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PICKING AND PACKING.

     Description of sorting table used by D. S. HAINES, Edwardsville, Wyandotte county, Kansas.

Our packing-house is on hilly land, and it is considerable trouble to haul apples to it. My packer now sorts and packs right in the orchard, using a sorting table. This table stands say three feet high and ten feet long, and three and one-half feet wide, with a common six-inch board on edge on the side. The men in picking use a ladder twelve to eighteen feet long. We did wrong in making our ladders; we could have bought them already made that were lighter and just the right thing. We set this sorting table among the trees; the men fill their sacks, emptying them on this table, which is carpeted; they barrel the apples up beside this table by letting them through an opening into a barrel. An apron is so arranged as to let the apples fall on it, and gently roll into the barrel without bruising. A man heads the barrels as soon as packed. In packing apples in the field we found that something solid was needed upon which to shake the barrels. The man who fills the barrels shakes them to make them more solid; then when pressed they bruise less. Our man can head about 100 barrels a day. In our rough country it is a great advantage to sort and pack in the orchard. We move this table about in the orchard. The expense to pick and pack a barrel of apples is about twenty cents.

 

A PICKING SACK.

     Description of one used by FRED WELLHOUSE.

We usually pick two rows of apples at a time, using gangs of twelve men with a foreman. We cannot use more to advantage. Each man has a common grain sack with a leather fastened to the bottom, as used in sowing grain. These picking sacks are made by taking a strong two-bushel grain sack. Sew a leather strap six inches long and four inches wide to a bottom corner of the sack. On the loose end of this strap fasten a strong metallic hook. To the upper corner on same side of sack fasten a strong metallic ring or link. Opposite this ring fasten with rivets a piece of iron six or eight inches long and about half an inch wide and one-eighth an inch thick, rounded, across the sack mouth at the edge to hold the sack open. This sack is worn under the left arm, the strap going over the right shoulder and hooking in front. We use ladders from twelve to sixteen feet long. The top of the ladder is made narrow so it can be put between the limbs, being just wide enough at top to set one foot on at a time. The apples are picked and put in bushel boxes on a platform on a wagon. The boxes are sixteen inches wide, twenty-four inches long, and eight inches deep, holding about a bushel, sixteen to a wagon.

 

A DISCUSSION ON PACKAGES.

Edwin Snyder, Jefferson county: I want to say something about marking packages. I had a nice crop of Jonathan apples; expert men barreled them for me, and put my address on the end of the barrel, outside. The commission man just took his little knife and raked it [the address] off. It is policy to put your name on [packages] if going to a wholesaler, but not to a commission house. I know economy pays in handling fruits, from packing to marketing. I should think boxes better [than barrels]. We have had trouble with barrel hoops breaking. I do not believe it best to sort too closely. If you put first-class apples on top, and second-class on the bottom, your customers expect to find the best on top and worst on bottom.

B. F. Smith: I have been in Kansas City, and never saw a name scratched off a barrel yet. In grading strawberries, give each picker six boxes in a tray; have them fill three with large berries and three with medium size [impracticable]; allow no inferior or small ones put in.

A Member: About fifty per cent. of our fruit, especially apples, is not readily marketed. Can we possibly handle this fifty per cent. so as to make it pay the expense of handling the better part of the fruit?

Edwin Taylor: If the culls are fifty per cent. of the crop, it is not difficult to make them pay for handling the entire crop. This year the culls would readily sell at fifteen cents in the orchard. Last year there was no trouble to sell "down apples" for ten cents in the orchard. The cost of packing is slightly more or less than fifteen cents a barrel. If your apples are scattered, more; if near together, less.

Dr. G. Bohrer: Would it not pay better to work them [the culls] into cider and vinegar?

Edwin Taylor: No, sir. I had rather they would rot on the ground than be made into cider.

A Member: Our second grade brought forty cents a crate; the best, sixty cents. It pays me best to mix them. I ship to Kansas City, and they handle my fruit with success.

H. L. Ferris: This year I sent a Minnesota man a car load of very small Winesap and Missouri Pippin apples, such as we use for making cider, in exchange for potatoes. I sold part of the potatoes at seventy-five cents and eighty cents, and some are in the cellar.

Geo. Van Houten: In our state [Iowa] we are most successful in handling apples in barrels. For a small trade, bushel boxes made of light material may serve better. Many car-loads are sent out in eight-pound baskets. 

 

 

HOGS IN THE ORCHARD.

Question: _Does swine grazing injure orchards?_

J. W. Robison: Not if the hogs are kept out of it. It is death to an orchard to let hogs in. To let them rub against the trees closes the pores, and growth ceases. We notice in the newspapers that fish oil, axle grease, etc., keep off rabbits. I tried using axle grease two years. You could see the mark around where the oil had been, and note where growth had stopped below this mark. By washing this with soap, we were enabled to get the trees to grow again. Hogs, as I stated before, will, by rubbing, close the pores. The tramping hardens the soil and shuts out any percolation of water into it. As well plant a tree in the middle of the road as where hogs have been. They, of all animals, tramp the ground the hardest.

Samuel Reynolds: Would pigs injure the soil?

T. A. Stanley: I have had experience in this, yet, while I do not know anything about the gentleman's land packing, I believe it benefits some orchards to run hogs in them. I tried it on an orchard that had ceased bearing. I inclosed the orchard and put hogs in for a year or more. New growth started on the trees, and they at once began to bear, and bore for several years after I took the hogs out. I could see no injury caused by their rubbing the trees. I do not think they will rub the trees if the orchard is large. I do not see what injury they do. After the apples grew large enough, if wormy they fell, and the hogs ate the apples and the worms also.

Edwin Taylor: I have had a little experience in that line. I fenced around a twenty-acre orchard, expecting to combine horticulture and agriculture right there. My hogs were lousy, and they did rub the trees, and whenever they rub they destroy. Anybody who tries it will find they will absolutely squeal for something to eat when there are bushels of apples on the ground. I was at large expense to fence, but was so disappointed with the hog business that I took the fence down.

 

COLD STORAGE.

     By GEO. RICHARDSON, of Leavenworth, Kan.

It has been well said that "Necessity is the mother of invention." Cold storage of the present time is understood as "mechanical refrigeration," and in general, the preservation of perishable articles by means of low temperature, hence, the act of reducing the temperature of any body, or maintaining the same below the temperature of the atmosphere, is called refrigeration, or more familiarly known as cold storage, produced by the employment of machinery of various types. Of those mostly in use, are the compression system, using anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant, by expanding the ammonia either directly through coils of pipe arranged in the storage rooms, or through coils of pipe that are submerged in salt brine, where the brine is reduced to a low temperature and then forced and circulated through pipes in the storage rooms, one being known as direct expansion, the other, brine circulation, but both accomplish same results.

To utilize anhydrous ammonia requires complicated and expensive machinery, and to those not acquainted with the subject it may seem strange that more units of heat are produced by the burning of coal, wood or oil than there are units of cold produced to reduce the temperature of storage rooms.

Of the uses and benefits of cold storage it can be truthfully stated, that nothing in recent years has been of more direct benefit to the farmer, stock-raiser, and fruit-grower. But a brief period has passed since cellars, caves and underground grottos served as the best means, and in a limited way under certain conditions of weather, for the protection and preservation of perishable articles.

To-day machinery has made it possible to control temperature at any degree and in all climates. The burning heat under the equator would not be an impediment to secure a zero temperature in a cold-storage room.

The construction and successful operation of the mammoth packing-houses are the outgrowth of the success of the application of mechanical refrigeration, where any day of the year a market is made for live stock. But few years have elapsed since the vast herds of South American cattle had no value, except for their hides, horns, and tallow, and the great bands of Australian sheep for their wool. Now immense refrigerating plants are in operation, freezing the beef and mutton, with fleets of ocean steamers equipped with refrigerating machinery and storage rooms filled with frozen meat for European markets. From the United States the dressed-beef traffic is of large proportions. Storage speculators are always ready buyers at remunerative prices for butter and eggs, that in value exceed the great wheat crop of America.

To fruit-growers, especially those engaged in apple culture, cold storage is attracting more than common interest, as it has been demonstrated a grand success in the preservation of apples from three to six months longer, in good condition, than in natural storage that is subject to the changeable influences of the atmosphere. At the same time, the apples retain their original and individual flavor, color, and crispness.

Cold storage, or mechanical refrigeration, arrests fermentation and decay, or, better stated, prolongs the life and keeping qualities.

Of the advantages gained, it offers a place of safe-keeping for future market, and affords a protection for the grower if market conditions are not favorable; such as an overstocked market, consequently low prices, caused largely and influenced by many other varieties of fruit that are in season while the apple crop is being gathered.

Again, the fact of the existence of cold-storage houses has brought into the field speculators, which has a wholesome influence, and oftentimes strengthens the markets and lessens the quantity that would of necessity be forced on sale at an earlier period at a great sacrifice, which is the situation this year, where the enormous crops of New York, New England and Michigan apples are being sold at from fifty to seventy-five cents a barrel (including barrels) placed aboard cars, for the want of proper and sufficient storage facilities to relieve part of the burden. No such condition or low price has yet been felt by the Western grower.

There may be years when the buyers will look far into the future and think they can see visions of long prices, when it would be wise for the growers to sell, as there is some risk to be taken as to future markets being lower than prices in the fall, but such is not the rule.

From six years' experience with mechanical refrigeration and the storage of Western-grown apples, there has not been a year but what a profit has been shown over and above the cost of storage, insurance, and minor incidental charges. One of the first to make the experiment, and who have been patrons of Ryan & Richardson's cold storage, at Leavenworth, since the plant was erected, were Wellhouse & Son, the largest apple growers in the United States, and the records show a net profit of from fifty cents a barrel, as the lowest of any year, to as high as $1.50 other years. It is gratifying to state that, in all the years, not a single car-load was rejected when sold. Much of the success must be given credit to the grower who gathers his crop at the right time, in a careful manner, graded and packed according to the requirements of the trade. Then, if the cold storage to which he intrusts the care of his crop uses the same watchfulness as to necessary temperature, proper ventilation at the right time, the result usually will be gratifying and remunerative to both.

 

A FRUIT DRYER.

The dryers used by Wellhouse & Son are made as follows: A rough building eighteen feet square and sixteen feet to the eaves is built. In building the roof, a lantern or ventilator is built along the ridge, over an opening in the ridge two feet wide. At eight feet from the ground is built a slatted floor. The timbers [?] upon which this floor is laid are best made of one-inch boards, ten to twelve inches wide, placed only ten or twelve inches apart. The floor slats are best made of poplar, as pine often flavors the fruit. They are sawn from inch lumber one and one-half inches on one face and one and one-quarter inches on the other face. The slats are nailed to the floor joists [?] with the wide faces uppermost and about one eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch apart, thus making the crevices wider below, which, together with the narrowness of the floor joists [?], allows free circulation and prevents clogging. The lower floor is of earth, cinders, stone, or other material. On each side, near the ground, are two openings, each two feet square, with shutters to close them; these are to admit fresh air, and can be closed to regulate draft. A chimney is built up through the center of the building, out through the roof. A door is made to each floor; in front of the upper door is built a balcony reached by outside stairs. This completes the dryer.

It may be used for storing hay, fodder, tools, etc., after the drying season is over. The upper floor might be made removable. Many farmers have a suitable building if the slatted floor is added. Any kind of a wood or coal stove (or a brick furnace) is placed in the lower room and a good heat kept up; maximum 150 degrees. The prepared fruit is simply spread evenly upon the slatted floor from four to twelve inches deep. Fire must be continuous, and a dryer eighteen feet square will dry 100 bushels in twenty-four hours.

Bleaching is done as follows: An upright box about two feet square and twelve feet long is built outside against the balcony. A set of trays are made to fit it; these trays have bottoms of galvanized-wire screening. A pot of sulphur is kept burning on the ground under the center of said box, the apples, peeled and cored, are placed in the tray and the tray slid in above the sulphur. An endless chain mechanism moves the tray up ten to twelve inches and another goes in; as they come to the top an employee removes them and runs the fruit through a slicer and then spreads it out on the drying floor. In twenty-four hours the product will be dry, but not alike; they are then piled up under cover, and pass through a sweat, making them alike throughout. As soon as cool they are packed, and pressed into boxes for shipment. This dryer costs but little, and the building may be used eight to ten months of the year for any cleanly purpose. President Wellhouse has six of these dryers in a row in one of his orchards. A single bleacher answers for several dryers.

 

THE MOYER FRUIT EVAPORATOR.

Bill of lumber for dry-house: Four pieces 2×4, 10 feet long; flooring, 150 feet; 1×1 strips, for trays, 400 feet, lineal measure; 1×2, 47 feet, lineal measure; 1×4, for tray rest in center, 47 feet, lineal measure.

How to build and operate: For the house or box part, take four pieces of 2×4, 56 inches long, and four pieces 2×4, 37-1/2 inches long; nail together with the short pieces on the inside, lapping the long ones on the end of the shorter--thus making a frame 52×37-1/2 on the inside. This makes the sills and plates. Close three sides of this with matched flooring, up and down, seven feet high; now you have a box seven feet high, 52×37-1/2 inches. Leave the one side open to be closed with four doors similar to double stable doors, and in the exact center of this door space nail a 1×2 inch piece up and down to nail tray rest to. This will give two rows of trays.

Put comb roof on with the flooring, leaving a vent open at comb two inches the entire length of box. Make a V trough, which turn upside down with one inch blocks under the corners; this gives ventilation and also keeps out the rain; also make two six-inch holes below, to be opened or closed as needed; this admits cold air and drives the hot air up, causing complete draft. When the evaporator is full of fruit, the holes below should be open full size, except at night, when fruit is nearly dried, they should be closed, or partly so, which is done by tacking a small piece of board over hole, which can be pushed to one side and a nail or screw hold it in place. For the trays to rest on, take a piece 1×4, 37-1/2 inches long, nail a two-inch piece of same length in center of this, on top; this gives one inch on each side for rabbet; this is for center, and the rabbet rest is nailed to it through the 1×2 inch in front, and through the siding on rear side. For the outside rabbet, one piece 1×1 inch, 37-1/2 long; this nailed to the end of the box forms rabbet for the trays to rest on. As many of these tray rests can be made as needed to fill the box to near the top of doors. Place the first ones twelve inches from bottom of box, and continue up, placing them three and one-half inches apart. The trays are made of 1×1 inch strips for the frame part, and are 2×3 feet square; bottom is made of plastering lath sawed in two, and also cut in two lengthwise, as they are too wide; nail these to bottom of frame, three-sixteenths of an inch apart. When used for berries or sweet corn, tack cheese cloth stretched tightly over the lath. There should be four doors, in order to have as small a space open as possible in attending to the fruit; these are hung by light hinges to outside and fastened by a wooden button screwed to center upright. The lumber can all be bought at planer ready for use cheaper than it can be cut by hand.

For the furnace, build a box of brick or stone as large on the inside as the house, letting the most of the wall extend on the outside, in order to have all the space possible inside, for heating. Build into this wall at the bottom and ends a piece of heavy stack or sheet iron; any old smoke-stack will do, but must be at least one foot in diameter: if smoke-stack is used, split it and spread as much as possible, to have large enough place for fire and all the heating surface possible. This open edge of iron must be well plastered down with mortar, or brick and mortar, that no smoke may get inside. Let it extend just through the wall to a flue built at the end on the outside, of brick or stone, as high or a little higher than the wall; then a common six-inch stovepipe set on, to run as high as the evaporator, will do. A damper in pipe is an advantage to check draft and control heat, and pipe should be at least one foot from evaporator.

The mouth of furnace should be at same end as the ventilator holes in the evaporator, and can be closed by a piece of sheet iron with a small draft underneath, the same as a stove door.

Set your box evaporator on this wall, and mud or plaster it down tight. In using, always have your house well heated before putting in fruit. The top of wall must be fully one foot above top of iron; this will make two feet space from iron to first tray. In putting the trays in, shove the first one clear back, let second be flush in front, the third clear back again--placing them the same in both sides; this sends the heated air directly over each tray to the top.

 

A MISSOURI APPLE HOUSE.

The property of Col. J. C. Evans, Harlem, Mo., president of Missouri State Horticultural Society. Dimensions: Length, 200 feet; width, 46 feet; depth, 11 feet; earth bank, 5-1/2 feet thick. Capacity, 15,000 barrels. Cost, $1,000 and eighty-five loads of sawdust. Double floor overhead, with eight inches of sawdust between. Roof projects three feet all round. Ground slopes away rapidly, to carry away water. Winter entrance through anteroom 12×12. Driveway twelve feet wide through whole length.

 

 

MANY WAYS OF USING CULL APPLES.

Cider: Newly made sweet cider is both pleasant and healthful, and is a useful ingredient in some culinary preparations; but it should be used fresh from the press or not more than twenty-four hours old. To make it, cut out all the rotten and bruised spots, also the worms and their burrows. To make cider or vinegar from rotten and wormy apples ought to be considered a crime. The famous Russet cider of New York is made from sound Russet apples and brings top price.

Sweet cider may be canned or bottled and will keep interminably, if heated to 160 degrees and kept hot for twenty minutes, then canned and sealed as for fruit.

Boiled cider, that is, reduced to one-fifth by boiling, and canned, is a nice article for culinary use, for making apple-butter, apple-sauce and in apple or mince pies. It would sell.

Cider vinegar is the best for home use and market. No one having an apple orchard should ever buy vinegar, and ought to have some to sell to neighbors or at the stores. To make: Sweet cider carefully made should be placed in clean, sweet, oak barrels, placed in a room where sun and frost cannot reach it. The barrels should be laid on their sides, with the open bung-hole upward, and double mosquito net or wire tacked over it. It requires from eighteen months to two years to become first class, but there is no more labor excepting to rack or siphon it off from the sediment; do not be impatient; make some every year, and if you are a "rustler" you will make good money out of it. Our home demand requires over 50,000 barrels per month.

Apple-butter, to be good, requires boiled cider, and if to the boiled cider is added the good parts of the best culls, and carefully and skilfully boiled, either with or without spices, it sells for one dollar per gallon and is very profitable.

Dried apples: The best of the culls, carefully trimmed, peeled, cored, and quartered or sliced, may be dried in the sun and air anywhere in Kansas. A cheap rack of poles or slats three or four feet above the ground, a lot of trays made of lath with muslin bottoms and plenty of mosquito netting to spread on hoops or bars above the fruit to keep off flies, are all that is needed. Do not leave them spread out during rain, or at night. The trays can be piled at night, with the fruit in them, under a shed or cover. Keep all vermin from them and stir often.

Evaporated apples sell better, and by many are preferred. [I like the sun-kissed ones the best.--Sec.] There are numerous patent evaporators, all very good; but any ingenious man can make his own. The evaporators in which the Wellhouse culls are dried are very simple. President Wellhouse says he spent over $2,500 on patent dryers without any satisfaction, and then built his own, which are described elsewhere.