This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the September number of the Horticulturist for 1869, I find the following editorial, taken from the Practical Farmer: "At Reese Pyatt's, on the West Chester road, about twelve miles from Philadelphia, we found growing in luxuriance a raspberry called the ' Pearl.' This is of a firm texture, so as to carry well to market, and of a bright scarlet color - always an attraction to purchasers. In market, after carrying twelve miles, it looks as if just picked. They have retailed readily for fifty cents per quart, being fifteen to eighteen cents over market price. The Pearl is a profuse bearer, of full medium size, fruiting early and picking late, and is a decided acquisition. We found it at several places; at Samuel Holmes, in Burlington County, New Jersey, who has about eight acres of it in full profit, also at Wm. Parry's and other places. Being curious in such matters, we have tried to trace up its history as to who named it, and where it originated, but without success. It is now growing to a considerable extent in Delaware., New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And in the Wilmington market, under the name of Susqueco, as well as in Philadelphia, brings an extra price, and has a uniform reputation".
Wm. Parry says it is very difficult to distinguish them, and makes only this distinction: "Brandywine puts out its leaves a week earlier in the Spring, makes a stronger growth, and the foliage is a lighter green." Another very extensive small fruit grower of New Jersey says : "I have known the Pearl and Brandywine raspberries to be planted side by side, but never saw a fruit grower who could tell which was which, or where one sort left off and the other began. Even when the berries were ripe the difference could not be pointed out. I do not say there is no difference, but if so it is so slight that, in some cases at least, it could not be observed".
Now it is very easy to understand how an editor who does not grow the fruit may be mistaken in regard to the distinction of these two varieties, but how a dealer can be induced in the same market, on the same day, to pay thirty cents per quart for Brandywines when he can get Pearls for sixteen cents per quart, and yet the difference in the fruit of the two sorts cannot be seen by experienced growers. Yet such appears to be the fact, for it is stated on high authority that on the seventh day of July, 1871, raspberries sold in Philadelphia as follows:
Black Cap, 5 cts. per quart. Philadelphia, 8 cts. per quart Pearl, 16 " " Susqueco, 30 " "
[It is said in the public prints that "thousands" are often subscribed "just to start the list" on church debts, with the understanding that these "leading " subscriptions are not to be called for. We fear that often the extraordinary prices many new fruits "bring in market " are a little of this character. The point our correspondent makes is a good one. If two raspberries are so near alike that good judges can hardly tell the difference, what was it that induced thirty cents for one and sixteen for the other? - Ed. G. M].