The actual selection of the specimens to be exhibited is the most difficult and perplexing problem connected with this work. Fundamental to a successful solution of this problem is a thorough knowledge of the variety, an intimate acquaintance with the characters of a normal specimen, and a fine discrimination in the balancing of these characters and in the attaching of the proper values to each.

The external factors that must be considered are size, form, color, uniformity, and freedom from blemishes. The criteria to be used in the inspection of the first three factors are the attributes of a typical normal specimen of the variety when grown under conditions favorable to its development. The largest apple is not necessarily the best; in fact, great size is usually obtained at the expense of some equally desirable factor. The extra-large specimen is always an abnormal specimen and, as such, is not to be sought. It is in regard to this factor, however, that many exhibitors make their first mistake. A safe rule to follow is to choose the specimen combining large size with the highest color. This rule will almost invariably eliminate the abnormally large specimen.

The form of the specimen should be true to the prevailing type of the section in which it grows. Occasionally different sections produce different types, as, for example, the New York and the Oregon-grown Esopus. One is as true to type as the other, but the two types should never be mixed on the same plate or in the same package.

Of all external factors, none exceeds in importance the quality of color. High color always sets up in the mind the presumption of excellence; the higher the color, the more pronounced seems to be the presumption, though it is not always justified. Color is also an indication of fitness, of approaching maturity, but a specimen maturing far in advance of its companions should be regarded with suspicion lest it harbor a worm that may emerge at a most inopportune moment if it escapes detection. Polishing a specimen to enhance its color should not be practised. The operation removes the bloom, which is more beautiful than the high polish because it is natural.

The factor of uniformity implies that one specimen should resemble every other specimen as nearly as it is possible for the human eye and hand to make it. It is a literal application of the expression "as nearly alike as two peas." A single specimen of highest order should not be retained for a moment if its companions are on a more nearly equal though somewhat lower plane of excellence.

Freedom from blemishes implies that the specimen is perfectly sound. A blemish may be anything from a bruise, a broken stem, or a stem puncture to a scale-mark or scab-spot. In an age when knowledge of preventive measures is so widespread and so accessible, evidence of injury from insect or disease should completely exclude a specimen from consideration. Need-less to say, the condition of the specimen should be as sound as the season permits, showing neither flabbiness nor physiological disintegration of the tissues.

The factor of quality is also worthy of consideration, though it is of more importance in case of collections in which one variety is exhibited against another than in case of different specimens of the same variety. Granted that size, form, and color are normal, the factor of quality will usually take care of itself.

There is need of a standardization of requirements under which fruit exhibits are held. These requirements should be based on trueness to type and all that the term implies, and the values attached to the different characters concerned should be fixed in proportion to their relative importance for the purpose in hand. Such a statement appears in the following score-card for apples, which is in somewhat common use in the eastern United States:

Size........

10

Form.........

10

Color..........................................

20

Uniformity......

15

Quality...............

20

Freedom from blemished............

25

Total.........................................

100

This score-card may be no more nearly correct than many others, but it represents a concerted effort to fix a satisfactory standard. There should be more of this work for every fruit.

Score-cards for other fruits have been adopted by particular exhibitions and institutions as the following for grapes:

Form of bunch...............

10

Size of bunch...................................

15

Size of berry..........

10

Color..........................................

10

Bloom............

5

Freedom from blemish........

20

Flavor........

25

Firmness...................

5

Total........................................

100

There is need also of a general agreement as to the number of specimens to be exhibited on a single plate. The rules now governing all large exhibitions in the East require that plates of apples, peaches, pears, and quinces shall contain five specimens; of the smaller fruits a sufficient number to fill a 6-inch plate; and of grapes three clusters.

Fruit to be sent away for exhibition should be carefully packed. A bushel box is a satisfactory package for this purpose, being better than a larger package in which the pressure on the fruit is greater. Each specimen should be wrapped, and the box should be well lined with excelsior or other material. Extra specimens should be included to replace those that are injured in any way.

In selecting the room in which the exhibition is to be held and in setting up the fruit, one prime factor should always be kept in mind - there should be nothing in the room to detract in any way attention from the fruit. To this end, the walls should be plain or even bare. The decorations should be few, simple, and in harmony with the colors of the fruit, that is, substantial and perfectly plain. Red and white make a very effective combination for ceiling decorations, if decorations seem desirable. Plain white is best for draping the tables. If electric lights are present, the shades may be covered with red crepe paper. This will give a quiet and subdued effect to the room when the lights are on and will be in keeping with the other decorations. The tables should be covered with a material that will throw the fruit into sharp relief without attracting attention to the covering itself. Oatmeal paper, gray-green in color, answers these specifications very well. Six- or eight-inch papyrus plates are better than smooth-pressed paper plates or the wooden plates and need no covering.

The fruit should be set up in such a way that a mass effect is produced, which impresses the observer with the fruit and with nothing else. This means that all the fruit must be on the same level. Shelves or tiers one above the other are not desirable. In other words, every detail should be subordinated to bringing out as sharply as possible the fruit that is on exhibition. It is therefore highly undersirable to place labels on the top of a specimen, as is so often done. The observer notes first of all a vast and meaningless sea of tags and after that perhaps the fruit. The label may be pinned into the plate in such a way that it is unnoticeable except on close inspection, when it can be plainly seen. A satisfactory label is a plain white card with three lines on it, the first for the variety name, the second for the name of the exhibitor when permissible, and the third for the section from which the fruit comes. If the exhibit is to attain its highest educational value, the varieties must be correctly named and the names correctly spelled.

In general, it will be better to group varieties together in order that comparisons may be made between the different plates. By so doing an opportunity is afforded for a study of variations of fruits grown under different methods of management and in different sections in which climatic conditions are unlike. Occasionally grouping by sections may be desirable, especially if there are general and marked contrasts between the same varieties as grown in different sections.

The plates should not be crowded on the tables lest the eye become confused and the fruit appear to be a jumble of specimens lacking orderly arrangement. The background of paper covering the table should be visible between every plate, not in order that it may be seen, but because it will serve to set off each plate as a separate unit meriting for the moment undivided attention.

Finally, the specimens should be arranged in the same order on every plate and the plates should be in perfect alignment in every direction. Not only this, but when the angles formed by the specimens on a plate are right angles, as in case of apples with four specimens on the bottom and one on top at the center, the angles should assume the same direction as those of the table top.

The same rules hold for the selection of fruit for barrels, boxes, or other packages as for single plates. The arrangement should be such as to bring out the fruit and subordinate the package, exemplified in the bank of boxed fruit. C. S. Wilson.