The Nortons spent several years at Yerba Buena working at many duties. The following entry by Mrs. Norton appeared in the July/August, l97l issue of the Newsletter:
For one week during June, canning pineapple was "the thing" here at Yerba Buena. Getting the truck-load of fruit into our bodega (storehouse) was made almost a game. The pineapple was picked up one by one and tossed to the next person in line. He, in turn, passed it on till the last person placed it on the pile.
As the pineapples, nearly 3,000 altogether, ripened, the tops were broken off and the fruit washed in large tubs. Next, the pineapples were carefully peeled and cut up into bite-size pieces. You might have thought we were having surgery with one quick look at our girls wearing old surgery gloves to protect their hands from the acid in the fruit. It was, in fact, a major operation!
Why is that wooden stick being poked down in the jars, you ask? This is to give enough juice to cover the fruit in the jars. No sugar or water is needed for this fruit in its ripe, natural state.
When the jars of fruit are ready for processing, they are placed in the two 50-gallon metal drums, cut in two vertically, which serve as kettles. These drums, each holding 24 2-qt. jars, lay on their sides over a temporary brick fire-box with three walls. Fire is kindled under the drums and the processing starts. It takes considerable wood, smoke in the eyes, and time, to get the water hot and boiling in these large kettles. And then more wood and red-eyes to keep the water boiling. This method is a bit trying but much more economical than using our gas stoves.
Several of the days and nights seemed to blend together as the fruit was canned as it ripened. We are thankful to our industrious students who worked many hours over-time to complete the job. Perhaps next year our proposed cold room will be in service so we can enjoy more fresh pineapple. We hope!....
Yours for more fruit for the Master