Throughout the last couple of months, Highland Harvest Barn has been the focus of this column.
People who have lived in Highland for some time remember the horse racetrack, the chicken ranch, the golf driving range and of course, the Highland Harvest Barn strawberry patch.
The memories of these places are now left to photographs and stories, in the minds and books of the residents who remember when Highland was a more rural town.
“I think the Hamamuras bought the farm in 1949,” said Eady, former owner of the strawberry patch, in Highland.
Eady, a well-learned man, explained, in detail, the functionality of each tractor, as if the farm was in full operation today.
Cutting the rows was the first to step, according to Eady.
“You’d cut the rows with one of the tractors,” said Eady. “Once you’ve got it built up and roughly shaped, you come through with this tractor and put the fertilizer in.”
Eady was referring to the largest tractor on the farm.
“This is the biggest one of them all,” said Eady, as he walked to a tractor that had two huge inverted triangular bins.
“Because of its size, it had a bigger engine. It was a Farmall, an International Farmall. “It’s called a McCormick Farmall.”
The popular row-crop tractor was a staple in the farming community, across the United States.
The tractor was used to fertilize the row-crops.
“You would stand in this platform and pour the fertilizer in the bins,” said Eady.
“You’d turn the tractor on, and you would put the fertilizer down,” said Eady, pointing to several tubes that would carry the fertilizer to the ground.
“The injectors would go right into the row. That would set the fertilizer down at the depth you wanted inside the bed.”
The tractor had a blade that cut the row, where the fertilizer would fall.
“Then after this was done,” said Eady, “You would come behind it with a bed shaper, a different tractor. You’d put the drip in and have a finished bed made.”
Afterwards, Eady had a machine that sat on the back of another tractor.
According the Eady, the machine spread plastic over the rows. He would then go back and put more dirt over the plastic.
After the plastic was on the row, Eady and his staff punched the holes in the plastic for the strawberries. They did this manually, according to Eady.
“He used a wand, with a little circular cup on the end,” said Eady of one of his crew.
“It was propane heated so he would puncture the plastic.”
Ever the ingenious farmer, Eady built a machine that had a roller device, about the same width of the bed.
“I would just set it down on the bed and run along, and it would puncture all the holes down through the plastic,” said Eady.
“It saved a lot of work.
“Then the kids would come behind and put the plants in.
Coming from Canada, Eady was an expert on growing fruit.
Once in Highland, he soon learned about and developed his own techniques on producing strawberries and other produce.
Eady had a three-wheeled tractor, as well. He called it a trike.
“This tractor is probably the oldest of them all,” said Eady. “As you can see, all of these tractors are set to go at a certain perfect distance of a row.
“The other tractors would run down between the first and third row.
“The trike would run down the center row.”
The trike was mainly used a utility tractor that hauled trailers and pulled product in from the field.
All the tractors in his fleet were hand cranked.
A true farmer, dedicated to his art, Dave Eady has not lost the knowledge that is required to grow quality produce or to operate a successful farm, whether in Canada or Highland, California.