Saturday, May 8, 2010

Florin Farmers Evacuated

I have been gathering information on the War Relocation Authority from various sources. Recently, I ordered some microfilm from the National Archives from the community Analysis section of the War relocation Authority on the Manzanar Relocation Center. As i was going through the documents I discovered one on Florin.

Manzanar Relocation Center
Community Analysis Section
October 30, 1943


This was related to me by an Issei evacuee from the Florin district.

Florin was in a zone that evacuated after a good may others. It was in zone 2. The farmers around the florin district have been farming twenty to thirty years, their chief crops being vine grapes and strawberries. The average size farm was about twenty acres.

These farmers were the stay put kind. They had worked hard on the same land for many years. They didn’t believe in going hither and thither to farm. This type of farmer usually hits a very good year once a decade, and that good year was the very one when they had to evacuate. Just before evacuation the farmers in the Florin section were already thinking in terms of new cars and new tractors as the market prices for fruits were reaching new ceilings.

These farmers had but to pick the crops to realize their fortunes when the notice to evacuate came. The strawberries were ripe and ready to be picked. The grapes were later crops but everything was in readiness for harvesting. The Florin farmers saw their fortune whisked away right under their noses. When they were leaving their farms, they say the rows of strawberries just a mass of red.

The strawberry patch was all in readiness, for the thinning and fertilizing were done. The grape vineyards were also cultivated, thinned and fertilized. The remaining work was simply to irrigate and to tie the vines up when the crops were to be harvested. In other words all the essential work and effort and investment had been previously put in.

After they arrived at Manzanar, some received letters telling them that grapes were bringing eighty dollars per ton. That meant if one acre yielded ten tons, each acre would have brought in eight hundred dollars. The strawberry price was also better than in ordinary times.

The people around Florin district more or less brought up their children in the Japanese way, the niseis from that district are better than average conversationalists in Japanese. Also they read and write Japanese better than the average Nisei.

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