My grandpa and convert great grandfather both worked as mechanics in the sugar beet factories in Utah and Idaho–how times have changed. And now sugar is a poison, adding an extra spoonful of ridicule to my high school’s Beetdigger mascot. Mormons thought they had found a nice alterna-vice in sugar addiction made possible by all the local sugar production, but if we don’t shape up, we’ll soon be looked down on by the drug-free, teetotaling, non-smoking, salad-eating Gentiles for the sugar junkies we are. Myself included.
Ardis–Having grown up on a farm that raised sugar beets for a cash crop and having thinned beets every summer until I was past my teens, the bold print caught my eye. We never had the equipment that either segmented the seed planting nor had mechanical cross blocking equipment. In fact we never owned a mechanical beet topper. It was hand labor through and through. Interesting ad.
A “svelte beet”! I don’t think that image will soon leave my mind, Grant.
There’s the serpent in paradise, isn’t it, Marie? The sugar industry served the Intermountain West well on so many levels, and helped keep us going when other industries were in decline. But we couldn’t keep our appetites in bounds. Posting all these sugar advertisements started as a joke in the early days of Keepa when I posted a few ads that had outrageous claims of health to be derived from eating sweet foods. It has now become a tradition, to continue posting samples from the seemingly infinite trail of sugar ads in Mormon magazines.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 2, 2014 @ 1:19 pm
marva, you’re a living participant to Utah/Mormon history, all right — there are SO many stories and talks with references to the hard manual labor of beet thinning and topping. It may be one of those barely-under-the-surface things that shaped the Mormon character.
I think I’ll let my own character suffer a bit by not replicating this experience …
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 2, 2014 @ 1:29 pm
My first memories of work on the welfare farm for the East Provo Stake in the early 1960s was thinning sugar beets. My dad would go; I’d ask him to let me come with him, but he never would. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I thought I was missing out on a great adventure. I guess I was wrong.