This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Our correspondent Mr. T. G. Yeomans, is traveling in California. In a letter to his family, he says :
"While it grows that of almost every variety, it is generally conceded, by those who are best informed on the subject, that their fruits, of the apple and pear at least, while they attain large size, are inferior in quality to those grown in the portion of the Atlantic States where they are grown most largely; and I think it is generally admitted that the same difference, in a greater or less degree, exists between peaches, cherries, berries, and other fruits. The apples I have tasted, from time to time for the last two months, are insipid in comparison with the same varieties grown with us in western New York; and the same difference appears in such pears as I have tasted. If this be true of the green fruit, it will follow with the same fruits when evaporated or canned. The strawberries and other small fruits are almost exclusively grown by the free use of irrigation, which unquestionably gives large size at the expense of fine quality. I am inclined to the opinion that the foggy weather, so characteristic of this State generally, taken in connection with the wonderful fertility of the soil and irrigation, tend to give size of product, but wanting in flavor or quality.
Beets, squashes and other vegetables are forcible illustrations; and the efforts to manufacture sugar from beets, in this State, have shown this vegetable to be wanting in saccharine quality. And the quality of grapes grown in the most fertile valleys is admitted to be inferior to those grown on the higher lands, either for raisins or wine; and it is probable that the want of popularity of California wines may be owing to an inherent orig-ignal want of an essential element in the grapes.
"As evidence of the apparent effect of fogs and moisture on vegetable growth, witness the mossy trunks and branches of apple trees in every part of the State; and not on apple trees only, but on almost all fruit trees, as well as many trees not fruit-bearing; also on the roofs of buildings and fences - often on one side only, but generally on every fence of many years' standing.
"In corroboration of the foregoing news, let me mention that, while peaches are grown plentifully and sold cheaply here, and also canned in large quantities, yet the canned peaches that are conceded to be the best quality and sell at the highest prices, are put up in Baltimore. The sweet corn that sells at the highest price is canned in Maine".