming.

TM: Yeah.

TI: And then, and then what would you do? Now that you had more time, did you expand?

TM: Well, I had more time, and then I could more or less set the schedule. And since I was, started farming when I was still going to high school, I just, luckily, everything worked out pretty good, and I was able to purchase property right next door where we started farming, see. In those days, lot of small farmers, they had ten acres, fifteen, twenty acres, and as time went along, smaller farmers couldn't make a living out of ten, fifteen acres. So I was able to purchase the property.

TI: So explain that to me. If a farmer only had ten or fifteen acres, why couldn't they make a living? What was hard about that?

TM: Well, because, well, they also have a family, too, and the labor was cheap, price-wise, it depended on what type of business you got into. But if you're a berry grower, they continue to, stay in one place, in those days, they stay in one place three, three years. You could farm berry for three years, then they got to move. That's how the berry business was. And row crop, well, if you're able to purchase property, farming the same place and raise different crops for rotation. So that was the difference between the berry grower and the row crop, what we called row crop.

TI: But in general, to really make a living as a small farmer, you probably needed how many acres, do you think?

TM: Well, I would think, at first, if you got by and you're lucky and the price-wise was, because produce, you never know what the pricing would be at the time of harvesting. But berries, the price is pretty stable, so one price, or go up and down a little bit, but you have some coming out all the time, because you're picking berries. But harvesting lettuce or romaine or cauliflower, during the harvest time, you depend on the market price. And if you didn't hit it, then you don't make anything, you could lose money.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.