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From the Archives

Tomato Dumper

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In a photo from the early 1960s, a cannery employee operates the “tomato dumper” during the summer tomato-canning season at the Thornton Cannery. The cannery was the brainchild of William Hammond, who owned hundreds of acres of fruit orchards in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. He didn’t like the prices other canneries were paying for his fruit, so he started his own cannery, the Sacramento Valley Packing Co., in 1928. Ten years later, it became the Thornton Canning Co. when Dale Hollenbeck, Fred Clarke and Nelson Nowell took over operations. California Canners and Growers (CalCan) purchased the cannery in 1957. At its peak, the cannery employed 500 people, with 100 employed year-round.