Newspaper Page Text
Vol. XVII, No. 47. Whole No. 653.
Orange Culture Abroad. * lIOVV THE FRUIT IS PICKED, PACKED AND CURED—HOW THE GROVES ARE FERTI LIZED AND PRUNED, ETC. NUMBER I. The United States Department of State has just issued a book of remarkable in terest to the orange growers of Florida. It contains the special reports of the United States consuls in foreign coun tries, and a very large portion of the book is devoted to a subject near to the hearts and still nearer to the pocket books of our people—orange culture. The cultivation of the orange and oth er citrus fruits in Florida has been a mat ter of experiment—we have had no pre cedent to guide us—but notwithstanding this we believe no oue will claim that the experiment has been else than successful. Still we have much to learn, and it strikes us that there is no better source from which we can acquire knowledge than the experience of those who have been engaged in the business for genera tions. For that reason we have made the following digest of the principal sub jects treated in the consular reports, be lieving that from it our people may de rive some beneficial information. PICKING, PACKING AND CURING. Just at this time the subject of picking, packing and curing our fruit is of the most vital importance. Those who have been engaged in the business ten times as long as we have, should certainly know more about the proper methods than those who as yet have had but a few short years to study the situation. In Morocco the fruit is not allowed to ripen on the tree, but is gathered as soon as it begins to change from green to yel low. Lower California. —The fruit is picked just as it begins to ripen. It is cured by burying the oranges separately under four or six inches of very dry sand, in a shaded or ventilated place for a month or two; after that they can be taken out, will look proportionately fresh, and will keep in that condition for six months. When packed for export the oranges are wrapped in paper and packed in special boxes. [This appears to be a most re markable statement. It seems incredible that fruit should be or appear fresh after having been from the tree for eight months.— Ed.] Ecuador. —The oranges for export are picked when about half ripe. Bermuda.— The consul reports that the picking is done at any time when the fruit is full ripe—if the negroes do not steal them before. Asia Minor. The fruit is carefully picked when ripe, and is cured by wrap- DeLand, Fla., Wednesday, November 19,1890. ping in tissue paper. When shipped the fruit is assorted a nd rewrappedand care fully packed in small boxes. Palestine.— The fruit is picked both ripe and green, depending upon the dis tance it is to be transported to market. After being picked it is left two or three days in store rooms for the skins to dry; they are then wrapped in tissue paper and packed in boxes containing from 140 to 200. Syria. —Fruit for export is picked green, wrapped in paper and packed in boxes. Mers'NA.— About one iuch of stem is taken from the tree with the orange. Tripoli.— Oranges are picked perfectly green for export, then wrapped and packed the same as done in Florida. India.— When oranges are picked green for exporc they are cured by packing with fine hay and kept close in a box for a few days. Australia. —The plan is to leave the oranges on the trees until ripe, or nearly so. The most experienced growers cut them from the stems instead of pulling them, although the latter method is mostly pursued. Care is taken not to pick the fruit in damp or wetw r eatherand not to put them in boxes until they are free from moisture. Fruit exported to London arrived in fairly good condition. It was wrapped in tissue paper, put in boxes of uniform size and subjected to but little pressure in nailing on thecovers. The Riviera (France) oranges are picked first when they begin to turn yel low —in October —for distant shipments; next in December, for a nearer shipment, when half yellow, and finally in the spring when fully ripe for the home market. The best are packed in grey paper and exported in boxes; the poorer qualify are shipped in bulk to interior markets. Messina.— During the shipping season large firms in Messina employ as many as three hundred women and girls, paying them from 20 to 25 cents a day—nine hours’ work. The women select and wrap up the fruit. Men are employed to pack the fruit and handle the boxes; they get from 40 to 50 cents a day. The stevedores handle the boxes with great care. The steamers give all possible ventilation to the fruit during the voyage. Fruit possessing the greatest keeping qualities is sent in sail ing vessels to the United States. The duties paid on oranges and lemons enter ing the United States are as follows: On oranges in boxes, capacity not exceeding two and one-half cubic feet, 25 cents per box; half boxes, capacity not exceeding one and one-fourth cubic feet, 18 cents per half box; bulk, $1.60 per thousand; barrels, capacity not exceeding that of the 196 pound flour barrel, 55 cents per barrel; packages not especially enumer ated or provided for, 20 per cent.; on lemons in boxes, 80 cents per box; on half boxes, 16 cents; in bulk, $2 per thousand; in packages, -20 per cent. Exporters frequently buy thefruit on the trees. Below is given the cost of prepar ing and shipping a box of oranges or lemons: Cutting, selecting and packing in the groves.so.ls Box, paper, nails and hooping SO Transportation to Messina (average) 20 Repacking, shipping charges, store rent and brokerage 14 Freight, per box, by steamer to New York 30 Total -$1.09 A few firms export fruit to the United States on joint account. Fruit is gener ally shipped on consignment. Consignees’ commission and auction fees are 6 per cent. Years ago oranges were preserved in sand for from four to five months, merely for family use. This practice no longer prevails; it would not pay on a large scale, such enormous warehouses would be re quired and so great would be the expense of handling the fruit, Preserving or anges in bran has been tried; it proved too heating. I have heard of a successful shipment of oranges packed in beech sawdust. The vessel carrying the cargo left Messina in December and reached St. Petersburg in May. Spanish grapes packed in cork tree sawdust keep from September to March. Preserving oranges by the fumes of sulphur has never been attempted here, lest the fumes might cause the fruit to dry up. The maturing of oranges and lemons is affected by the altitude, latitude, ex cessive heat in certain localities, irregu lar rain-fall, and the nature of the soil. Sicily is mountainous in character, and isagronomically divided into three zones: 1. Marine zone, in which fruit ripens earliest. 2. Middle zone, extending from 1,500 to 3,000 feet above the sea level. 3. Mountain zone, where the tempera ture is too low and the climate too damp for citrus culture. The soil has a great influence upon the maturing and keeping qualities of the citrus. The fruit ripens earlier on light, sandy soil than on clay soil.* Fruit grown on light, sandy soil can not be left long on the trees without its deteriora ting in quality becoming dry and spongy—whereas on stiff clay it can re main with impunity until theend of April. The latest fruit to ripen is that produced on the upper limit of the middle zone— the trees growing in stiff clay soil —which can remain on the trees until the end of June without its drying up orits skin be coming hard and spongy; it must, how ever, be gathered in July,for should it be $2 per Ann, in advance. left longer on the trees it would injure the new crop. Fruit grown on a light, sandy soil is small and of a pale yellow, and is of com paratively short keeping. That grown on a clay soil is large; it keeps well and is of a i eddish brown. Trees on clay soil resist a drouth much better than those on sandy soil. The groves to the south west of the Palermo district produce much more highly prized fruit than those on the northwest, the sole difference be tween them being their clay and saudy soils. Asin the neighborhood of Palermo, so in other districts of the province, even where the climatic differences are great. Fruit in Sicily is known as “mountain fruit’’ and “sea-coast” fruit. Merchants further classify the fruit according to the soil on which it grows. Fruit grown on a clay soil brings 30 per cent, more than fruit produced on a sandy soil. Moun tain fruit is tinner and keeps better; its superiority is attributed to the nature of the soil and not to the influence of the climate. Fruit produced in the plain of Portelio, the soil of which is clay, brings the same as that grown on the heights of Monreale. The fine large oranges that bring a high price in Palermo in summer are allowed to remain on the trees until the end of May, when they are stored in subterra nean grottoes. They are produced on clay soil abounding in alkalies and well decomposed organic matter, in the sides of the mountains, near Palermo, are many grottoes that are cool and well ventilated, in which oranges keep nicely during the summer; they are spread two layers deep upon large mats, placed at convenient distances one above the oth er. Every day or two the fruit is turned over and all defective oranges are re moved. This fruit finds a home market. Sicily.— Oranges are picked a little green, but acquire their natural color after being wrapped in tissue paper and boxed for shipment. The fruit is picked with care, the stem is cut with a sharp round-bladed knife and left to the eye to prevent decay. Portugal.—Fruit carefully picked and wrapped in corn leaves. PRUNING. This is an important subject, and one upon which there appears to be in Flori ida as many plans and theories as there are cultivators. Bermuda.— But little pruning is done to bearing tree, in fact nothing at all except removing dead branches. The trees are trimmed to the proper shape when yopng. [The report fails to en lighten us upon the subject of shape, i. e. which is the “proper shape.”— Ed.] Jamaica.— Treatment the same as in