STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER? MAYBE NOT. But there
was a time when the campus lands turned out some
of the sweetest heart-shaped berries.
The heritage water tower atop Sinclair Road,
near the entrance to Alumni House, was once the
headquarters of Hamsterley Farm Jam Factory.
Owned by Algernon and Letitia Pease, Hamsterley
Farm strawberries recorded a bumper crop in 1914.
The couple decided to market strawberry jam,
then candy and plum wine. The jam business was
a success until a supplier sent beet sugar instead
of cane sugar (beet sugar needs to be heated
at a higher temperature). The mistake wasn't
discovered until too late and the loss of a thousand
crates killed the business.
The promotional material
featured here includes music and lyrics to
the Hamsterley Farm Jam Song: "These
are the berries from Gordon Head,/Driven direct
from the grower's shed;/ Picked last night at
the sun's decline,/Made into strawberry jam by
nine." The photo of the berry picker was taken
around 1915 when workers would travel from Vancouver,
before Fraser Valley farms were developed.
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