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Packing Apples for Export.
A barrel of winter apples properly faced and packed is shown just as it was opened in Fig. 93.
The greatest care should be taken in the packing of apples for export, because they are subjected to long and trying transportation, the freight and incidental rates are high, and only the very best fruits will pay transportation and other expenses. One reason why the foreign market has recently been so poor for American apples is because a great amount of poorly-sorted and poorly-packed fruit has been exported. The following suggestions for the exporting of apples are condensed from a report made by George T. Powell, of New York state, to the Commissioner of Agriculture for that state, and will be found to be very useful: *
"Kind of fruit wanted.-Only good fruit is wanted abroad. The fruit-grower should begin months in advance to secure good quality, by practicing good tillage, efficient fertilizing, and thorough spraying. Apples grown on trees which have imperfect (insect-eaten and fungous-infested) foliage generally fail to carry in good condition to Europe. Standard fall and winter varieties are most in demand in the export trade. Duchess and Twenty Ounce generally sell well if picked while hard. Alexander is too soft. Baldwin, Greening, Spy, King, Spitzenburgh, Hubbardston (Nonesuch), Newtown (Pippin), Peck's Pleasant, and late Russets are popular varieties. Jonathan and other medium-sized apples are especially desired. Red apples sell better than solid green ones, as a rule. Soft summer varieties do not ship well.
"Picking the fruit.-Apples intended for export should be picked earlier than for the home trade, but not when green
*Suggestions as to the Picking and Packing of Fruit for the Foreign and Home Markets, Albany, 1896.
It is largely the beauty of the American apple which sells it; therefore, the color should be well advanced before the apple is picked. Hand pick the finest very carefully. It is advisable to barrel and ship as soon as picked, rather than to store the fruit for some days in piles in the orchard.
"Packing.-Sort carefully. Very fine fruit should be marked 'Fancy' or 'Selected,' with four X's (XXXX), and with the grower's or shipper's name or initials. The second grade should be good, and marked with three X's. Nothing lower than this should be exported. The English law requires that the package be plainly marked 'American Produce.' Use only standard size barrels. Put in a double row of facers. Apples somewhat soft in texture, like Greenings, may be pressed down a full inch in barreling, but hard apples should not be squeezed so much. Nail the barrels securely. If the apples become loose in transit, they will be very much injured.
"Methods of sale.-Apples are sold in the English markets by sample. Two barrels of a lot are selected, one opened to show the packing, the other turned out SO that every apple can be seen. The lot is then sold at auction. The first day of sale they are sold as 'sound.' These are delivered within twenty-four hours. Any loose barrels, known as 'slacks' or 'slack packed,' and any from which the juice is running, called 'wets,' are closed out at the succeeding sale.”
Shiftless packing really accounts for more than one-half of all the unsatisfactory returns from fruit. This fact is commonly acknowledged to be true by the fruit-growers themselves, and it is annually impressed upon them by teachers, buyers and consumers, and yet it is an astonishing fact that the great majority of all our fruits are either not packed and graded at all, or else the work is done in the most careless manner. The eastern fruits are often better in quality than the Californian fruits, and
being grown near the consumer, they ought to command a superior price; and yet it is a fact that because of the better packing and sorting of the California product, it drives the home fruit from the markets. The better packing of this Californian product has arisen from the fact that transportation rates are such an important item in the marketing of the fruits, and time of transit is so long, that only the highest-priced and soundest fruit can bring the consignor any profit after the expenses and risks are deducted. It is always found that the farther fruit has to be shipped, the greater is the care exercised in the grading and packing.
Whilst we, with the best of reasons, are constantly deploring the shiftless attention given to the packing of our fruit, the fruit-growers of Europe are impressed with the excellent condition in which our apples often arrive in their markets. The following extract is from a German paper of recent date:*
"Although during the last few years repeated attention has been called, by those in authority, to the development of the German fruit industry as a possible means of enlarging the net proceeds of domestic agriculture, it is necessary again and again to recur to the subject, and especially at this time to call attention to the fact that our fruit industry is confronted by a crisis which, if it does not meet with immediate and strong resistance, threatens to completely destroy it, and thus to greatly damage our national welfare.
*Deutsche Landwirtschaftliche Presse, xxiv., No. 7, Jan. 27, 1897.
This danger has now become actual through the flooding of the German market with fresh American apples. It is, e. g., a fact, that during this winter the demand for apples in Berlin is being supplied with the American product, and others are scarcely offered or not desired. This condition, and the dangers to the German fruit industry arising therefrom, are set forth in a praiseworthy manner in a small pamphlet by B. L. Kühne-Rixdorf (Berlin, 1897). This pamphlet also points out the means by which we in Germany, by following to some extent the practical American-in relation to the growing of a few good marketable varieties of fruits, rigidly sorting them, and packing and shipping in proper packages can successfully meet the dangers alluded to.
"The suggestions made by the author of the pamphlet are as follows:
"1. The fast transportation of fresh German fruit at low rates on the part of the railroads.
"2. The cultivation of a few valuable varieties. "3. The rigid sorting of fruit destined to be eaten in the fresh state.
"4. The rational conversion of the less valuable fruit into imperishable marketable products, as fruit juices, cider, marmalade, jelly, steamed fruit, dried fruit, and fruit wines.
"5. The general introduction of light, cheap and strong packing cases of standard size.
"6. The proper packing of the fresh fruit.
"7. The training of scientific and practical specialists in fruit culture.
Wrapping in Paper.
"8. The planting of large, rationally conceived and intensively cultivated fruit plantations, for the immediate supply of the German market.
"The present conditions prove that past methods for advancing the German fruit industry have not been productive of the desired results, and it is high time that all who have the welfare of this industry at heart unite on the basis suggested; then and not until then will the conditions improve through the increased home production of fruit, if but sufficient to cover home consumption; we shall be able to successfully meet foreign competition, and this done, it will be possible to conquer for the German product a prominent place in the markets of the world."
Fruits which are intended for the dessert may often be put into the consumer's hands in very excellent condition by wrapping them in soft grocer's paper, of the kind which is ordinarily called tea paper; or, when the product is especially choice, and the grower has a large quantity, it may pay him to use a grade of tissue paper. There are many middlemen who practice this careful packing, and growers may often imitate them with profit. It is needless to say that all wrapped samples of fruit reach the consumer in perfect condition, and he may depend upon their excellence and uniformity as he could upon a case of eggs. With pears or apples, the inside of the keg or barrel is lined with newspapers, and each fruit is individually wrapped in soft manilla paper. Such fruits may be expected to carry thousands of miles without perceptible injury. When