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.
The following is the report of Thomas Meehan, the Secretary of Group 36, giving, according to the rules of the Exhibition, a review of the progress of the century from the standpoint of a judge at the Exhibition, as just published by the Commission:
The Judges in the department of Pomology, in reviewing their work for the season, would observe that they were called on unexpectedly to fill the office, and had not the opportunity which the Judges of the other groups had of contemplating their work months in advance, and the advantages which time always gives for reflection on one's duties.
No provision had been made for Judges in this department, and it was not till fruit had actually appeared on the tables at the Exhibition that the gentlemen who subsequently accepted the honor offered them were invited to serve. These were Messrs. W. L. Shaffer, A. W. Harrison and Thomas Meehan, of Philadelphia; Edwin Satterthwaite, of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania; Josiah Hoopes, of West Chester, Pennsylvania; and William Parry, of Cinna-minson, New Jersey. These gentlemen served continuously from the 25th of May till the close of the Exhibition; the perishable nature of the products requiring regular attendance. No one of them gave less than an average of one full day a week to the work; some gave two, and in the case of others two and three days a week on the average of the whole season were given. During one week they were reinforced by Mr. Parker Earle, of Cobden, Illinois; Mr. Yellow-lev, of Canton, Mississippi; Mr. Suel Foster, of Muscatine, Iowa; and Mr. T. T. Lyon, of Michigan; the latter gentleman kindly remaining of his own free will another week at the work.
On one occasion they had the benefit of the services of Mr. Thomas P. James, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a leading officer of the American Pomological Society. In addition to fruits proper, they were asked to take oversight of field and garden vegetables; colored plates of fruits and vegetables; wax and other models of fruits and flowers; fruit trees; cereals, where they were the growth of the fall of 1876; and the leguminous products of many countries. In many of these classes only those exhibits were examined of which lists were handed in, or attention directed personally thereto by the Department of Awards; some other groups having felt justified in taking up portions of the exhibits; but in the classes of fruits and vegetables the Judges can say that there was no article placed on the regular Centennial tables, however small, but received their careful examination; and all the articles that were displayed in any other part of the grounds received the same at. tention, when in any way they received a knowledge of their existence. It is believed that nothing was overlooked.
Over three thousand exhibits were examined and a large number noticed critically in the weekly reports; and of all these, two hundred and twenty-five had special points of excellence warranting recommendation for awards.
In reviewing the exhibits, the apple deserves the most distinguished consideration. Among the first exhibits of the season were apples which had been preserved through the winter to the end of May, in the fruit-house of N. Hellings & Bro., of Niles, Michigan; and of others preserved in ordinary cellars of the fruit-growers, sent to the Exhibition by the Michigan Pomological Society and the Iowa State Horticultural Society. These were in great variety, and testified admirably to the perfection to which the art of keeping fruits over the ordinary season has been brought. Scarcely had these excellent contributions been made before we were surprised by an exhibit of nearly one hundred varieties of Apples from the colony of Victoria, in Australia. Such an exhibit would have been impossible a hundred years ago, and for it steam must have the chief credit. But this alone would not have been sufficient without the knowledge of packing and preserving apples which we have gained of late years. The Apple has proved itself to be better adapted to diverse climates and conditions than any other kind of fruit.
We had fine exhibits from Owen's Sound in the North, to North Carolina in the South, and from most of the States north of the Potomae to Oregon. The Canadian apples, as a rule, are not as large as those from other sections of the continent, but are superior to most others in brilliancy of coloring, and often in delicacy of flavor. The apples of Oregon, on the other hand, surprise by their large dimensions. Usually fruit loses somewhat in flavor with an increase of size, in these far Western States; but the Apples of Oregon are exceptions to this rule, if, indeed, such a rule may be considered of undoubted accuracy. Kansas and Nebraska raise remarkably large apples; so large and so clear of mildew and stains as to attract universal attention. The high color which marks the Apple in more northern latitudes is in a meausure wanting in them. Iowa exhibited excellent fruit; not, perhaps, quite so large on the average as the two before-named States, but with an increase of color and flavor. Michigan Apples are not, on the whole, remarkable for extra size, but in beauty and excellent flavor equal any raised anywhere in the United States. As illustrating the excellent nature of the soil and climates for Apple-culture, very instructive exhibits were made by Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, as well as the States previously named.
The magnificent display from North Carolina, from a single individual, Mr. Natt Atkinson, gave an excellent knowledge of the superiority of the mountain region of that State for apple-culture. The great progress we have made in early apples particularly was well illustrated in the first part of the apple season, by nearly two hundred named kinds from the orchard of Dr. John A. Warder, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
(To be Continued )