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The 1920s – Apple Wrapper Flappers

Black and white candid photo of ten men, ages early 20's to mid-40's, and seven young women all in casual clothing outside a wooden building. Some are sitting on stacked lumber; others are standing or leaning back. Two men are smoking pipes.

Packinghouse crew at Okanagan Centre, October 1928

The belles who worked in the packinghouses came from different backgrounds and worked for different reasons. Packinghouse work was considered a safe job and while the pay was low, working conditions were generally good.

Some women packed and sought other work during the off season. Another group were the growers’ wives whose wages supplemented the family income from the orchard. A third group were the single or recently married women who packed to earn money for Christmas or other extras. Several of Lake Country’s packinghouses employed seasonal summer girls who lived in boarding houses during the harvest season.

For most of these women, the social aspect of working together with other women, often close friends, kept them returning to the packing line year after year. Their job of apple packing got them away from home and children and occasionally they had the chance to talk and visit if the fruit was running slow.

Black and white photo of six women (front) and five men (back) seated in front of an old building. They are wearing 1920's style clothing.

Vernon Fruit Union packinghouse crew, Oyama, 1920s