Summer is here, bringing with it sunshine and humidity–but also lots of fresh summer fruits. Here in Maryland, we wanted to examine the way people who used to pick and can strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes used to be paid. This was called piecework, and instead of receiving cash right away, for every bushel or pound or bucket workers picked or canned, they would receive a ticket or a token, and trade them in for actual money at the end of the week.
The tickets generally went to pickers, who worked out in the fields, and tokens went to the people in the packing houses, where the conditions were much damper. The tokens and tickets were sometimes used as a form of currency in stores in the small towns where they were issued. Tokens and tickets were used on farms and canneries in Maryland through the 1950s.
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