Photo of the Week

FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES

“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck 

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LONG ISLAND HOME HAMPER, 1908

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian

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From Farm to Family: The Long Island Home Hamper, 1908. (Image from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County HIstorical Society. All rights reserved.)

To market produce grown in the early 1900s at the two Long Island Railroad Experimental Farms in Medford and Wading River, Hal B. Fullerton devised an early form of the modern CSA called Long Island Home Hampers, specially designed crates containing baskets of fresh produce. The crates were packed at the farms with freshly picked seasonal vegetables and fruits, and shipped by the railroad directly to consumers in New York City.

The Home Hamper eliminated the intervention of a merchant in the sales and distribution process and made fresh produce more affordable for middle-class urban residents. Fullerton promoted the Home Hamper as an innovation of national significance, a key to creating a new system for providing fresh, healthy food to city dwellers across the country. Despite promising experimental beginnings at the Wading River and Medford farms, however, the Home Hamper was not widely adopted by Long Island farmers.

Suggested Reading: “The Long Island Home Hamper,” by H. B. Fullerton (Director of Agricultural Development, Long Island Railroad Company), The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Nov. 1913, vol.50,  no. 1, pp. 166-70.

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World War II, Long Island: The Homefront in Nassau and Suffolk, by Christopher Verga

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Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood, by Mark Torres

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AAQ / Resource: Otis Ford, Since 1946, Quogue

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