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.
Much of our progress in pomology and horticulture is due to the increase of facilities for transportation afforded by railroads and steamboats. Especially is this the case in Southern and Western States, and California. These railroad and steamboat facilities have induced fruit growers to increase their products, being assured they would arrive in good condition in distant markets. But these improvements in transportation would have been of but little advantage had they not been supplemented by careful packing. Steamers and cars are now provided with large refrigerators, by which delicate fruits can be sent long distances, even to Europe. The various styles of fruit packages, every class of fruit being provided with one suited to its character, are wonders of cheapness and efficiency. The obstacles with which we formly had to contend have been mostly removed, so that fruits can be sent safely to very distant markets, where it was impossible to send them ten or fifteen years ago. This increased supply has increased comsumption and caused a corresponding decrease in prices. It has made fruit almost a necessary portion of our daily meals, thus largely fostering its production. The packing of trees has also received more attention than formerly.
Experience has taught us much on this point, especially in adapting it to the character of the voyage and the climate through which the trees are to pass. Thus trees shipped by our friends, Ellwanger & Barry, to Australia, after a voyage of fifteen thousand miles and being one hundred and fifty-three days on the way, were received in safe condition. Only three trees out of one hundred and sixty were dead.
In this connection I desire to impress on the packers and shippers of fruit to foreign lands, since our best American apples have sold in London at much higher prices than English and French apples, the great importance of especial vigilance in seeing that no inferior fruit ever crosses the ocean, thus preserving the integrity of our fruit growers and dealers, and the reputation of our nation for the superiority of our fruits.
England esteems American apples beyond all others. As long ago as 1773, when the crop of apples had failed the previous year, English importations from this country had been made and were highly appreciated. In a letter from Michael Collinson to John Bartram, of Philadelphia, he writes as follows : - "Your American apples have been an admirable substitute this season, some of our merchants having imported great quantities of them. They are, notwithstanding, too expensive for common eating, being sold for two pence, three pence, and even four pence an apple. But their flavor is much superior to anything we can pretend to, and I think even superior to the apples of Italy".
(To be continued).