This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
In spite of the fortune that he realized from his single crop of potatoes, Sing Kee is too shrewd a farmer to put all of his eggs into one basket, although he still makes spuds his main crop. An American who is his close business confidant makes this statement of Sing Kee's present farming operations: He has four thousand acres in potatoes; 100 acres in onions; 400 to 600 acres in beans; 560 acres in asparagus; and 300 to 400 acres in seeds. It will be hard to beat that combination.
No part of his farming operations indicates to the uninitiated the skill and daring of Sing Kee as a cropmaker so much as the simple fact that he has 200 to 400 acres devoted to the production of seeds. Seed-raising may be said to be the supreme test of farming skill. The seed for this part of his operations is sent to him by a seed house the head of which makes this statement in comparing the average American farmer with the alien, and particularly with the Oriental:
I should not think of letting a seed contract to many American farmers. Experience has taught me that failure would be the almost certain result. But the men who have been raised in the Old World traditions of intensive cultivation are able to qualify in this highest refinement of field husbandry. I wish that it were otherwise, but it isn't. The average American farmer has more to learn from the alien farmers of every race now represented on our own soil than he can possibly realize or appreciate. The first step toward assimilating the skill and the knowledge that these alien and intensive tillers of the soil have brought to his door is a realization of his lack of their marvelous mastery of plant life, their intimate and almost intuitive understanding of the secrets of plant production.' But Sing Kee isn't afraid to put 400 acres into the growing of seeds; and the seed house is not afraid to back this shrewd merchant-farmer in so extensive and difficult an undertaking."
Following is an article from the Stockton (Cal.) Independent of August 26, 1911:
Stockton, though known to-day throughout the world as a potato centre, is destined to make such strides in tuber cultivation as to make the delta regions adjacent to this city universally famed as one of the leading spud regions of the world, and in many distinctive particulars to stand out in a class by itself in points of merit from a potato standpoint. Such was the general statement made by Eugene H. Grubb, of Colorado.
While in this section in search of information as to the local product, Mr. Grubb has been the guest of P. E. Platt of the Piatt Product Company, and yesterday he visited the delta regions and selected samples of the delta tuber from the Rindge properties.
Explaining the potato of this section and the crop condition generally Mr. Grubb stated that the one outstanding feature as compared with all the world that signalized the Stockton delta regions was the fact that tubers are in the ground here every day in the year, and that shipments are made from Stockton covering a wide area 365 days continuously year in and year out.
The continuous crop feature, says Mr. Grubb, is phenomenal and gives. Stockton a unique distinction throughout the world in the potato industry.
Speaking of the improved cultivation of the Stockton tuber as compared to five and ten years ago, Mr. Grubb states that the local product has gained wonderfully in point of quality and that its standard to-day is of the highest mark. This, he said, was due to the fact that such shippers as Mr. Platt have come to learn that the trade demands the best obtainable and that anything less than the best is overcome by competition and to that extent unprofitable. The exact conditions imposed upon the shipper by the trade necessitates the snipper holding the grower unrelentingly to the best possible qualities obtainable from the soil.
Those things which make for quality have been bounteously provided the Stockton delta regions.
Here, he pointed out, is found the wonderfully rich, fertile, light peat soil so peculiarly adapted to the highest cultivation of potatoes. The sun shines from a growing standpoint every day in the year, the climate is all that could be desired.
Discussing the local tuber from a distribution and supply phase, Mr. Grubb called attention to the fact that Stockton to-day is shipping practically all points west of the Missouri River and only yesterday shipped two cars to Kansas City, the very centre of a much boasted potato area long since famed among the tuber fields of the country. That the wonderful breadth and scope of Stockton's supply territory might be better emphasized the visitor directed attention to the fact that the Platt Produce Company alone as a single firm ships out of Stockton annually more than one half as large a crop as the noted Greeley district of Colorado. So extensive, says Mr. Grubb, are the fields of patronage for the Stockton product that the Easterner cannot grasp the immensity of it all, nor appreciate the vast population fed by the delta regions adjacent to this city.
Pointing out the merit features of the local spud the distinguished authority on the tuber says that in point of attractiveness, size, shape, smoothness of skin, quality and all that goes to make a potato perfect, the delta regions produce the most nearly perfect tuber known throughout the world. Such potatoes, said Mr. Grubb, could not possibly be grown on a heavy soil nor under general conditions less ideal than characteristic of Stockton.
Taking up the subject of distribution and supply aside from the quality of the potato itself the visitor pointed out that this section invariably has a normal crop and that for this reason the trade throughout the area covered by the local supply feels that it can always depend upon Stockton for receipts, and places orders here deeming it the most likely of satisfactory delivery. This confidence of the trade is a most valuable asset and goes a long way in establishing Stockton's high standard of reliability as a potato shipping centre. Added to this very important feature is the fact that the local delta regions yield early and at such seasons as famine, so to speak, is characteristic of other tuber districts.
Of the many variety of spuds grown in this locality the visitor observes that the Burbank is the best adapted to local conditions, and in this connection, Mr. Grubb added, that no section of America is so famed for its Burbanks as are the California potato fields.
From the standpoint of quantity Mr. Grubb says that Stockton is but a drop in the bucket. Throughout the tuber fields of America there are this season about 300,000,000 bushels. All California will produce but 8,000,000 bushels. And it is estimated that the local delta regions, which have an acreage planted to potatoes amounting to about 44,000 acres will yield on a general average 100 sacks to the acre. This in dollars and cents will represent about $5,000,000 for the total harvest revenue.
After returning from the delta regions Mr. Grubb met a number of the business and professional men of this city, all of whom heard with delight the announcement that Stockton will become world famous in a greater degree than at this time seems at all probable as a tuber district."