The applebox belles worked overtime during harvest to pack and ship as much of the crop as possible before frost set in. Sometimes apples deteriorated in storage and would have to be repacked. Packinghouses were not heated or insulated, and with the temperature below freezing, the women would bundle up in heavy sweaters, men’s pants, woolen gloves, and even wrap their feet in burlap sacking to keep warm.
Winnie Draper began working in the Winfield packinghouse when she was 14 years old, first as a sorter then as a packer. Comfortable with physical labour, Winnie took pride in her speed and work. Her expansive personality and sense of fairness made her a favorite on the line and she made strong friendships at each of the packinghouses she worked at as well as at the packing competitions.
One of her early mentors, a packinghouse inspector, gave her the nickname ‘Winsome Winnie Winfield’.