Re: Heinz Vinegar Cars.


Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
I would think vinegar is made wherever grapes or apples are abundant.
I would like to know more about vinegar production -- what raw
materials were used, how they were received, and where the tank cars
of vinegar went. Vinegar is a huge commodity, but I suspect most
markets must have been within trucking distance of production
facilities. Or perhaps most vinegar was simply shipped in ordinary
tank cars, or bottled and sent in box cars? (There are modern day
food processors in my area that get freight car loads of oil,
vinegar, and starches for production of salad dressings, mayonaisse,
etc.)
In 1920 Fleishman's merged w/ Standard Brands, keeping the latter's name for
corporate purposes. Fleishman's, as you may recognize, makes yeast. Turns
out that for many years, vinegar was a byproduct of making yeast. The
alcohol produced by the yeast was distilled into higher concentrations and
then a certain bacteria was added that converted the alcohol into vinegar.
Aside from yeast cakes going into the domestic food market, large quantities
of yeast went to commercial bakeries to leaven bread.

I've never heard of liquid yeast being transported in tank cars, so I
imagine the yeast factories tended to be near major cities (and their
bakeries). As we know vinegar was shipped by rail, so perhaps it was going
to food processors that were located closer to particular growing areas.

Take central California as an example: The Standard Brands plant was in
east Oakland (torn down about 2 years ago). Several bakeries were located a
few miles to the north, probably more in San Francisco and San Jose. Heinz
had a major operation in Berkeley 15 miles to the north, and Hunt's food
another in Hayward, 10 or so miles to the south (in the old days Hayward was
a major tomato producing region). The central valley, a couple of hours to
the east, is a huge region for tomato and row crops. If someone pulled out
old documents that said this one plant sold vinegar thru all of central
California, from Bakersfield to Oregon, I would not be surprised.

Dave Nelson

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