Handling Peaches by the Carload
- The Canadian Horticulturalist, August, 1920
- Full Text
The Canadian Horticulturist
Vol. XLIII. No. 8
TORONTO, AUGUST, 1920
Handling Peaches by the Carload
The handling of peaches in carload lots direct from private grower to consumer has been demonstrated to be a profitable business by C. Howard Fisher, proprietor of Dulverton Fruit Farm, at Queenston, Ont. Mr. Fisher's post office is Niagara-on-the-Lake. Mr. Fisher has specialized for some years in selling reaches by the carload. From his experience, he is convinced that farmers in other parts of the province and city consumers, through organizations that they might form for the purpose, should order their peaches direct from the growers in carload lots. "The consumer would save 75 cents on each basket, and the grower would make from five to eight cents more," Mr. Fisher said to the editor of The Canadian Horticulturist who visited his farm early last month. Mr. Fisher was then in the midst of the cherry harvest, but he took time to tell some of the details of his work and methods in growing and handling peaches by the carload.
Some Peach History.
Peaches have been grown on Mr. Fisher's farm for more than 100 years, He showed me a field that had grown peaches almost continuously for over a century. There are trees there now of the Jacques Rareripe variety that are 17 inches in diameter near the butt and 35 years old. Mr. Fisher claimed that the first commercial peach orchard in Canada was established on this same farm before the war of 1812, by a Mrs. James Durham, a United Empire Loyalist. The farm was procured from the Crown in 1797, and peaches set out some time later. This should be an important contribution to the historical study of the peach in Canada. The writer remembers how difficult it was some 15 years ago, when he prepared an article on the peach industry for publication in a report of the Ontario Fruit Growers' Association (1906), to secure authentic information respecting the early history of the peach in this country. Palmer and Harris' bulletin on "Peach Growing in Ontario," published in 1916, records peaches grown by a Mrs. Simcoe, Niagara, as early as 1793, but not in a commercial way. Gould's book on "Peach-Growing," published in 1918, quotes a reference to peaches growing in Southern Canada in 1748—but, was not "Southern" Canada in those days, under the French, somewhere down along the Ohio River? At any rate, it is all very interesting, and Mr.
Fisher can produce deeds and records to substantiate his contention. Facts on peach history from other sources are requested for publication.
There is a vast difference, however, between growing a few peaches for home use, or even for market, a hundred years ago and growing peaches today for sale by the carload. Mr. Fisher grows the leading varieties, such as St. John, Elberta, and the like, and is always on the look-out for new varieties that will lengthen or fill in the season. He has about 2,000 trees of Rochester, the comparatively new, early yellow freestone. A photograph on this page shows some of his Rochesters when one year old.
He showed me an orchard of the J. H. Hale peach, that demonstrated the fact that peach trees require soil that is well drained. One end of this orchard is on low ground, with poor drainage, and shows most decidedly the effects of such a situation, compared with the other end of the orchard on high ground, well drained, with trees in first class shape. Mr. Fisher now has his whole farm underdrained. He put in a little over 13 miles last year, and the effect on his orchards can be seen already.
"I instruct my pickers to pick by sight, not by feel," said Mr. Fisher. "A peach is ready for picking when the ground color takes on a yellowish tinge. The peach will mellow after picking. The pickers use a picking strap to carry the basket in front of them; in this way, loss
[Photograph with description:]
A one-year-old orchard of Rochester peaches on Dulverton Fruit Farm, owned by C. Howard Fisher, Queenston, Ont. At one year, all these trees bore a few peaches, one tree having as many as 32, a good crop for a yearling. This year, as two-year-olds, all the trees have from '50 to 200.specimens each. Mr. Fisher thinned this crop at least 50 per cent. In the background of the picture are some of the buildings on the Larkin Farms.
[...]pany under the management of H. Usher. This concern, known as the Niagara Fruit Company, handles a large part of the fruit of the district. It buys and ships fruit, and also acts as agent between the growers and the commission men in the cities. It does a large business in handling fruit heaped in baskets with leno covers. These leno baskets are shipped in cars racked a number of tiers deep. It costs about $75 to rack a car. "It would not pay to rack a car for the sake of one carload of fruit," said Mr. Usher, "but we get the same cars back every time, and the expense of racking is thus distributed over many trips." This company does big business also in handling baskets, spray materials and other supplies.
In the Queenston District.
On the Queenston-St.David's road I visited a place that in one year had been transformed from a very ordinary farm to not only the beginning of a very fine fruit farm, but a place of beauty as well. This farm was purchased by W. H. Merriman, of St. Catharines, last year, and immediately steps were taken to put it in the best of shape, both commercially and artistically. The place is being beautified, not by the expenditure of money, but by the use largely of local material and by work at odd times. The manager of the place, Mr. D. Baine, told me that he and one other man cleared the grounds around the house of brush and old trees, graded the banks, built rock walls and rustic arbors, laid out flower beds, gravelled the driveways, etc., only during such times as they could not work on the farm, "and," he said, "there has been no expense to the owner. What we have done so far shows what any farmer or fruit grower can do if he wants to." Among other things of beauty on this place are a number of delightful rose arbors and trellises, that add not only to the appearance of the place, but also to the value of the property. On the farm proper there were planted this past spring about 3,500 peach trees, 3,000 plums, 2,500 cherries, and 3,500 grapes.
Near Queenston, I found Wm. Armstrong, the veteran peach grower of the district, examining a four-year-old peach orchard that he treated last spring against canker, gummosis and pin borer with a preparation that he claimed had proven very effective. Although Mr. Armstrong retired some years ago as a commercial fruit grower, and goes to Florida every winter, he still has a small orchard which he maintains and works for his own pleasure, to say nothing of the profit. The preparation referred to is a mixture of lime, first made into a paste, bluestone dissolved, and hard soap reduced to a liquid with lye. This is applied to the crotches and branches where needed with a small whitewash brush. It was put on early in April.
These young trees were headed low 12 to 18 inches from the ground. Mr. Armstrong believes in low-heading for peach trees. When pruning, he keeps the centre of the trees well cleaned out to admit air and light. He also thins the fruit on the trees, because, as he said, "that's where you get quality".
All around this small orchard of peach trees is a row of black Oxheart cherries, now 14 years old, and bearing their first good crop. I asked Mr. Armstrong if 14 years was not quite a long time to wait for a crop of cherries, and he replied: "When I planted those trees, I planned for the future. I planted for the next generation as well as for myself. From now on and for many years those trees will be a delight to whoever owns or sees them."
At Dulverton Fruit Farm, under the guidance of the proprietor, C. Howard Fisher, I saw and learned many things of interest. Mr. Fisher was busy with his large crop of Montmorency cherries. The trees were loaded with cherries large in size for the variety and of exceptional quality. I and others of The Canadian Horticulturist's staff in Peterboro can bear personal witness to that fact, because Mr. Fisher generously presented me with a basket to bring home. Incidentally, Mr. Fisher was paying two cents a pound for picking cherries. Elsewhere in this issue is a report on his peach methods and orchards.
At the Larkin farms I failed to find the superintendent, Mr. Ramsey, or the fruit foreman at home, but I drove through the peach orchard, and saw that things were looking in fair shape in spite of rumors to the effect that the management was having difficulty with the labor question. The Larkin farms, in the fruit end alone, is a big proposition. I hope to write up the farm and its methods and achievements later.
At Riverscourt Farm, owned by W. K. Jackson, the manager, A. Burback, showed me a feature that he thought every fruit grower should be interested in poultry as a sideline for profit in, themselves and for aid in controlling insect pests. The hens and chickens, when large enough, are allowed to run at will through the orchards. Mr. Burback claimed that they kept curculio and many other pests at a minimum. Last year, from 500 hens (White Leghorns), 64,717 eggs were sold, and netted nearly $1,000 profit. "To make money from laying hens," said Mr. Burback," you must feed them right, regardless of the cost." In the plum orchard, I noticed incidentally that the Washingtons, usually a shy bearer, were loaded this year. Around Mr. Jackson's home are beautiful lawns and flower gardens, kitchen gardens, etc., and at one side an interesting park.
Another place of beauty as well as a fruit farm in that locality is the home of Colonel C. M. Nelles. Of particular interest was his rose garden, photographs of which will be reproduced in this magazine. Colonel Nelles said that his fruit crop showed every prospect of being full in peaches, pears and all kinds. He showed me a field of wheat of which he was especially proud. Its excellence he attributed largely to the use of Gunns' fertilizer.
On the Lake Shore Road.
On the 50-acre farm of A. Onslow, all planted to fruit, and beautifully situated on the Lake shore between Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines, the cherry crop was heavy, plums and apples promised big crops, and the peach prospects were fair to good. Mr. Onslow thought that, while there was a big crop of fruit generally throughout the district, there was not nearly so many bearing trees in existence as formerly. Among the needs of the industry were extensive experiments concerning the inter-pollination of fruits. He had found, for instance, that the Shiro plum was non-productive when planted alone, but bore abundant crops when planted in the vicinity of varieties that would fertilize its blossoms. He said that there was little positive knowledge concerning this matter, and that the governmental institutions that had been established for the benefit of the fruit industry should secure the information by experiments with all kinds of fruits grown under all conditions.
F. L. Furminger's place, nearer St. Catharines, is more of a " horticultural establishment " than a farm. Besides fruits and vegetables of all kinds, flowers are grown in great variety and quantity, both as a hobby and for sale. A striking feature was a beautiful hedge of summer-flowering hydrangeas. Mr. Furminger specializes in quality vegetables for a high-class trade with hotels, restaurants, the best stores, private customers, etc., in St. Catharines. He grows not only what he can make most money from, but also everything any anything that his customers desire.
Mr. Furminger's standing as a fruit grower has often been shown in competition at the Canadian National Ex-(Continued on page 220.)
- Media Type:
- Item Types:
- Newspaper clippings with article about Niagara fruit industry, published in Fruit Edition of The Canadian Horticulturalist.
Fruit growers and farms mentioned:
C. Howard Fisher of Dulverton Fruit Farm, at Queenston; H. Usher of the Niagara Fruit Company; Riverscourt Farm; Larkin Farms; F. L. Furminger's place in St.Catharines.
Some parts of the paper missing. Pages measure 26 x 20 cm.
- From Armstrong family collection.
- Place of Publication:
- Toronto, Ontario
- XLIII edition
- Date of Original:
- August, 1920
- Local identifier:
- Language of Item:
- Geographic Coverage:
- Copyright Statement:
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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