Middle Village Harvest Picnic - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the April 2001 Juniper Berry Magazine

Middle Village Harvest Picnic

Since this area was once made up of many farms it is interesting to learn about the farmers who once lived in Maspeth and Middle Village. The big event in the social life of the farmers was the Harvest Picnic. For at least six months before the 'harvest season the farmers and their families planned for the big occasion. They had worked bard all Spring and Summer working the land and growing their crops. They looked forward to the big day of the picnic for some well earned enjoyment.

Festivities at the affair included parades, target shooting, bands, card games and plenty of beer drinking. There were also prizes given away. Many of those participating in the parade showed off their carts and wagons which had been gaily decorated with flowers and streamers.

The Middle Village Gardeners and Farmers Horse Troop held an annual parade in which beautifully decorated horse-drawn wagons were displayed on Metropolitan Avenue for the delight of the townsfolk. A prize was awarded for the best display of produce on an artfully decorated wagon.

The picture shows a farm wagon packed with produce and decorated with what, looks like ivy and striped bows or banners. The mounted man behind the wagon is undoubtedly a member of the Troop.

Perhaps getting, ready to join this interesting parade, a member of the Becker family sits at the reins of his buggy behind Peter Becker's Columbia Park Hotel. The Becker barn is in the background. In the distance the back of the Hirsch Bros. Farm & Garden Seed Store can be seen on the Turnpike. Harry Becker is at the reins and the lady in white is Ida Becker, wife of Peter Becker, Jr. Years ago, about 1900, a smartly turned out buggy like this one could be ordered from Sears & Roebuck for $24-95.

At the end of the day the wagons, which had been loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, formed a procession. In a spirit of generosity and good will, the farmers then drove their wagons to St. Catherine's Hospital in Brooklyn, where the produce was donated.