Edith Daley Greco Canning article
‘Toma-Butter’ Soon To Appear on Every Table by Edith Daley August 2, 1919 SAn Jose Evening News
“Toma-Butter” will soon add an entirely new flavor to advertising. It is the new name for Salsina which has been copyrighted by the Greco Canning Company, original producers of the highly concentrated tomato paste that gives such a delicious flavor to gravies and “made dishes” and soups. Previously, the entire product has been sold to the Latin trade. The proposed program of advertising will introduce “Toma-butter” into every American home. The Greco Canning Company’s equipment for making Toma-butter is a marvel of electrically-controlled machinery. The “heart” of this equipment is a 500 horse power boiler, 55 feet high and containing 200 four inch tubes each 24 feet long. This tremendous energy producer is exhibited with great pride by Mr. V. V. Greco who tells you that it is “the biggest boiler on the Pacific Coast.” This leviathan of boilerdom is made by the Wickes Boiler Company of Saginaw, Michigan. It looks big enough to “boil” Lake Michigan, Saginaw included! The next step in the Toma-butter process is a gigantic switchboard. It looks quite capable of transmitting the “blue lightning” to the upper floor where tomatoes change their name. This upper floor is a tile floor, too! Northing less aristocratic than tile could support the two immense storage tanks that furnish food for the battery of 12 vacuum evaporators with a capacity of 1500 gallons each. These evaporators send the highly concentrated tomato “juice” into a great glazed “chute” where it gravitates to the final processes of sterilization and canning - over 1000 cases a day.
Toma-butter, while out rivaling in production any other individual output of the Greco Canning Company does not overshadow the combined quantities of spinach, apricots, string beans, peaches, and “plain tomatoes”. This year’s business will aggregate more than $1,000,000 That’s a nice “little business” for a firm that started in 1913. V. V. Greco is executive head of the industry, Leal Davis superintendent of the cannery and Nicholas R. Greco secretary.
This year the number of employees is between four and five hundred. Last year’s payroll, exclusive of employees hired by the month, was $9,540.70. Some experienced workers are making from $45 to $48 a week and at the canning table there are women who earn not less than $10 a day. Over 20 cottages house the “resident” employees who come for the season and a kindergarten takes care of the juvenile contingent. They have swings and slides and sand piles and a kindly woman to “mother” them.
A fully equipped machine shop operating all the year round is a unique feature of the Greco Cannery. This speeds production by eliminating long waits for necessary repairs.
‘Cots are almost finished and string beans are “strung” from one end of the big plant to the other. The canning process is interesting. The beans, fresh, crisp, and almost stringless, are “strung” graded, washed and blanched. They come from the blanching machine with a bright green color. Before each worker at the long table there is a mold just the size of the inside of the can. This mold his “hinged” and opens like an old-fashioned bracelet. Into the mold the beans are laid as evenly as stalks of asparagus. This gives the name of “asparagus pack” to the best grade of string beans. The mold is closed and the ends trimmed. Then the mold is placed over the can and the contents “thumped” energetically into place. While the worker reaches for more beans to fill the mold the full cans hustle away “per conveyor” to be filled with a mild salt solution, capped and cooked, labeled, packed, and hurried to the cars that wait at the door of the warehouse. The ends trimmed from the “asparagus pack” are not wasted. They are thoroughly washed, packed into hurrying cans, and labeled “second grade.” The next time you order string beans in a restaurant you’ll understand why they are “cut up.” A visit to the cannery convinces one that there’s enough string beans for the whole world! At the Greco plant six cars of fruit and vegetables rolled away at once-bound for Liverpool. Canned California climate goes everywhere.
The Greco “Brands” are interesting. “De Luxe” is the best grade. “Korona”, second and “Alta Villa” the standard. Watch for “Toma-butter.” Its advertising will put San Jose “on the map” in a new way!