This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This is a slow-growing variety, requiring good soil and generous treatment, taking four or five years to come into full bearing. The fruit is large and conical. It is very early. Some fruit from this variety was sold last summer in Covent Garden at 3s. per pound.
Superlative produces canes of moderate vigour. The fruit is large and it is very prolific. It is early, but not so early as Steel's, though it comes into bearing quicker. Both this variety and Victoria are table varieties, and are not favoured by jam makers.
An old variety, with much the same characteristics as the Superlative, but not so good.
The variety most favoured at Blairgowrie. Canes grow with considerable vigour, often attaining 6 ft. in length. A prolific bearer, producing medium-sized fruit. Fine-grained, with small seeds, suitable for jam making.
Producing strong canes, sometimes 10 ft. in length. Late in fruiting, prolific bearer, fruit acid, firm, medium to large in size, with very small seeds. This variety is the most favoured of all for jam. It is of no use for table fruit.
The cost of picking is 3/4d. to 1/2d. per pound, according to district. Near to a good centre of population a good deal of the best fruit can be disposed of in punnets on stalk for table, and this will do a good deal to lift the average. Where the only outlet is to the jam maker, the fruit is "slipped " and sent in tubs.
Of late years the price has come tumbling down, owing to overproduction. Before the fever for Raspberry growing at Blairgowrie became epidemic, the price was £45 per ton, and the crop there 4 tons to the acre. Now there are upwards of 2000 ac. planted round the town the price has got down to £10 a ton, and the crop to 2 tons to the acre.
From 2 to 3 tons may be taken as the average crop, and £18 to £20 per ton - the most favourable prices that can be expected. [w. g. l.]