Term: commercial vegetable processing
Definition: Since the late 19th century, peas, sweet corn, cucumbers, snap beans, lima beans, and beets have been grown on a commercial scale for processing. The earliest substantial cash crops of peas and beans were developed by 1880 in Door, Kewaunee, Sheyboygan, Manitowoc, and other lakeside counties. The development of the canning industry contributed to the upsurge in vegetable production. The first cannery opened in Manitowoc in 1887 and by 1915, Wisconsin had 90 plants across the state. The canneries were so prolific that by 1920, the state was packing half of the nation's total crop of canning vegetables. Green peas were the first and most dominant processed vegetable and were, by 1906, the second most important cash crop after potatoes. The number of acres in green peas surged after WWI, tripling in size by the 1940s. Wisconsin has led the nation in processed vegetable production since the earliest 20th century.
[Source: Wisconsin's Cultural Resources Study Units, Wisconsin Historical Society]