This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
But the market is sometimes glutted, and the increasing frequency of the gluts forces upon one the question whether the process of concentration has not gone far enough, and whether there are not places in England where the supply is still not equal to the demand, or where a more efficient supply would not stimulate a demand worth the while of growers to cater for. In June, 1910, when good Paris Cos Lettuces were being sold in London at 2d. the score, in Margate the only Lettuces a careful investigation could discover in the retail shops were leathery, bolting, Hardy Cos, and these were priced at 2d. each! Similarly, the only Radishes one could see were aged, ill-washed specimens, such as any market gardener worthy of the name would have thrown to the rubbish shoot. If the related experiences of visitors is to be relied upon, other watering-places fare no better in this matter of a regular supply of fresh, well-grown vegetables.
Here, then, it would seem is an opening in a field not already worked, in which the man who is prepared for the thought, skill, and effort necessary to maintain a constant supply of vegetables properly grown and presentably put up should reap an adequate reward. But indeed this question of the distribution of market-garden produce, which has been growing in urgency for years, is fast becoming acute, as the sudden emergence of market gardening into a fashionable occupation and the development of the "small holdings" movement combine to put more produce on to the market.
Are the gluts caused by over-production? Is it not rather that a faulty and outworn system of distribution fails to convey to the consumer the full benefit of the lowness of price in the wholesale market, which of itself would react on the demand and provide an alleviation to the producer by giving him larger sales in return for lower prices? There are tens of thousands of young people "living in" in the great and small emporiums of London and the suburbs, not to mention the cities of the provinces. Are their tables ever adequately supplied with vegetables, no matter how cheap on the market? Does the fact of Lettuce at 2d. a score ever result in the bread and butter of their tea-table being economized by the accompaniment of the crisp and cooling leaves of the salad? There is room for a great movement to reorganize distribution and stimulate demand; and if the increasing encouragement of production is not to result in disaster it must be taken in hand at once.