Varieties Of Fruit
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THOMAS SMITH, CHICAGO.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen : I think it proper and appropriate in this church where we are assembled, that we just pretend we are in a Sunday-school class. I am not going to do very much talking but I would like to have every one of you take part, ask me questions, and it may bring to mind the very things I would like to have said. I am not a public speaker but I am a practical man and perhaps it was because of this fact that Mr. Bassett asked me to take up the consideration of this topic with you.
As I look into your faces, I can see many that I am sure could do as well or better than I can, but I will do the best I can.
I am glad to be with you this afternoon and as a starter in the hope of bringing further questions from you, I would like to ask this one: Those of you who think that the Northern Spy is the best apple grown raise your hands.
A Voice—Best to sell or best for eating?
Mr. Smith—Best all around apple.
(There was quite a general response.) Now you who do not think that it is the best apple raise your hand.
The question seems to be divided—there are about as many hands for one side as the other. Personally I think the Northern Spy is the best apple there is, although it is rather hard to keep. Out of fifty thou-sand barrels, if you get four or five thousand that are prime you will do pretty well. We can sell that apple for more money than other apples. We, however, are obliged to put our best men on them when we come to packing. It has lots of quality but the skin is very tender. It will not keep as well as the Baldwins but when packed right we can do better with the Northern Spy than with any other apple.
A Member—Do you think it will excel the Steel's Red?
Answer—Yes, although we consider the Steel's Red a great apple. There are many things in common, with these two apples. Neither of these apples will turn brown in cold storage. We have trouble with the Greenings and the Baldwins, also other varieties. This is a great thing to know from a commercial standpoint. I sold a friend of mine a barrel of Wagners. This man had a rather warm place to keep that barrel and I did not hear any more about it until the first start of spring and then he came down to the store and said to me : "That barrel of apples you sold me have turned out to be Russetts." (Laugh-ter.) What I am telling you now, I think is commonly known by you, but I would like to get some of your ideas, for I am sure you all have reasons why you think this or that apple to be the best, both as a seller and for eating purposes. Personally, I think from a commercial stand-point the Michigan Greening is very superior to the Greening grown in other states. We could get Greenings from New York and other places but your Greenings with the blush on them will keep for a month longer than from any other point, without turning brown. The Michigan Jonathan, I think, has lost some in quality and they are also under-sized. However, Jonathans from Michigan will keep longer than from any other part of the country.
A Member—Longer than the Missouri Jonathans?
Mr. Smith—Yes, sir. I have been in the apple business for twenty six years and that is what we feel to be the facts in the case. The Jonathan apples from Missouri or Illinois seem to have a little better flavor than those from Michigan and they are not as good keepers as are your apples. The Jonathans from these two states seem to have a very distinct flavor. I cannot tell why this is so but I know that this is true of other apples. For instance, you cannot raise the Northern Spy in Virginia at all for it is a fall apple. It ripens early even in the mountains of Virginia. The Northern Spys belong to the North. You cannot raise Northern Spys in Missouri or Illinois. The Steel's Red, Northern Spy, Greening, King, Russetts, Snow, Mackintosh, belong to the north. Grimes Golden is in the same class as the Jonathan and where one will grow the other will grow. Sometimes we get good ones from Iowa but usually they are rather small. They grow better in the south. They need much warm weather.
A Member—What about early apples?
Mr. Smith—Of course, the Duchess, Wealthy and Alexandria are good specimens. Oftentimes we have both as the appearance and as a good apple. There is another apple which is a fine one and that
FORTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORT.
is the Twenty-ounce Pippin. There are many of these in New York. They always sell well and are a wonderful apple to bake and cook. They sell from the time they are harvested until the first of the year. After that time they seem to lose out in flavor.
A Member—They are subject to the blight, are they not?
Mr. Smith—I do not think they are so much so as the Alexandria. I have an orchard in New York where we grow Twenty-ounce Pippins. We had two thousand barrels on it last year. There are seasons when the blight works on them more than at other times but we do not think they are especially subject to it. You know we didn't use to think that the Northern Spy would blight, but we have changed our minds on that point. I think the larger you can raise a good apple the better it is.
A Member—What about the Hyslop?
Mr. Smith—They have sold well for several years and they would apply to the Hyslop Crab. People went out of the growing, a few years ago for they sold as low as one dollar a barrel in Chicago. I would not favor the growing of these—I would rather grow something that would be good from the harvest to the end of the growing season. The Kink is a wonderful apple. We have here in this an apple with good size and flavor.
A member—It keeps well but for some reason or other it has never been popular.
A Member—Would you plant them?
Answer—No I wouldn't. The trees do not bear extra heavy and I do not think they have the quality that they should have.
A Member—Where did you class the Spitzenberg?
Answer—This is one of the highest flavored apples there is, but it has long been on the market but it is not considered a good flavor. They can raise them in some parts all right especially in the West.
A Member—Do you sell your apples in barrels or boxes?
Mr. Smith—We sell barrel apples. I enthuse over the flavor of apples that are packed in barrels. I think we can get a flavor in barrel apples that we do not get in boxes. I know a man who deals in apples and he buys his Northern Spies in boxes, but he repacks them in barrels; for the people seem to like them better that way than in boxes.
A member—Tell us a little more about the Western Spitzenberg.
Mr. Smith—The Western Spitzenberg has the appearance and has a very distinct flavor, but our Spitzenbergs do not get the size of the King and Northern Spy and I would rather grow Jonathans.
A Member—What about the Duchess Do you think it advisable to continue setting Duchess—is there not a danger of over-production?
Mr. Smith—I have my own opinion upon that and you may take it for what it is worth. I would not go too far north with the Duchess. You get better results in the middle part of the state. There are, how-ever, other apples like the Wealthy that fill in all right from the north-ern parts.
A member—How long can you keep apples in cold storage? Mr. Smith—Until July or August.
A member—In setting out an orchard what proportion would you set to Baldwins for Michigan?
Mr. Smith—Baldwins sell well, but for my own part I would rather go after a higher grade of apple. Being excellent bearers, a good many get even as much or more out of their Baldwins than other varieties, even though they sell for less. They are a good winter apple, but I would rather run to a higher grade of apples. In New York State I know of some parties that had Baldwins, and parties came to buy and they did not care for their Baldwins, but their twenty-ounce Pippins were what they liked and the whole lot was sold on this account.
A Member—What do you say about the Greening?
Mr. Smith—They are all right and always yield well and sell well. A Member—How about the Wine Sap?
Mr. Smith—That is not a Michigan apple.
A Member—How about the Yellow Transparent?
Mr. Smith—Yellow Transparent is a pretty early apple. I would rather have a Wealthy or Duchess or Alexander than the Yellow Trans-parent.
A Member—What do you think of the Wealthy?
Mr. Smith—It is a splendid apple. It is an early fall or winter apple. They will keep until after the first of the year. They grow large and bear early and we consider them a well-colored apple and they ship well.
A Member—What about Sutton's Beauty?
Mr. Smith-We have handled some of them, but they have not been such a popular apple.
A Member—What about the Chenango?
Mr. Smith—For a table apple it is a dandy. They are, however, rather tender and must not be put in storage. They are short keepers. A Member—What about the Wagoner apple?
Mr. Smith—It is a splendid apple.
A Member—Would you plant many of them?
Mr. Smith—I should not. The tree is quite long lived and a fairly good bearer, but turn brown and are not as desirable in this respect as some other varieties.
A Member—What about the None Such?
Mr. Smith—It is a good apple.
A Member—If you planted twenty acres of three varieties, what would you plant?
Mr. Smith—I would plant Canada Red, Spy, Snow or McIntosh. And right here I would like to say that you should not call them Canada Red, when you mean Steele's Red; for these two apples are different. The Canada Red will turn brown and has nothing like the same flavor as the Steele's Red.