This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
As at this meeting the officers elect were to be installed, arrangements were made, at the last meeting, for a social re-union to-day, and a good time generally.
On entering the rooms, your reporter was struck with the tasteful and profuse ornamentation with evergreens. On the sample tables, there was a good collection of fruits; while on other tables there was a sumptuous entertainment prepared by the ladies.
But I must let your readers draw upon their imaginations as to how the four pleasant hours of the meeting were spent; what with addresses by the inaugurated, presentation of a symbolical gavel to the retiring President, with an address full of telling points, a poem by the Secretary, readings, speeches, songs, bon mots, etc., a large attendance and an abundant refreshment.
On the sample tables were fruits as follows:
Of Apples. Abram, Albemarle Pippins, Cart-house, Limbertwig, Rawle's Jenet, Spitzenburgs (growth of Va.), Lady Apples (pronounced by Judge Gray the Queen of apples), Roman Stems, Willowtwigs, and Winesops.
Most of the fruit was grown in Virginia; Maryland and the District furnished each a variety.
Of Pears. Vicar of Winkfield, Lawrence, Glout Morceau, and Beurre Easter.
Maryland had the finest pears, though Virginia the most varieties.
A jar of persimmons, "preserved in sugar," were tasted by all present, and pronounced to be "good."
Mrs. John Saul also sent to the exhibition a beautiful stand of lovely flowers.
The discourse of the President elect was well-timed and pertinent to the occasion. I reproduce one paragraph, which just now is of great interest.
"The want of the day is organized and systematic co-operation among fruit growers. Especially is this so in regard to all fruits that are designated perishable. The past season having been one of unusual productiveness in this middle region, has left on its records important lessons; which, being dearly learned, should not be soon forgotten. I allude to the hap-hazard way of shipping fruits to particular points, without knowing the condition of the market there, in regard to supply and demand.
"You may remember that on a certain day last summer Early Peaches were selling in New York city for $2.00 per basket. That later in the day a telegram announced one hundred car-loada to arrive early next morning. As the market would not bear more than half of this supply, the result of this avalanche of fruit was that prices fell to a figure less than freight commissions, and remained demoralized for the entire season; and thus the goose that was to lay the golden egg was sacrificed.
"There were probably one hundred shippers owning these car-loads of peaches, and not one of this number knew what was to be the extent of the day's shipping. Each was anxious to crowd his product on the market; all failed to realize anything, and many had to pay balances against themselves. These men were not novices, but were practical and sagacious men, competent for successful business; but each did not know what the other ninety-and-nine were doing. They had no concert of action, no organized plan that embraced the common interest.
"Now, let us suppose that these growers had previously agreed that they would report to 'a board of direction,' or a single shipping agent, the quantity of fruit they would send forward on a given day, and had given to this board or agent full power to direct to the place of destination. This agent could have learned by telegraph the exact condition of the several markets; which the one hundred could not know. He would have been informed just where to ship, and how much, and these car-loads could have been distributed in destitute markets between Boston and Chicago and sold at satisfactory prices, and opened to the producers new markets for the entire season.
" Is it not clear that co-operation would have saved millions of dollars the past season? And that for lack of it these hundred producers destroyed their hopes of fair compensation for their labors? And that we will do so year after year if we do not learn wisdom from the past?
"Let us remember that if the article be perishable, the greater is the necessity for system in selling.
"I ask you to give this subject your careful consideration; that you will inaugurate the movement suggested, by calling a convention of the fruit growers of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, to meet at some central point to consider the subject; and that this Centennial year may open to us a more enlightened and fraternal intercourse with our brethren of the other States."