Hollandale at harvest time
By Linda Evenson
The 1920s found the Hollandale area experiencing rapid growth. In 1922, the village was platted. By the end of the following year, a church, school and business district were constructed. Crops had been planted, and a rich harvest was on the horizon.
Albert Lea’s Empire Grocery store promoted Hollandale celery as the finest on the market. The store sold bunches for 5, 10 and 15 cents. The 1923 advertisement continued with a description of Hollandale potatoes as “clean, smooth and free from scab; the nicest potatoes we ever saw.”
By 1926, branches of the Milwaukee and Rock Island Railroad lines were completed to Hollandale. Within a month of their arrival, 35 carloads of vegetables were being shipped every day.
Devastating rains and difficult weather conditions led to poor yields and some ruined crops during 1927 and 1928. The farmers’ determination and hard work, plus cooperative weather conditions, resulted in rewarding yields in 1929. Potatoes were averaging 250 bushels to the acre and attaining a price on the ground of $1.25 to $1.50 a bushel. Onions were running 300 to 400 pounds an acre. Shipment of the produce started in August 1929, and by the end of September, more than 1,200 railroad carloads had left Hollandale. The majority of the crops were shipped to markets by the first of November.