Edith Daley Alba Canning article
Alba Canners Have Patented String-Bean Can
By Edith Daley
Canning an average of 900 cases of apricots a day with only 130 employees is a record made by the Alba Canning Company. This company began operations last year with the tomato pack and has already outgrown the original buildings. Anthony and Gaspare Greco are the brothers constantly “on the job” in the busy plant. They also operate another cannery at Santa Clara.
Since my misunderstanding about Mr. Salsina I am proceeding cautiously. I inquired about “Alba.” It means “dawn of the day”, in the larger sense. The Latin definition is “purity”. Mr. Anthony Greco likes to explain about that name how it signifies “the first.” He exhibits an attractive container for string beans which is unique among cans. It is lithographed and lacquered. Something newer than the paper labeled can. The design in green and red shows a map of the world and “Alba” encompassing it. More than 300,000 of these cans are said by Mr. Greco to be awaiting the string bean pack scheduled to start today and which will reach at least 30,000 cases. The entire product is for eastern shipment, and is practically all sold. Mr Greco holds U.S. patents on the mold used, on the string bean canning process, and also on special Salsina machinery. “Salsa di pomodoro” is the real name of this salsina or tomato paste. The name means “apple of gold!” a rather poetic description of the ripe tomato!
The Alba owns two acres of land, the property reaching to Ninth Street. Part of it is planted to 6000 pepper plants. These are a special pepper, canned for the latin trade. They are wax peppers medium in flavor, neither hot nor sweet-“pepperocini.” None of this product is sold for local consumption.
Modern methods are evidenced by the equipment. A conveyor of the endless chain kind carries the great quantities of shook and crates of cans to the upper floor; a chute send the finished boxes downstairs again and lands them within 10 feet of the place where they are required. A small boy stands at the top of a “shoot the chutes” and sends the cans jingling and clattering down to the fruit room. This small boy looked as if he rather liked his clattery job. His work kept all the canners working at top speed and yet he had time to play a bit.
The capping machine at the Alba cannery is presided over by a girl. Mr. Greco says without any hesitancy that she “is more efficient than a boy.” Hurrah for us! This plant has a solid concrete tomato table and tremendous copper kettles for cooking the “solid pack” pie fruit. When one sees the quantities of “pie fruit” it gives them a feeling of assurance that California is doing her bit to keep up a supply of the good old fashioned American dessert. Much of the solid pack of apricots goes to England. It is there made into jam, placed into smaller containers-and lo! an English product from California sun-kissed apricots. The fruit pits, which were only used for fuel six years ago are a cannery by-product now. Even cherry stems bring in as much in proportion as the cherries themselves. Stems of black and white cherries have to be kept separate. The stems are nearly all sold in France where medicines, acid, and face powders are made from them.
The next time you dab your face with a powder pull stop and think that maybe you are aiding nature with one or two of nature’s own cherry stems!
The Alba Cannery is in process of completion. The restaurant is giving service, but it is only a temporary structure. Gaspare Greco didn’t want a word about the “kitchen” but nevertheless he looked mighty comfortable sitting at the table communing with a steaming cup of coffee!