For decades, the plant defined life in Dayton, swelling the town’s population of 2,000 odd people in the summer with an influx of nearly one thousand migrant workers in the plant, and hundreds more who worked in the nearby fields.
For decades, the asparagus cannery defined life in Dayton. Each summer an influx of about 1,000 migrant workers would join the town’s other 2,000 permanent residents. Hundreds more workers would tend the nearby fields. And then it came to an abrupt stop.
Trade deals just about spoiled Washington’s asparagus industry. Farmers quit the crop. Canneries closed. And then, slowly, farmers leveraged technology, grit and food trends to build a second chance.