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these apples which throw them out of a first-class sample. Beginning with the front row, the specimen upon the left is scabbed in two or three places; the next one has a worm-hole about the stem, but it is otherwise perfect; the third one has a worm-hole in the top, and is also shrivelled; the end one on the right was a perfect apple as it hung on the tree, but when shaken off it struck a limb or the ground, and
was flattened on one side. Beginning with the left apple upon the back row, it will be seen that there is a bad insect blemish upon the side; the second one has a puncture in the side; the third one, on top, is perfect in itself (as a specimen), but it is of very inferior size for apples of its class; the last apple upon the right has a worm-hole in the blossom end, and is withered. Fig. 92 shows a firstclass sample. Fig. 93 (page 408) shows a barrel of
The Number of Grades.
Ben Davis apples just opened, in which the different specimens are of uniform size and quality.
Essentially these same remarks may be applied to other kinds of fruits. It should be remembered that the more personal and local the market, the more exacting that market is, and therefore the greater attention should be paid to the details of sorting and grading. It should be especially impressed upon the horticulturist that uniformity in size is quite as important to a package of fruits as excellence in intrinsic quality of the individual specimens. The reader will also recall that the proper grading of fruit is greatly facilitated by thinning the fruits on the trees, a subject which has received specific treatment in Chapter VI. It would seem to be unnecessary to add that the mechanical sorters now recommended in some quarters are wholly unadapted to use for any but the rougher and cheaper qualities of fruits and for potatoes. High quality apples which come through the sorter apparently without blemish usually show discolored spots in a few days, and softer fruits are often ruined.
It is evident, therefore, that if fruit is sorted, two grades will result, the first-class grade and the remainder. In small-fruits, these two grades - known as the firsts and the seconds-usually comprise the entire crop, and the same may be true of tree fruits which have been well grown and rigorously thinned. In most cases, however, tree fruits are made into three grades, the third grade being generally known as culls. Persons who sort their fruit as carefully
as our definition requires will do well to designate the first grade by some special name or mark, as "Selected," "First Choice," and the like, in order to distinguish it from the common type of so-called first-class fruit. In such thorough sorting, four grades are often necessary, in order to properly present the fruit to the various types of consumers. It should be remarked, however, that the better the fruit as it hangs on the tree or vine, the fewer will be the grades in the packing-house.
The packing of fruit, therefore, comprises two rather distinct elements, the sorting or grading (which has now been considered), and the placing of the fruits in the final receptacles, or packing proper, to which we now proceed.
How to pack.-The method of packing must depend very greatly upon the market which is to be reached, upon the quality of the fruit, and upon the package which is to be used. Ordinarily, women are better fruit-packers than men, especially for the delicate fruits, like peaches, the berries and grapes. Each individual fruit or cluster should be placed in the package separately and by hand. This is emphatically true of all the tender and perishable dessert fruits. The specimens are ordinarily laid in concentric rows, the first row being placed on the outside of the bottom of the basket, and other circles filling in the layer until it is full. Other tiers are then placed in the same way. The top layer is placed with special care, the stems of the fruits being all laid one way, and the same side of the
Facing of Fruit.
fruit (ordinarily the cheek) showing uppermost. The top of the basket should present a uniform and finished appearance, and should be slightly rounding or oval in shape. There will ordinarily be a difference of from five to ten cents a basket between good plums or peaches sent to the market as they are picked from the tree, and those which are properly packed and finished up.
When packing apples and pears in kegs or barrels, it is not always necessary to place every individual; and yet, if the packages are to go abroad, it is ordinarily best to take this pains, laying all the fruits in tiers, for thereby there is tight packing and little shrinkage; and when one handles his fruit so carefully he is constantly throwing out the inferior samples. As apples are ordinarily handled for our domestic trade, however, they are simply faced upon the two ends. They ought always to be faced upon one end. This facing is done by selecting apples of uniform grade and placing them in concentric rows on the lower head or end of the barrel. About two or three tiers should be faced, the rings of one tier breaking joints with those of another. The stem end should point towards the head of the barrel. The apples in the middle of the barrel may be turned in from a round-bottomed, swing-handled basket, which can be let directly into the barrel (or from a smaller basket which will turn in the barrel), and after every basket is emptied the barrel should be lightly shaken to settle the fruits. It is generally advisable to face the upper
head of the barrel before the head is placed in, but this is not always done. The barrel is ordinarily headed up, then ended over, and the opposite or originally-faced end is stenciled, and this is the end which the dealer is supposed to open. It
very frequently happens, however, that the dealer, in order to test the packing, opens the wrong or unintended end of the barrel; and in selling large lots of apples two or three barrels are sometimes used as samples, and the entire contents are rolled out upon the packing house or auction room floor.