Newspaper Page Text
V01.XVn,N0.45. Whole No. 651.
For the Florida Agriculturist. Florida Grapes in Northern Markets. EXPERIENCES OF THE WOULD-BE GRAPE GROWER. L pity the would-be grape grower who reads our State agricultural papers in search of information on the subject of grape culture. One day he sees that, if he wants to succeed, he must plant Northern grown vines, as all Florida grown vines he could get will prove a deid failure. The same writer, however, offers him 200,000 cuttings, which, prob ably from some Northern doctoring, will make Florida grown vines that will suc ceed ! Then another comes and says that it’s all bosh and that if Florida is adapt ed to the growth and fruiting of a certain variety of grapes, there is no reason why this variety, in order to succeed, should be propagated just in a little corner of New York State, by a certain wizard cf the profession, and then come to Florida with a little talisman (of lead) around its neck. A third one will settle the question by affirming in a dictatorial way, that Florida is not adapted to grapes: Talis man or no talisman they are all doomed! A party will toll him he grafted some English grape on a wild Muscadine and it made 999 feet of growth in one season notwithstanding the fact that he had to cut it off when it reached his neighbor’s fence. He had counted 2,999 buds on that vine and as each bud generally averages two bunches, weighing say one half pound each, he though ho could reasonably expect, the second year, a crop of 2,999 pounds of grapes, which at only 25 cents per pound would have amounted to $749.75. For one vine, think a little!! But, (there is always a ‘‘but” or an “if”) before the next seasou that wonderful vine, which used to feed on soap suds, died from an indigestion of the same,supplemented by an overdose of night soil. This, of course, will not deter the same party from planting ten acres to wild bullaee dug in the woods, set out a hundred feet apart, which he will graft to some other English grape and he is already calculating the im mense income he will derive from such a vineyard! The would-be grape grower may not take to that grafting business, but now suppose he happens to hit on Messrs. Haynes, Young & Bailey’s article in the Agriculturist of October Bth. He reads that “a vineyard should bear when it is three year old, at least two tons to the acre” which at SSOO per ton, would give SI,OOO per acre. He gets struck at once and decides on a Niagara vineyard. Happily or unfortunately, he comes DeLand, Fla., Wednesday, November 5,1890. across Hr. Heath’s ariicles in the next number of the same paper and he learns that all grapes that the doctor has seen grown in Florida ‘ are like the California fruit—flat and tasteless, and will not sell for any fancy price” and also that the farther North grapes are raised the higher they sell. He gets rather uneasy and consulting the market reports from New York, he sees that iu September, New York State Niagara grapes are quoted 5 and 0 cents per pound. Now, if according to Hr. Heath’s experience, New York StateNiagarassell higher than those from New .lersey; New Jersey Niagaras higher than those from Dele ware and Maryland; Delaware, and Maryland Niagaras higher than those from Virginia; Virginia Niagaras higher than those from North Carolina; North Carolina Niagaras higher than those from South Carolina; South Carolina Niagara higher than Georgia Niagaras and from Georgia higher than those from Florida —with New York State Niagaras at 5 and 6 cents what will the price of Florida Niagaras be? The question is, which article is to be trusted, Haynes, Young A Bailey’s or Hr. Heath’s? The former have a basis for their statement. They affirm having net ted 25 cents per xound and their vine yard having averaged ten pounds of grapes per vine. There is no exaggera tion in the yield of ten pounds per vine, but those ten pounds of grapes are not all marketable fruit which Messrs Haynes, Young A Bailey acknowledge in reducing the average per acre to two tons. In re gard to the price Niagara grapes can be sold at in New York, no wise man who sets out a vineyard now should expect his vines to net him 25 cents per pound when his vineyard comes into bearing. Twenty-five cents net means thirty cents in New York, which is a fancy price and although, Niagara in June is for the present, a fancy grapo owing to its fine appearance and specially its scarcity at that time, when it becomes more common it will no more be considered a fancy fruit, but will remain a fine looking grape and on that account, will always sell at remunerative prices; so will Delaware on account of its fine quality. Hr. Heath says all Florida grapes he has tasted are like California fruit “flat and tasteless,” which is rather hard on California grapes. I do not know what the Doctor’s ideal of a fine grape is, but I have this to say: After having visited the vineyards of Portugal, Spain, France and Germany I have tasted some Cali fornia Muscats which I pronounce inferior to none; if I add that the Muscat is con sidered the best grape in existence what remains of Dr. Heath’s assertion ? I think the Doctor is radically wrong when he writes: “It is not from any lack of climatic influence that this is so, for we have the even temperature of the hot house, the sunshine and moisture, free dom from disease, and everything that is necessary, except the right man to carry this to a success.” This will do for an immigration pamphlet or for those who have read it for so many years in their local paper that they now' believe it to be true, but for us, wdio are studying tfco climate and the possibilities of our State of adoption, we cannot admit that w T e have iu Florda the even temperature of a hot house, unless that hot house had many panes of glass broken, and I hard ly believe that eyen iu Maine there is more difference between the average temperature at midnight and at midday than in Geneva, Orange county, wdiere the good doctoi v resides. In regard to moisture we have our showers assuredlv, and it is on account of that excess of moisture that we cannot successfully raise most European grapes, wffiich re quire a. dry atmosphere and in our clim ate succumb to rot and mildew'. “The trouble in grape culture” says Dr. Heath “is to get vines true to name,” and he refers to Catawba, which in his youth, was a red or amber colored grape, while the Northern Catawba of to-day is a blue grape. I have never seen any blue Catawba, but, if I remember well, the Catawba of 18G7 only twenty-three years ago it’s true—was just the same color as the Catawba of to-day when grown in the same locality. Two causes howmver may be attributed to that dif ference of color noticed by the Doctor; one is that the further north the so-called red varieties of grapes are raised the darker they get when ripe, the other, that thirty years ago transportation facilities where not w hat they are now', and all fruit was shipped tomaket before maturity. This was especially the case with which is now marketed when fully ripe in order not to come into competition with cheap Concord grapes. 1 would like very much to know iu what or whose market reports Dr. Heath got his information and saw that Champion from Florida was early in June, quoted in New r York 2 and 3 cents per pound. Champion should never be shipped to distant markets; it is not solid enough, at any rate, there were, to my knowledge no Champion grapes shipped from Florida to New York, prior to the 17th of June, how, therefore, could they have been quoted at 2 and 3 cents early in June? A shipment of that grape, wli ch left Tallahassee the 19th of June,sold in New York at 12% cents a pound. $2 jer Annni, in advance. For the edification of Dr. Heath and the readers of this paper, I am gathering market reports from Boston, New York and Philadelphia embracing three months, June, July and August and showing the respective prices of grapes from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland and Delaware, etc., etc. In the meantime, paraphrasing Dr. Heath’s conclusion, I [will say: To be successful in grape culture, you must not look for a grape “as highly flavored as our best oranges” as you might have to wait too long; plant extensively only such wine or market varieties, which have proved to be well adapted to our soil and peculiar climate and experiment on a small sc lie with other flue varieties, new or old, which onesaid to do well buthave not been sufficiently tested in this State. Use a good deal of common sense, enough fertilizer, and do not always rely on other people for information. E. Dunois. San Litiis Vineyards, Tallahassee, Fla. ♦ + Well, Why Don’t They Do It? Why should a farmer send to Kentucky for hay, when grass is a natural product here? yet see how many thousands of bales of hay come into the State, for which cash goes out. This money is lost to Florida, for it should be saved by producing hay and fodder at home. Then very many other articles can be made here, or something substituted for them that would keep at home millions of dollars. Good butter can be made here, and is, but not enough to supply even the farmer’s table. Cassava added to flour in equal quantity, will reduce the family expenditure of cash one-half. Sweet potatoes can be relied upon for by careful management, every day in the year, yet how few farmers have them even three months, and town people are without for nearly nine months in the year. Sugar and syrup of most excellent quality can be raised for all Florida, and for sale abroad, yet how much money goes out of the State for sugar and syrup. Irish potatoes and onions grow finely here yet all our stores send North for them. Tomatoes and other vegetables are shipped from here from January to May, yet all the year our merchants send money north for canned tomatoes and other vegetables; immense quantities of which are used in Florida. Where the agricultural portion of a people are prosperous, there all kinds of business flourishes. For agriculture to prosper, the income must be larger than the out go, so then the aim should be to reduce the outgo and increase the income. An old business adage runs thus: “Cut short the losses, let the profits run on.” The profits of the farmer is wbat his labor and management bring him in over and above his expenditures. His losses are buying, what he can produce.