1981.32.2 | Berry boxes

Berry boxes
1898, 19th century
10.3 x 13 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

In areas of the province with extensive grasslands, such as river valleys, harvests of hay, oats, buckwheat, corn, potatoes and other root crops reached significant levels by 1860. It is estimated that in 1870 New Brunswick farmers grew enough buckwheat to provide every citizen with 250 loaves of bread, or more likely, the equivalent in pancakes, a dietary staple. Dairy and meat production also increased. In some parishes, nearly 400 pounds (180 kg) of butter was produced annually. Homespun woollen cloth and clothing became a cottage industry with a surplus product that was marketed beyond the community. The raising of fruit, chiefly apples and berries, became more prevalent later in the century. The fruit was either shipped fresh or canned.
This crate and its boxes were made in a small woodworking shop in New Jerusalem, Queens County, for Charles E. Gorham of Glenwood, Kings County, in 1898.

  • What

    The boxes were made by hand with tacks and a tack hammer.

  • Where

    Kings and Queens counties remain the heart of commercial strawberry production in New Brunswick.

  • When

    The octagonal shape of the boxes predates the square form that became more prevalent after 1925.

  • Who

    Charles E. Gorham, who cultivated strawberries, was likely well supplied with such containers.