TRUCK FARMERS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

There were a number of farmers in Schaumburg Township in the 1930s, 40s and 50s who used their rich farm land as truck farms. These farms would produce vegetables for corporations such as Campbell’s Soup or to take to local markets in Chicago such as the one on Randolph Street. The Rohlwing family, in particular, raised tomatoes for Campbell’s Soup and the Piske family at the northeast corner of Roselle and Nerge Roads raised a variety of vegetables, with their main crop being horseradish. 

The following account of another truck farm in Schaumburg Township was written by Elinor (Hortik) Mueller for the Spring 2011 issue of the Roselle History Museum Newsletter. It is an account of the farm her father, Joe Hortik, owned and is reprinted here with the Museum’s gracious permission. 

“Our farm of 40 acres, located on the southwest corner of Plum Grove and Nerge Roads in Schaumburg Township, since incorporated into [the] Village of Roselle, was strictly for raising vegetables. It was one of two truck farms in the immediate area. The other farms being dairy farms, growing mostly grain for their cattle.

A variety of vegetables were grown, such as cabbage, tomatoes, onions, squash, carrots, parsnips, sugar beets, asparagus, melons, pumpkins, corn, cucumbers, rhubarb and raspberries. There was also an apple and cherry orchard, and a huge bed of gladiola flowers.

Most of this produce was taken to the Randolph Street Market in Chicago where it was purchased by wholesalers and some retailers. Some vegetables were sold on the farm and to some local grocery stores.

On July 5, 1933 a tornado hit the area. All of the buildings, barns, sheds, home and crops were destroyed. Since it was too late in the season to replant, we had no income, so my dad was forced to work for the WPA until spring at which time he delivered seed for Vaughn’s Seed Co. [The photo below shows Elinor’s parents standing at the site of what was their house.]

Truck farming is hard work and long hours, driving to the market at 2 a.m. and then working until the next day’s load was ready for delivery. From planting in spring until harvesting in fall there was always plowing, planting, cultivating and harvesting to do. In the winter there were always machines to repair.

Farming is a gamble. Weather can affect all profit and loss for the year; too much rain, not enough rain, too hot or too cold. Farming is a labor of love, God’s gift to a few.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

 

 

 

2 Responses to “TRUCK FARMERS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP”

  1. Bruce J Trivellini Says:

    How about that! I wax tales-long into the night-with my friends here in New Hampshire about the days I worked with farmer Joe Hortik tying up cauliflower heads-no self blanching heads back then- on his farm back in the 1960’s. Farmer Joe was up in age at the time…he would drive me out to the field in the back of his old Ford Pick-up truck with the Woody Woodpecker sticker on the back window.

    I just loved pumping that ice cold water from the well pump by the barn, out back of the house!

    Please let Elinor Hortik-Mueller to contact me…thank you for the great trip down memory lane…

  2. Kathleen LaBonte Says:

    Incredible history, and so lucky to have Bruce Trivellini as a good friend in NH. LOVE when he tells us stories about his time on the farm of Joe Hortik.

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