A young girl washes eggs to prepare them for selling at the market.

In addition to growing crops for cash and to use as feed, some families took their homegrown and homemade commodities like eggs and cream to the nearest town. Children’s chores — like separating milk, churning cream into butter, and gathering eggs — were important to the family’s income. Because there was no electricity or refrigeration on farms at the time, cream and eggs could only be stored for a short time in a cool place such as a well. About twice a week, farm families would travel to town to sell what they produced. Some families took cream in 10-gallon cans to Hastings where it was purchased by a company, shipped by train to Omaha or Minnesota, and later processed into cheese.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt.

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