Fig. 54. Long Island Market Wagon.
Figure 55 shows a wagon which is especially convenient for retailing.
Market wagons should be planned with the utmost care, size and style being the first essentials to consider. As a general rule market wagons are too small. The type of construction must conform to the style of packages to be hauled. The Boston wagon described is excellent for boxes and rectangular crates, but it would be unsatisfactory for upright hampers and tomato baskets. The length, width and height of the bed should be carefully planned to accommodate the packages to be hauled without loss of space. Improvised racks or shelvings are necessary in the transportation of many kinds of packages. Moderately low platform wagons are the most serviceable. All wagons should be washed frequently and painted as often as necessary to keep them looking bright. A neat wagon, tastefully painted and lettered, attractive horses and harness, draw attention and command the respect of other classes of business men.
Market gardeners and truckers in various parts of the country are beginning to use auto trucks for delivering vegetables. This form of transportation is especially desirable for long hauls and when the roads are good and comparatively free of steep grades. The increased speed is an important factor, not only in reaching the market, but in making quick deliveries after the market has been reached. The cost of maintenance is probably no greater than for a heavy team and a good wagon. Figure 56 shows an auto truck used by a grower in Erie County, Pa.
Fig. 56. Auto Delivery Truck Used In Erie County, Pa.
Enormous quantities of vegetables are transported by the steam railways of the country, shipments being made by freight and express. It is not common to find solid trains of a single kind of vegetable moving toward the great centers of population. A prevailing practice for local shipments of miscellaneous vegetables is for the train crew to distribute cars in the forenoon and to collect them on the return trip to the city in the afternoon.
For summer shipments the cars must be iced or well ventilated. Refrigeration is universally employed for long distances, and when the distance is very great re-icing may be necessary to insure the delivery of the vegetables in first-class condition. In the winter, cars must be properly insulated to prevent the freezing of vegetables. The trolley is becoming an important means of transporting garden crops.
Boats are used to a considerable extent in the transportation of vegetables. At Norfolk, Va., many truckers own gasolene boats, which are used in carrying produce to the large steamers. Loading proceeds all day, and in the evening the steamer departs for a northern market with its thousands of barrels or other packages. Refrigeration is also used if necessary on the steamers, and is accomplished by placing the ice over the packages, or at the sides of the ship if the produce must be protected from the melting ice. Water transportation is regarded as highly satisfactory and the freight rates are usually lower than by rail.
An extensive market gardener at Orient, Long Island, uses several boats in delivering vegetables. Figure 57 shows one of the smaller sizes. A large dock house has been built on this farm, and it is also used in storing supplies, such as fertilizers and packages brought in by boat.
When a limited area is cultivated it is often an advantage to sell direct to the consumer, because the gross receipts will be larger than when selling at wholesale. The most common methods are to sell from house to house or in a city retail market. When either of these plans is used, it is mainly a question whether the time of man and team when thus engaged are worth more than when employed at home in giving the crops better care or in cultivating a larger area. It is doubtless true that many gardeners minimize profits by spending too much time seeking buyers of small lots.
Fig. 57. Motor Boat Used By A Long Island Market Gardener.
When selling from house to house it is imperative that the goods be first-class in every particular, and thus make it possible to build up a regular trade. To retain customers it is also important to make trips every week throughout the year. It may be necessary to go daily in the summer and from one to three times a week at other seasons. Since consumers must not be disappointed, promptness and regularity count for much in retaining trade. A variety and a succession of vegetables are important factors, whatever the method of selling may be.
Retail wagons should be built especially for the purpose (230). A covered wagon for the protection of salesman and vegetables is highly desirable. A Minnesota gardener's wagon is provided with a gong, and the salesman also furnishes his customers with large printed cards placed in the windows whenever vegetables are wanted. With the cards and the gong very little time is lost in getting buyers to the wagon.
Many cities have retail markets where farmers and gardeners are privileged to place their wagons and sell to the consumers. When this method is followed the gardener should always occupy the same place so that regular customers will know just where to find him. It is not so important to carry an assortment of vegetables. It is often an advantage to make a specialty of a few which may be grown to a high degree of perfection. The gardener will soon become well known for these particular crops.
Some gardeners living in the suburbs of cities sell large quantities of vegetables in the field or in the packing shed. The plan is satisfactory, provided waiting on the customers does not interfere too much with the work that may be in progress.