Valley Orchard History
MR. D. E. STEARNS made us a present of some very fine apples that were grown on his farm on Wagner's Creek a few miles above Phoenix. He has a fine orchard of fruit trees, some having already attained a height of thirty feet. Mr. Stearns will accept our thanks for his kind consideration.
Oregon Sentinel, October 26, 1861, page 3
ALDEN FRUIT DRYER.--We learn that there is some talk of starting an Alden fruit-drying establishment in this county. A large amount of fruit annually goes to waste, and this process would be an excellent method of utilizing it. There is no reason why it should not prove a paying investment. The persons starting this enterprise would have no difficulty in supplying the whole of Southern Oregon, as well as neighboring counties of California, with dried fruit, for it could be manufactured at such reasonable rates that it would effectually do away with sun-dried fruit, between which and the Alden-dried fruit there is no comparison. Several counties in the state have invested and Jackson should not be behind in this important matter.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 12, 1875, page 3
ALDEN FRUIT DRYER.--Sealed proposals will be received at the office of Wm. M., Turner, Secretary of the Alden Fruit Drying Company, until July 24th next for the erection of a three-story building, 40x20 feet, to be completed by the 26th of August, 1876.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 21, 1876, page 3
The fruit manufactured by the Alden dryer last year sells rapidly, and not a great deal of it remains.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 24, 1877, page 3
Thinning the Fruit.Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 3, 1891, page 3
The leading fruit men of the county have not hesitated to thin out the overload of fruit on the trees with an unsparing hand during the past few months. Large numbers of young ladies and girls in the neighborhood of Stewart's big orchard found profitable employment for weeks in working about the trees, relieving them of their surplus load, while across the river George Jackson had 11 men employed in thinning out, the burden of the trees being so great that in some instances as many as ten peaches could be grasped by the operator at a handful.
. . . the Umpqua and Rogue River valleys have entered into competition with California in two lines of fruit culture--peach and prune growing, more particularly the latter. Thousands of acres of land in these two valleys have been planted in prunes. Prune and peach orchards mottle the Rogue Valley all around Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass, and in the Umpqua Valley the same horticultural developments manifest themselves in the neighborhood of Roseburg, Riddle, Canyonville and other settlements therein.
What is of vital importance to the enterprising Southern Oregonians who have gone into the prune business is that it has proven so far thoroughly successful. The trees bear well, and prices have been good. The crop of two years ago brought 15 cents per pound. The great railroad strike and hard times cut down the prices last year to 7 cents, but that is said to have yielded fair profits, and it is said further that if anything above the latter price is realized from this year's crop many a mortgage which was created by fruit-tree planing will be lifted next fall in both valleys. The experiments in grape culture which have been made in Rogue Valley have been so far successful as to warrant the introduction of viticulture on a large scale, and the slopes of the foothills bordering on the valley are now regarded as better suited for vine-growing than anything else. The liability of the district to rain makes fruit-drying by artificial processes imperative, but fuel is abundant and cheap, and the fruit men here claim that there is less danger from infection by insect, through the use of artificial dryers, than by drying by solar heat.
These new lines of fruit-growing are threatening to relegate apple-growing, for which all Oregon has hitherto been famous, to a secondary place in the industries of Southern Oregon. They are certainly having an appreciable effect upon the values of land. Orchard land in the Rogue Valley is now quoted at anywhere from $50 to $100 per acre, and in the Umpqua choice land adjacent to the more important settlements runs as high as $50 per acre, although "a snap," as an old-timer puts it, may now and again be encountered at from $10 to $20 per acre. The "snap" in question usually consists of a foreclosure or the urgent necessities of the owner of the land for ready cash for immediate use. Hard times overtook Southern Oregon, like other parts of the country, and "snaps" are said to be just now not uncommon.
A Southern Oregon farm is ordinarily a thing of rural beauty. It is very different from a California ranch. The latter is a one-crop affair. The Oregonian believes in a diversity of crops. An average farm will have a field of corn, another of hay, still another of grain, a potato patch, an orchard, a tract devoted to root crops, a small vineyard for grapes and wine for home consumption, a stand of beehives, and a piece of wild land as a wood lot and pasture.
Taliesin Evans, "Through Southern Oregon," San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 1895, page 3
PEACH SHIPMENTS FROM ASHLAND.The Ashland district in Oregon attained quite a distinction this season from the fact that it was the only section in Oregon or Washington that gave a full crop of the late varieties of peaches. From a report we have at hand we learn that from Ashland Station there were shipped from July to October 34,500 boxes of peaches by freight and 36,100 by express. There are a number of other stations in that vicinity that also shipped heavily. This is the first year that Ashland peaches have entered the Eastern markets and the results were very pleasing to the growers, who found that their fancy product was very popular. One of the principal growers and shippers was Max Pracht, who, in answer to a query for a review of his experience for the season, said:
"Ashland has again shown her remissness to her own best interests by her failure to provide herself with an up-to-date fruit cannery. If my orchard is a criterion, at least a ton of peaches per acre of trees went to waste, or at best were dried in all sorts of driers, which from lack of experience have turned out a product having a wide range of value, some of it when brought into open competition in the market possibly failing to pay wages, after freight and other charges have been satisfied. The unusual hot weather of August forced to maturity perhaps 50 percent of our Crawfords before they had attained a size justifying shipment. They were full flavored, however, and exquisitely colored and would have made a better canned peach than the extra large fruit we are accustomed to send to market. What Ashland needs most now is an up-to-date cannery. The success attending Ashland's first year's experience with refrigerator car accommodations is varied. A want of knowledge on the part of the shipper as to the proper degree of ripeness caused a loss. The fruit arriving in the East chilled, and not a bit riper than when it left here, and being required tor immediate consumption, it was classified by the buyer as 'green' and the bids on such lots, as shown by the printed returns furnished by the Earl Fruit Company, ranged from 45 to 60 cents per box, as against 90 cents to $1.10 for ripe and properly graded fruit in the same car. What Ashland needed was one season's experience with refrigerators to teach us that fruit so shipped must be started from here much riper than when shipment is made in the ordinary boxcar or 'oven,' as heretofore. On the whole, the season must be accepted as fairly satisfactory. Considerable money was put into circulation and the net profits, though not as large as was expected, are a gain, while the advertising Ashland has received in the leading markets of the East is worth a great deal. Letters received from distributing merchants at various points all agree in saying that Ashland peaches are far superior to any heretofore received from California, and in several cases offers have already been made to purchase some of our leading brands f.o.b. in Ashland next year, an advance of 15 to 20 cents per box over same varieties of California peaches being offered--one concern in a Mississippi River city offering to take two carloads per week. A 'trademark' brand printed wrapper and an attractive box label, also 'registered,' are great helps in the sale of fruit when the latter is of itself fully up to the highest standard. Peaches offered under such a 'trademark,' one which has now been in use five years, invariably starting out at an initial auction bid considerably higher than offers made for peaches packed in the old way, the extra profit being more in every case than the extra cost of wrapping and labeling. Printer's ink pays, even with peaches.
"What Ashland needs is a local fruit union, which, with a good manager, properly graded peaches and the use of distinctive labels and wrappers, will net to our orchardists a much better price. The buyer whose customers have had and demand a certain brand of peaches must pay the price, and is more certain of his own profit than if he handles 'wildcats.'
"What Ashland needs is more confidence and real cooperation in her fruit business."
Ranch and Range, Yakima, Washington, November 11, 1897, page 6
My father had a very large orchard, and every summer he would hire a number of farmers with their teams, and take sometimes as many as a dozen loads of apples at a time out to the gold mines in Southern Oregon and Northern California. These trips would be to points from two to three hundred miles distant from home. They loaded each wagon with as heavy a load of fruit as the teams could easily haul on a good road, and then when they came to the long hills in the mountains they would have to double up, and sometimes put on three teams to a single wagon. I shall never forget my first experience on one of these trips. The entire journey was a series of sights and adventures far more interesting and wonderful to me then than a trip to Rome and Venice was twenty-five years later. The scenes in the mines were very strange. It seemed so odd to see such a number of men camped about and at work, without seeing a woman or child. Into one of these large camps we were the first wagon train of fruit that year, and the miners were so tired of living on salt meat and flapjacks, without any vegetables or fruit, that when we opened our apples and pears they gathered about the wagons almost wild with excitement. They had been picked just as they began to ripen, and carefully packed in the soft meadow grass, and when the top covering was removed, the fragrance was delicious. The miners did not have any money, but they had plenty of gold dust. My father had a pair of gold scales, and a miner would bring a big handkerchief or a flour sack to hold his apples, and would hand over his little leather pouch of gold dust, and Father would weigh out the price in the scales. The prices seem fabulous nowadays, especially here in the East where so many apples sometimes go to waste for lack of a market. The load in my father's wagon was all of the Gloria Mundi apples. They were large and nice, and the entire wagonload went off like hotcakes at "two bits," or twenty-five cents, apiece, and I think he could have gotten twice as much for them for the asking. A load of Bartlett pears sold at a dollar a dozen. One evening, as we were coming back to camp, we met a man with a load of watermelons. He lived about fifty miles away, down in the Rogue River Valley, and had brought these melons from his own farm. Father traded him a dozen apples for two watermelons. We ate one of them, and sold the other one for two dollars and a half.
The miners were most of them a very rough sort of men, and drinking and gambling were on every side. Every night we heard the sound of pistol shots coming from some of the saloons, but they were very kind to me. It seemed strange to me then that these big, rough, bearded men should take so much interest in a little boy, but I was the only child in the camp, and it is pathetic as I look back at it, for I know now that those men were lonely and homesick and were thinking about little boys and girls in their far-away homes.
Louis Albert Banks [born 1855], An Oregon Boyhood, 1898, pages 93-95
The other day I went into a commission store on Front Street [in Portland], to find six or seven men engaged in boxing up pears for shipment to Dakota, Minnesota and other lands within the blizzard belt. The pears were wrapped in clean white papers and laid in boxes, about forty pounds to the box. The first lot I saw was marked for a house in Fargo, and consisted of sixty-odd boxes. I asked the proprietor a few questions:
"How do you find this traffic--does it pay you a fair profit?"
"Well, I suppose you think we have taken hold of this more for what is in the future than in the present and that we handle a good deal of stuff for a very small profit. You never were worse mistaken. Instead of being a slow and sure business, it is an up-and-down traffic, making a good deal one day and losing considerable the next."
"How do you account for such fluctuations as these?" I asked.
"It is the result of supply and demand," he answered, "and if you notice it, there are fluctuations in pork, flour and all the great staples which men must eat daily if they would live. How much more then are fruits liable to be affected by the caprice of the public."
"Do any southern Oregon fruits find their way into this market?" asked the reporter.
"Scarcely any," replied the merchant, "though all you newspaper men predicted that large shipments would follow close upon completion of the railroad into Rogue River Valley. The fact is, the people of that section want more for their fruit, right at Ashland and Jacksonville, than it would sell for here."
"They complain that the rate of freight by railroad is so high that they cannot compete with California fruit brought hither by the steamers. Is that true?" asked the reporter.
"Not exactly. The freight by steamer is six dollars and that by rail is eight; but the loss on ocean shipments is never less than 15 percent, even when the vessel makes schedule time. By rail there would be no loss at all, so that the southern Oregon grapes would be after all the cheaper to the consignee. The trouble is that those people out there have always had two big mining towns for a market--Jacksonville and Yreka--and they want mining prices for what they produce. They do not seem to look upon this market as a place which would enable them to work off their surplus stuff at a moderate profit."
"And when do you look for a change in the tide of affairs? Certainly two-fifths of a cent per pound is no exorbitant freight, and the railroad that hauls produce 298 miles at that rate cannot expect any profit on that sort of traffic." "No," said the merchant, "There is no profit in it, but it would help to pay a good deal of the road's expenses. Those people out there raise fine hogs and put up as good bacon as ever you ate in all your life. They have nicely improved farms, too, but they have been too long used to the high prices incidental to mining communities. They will eventually sell out to a more thrifty class, who will be able to ship produce to Portland at the O.&C.R.R. rates, and make money at that."
"Trespasses," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, October 12, 1884, page 1
On Thursday of this week the fruit growers of Southern Oregon propose holding a meeting at Gold Hill. The meeting is called to organize a society for mutual protection, and will be largely attended. The fruit interest of that section of the state is becoming more important yearly, and a discussion of the subject and the formation of a strong society will prove beneficial to all concerned.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 24, 1885, page 4
THE FRUIT BUSINESS.
With the small beginning in the fruit growing industry already made in Southern Oregon, the skepticism and discouragement inseparably connected with new enterprises has not been wanting. "What in the world can be done with the fruit from so many trees when they all come into bearing?" has been the problem that puzzled many of the doubtful and timid people here. The question is being answered for them now in California. The California fruit growers association, organized less than a year ago, has succeeded in demonstrating that the fruits of California can be profitably shipped to the states in the Mississippi Valley, where the large cities offer a practically unlimited market. By combination in shipping, the transportation rates were reduced from $600 to $300 per carload. California cherries, peaches and apricots sold in Chicago and St. Paul at from 20 to 70 cents per pound. At lower prices than the average returned, the California growers would realize a fair profit, and the availability of the eastern market is thus established beyond a question. The large shipments to the East relieved the home market, and instead of canners dictating the price, as has been the case in some years, the lucky growers were delighted to witness a lively competition in bidding between the canners, the retail dealers in San Francisco and other cities and the eastern shippers. The result of this is that the owners of peach orchards are paid from $60 to $80 per ton for the fruit on the trees, and have nothing to do but take the money and sit and watch the buyers pick and box the peaches. Oregon need have no fear of trouble in finding a market for her fruits if she only raise enough of the right kind. With the great fruitless belt stretching from Puget Sound to the Great Lakes as a purchaser and with the rapidly improving transportation facilities afforded, our state should not hesitate to increase her fruit production, and reduce the business to the basis of a scientific and carefully fostered industry.MORE GOOD FRUIT STORIES
Large Shipments of Fruit to Portland--The Real Estate Movement..
MEDFORD, Oct. 28.--To her other large shipments for the season, aggregating about 350 tons of fruit, Medford forwards today ten fully loaded cars of fall and winter apples. These cars are placarded "Southern Oregon fruit for H. E. Battin & Co., Portland, Oregon; from Medford." These cars carry about 110 tons of fruit. Another train, equally as large, will leave here the coming week. The broken freight shipments of fruit for the past week have footed up a couple of tons. The aggregate of fruit shipments from Medford so far this season, by Battin & Co., has been about 570 tons. Since August 25 Wells, Fargo & Co. have forwarded from Medford forty tons of grapes, peaches and mixed fruit.
All through this valley, houses designed to keep fruit for the winter and spring markets are going up. Mr. J. D. Whitman and J. H. Stewart, both of whom came here since '85, were the fist to build. Others are following. The fruit houses are built with double walls, filled with sawdust, and have about five feet space overhead filled with hay. The temperature inside these houses is many degrees cooler than that of the outside, and will, it is believed, preserve the fruit for winter use.
C. B. Carlisle, "Medford, Jackson County," Oregonian, Portland, November 3, 1887, page 6
The Favorite Fruit Region--Vineyards at Jacksonville.
Fruit-Growing at Ashland--Apples, Pears and Cherries--
Plenty of Good Fruit Land for Years to Come.
A recent journey to Southern Oregon and a week spent there gave the writer some idea of what is considered the best fruit region in the state of Oregon. All of western Oregon and Washington is adapted to the growing of fruit, though there are more favored conditions in some localities. Rogue River Valley lies 290 miles south of here, and its climate partakes of the best qualities pertaining to both Oregon and California. It produces some fruits in perfection that are not congenial to the Willamette, such as peaches and grapes. It also produces all the fruits that do well further north.
Rogue River and Umpqua valleys, in some respects, surpass the northern counties in ability to grow crops requiring a warm summer climate. These valleys have a decided advantage in the production of fruit, and from the railroad we see more show of corn fields than grain stubble, corn ripening here and making a good crop. These remarks are especially true of Jackson County. At the south the rainy season is less decided with more good winter weather. Storms suddenly clear away, while with us rains are continuous and are followed by cloudy and foggy weather, and danger form frost is greatly diminished. Where rains suddenly cease and clear weather follows, as in Northern California and Southern Oregon, frosts are frequent and do great harm. We seldom hear of any general damage from frosts, such as occurred May 11th and 12th last spring, causing injury to fruit along the coast for five hundred or more miles. Such frosts are more liable to the south of us for reasons just stated.
FOOTHILLS FOR FRUIT.
There is a belt of foothills in Southern Oregon, located above the frost line, averaging a mile or more, in winter, that is almost sure to be exempt from frost and safe to produce fruit crops. This is the favored portion of these valleys, though even these foothills are not universally certain, as isothermal lines exist, caused by air currents or unfavorable lay of the land. These will be located in time, but there is an extensive area in which vineyards and orchards can be safely planted, and there is every inducement to make fruit-growing a leading industry.
We hear much about the capacity of Southern Oregon to produce fruit, but one who passes through Rogue River Valley sees few indications of fruit growing, and the land in orchards forms hardly a perceptible portion of the country.
VINEYARDS NEAR JACKSONVILLE.Jacksonville is in the foothills, where a mining camp attracted prospectors at an early day. The town lies at the west of a large cove and on the north side of which the foothills that face the south have been planted to vineyards with success. In riding towards Medford we can see a few patches indicating vineyards, but not one acre in a thousand is so planted. It is claimed that Jackson County has fifteen vineyards aggregating one hundred acres, producing four tons of grapes to the acre. The largest is that of J. N. T. Miller, Esq., situated near Jacksonville and covering sixteen acres. Here, in the middle of November, we saw beautiful bunches of luscious fruit hang on the vines and wine making in full progress. They were making wine because our market could not use all their grapes. If Portland fruit dealers, with so large a country to supply, are not able to use the present product of Jackson County, it must be apparent that wine making, or the manufacture of raisins, will be the chief recourse when vineyards are extensive.
PEACH ORCHARD AT ASHLAND.At Ashland they are clearing off the higher points of the foothills to plant peaches, and when relieved of its growth of manzanita, chaparral, pine, laurel and mountain mahogany this land is held at high figures. The land produces a heavy growth of the woods named, but its appearance surprise a stranger. It is decomposed granite, showing little soil, or what is so considered. In passing through the peach orchard of Mr. Gailey, consisting of thirty acres, one sinks to the ankle in coarse, white granite sand, but his trees show good growth at two and three years old. These rugged points and the gentler foothills are quoted as selling at $100, $200, $250 and $300 an acre. No doubt they can pay a good interest on this investment.
BEAR RIVER VALLEY.Ashland is fifteen miles up Bear River, above the main valley of Rogue River. The valley of Bear Creek is narrow, and hills rise on each side to considerable height. On the Ashland side they rise and rise until they climb into the Siskiyou Mountains, but on the opposite, or east side, the hill range divides Bear Valley and Antelope Creek. On the south six streams enter Rogue River, and six more come in on the north, and all have valleys and foothills more or less adapted to fruit. The main valley is thirty by fifteen miles in extent, and with its tributaries must furnish an immense area of foothill or bench lands that invite fruit growing on an immense scale. Hills or knolls along the main valley afford excellent locations for orchards. Where they have a right exposure nearly all these uplands must be of value. Mr. McCall, at Ashland, pointed to a cleared space that has recently sold for $300 an acre, with the remark that five years ago he would not have given six bits an acre for it. Someone with self-reliance, good sense and courage set out an orchard, and then the boom set in.
VINE LAND AND FRUIT LAND.Crossing Bear Creek, opposite Ashland, we find a clear hillside as high as the hills rise; granite sand is mixed with clay and the land is somewhat sticky, though there is no reason apparent why it should not produce all sorts of fruit. We met a Mr. Morris, from California, who has bought 2000 acres on this side three miles below Ashland, who has full confidence in this soil and intends to plant 100 acres in peaches next spring. We see many peaches from Ashland in our Portland markets, but the planting of orchards there has only just begun and the few bearing orchards they have are very young.
At Jacksonville they have only planted vineyards, but the same land can produce peaches to the best advantage, judging from its location. Ashland has succeeded with peaches, but it is said a cold sweep of air up that narrow valley does not make the culture of the vine possible there. We learned that apricots grow well in Ashland gardens but are not planted extensively. One intelligent observer expressed the opinion that being more tender than peaches they could not be grown as successfully in that region. It is evident that peaches and grapes can be successfully grown on good locations, and a very extensive area of suitable land can be put to such use.
Josephine County has also much bench land on its rivers where fruit should grow to best advantage. Applegate and Williams creeks have large valleys, and there are other streams putting into Rogue River below its main valley that as yet are not known or understood. There is such a great area of good fruit land in that section of country that there is no good reason why excessive valuation should be placed on that already understood. It will be many years before it can be utilized, and it will be a public misfortune if it shall pass into the hands of speculators who will put a high figure upon it.
A Mr. Stewart, who came from Indiana, has located some distance south of Medford, which is the railway station for Jacksonville, about five miles distant. He is planting a large pear orchard in the rolling land or foothills, because that valley is so sure in producing good crops of very excellent pears. He is well up in pear culture and considers that region the best he ever knew for that purpose. Apples and cherries do well there and the good people thereabouts have a faith in themselves and their country that is pleasant to behold, but they probably err in supposing that no other part of Oregon can hold a candle to them or compete with them in these products.
ROGUE RIVER AND UMPQUA VALLEYS.The main Rogue River Valley is in part high prairie and good soil, and three-fourths is more or less gravelly. While fruit trees grow well enough on this low land, it is so much liable to danger from frost that it is not considered safe to plant orchards or vineyards there. Besides there is an old-time prejudice in favor of hill land for fruit, as giving a better flavor than the soil of the prairies. The future should see these southern counties devoted to the production of choice fruits, earning a great name and winning for the fortunate fruit growers fortunes to repay their enterprise. California will furnish a constant market for all their apples and pears. They are going out of the apple business there, their orchards proving short-lived and their apples miserably inferior in quality.
The two rivers, Umpqua and Rogue rivers, have large areas tributary to them composed in great part of rugged hills that will someday be appreciated and cultivated. The delightful climate will ensure the full settlement of the county, and the value of the great hill region will be tested to the utmost. It is claimed that though it has no area of open valley to equal Rogue River, the Umpqua itself is actually lower in its flow than Rogue River, and therefore cannot have a very different climate. Judge Stearns, of Oakland, says Umpqua Valley has cooler summers and warmer winters than Rogue River, by actual observation, and he claims that there should not be a serious difference in the ability of the Umpqua to produce fruits native to a warm clime. Certainly we receive our early fruits and vegetables from Douglas County a month almost before they ripen near home, and as soon or sooner than they reach us from Rogue River Valley.
THE PIONEER UMPQUA VINEYARD.Years ago Hon. Jesse Applegate set out a large vineyard on the side of Yoncalla Mountain, or what to us seemed a mountain to climb, that was--save for altitude--an easy walk from Snowden Springs. We visited him there and have often asked the fate of this pioneer vineyard, to learn that it made reasonable progress up to the time our old friend lost his beloved wife, when he quit the spot and his successor allowed sheep to devour the vines and destroy the vineyard. He assures us that it would have done well had it received the proper care and cultivation. We cannot learn that grapes or peaches have ever received a fair test in Umpqua, though it cannot be excelled as to prunes. These are grown with rare excellence, as also all other fruits grown in the Willamette.
Southern Oregon as herein described simply awaits development. The construction of the Oregon & California Railroad through its whole extent gives reasonable hope that we shall soon see settlement commence and continue there and the development of this choice portion of our state keep on until its merits are fully tested. This road is, we think, destined to do much towards filling Oregon valleys with homes and peopling our hillsides with fruit farms. The outflow from California may easily surpass the direct travel from the East to the whole Pacific Northwest. Tens of thousands are drawn to California who cannot remain there and must go elsewhere. They will be sure to return east by the northern route and many may actually come here to settle and make homes. We propose to make this whole region known to those who may soon come here.
The length of this paper prevents reference in detail to the present fruit production of the Southern Oregon counties, and such particulars as are obtainable on this subject will be given at an early day.
Oregonian, Portland, December 3, 1887, page 8
Results of Fruit Culture in Southern Oregon.
Mr. H. E. Battin, who does a large business in domestic and imported fruits, handled a great part of the orchard products of Rogue River Valley the past or rather present season, and spent most of the time for some months in that valley looking after the same. From him we gather some facts concerning the late fruit crop, and also as to his opinion of Southern Oregon in general as a producing region. He puts the apple crop of Rogue River Valley at fully 60,000 bushels, and the producers received an average of fifty cents a bushel for the same on the ground.
The firm of H. E. Battin & Company purchased one hundred carloads, or forty thousand bushels. Twenty carloads or eight thousand bushels were purchased on California account, of which part yet waits for the spending of transportation on the Oregon and California Railroad, now an accomplished fact, and six thousand bushels in all were handled by different parties; besides, there was more fruit of which no account can be made, so that the total aggregates 60,000 bushels, as above stated.
Pears were nearly gone before the buyers got in there, and a great many went to waste, or were eaten by swine. Five carloads were shipped away, and twice as many rotted on the ground or were fed to stock, a course that will hardly be pursued again. Pears are grown considerably, but not nearly so extensively as apples. Of grapes there were one hundred acres, and they bore nearly four tons to the acre. Wine making is carried on extensively, because the grapes are not generally good table fruit. Mission grapes are usually found in these vineyards, and they are not well calculated for shipment. Being very juicy, it does well in wine-making.
Peaches are grown somewhat, but the peach orchards of any extent are quite young and not bearing heavily. As an approximation toward correctness, we should put the total shipped away this season at 7000 boxes, of twenty pounds each. Of these, probably one-third were shipped from Medford, and 4000 boxes, or thereabouts, came from Ashland, or that vicinity. This gives some idea of the quantity of fruit that was shipped from that valley in 1887.
Concerning the kinds of peaches to plant, Mr. Battin very sensibly says people in Oregon mistake greatly when they plant early kinds for our market. The reason is that California raises these poor sorts in advance of us and sends them to us, and they are really inferior, only marketable because no other kinds can be had. So, if our fruit growers set out these early sorts they will only come in competition with Crawfords and other excellent peaches that California will be shipping here in great supply. If we plant Crawfords, they will come just after California Crawfords are gone, and be salable in California or Oregon because later than the same variety grown in that state. This is so plain a showing that we hope it will be remembered by all who plant peaches.
Mr. Battin says the apricot cannot be grown in Southern Oregon in perfection and to as good profit as the peach, and advises fruit growers not to waste time and money trying to grow them. He says Rogue River apples are smooth, of good color, and apparently healthy, and he considers them more perfect and better keepers usually than Willamette Valley fruit. They are good flavor, but smaller in size than Willamette apples, though not so small as to lose value. The pear does remarkably well there, and the apple and pear succeed on very rich black soil where peaches would be a failure. This bottom or rich bench land he considers remarkably good for these hardy fruits.
Mr. Battin went to Josephine County, and fully bears out the opinion heretofore expressed that the valleys and bench lands on streams there fully equal any on Rogue River. Applegate and Williams creeks have many good farms, and their orchards are as fine and trees as healthy as he has ever seen. Last spring they were touched by frost and the crop damaged, which has not occurred before in fifteen years or since their orchards have borne. Those valleys, combined with others in Jackson County, furnish an almost unlimited quantity of the best of fruit lands, and there is no reason why they should be held at very high price for years to come. As yet fruit planting is in its infancy, and must attain immense proportions in time.
The farmers of Jackson County can grow garden stuffs and melons in the greatest excellence and profusion. Their melons have been literally corded up in our grocery stores all the summer and fall, and they can meet any demand. Mr. Stewart, who was mentioned the other day as planting out many pears, has already 150 acres of orchard, and will this season plant out seventy acres more, intends next spring to plant about a quarter section of land in tomatoes, melons, sweet potatoes, etc., having made a success of such crops the past season. The soil is quick, the summers warm, and the valley possesses every facility for producing early fruits and vegetables in the greatest excellence as well as profusion.
Mr. Battin considers Douglas County even warmer than Jackson County, and that it surpasses Rogue River in its capacity to grow prunes. This fruit, he thinks, does not grow in perfection south of the Umpqua, and as this is true of California in general, it does not seem unreasonable that it should also apply to Rogue River Valley, that joins California. Douglas County, he thinks, possesses great possibilities, and when developed thoroughly will produce early fruit and vegetables in quality. Already we have learned to expect tomatoes, etc., from thence a week or two in advance of our Willamette market gardens. As to orchards, the products of Umpqua promise to become of great importance. Battin & Co. are now purchasing hay and other products in Douglas County, and this fall bought 4000 bushels of apples between Canyonville and Drain. The orchards there are not large, but the fruit is good, and the extent of land that is suited to orchards is large.
The orchards in Southern Oregon were planted in early days, when the placers of that region were turning out millions of gold dust, and when pack trains were bringing fruit from the Willamette to satisfy the miners' wants. The farmer soon followed the gold digger. He set out orchards thirty years ago, and has depended on the mines for a market. This market proved a good one until quite recent years, when the placer that seemed so fabulous became played out. They took good care of their trees so long as the demand lasted, and their orchards, not being as dilapidated as those of the Willamette, are again a source of pride.
It was mentioned above that the men who bought for the California market shipped part of their purchase via Yaquina to San Francisco, as they were offered good rates by that route. This was rather roundabout, but it shows the truth of the old proverb that says: "Competition is the life of trade." The Oregon & California is now running regular freight trains, and no doubt the apples and pears of Southern Oregon will hereafter find a good demand in California and be marketed there. A gentleman recently from that state declares that every available piece of land there has been cut up into town lots by land speculators, and the apple orchards are all dug up and platted for sale. His story combines a touch of sarcasm with a wonderful amount of truth, no doubt.--Oregonian.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 5, 1888, page 2
FRUIT RAISING IN SOUTHERN OREGON.
Mr. Miller Tells How the Growers Fared This Year--Influx of Californians.
Robert A. Miller of Jacksonville, president of the Southern Oregon Fruit Growers' Association, is in the city on a visit. Speaking to an Oregonian reporter yesterday, he said that the fruit crop of Southern Oregon this year was, generally speaking, a complete success, and the prices realized were encouraging. He went on:
"Most of the fruit has been purchased for California shipment, whence it will be shipped to the Hawaiian Islands and China. For the first time in the history of our portion of the state the codling moth has made its appearance the past season in the apples of a few orchards, principally old ones; otherwise the quality of the apples was good and we have nothing to complain of. Our apples have a great advantage over those grown in the valley, as they have a more perfect growth, and the fungus noticeable on the valley apples is not present on the fruit produced by us.
"Everybody raised watermelons, it seemed, and carload after carload of them was shipped to Portland and elsewhere.
"The grape crop was almost an entire failure for the first time, the vines having been killed last winter. Sap began running in the vines and then a severe frost came on, nipping them. We will make up for the loss next year.
"Peaches, pears, plums and prunes were produced in abundance. Some good corn was also grown. Hundreds of California people are making their homes in the valley and are going into the fruit-raising business. Large farms are being cut up into forty- and fifty-acre tracts to accommodate the newcomers."
Oregonian, Portland, October 23, 1888, page 8
SOUTHERN OREGON FRUIT ORCHARDS
Statistics Showing Acreage of Principal Varieties.
ONLY LARGE SHIPPERS.
Incomplete List of Orchards with a Total of Not Less Than Ten Acres.
The fruit orchards of the Rogue River Valley have been multiplying for the past ten or fifteen years, until one is surprised at the immense acreage of fruit. Hardly a family in town or country but what has a neat little family orchard of choice fruits which supplies family consumption. Apples, pears, peaches, prunes, plums, apricots, almonds, nectarines and all the smaller fruits grow and produce abundantly in the valley and adjacent country. Even figs are grown here with some care and attention.
It was not until recently that any attempt has been made to obtain any data as to the number of orchards and the quantity and quality of fruits grown in the valley surrounding Medford. By special request of the Southern Pacific company, Messrs. J. D. Whitman, J. H. Stewart and other large fruit growers and acreage of orchards within their knowledge and last week the former gentleman took pains to tabulate some statistics in this line, which he furnished to agent Lippincott, of this city. Through the urbanity of Mr. Lippincott The Monitor-Miner has been furnished with a copy of the data obtained, and we take pleasure in publishing it for the information of our readers. Remember that this list is not full and only includes those orchards which total ten acres or more. There are hundreds of small orchards which produce [an] abundance of fruits for the markets, aside from the following, which comprise only the large shippers from Medford station:
J. H. Stewart--Apples, 90; pears, 70; prunes, 30; peaches, 2; total, 190.
Clint Stewart--Apples, 25; pears, 20; prunes, 85; peaches, 5; almonds, 30; total, 180.
M. Stewart--Apples, 8; pears, 10; peaches, 12; total, 35.
Wm. Stewart--Apples, 35; pears, 30; total, 65.
A. J. Weeks--Apples, 70; pears, 35; prunes, 35; peaches, 35; total, 140.
Weeks & Orr--Pears, 20; total, 20.
Terrill--Apples, 13; peaches, 6; apricots, 6; total, 25.
Gore & Son--Apples, 5; pears, 5; prunes, 5; peaches, 5; total, 20.
Kleinhammer--Apples, 20; pears, 5; total, 25.
Wm. A. Smith--Apples, 10; pears, 25; total, 35.
Judge Crowell--Apples, 20; almonds, 15; total, 35.
Hansen--Apples, 5; pears, 2; prunes, 3; total, 10.
J. A. Lyons--Apples, 10; total, 10.
J. A. Whitman--Apples, 20; total, 20.
Bennett--Apples, 10; total, 10.
I. W. Thomas--Apples, 5; pears, 5; prunes, 20; total, 30.
J. D. Whitman--Apples, 60; pears, 1; prunes, 1; total, 62.
W. H. Barr--Apples, 20; pears, 4; prunes, 10; total, 34.
Sykes--Apples, 8; pears, 3; prunes, 12; total, 23.
Anderson--Prunes, 15; total, 15.
Kellogg--Apples, 3; prunes, 15; peaches, 2; total, 20.
Orchard Home--Total, 200.
Whole number of acres of apples, 447; pears, 235; peaches, 67; prunes, 231, almonds, 45; apricots, 6; grand total, 999.
Medford Monitor-Miner, October 13, 1898, page 4
During the past season immense quantities of apples were sold on the ground to California companies, who sent experienced packers into the orchards, packed the fruit and labeled the boxes "Mountain fruit, grown in the foothills of California."
"The Rogue River Valley," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 18, 1889, page 1
The larger orchardists are so encouraged by the prices received for their products that the acreage has been materially increased during the past year. A hasty glance at a few of the large orchards will give some idea of the extent of the fruit industry in the valley. The crop of Weeks & Orr yielded 550 boxes of apples, 2000 boxes of pears, 2000 boxes of peaches, 40,000 pounds of prunes, and 10,000 pounds of dried apples. Captain G. Voorhies will dispose of 6000 boxes of apples, 9500 boxes of pears, and 65,000 pounds of prunes. P. W. Olwell has 160 acres set with 12,000 fruit trees, which are beginning to be profitable. He will sell 10,000 boxes of apples and 1500 boxes of pears. This is about one-third of a full yield. His apples bring him from 90 cents to $1 per box on cars at Central Point, and his pears $1.25. He had in November 20 hands packing apples, and has had 60 in the busy season. In the immediate vicinity of Ashland 75,000 boxes of peaches of a superior quality were handled at a large profit. The soil and altitude of this section are peculiarly adapted to peach growing. The 21,500 boxes of apples, 13,000 boxes of pears, and 105,000 pounds of prunes from three orchards referred to, and the 75,000 boxes of peaches from Ashland orchards, are but a part of the fruit crop of this vicinity. There will be from 500,000 to 1,000,000 pounds of prunes sent out of the Rogue River Valley. Apples are shipped from here to all parts of the country, and many carloads are sent direct to London and Berlin, where they bring fabulous prices.
G. A. Gregory, "Jackson County," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1900, page 3
As there has been a great deal said about the failure of the fruit crop this season in Rogue River Valley, I interviewed Mr. Olwell, of Central Point, last Saturday, with regard to the prospect, and he assures me that although their loss of early fruit has been quite severe, still there will be considerable early fruit and a very fair crop of late apples. He expects to be able to gather about sixty or seventy percent of a crop this fall and ship about seventy carloads. He seems to think that the prospect over the valley is not so discouraging as at first supposed.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, May 11, 1900, page 5
A. H. Carson, of Grants Pass, fruit commissioner for the district of Southern Oregon, has been in Douglas County looking after the condition of orchards and the amount of marketable fruit produced during the current year, says the Roseburg Review. He found well-kept orchards, but in the main there is a great need of thorough spraying. He cites as examples of the practical benefits of proper spraying the apple orchards of Olwell Bros., of Central Point; Weeks & Orr, of Medford, and H. B. Miller, at Grants Pass. These have this season an output of 98 percent of sound fruit, while in unsprayed orchards in the immediate vicinity of these, from 60 to 70 percent of the fruit was infested. Although many fruitgrowers still consider spraying an expensive operation, and of doubtful or uncertain efficacy, yet it has been demonstrated that the cost will not exceed 3 to 5 percent of the increased output of first-class fruit. Mr. Carson estimates the apple crop of Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties this year at 225 carloads.
"Oregon Industries," Morning Oregonian, Portland, November 1, 1900, page 5
Fighting the Fruit Pests.
The member of the Oregon Horticultural Society for this district is inspecting the orchards of southern Oregon and ascertaining the quantity of marketable fruit produced during the current year. He finds some good and well-kept orchards, but a lack of thorough spraying. Orchardists through the country, and the people of the towns who have a few trees in their yards, must cooperate to exterminate the pests. The commissioner cites as examples of the practical benefits of proper spraying the apple orchards of Olwell Bros., Central Point; Weeks & Orr of Medford, and H. B. Miller, Grants Pass. These show by actual test this season an output of 98 percent of sound fruit, while in unsprayed orchards in the vicinity of these from 60 to 70 percent of sound fruit was infested. While many fruit growers still consider spraying an expensive operation, and of doubtful or uncertain efficiency, yet it has been demonstrated that the cost will not exceed 3 to 5 percent of the increased output of first-class fruit. Mr. Carson estimates the apple crop of Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties at 225 carloads and believes the fruit industry of this portion of Oregon is destined to vastly and rapidly increase, says the Roseburg Review.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 5, 1900, page 3
An entire trainload of apples! That is the record of a shipment just sent east by Olwell Bros., of Medford. The train consisted of 15 cars, all loaded with apples, the price of which was $1 per box, F.O.B., for the export trade. This is the largest single shipment that ever went from the Northwest.
Medford is becoming a famous exporting point for apples. There is strong competition among foreign buyers for the products of that favored district, the fame of which is due to the up-to-date, scientific methods of progressive growers. In the results of their careful work is furnished another practical object lesson in the value of intelligent farming along scientific lines.
Off of their 160 acres last year Olwell Bros. raised enough apples to net them $14,000. The sum, however, represented a corresponding amount of toil. The orchard is as carefully kept, nursed and tended as the business of any business firm in the city. As an example of this fact, it may be stated, the orchard was sprayed eight times this year. And each time the trees were thoroughly drenched with spray in such a manner that not a single leaf in the forest of trees covering 160 acres escaped. The spraying was accomplished by means of a gasoline engine upon a portable wagon to which were attached four hoses. As soon as the entire orchard was sprayed once, the workman began over again at the beginning. When it is known that 98 percent of the fruit this year is clear from any kind of pests or diseases, it will be seen that such careful work pays.
All the apples thus far sold from the Medford district netted the owners $1 per box. It is estimated that about 70 carloads have been shipped. Other prominent growers in the district are Stewart, who has 100 acres; Whitman, 100 acres; Voorhies, 140 acres. These men raise for the export trade, and always obtain top prices. Their product is never a drug upon the market. As stated, buyers are only too anxious to secure the product. The varieties of apples raised in that district are the Jonathans, Newtown Pippins, Winesap, Bluetown Pippins and Red Russians.--Roseburg Plaindealer.
Lincoln County Leader, Toledo, Oregon, November 30, 1900, page 1
THIRD DISTRICT.The horticultural industry is constantly growing in the third district, which embraces Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Coos and Curry counties. Douglas, Jackson and Josephine are the principal producers. The remaining counties, owing to want of transportation facilities, and their natural adaptability to stock-growing and dairying, have not given the industry the attention it otherwise would have received.
Production Last Year Amounted to Over $220,000.
The peach crop last year was comparatively a failure in Jackson and Josephine. Jackson County produced about 3000 boxes, against an average crop of
150,000 boxes. Often the crop runs to between 200,000 and 250,000 boxes.
Apples in Douglas, Jackson and Josephine were about an 80 percent of a crop for the orchards that are in bearing. Fifty percent of the orchards planted have not yet come into bearing.
Orchards are each year learning more about insect pests and fungous diseases, and the remedies successfully to combat them. The San Jose scale has lost its terror for the orchardist, as practical application with the spray pump with the remedies prescribed by the State Board of Horticulture has demonstrated that the pest can be exterminated. Perhaps the greatest pest the apple grower has to contend with is the codling moth, or apple worm, which in 1899 damaged the apple crop on an average of 60 percent. Last year, owing to energetic spraying with greater knowledge of the habits of the moth, the damage was reduced to about 25 percent on the average.
Weeks and Orr, of Medford, Olwell Bros., of Central Point, and H. B. Miller's orchard at Grants Pass, aggregating 230 acres in apples, by energetic, intelligent spraying reduced the damage from codling moths to 2 percent, leaving them 98 percent of apples free of worms. The success of large growers in saving their apples from the moth is an object lesson that other growers will profit by another year.
Methods in picking, packing and selling the fruit crop are being better understood each year, and as [the] system is evolved through experience the cost to the grower in putting his fruit on the market is growing less each year. As compared with any year of the past, the fruit industry of the Third District has made much progress.
I estimate production in this district for 1900 as follows: Douglas County, $109,200; Jackson, $92,200; Josephine, $18,725; total, $220,125. Of this amount, prune production was $75,375; apples, $102,000; peaches. $13,500; plums, pears and small fruits, $29,250.
A. H. CARSON,Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1901, page 12
Commissioner Third District
OREGON APPLES BRING TOP PRICE.
Fruit from the Olwell Orchards Beats World's Prices in the London Market.
From the Portland Oregonian.
John Olwell has been in Corvallis attending the mid-winter meeting of the board of regents of the agricultural college. With his brothers, Mr. Olwell owns and manages an apple orchard that is one of the most noteworthy in the country. A feature of chief interest is the fact that apples from this orchard command the highest prices that the world pays for this fruit. They bring two shillings, or 48 cents, more per box in the London market than do the best California apples. Returns from a carload of Oregon Newtowns received ten days ago gave the Olwells $1.04 per box, free on board, at Central Point. Apples from the same orchard are selling in the New York market at the rate of $4.50 per barrel, while the best Eastern apples are quoted in the same market at $2.50 to $3 per barrel. Some time ago Spitzenbergs from the Central Point orchard were marketed in New York and netted the Olwells $1 per box, free on board, at the orchard. The freight to New York is 50 cents per box, making the Olwell apples in the latter city $1.50 per box. Eastern apples were selling at the time in the same market at 50 and 75 cents per box, or one-half to one-third the price of the Oregon product.
The Olwell orchard this season produced 58 cars of apples, 55 cars of which have already been shipped and sold. It was the orchard's 12th year of existence and third year of bearing. Up to the present time $40,000 has been invested in the enterprise. Of the apples shipped, four cars went to London and 24 cars to New York and other eastern cities. The other cars went in all directions--to San Francisco, to Montana, to Australia, to New Orleans and other localities. The contents of each loaded car was 600 boxes, or a total of nearly 35,000 boxes. The apples that went to London were Oregon Newtowns, accounted by Mr. Olwell to be best sellers produced. The New York sales were mostly Spitzenbergs, while to the other markets went Baldwins, Ben Davis, Winesaps and one or two other varieties.
The orchard comprises 160 acres, all in apples but 1500 trees of Winter Nelis pears. Every apple shipped from the Olwell orchard sold in London or important eastern markets comes out of the original box wrapped in paper. The box is sugar pine, marked in large letters "Oregon Apples," together with the additional private stamp of the orchardists. The bottom and sides are lined with paper. Between each layer is paper, blue in color and of cardboard variety. On top is a paper of the same kind, and the lid is sprung in place with a machine and nailed. The apples in the box are packed with such exactness that when the lid is finally nailed on there is no shifting of position by the fruit inside.
For packing purposes, the apples are classified into four-tier and five-tier grades, according to size. Four-tier apples are those in which four apples exactly make a row in a tier and in which four tiers fill a box. The five-tier size takes its name for similar reasons. No apple is packed that is not absolutely perfect. The color must be right, the shape proper, and there must be no flaw or blemish that the eye can see. In the picking, 50 men are employed. During the packing season 20 girls are kept constantly busied at their duties. The packing is done in huge fruit houses, fitted with convenient tables and appliances for systematic prosecution of the work. Packing of apples for a carload does not begin until the fruit has been contracted. A telegram is received in the morning while the apples are still in bulk. At evening time the car of newly packed apples stands on the siding, to be taken way by a train within an hour or two after the process is completed.
One of the most remarkable features of the Olwell orchard is the success attained in destruction of the codling moth. Conditions in the locality are highly favorable to the propagation and prevalence of the pest, even more so than in the Willamette Valley. Formerly the whole crop of orchards in the district was lost by the infection. In many instances 90 percent of the apples in the orchard were infected. In the Olwell orchard this season less than 5 percent was lost by reason of the presence of the worms. This unparalleled result has been attained through diligent and intelligent spraying. The spray used is Paris green and London purple, applied six times during the season. One of the chief points of precaution in the spraying is to be absolutely certain that the poison is pure, a fact made doubly necessary because so many bogus preparations of both poisons are in the market.
Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 2
There are many good arguments which can be put up in support of the growing of fruit as against that of wheat. These arguments are nearly all known to the people of the Rogue River Valley, and it would be useless to reiterate them here, but a comparison favorable to fruit is here found, and as it is founded upon facts and logical figuring there are no premises left for dispute: Forty acres of wheat on the Asa Fordyce place, which was purchased a few months since by Hon. J. H. Stewart, thrashed out this year forty-three bushels per acre, the wheat being raised by Mr. Fordyce. This forty acres will be planted to Yellow Newtown apples next spring by Mr. Stewart, and thereby hangs a tale, or rather a reflection. This forty-three bushels is worth about $20 and is a good yield for an acre of ground, but it took two years to get it, as it was a summer fallow crop and a heavy drain was made on the soil. When the Yellow Newtowns begin to bear a full crop the number of bushels per acre will in a single year equal ten such crops of wheat, or the yield for twenty years, and in dollars, twenty such yields or the gross returns for forty years. The loss of income while the orchard is maturing, measured by the wheat standard, will be covered twice over by a single good crop. To care for and harvest one good crop of fruit will for a single year necessitate the expenditure of $150 an acre, or $6,000 for the forty acres. Factory and mill will take part of this, but much the larger portion will go directly to labor here, and the community will derive as great incidental benefit from this forty acres of orchard as from a thousand acres of wheat. Soil must be carefully selected, and brain as well as brawn given to attain success in such a highly specialized industry as successful growing of fruit. Failure is certain if slovenly or careless methods are followed. Assuming thirty years as the life of an orchard on such land and in the hands of such workmen as Mr. Stewart and his son-in-law, Mr. D. R. Hill, then for thirty years labor will be largely employed, the community sustained and the owners will have something to show for a life of labor other than a very sluggish soil and a dynamic mortgage.
July 26, 1901 Medford Mail
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 7
W. M. Holmes, of Central Point, has written an article for the Oregonian, which appeared in that paper of date January 21st. The article bears upon the fruit industry of Jackson County. It is very interesting and contains much information that is of good value to people not acquainted with this great dollar-earning industry of ours. Mr. Holmes is very clever with his pen pictures upon any and all occasions and subjects, but in the article referred to he outdone many of his past best efforts--in that he has said a great deal in a few lines and said it in a manner easily comprehended. We quote below parts of his article which are particularly interesting. Speaking of apples, he says:LARGE INCREASE IN ORCHARD ACREAGE.
"It does not require a prophet nor the son of a prophet now to know what varieties to set nor how to set and cultivate them, but twenty years ago, practically all of our horticulturists were groping in the dark, and it was only by expensive experiments that it was demonstrated what to plant for the eastern and foreign markets, and how to pick, pack and place it upon the market in the most attractive and consequently the most profitable shape. It did not follow that because all Oregon red apples were good and handsome as well that our magnificent Ben Davis, Baldwin, Jonathan or Canadian Reds just filled the bill. One was too close akin to the pumpkin in flavor; one 'melted down' too quickly to bear transportation; another was too shy a bearer for profit. But one, the glorious Esopus Spitzenberg, proved just the thing for the eastern markets at holiday time, and filled a long-felt want in the children's stockings at Christmastide, when expense nor price cut any figure. Its superb coloring, fine quality and carrying character, tough rind, and the fact that it matures just at the right time to share honors with the navel orange on the holiday festal boards of the eastern cities, renders it preeminently the apple for commercial purposes in Southern Oregon counties. A close second to this great leader is found in the crisp, luscious, yellow Newtown Pippin, which Johnny Bull holds in such high esteem that with each recurring season a larger number of personal representatives of the great London houses cross the pond and the continent to beg for the product of our orchards, at prices that are well nigh fabulous. They raise these apples, such as they are, down about Lompoc and Watsonville, Calif., in carlots where we produce boxes, as your special New York correspondent states. But just now the California growers are but beginning to recover from the dynamic shock they experienced the day before Christmas last, when a carload of our foothill Newtowns, properly packed, with the glow of an Oregon mountain sunset on their cheeks, sold for 14s 6d per box, while the California product was everywhere bringing but 8s to 9s in that same city of London.
"And her fruit which has demonstrated itself a sure winner in this section is the Winter Nelis pear, which drops into a place in the eastern markets apparently made for it. * * * The Bartlett pear has not been neglected, and some striking successes have been scored in its culture at the old Stewart (now Voorhies) orchard, notably, which almost repaid the purchase price of the orchard in two crops to the present owner, largely through Bartletts. While superior to the California product, our Bartlett pears come on the market while yet glutted with California's surplus each season, and the variety is so perishable that it will not stand cold storage after transportation east, thus frequently 'netting a loss' to the shipper. The present season our local growers, who sold early or on contract, made a handsome thing out of Bartletts, but the dealers are said to have come to grief. As a solution of the difficulty, dealers and growers are talking up the proposition of local cold-storage plants, to lengthen the season. A better plan would appear to be that of Hon. J. H. Stewart, who has discovered a nook in the higher mountains, up Rogue River, remote from railroads at present, where the fruit matures some two weeks later than in the valley, where he is preparing the ground for setting sixty acres in pears next year, realizing that in the present state of development of this section transportation will not be lacking when the trees get into bearing. Mr. Stewart is deserving of the title of Father of the Fruit Raising Industry here, and his present enterprise at the age of 72 years should put to the blush those who state that life is too short for the man of average age to plant an orchard. Another variety of pear on which the attention of our leading growers is concentrated at present is the Du Comice, a yellow winter pear of fine flavor, which for the past few seasons has commanded a much higher price than the Winter Nelis which appears to have found a perfect home in Southern Oregon, and which is not open to the objection that it will need cross-fertilization. The owners of the few orchards of Du Comice pears now in bearing here are enthusiastic over their prospects of quick fortune, as the tree is very productive.
"A word as to what has been done up to date in fruit raising in this Rogue River valley. For three years past none of our local growers who had established a reputation for quality and pack has thought of accepting less than $1 a box, for four-tier stock apples, Spitzenbergs or Newtowns, and the present season the entire output could have been placed, had the fruit not been contracted too early; at $1.50 to $2.25 per box of fifty pounds. The representatives of Chicago and New York firms who secured the bulk of the output this year openly declare that for thirty years to come the market will continue to improve for strictly fancy stock. As the Southern Pacific people have made through rate to the Atlantic coast of about 50 cents per box, it would look as if the middlemen did fairly well themselves out of our fruit the present season, basing the estimate on reports of $4 to $5 per box to small dealers in New York for our Newtowns and Spitzenbergs.
"Many of our local farmers and business men, who have thus far only watched the possibilities of the industry, are now preparing to profit by the experience of others and making ready to set large orchards in favorable localities. Not less than 2000 acres will be set in apples alone the present winter in this valley, and the acreage would be much larger had not a favorable fall for seeding grain induced heavy wheat sowing. Many contracts are already being closed for realty to be set to fruit next season, by discriminating purchasers, who realize that the phenomenal profits of the fruitmen the present season can but result in enhanced valuation for realty in the near future. It would seem a reasonable expectation, for numbers of the growers realized returns to the extent of $500 per acre from apples the present year. It really seems absurd to rate the most desirable of orchard land at $80 to $100 per acre under such circumstances. Nobody desires anything resembling a boom in land here, but the eager inquiry on the part of outside purchasers who know how to figure appears to indicate a great reduction in the grain-raising acreage another year in Southern Oregon. Apple orchards ten years set have in favorable localities produced four good crops of fruit, including the monster yield of 1901, and the idea has been abandoned that it takes the better part of a lifetime to raise a fruit tree to the bearing stage."
Medford Mail, January 31, 1902, page 1
MORE FRUIT TALKMEDFORD, Or., Feb. 22.--(Staff Correspondence.)--"I think I may fairly boast," remarked Mr. DeHart to me this morning, as he piled another log on the blazing hearth, "of the most expensively stocked woodshed in the State of Oregon." Proceeding, he explained that the basis of his fuel pile was a prune orchard planted some eight or 10 years ago and recently dug up, just as it was coming into maturity, because it has been found that the prune is not a profit-winner in the Rogue River Valley, or at least not in the district of which Medford's the center. It seems that those who ventured early in the orchard business here, including Mr. J. H. Stewart, were to some extent infected with the prune craze which swept the country a few years back, and without carefully estimating all of the facts related to the production and marketing of prunes, made a very considerable planting of prune trees. This explains the presence about Medford of some small prune orchards which are not profitable but which there is some natural reluctance to destroy. The situation of the orchardist in possession of a thriving plantation of prune trees is precisely that of one having on his hands a half-worn suit of clothes which he is unwilling again to wear, but, nevertheless, lacks the moral courage to give to the poor. Mr. DeHart solved the dilemma by having his prune trees dug up and converted into firewood and by planting apples and pears in their place. Some others have followed the same course, but others still hold on to their prune trees, hoping against hope and waiting for the season of old-time prices, which will never come again.
How the Newtown Pippin Gained Its Fame.
ELIMINATION OF THE UNFIT
An Interesting Story Relative to the Origin of the Oregon Pioneer
Fruit Varieties--The Ashland Fruit District.
The variety planted here is the Petite, or French prune, which comes into direct competition with the California prune crop, to which it is inferior in the all-important point of size and with which, under the local conditions of climate, it is unable to compete as to price. Mr. Voorhies, who, as the owner of the old Stewart place, has a beautiful prune orchard, still holds fast to his trees and last season turned out a product of several carloads, but the sizes were small and the price, which has been reserved, must have been very little if anything above the cost of production. There can, I think, be no mistake in the calculation which adjudges the prune tree commercially worthless in the Rogue River Valley, and which has sentenced it to the axe and to the fuel heap.
----I was especially interested in this because in times past I have witnessed the very same evolutionary process in various parts of California. Some 15 or 20 years ago, when California went prune mad on the basis of the early and great success of the prune business in the Santa Clara Valley, prune orchards were set out with small regard for local conditions, and, among other places, in the region fronting the Coast south and west of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In time there grew up a great orchard area along the Coast. The trees were vigorous and healthy, as they are now in the Rogue River Valley. Their product of fruit was immense, exceeding, in many localities, the product of Santa Clara orchards. But, in spite of all, the Coast prune could never be made to yield a profit. At first the blame was laid upon the fogs which prevented the fruit from drying by the cheap and handy process of exposure to the sun; and to get over this difficulty a great drying plant was created by the Coast growers on the inland side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the fruit being hauled over to the drying grounds by an easy arrangement with the railroads.
But this plan did not work in practice, and the Coast growers fell back upon artificial drying, which consumed all the margin of the business and put them at a disadvantage as compared with the growers in the valley districts. At last the wiser among the Coast growers abandoned the prune business altogether and directed their attention toward other forms of production. Whole orchards of fine prune trees were cut down and burned, and the soil which they cumbered was given over to other and more profitable crops. I myself witnessed the destruction of one of the largest prune orchards in the Pajaro Valley (Watsonville), and am able to bear personal testimony to the disappointment and loss suffered in the effort to do in that locality what was being done and which continues to be done easily just across the range less than 20 miles away. The abandonment of prune growing, if not the beginning of the apple industry in the Watsonville district, was at least the beginning of its larger development. Apple trees were, to a very great extent, planted in the room vacated through elimination of prune orchards, and today they contribute in large measure to the welfare of one of the most prosperous sections of California.
----In horticulture, as in other things, each country has to find out its best adaptations. There is but one guide to this end, and that is experience, and experience usually comes high. Too often those who venture first are heavy losers, and too often they are looked upon as cranks even by those who gain most through the demonstrations into which they have cast their energies and their fortunes. Happily, this has not been the experience in the Rogue River Valley. The industrial Moses of that district, Mr. Stewart, made some mistakes, as he frankly confesses, but his early ventures, as well as his more recent ones, have been on the whole successful and profitable. He had what many a man lacks at the critical time--namely, the nerve to look his failures in the face and to discount their effect before they could impoverish him or seriously impair his fortunes.
----In the course of my long talk with Mr. Stewart, reported at length in my letter of yesterday, many interesting facts in connection with apple production were developed, but nothing that interested me more than the story of how the Newtown Pippin, which is so general a favorite on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, came into its very great reputation. There are, as the apple world knows, few places where the Newtown can be grown to perfection. Everywhere in the Mississippi Valley it is a failure, and it is only here and there in small spots an the Atlantic Coast that it is a pronounced success. One of these favored spots is in Albemarle County, Virginia, which has long enjoyed a specially favorable reputation in the Eastern apple markets. Some 30 or more years ago an Englishman of rank found his way into Albemarle County, and being greatly pleased with the quality of the apples which he found there, sent several barrels as gifts to friends and distinguished persons in England, among others to Queen Victoria. The Queen acknowledged the gift in a personal letter, which found its way to the Albemarle apple growers, who made it a point each year thereafter to send her a large consignment of their choicest production, specially polished and wrapped and packed in varnished barrels. Whoever came into hospitable contact with Queen Victoria for a long series of years was more than likely to be given opportunity to sample her American apples, and thus it came about that the Newtown Pippin--or the Albemarle Pippin, as it is commonly called in England--grew into a great and special fame, which lasts to this day and helps to make the fortune of the apple grower of Medford and other apple districts of Oregon. And this fame is not likely to suffer in the hands of our people. The Newtown Pippin of Albemarle County, fine fruit as it is, is no match for the Newtown Pippin grown at Medford or Hood River and at some other places in this state, and already, when compared with the Oregon product, it ranks as second class in the markets of the East and of Europe.
----Mr. Stewart believes that he has a very curious historical connection with the horticulture of pioneer Oregon, though he was wholly unconscious of it until after his first visit to the state in 1884. In the course of his examination of the early orchards in the Willamette Valley and of Southern Oregon in that year, he was surprised to find a range of varieties familiar to his youth, and which, so far as his knowledge goes, were never propagated excepting in his father's nursery at Quincy, Ill., in the early '40s. The history of these varieties is a peculiar one. The elder Stewart was a pioneer in the nursery business in Illinois, and found it difficult to keep up his stock in a country so far from the sources of supply. On one occasion he commissioned a neighbor who was going to Ohio, then a relatively new country, to bring him a new stock of scions, and as a result got a quantity of seedlings which had been developed in Ohio by settlers from New England. From this invoice he produced a stock of trees of a kind never, to his knowledge, propagated by any other nursery; and it was these varieties which Mr. Stewart encountered here in 1884, so greatly to his surprise.
Upon his return to Illinois he spoke of the matter to an old man who as a youth had been in his father's service, and got what may be an interesting historical fact. It appears that some time in the '40s a man from Missouri, whose name was long ago forgotten, came to the elder Stewart's nursery at Quincy and bought a general assortment of fruit trees, which he intended to take across the plains to Oregon. They were packed with great care for the journey in a wagon bed. Mr. Stewart has neither names nor dates in connection with this incident, but he is convinced that this wagonload of trees was none other than that which Seth Lewelling brought across the plains at a very early date, and which became the parent stock of most of the early orchards of Oregon. In no other way can Mr. Stewart account for the presence in all our old orchards of the varieties which were familiar to his boyhood, and which, as above stated, were the special product of his father's nursery.
The facts are certainly interesting and suggestive, and it would be worth the while of some enthusiastic historical student to run them down. No other incident in connection with the pioneer industry of the country is more interesting than the Lewelling enterprise, and any new fact in relation to it is worthy of record. I suggest that the point be taken up by the State Horticultural Association and fully investigated.
----Of course, all the horticultural energy of Southern Oregon is not centered in the Medford district, nor is it limited to the apple and the pear. The country about Ashland has long been famous for its peaches. Peach orchards, both old and new, abound in that region, and I know of nothing prettier than the many plantations which checker the mountainsides to the south and west of the city. Already the supply far exceeds the domestic demand; and from orchards already planted there is destined to come a product great enough to make a place for itself in such markets as it may be able to reach. There is, however, this serious fact in connection with peach growing in Southern Oregon, namely, that for all its excellence--on account, indeed, of its peculiar excellence--the Oregon peach is not a good shipping fruit. If it had the tough skin and the fibrous pulp of the Sacramento peach it would not be so luscious, so good to eat from the hand, but it would have better carrying quality, and therefore have higher commercial value than it is. There is probably a commercial future for the Southern Oregon peach, but it is one limited to such markets as may be reached by a brief carriage. In the cities of the Pacific Coast the Ashland product is not likely to find a serious rival, but its field is in these relatively local markets. The Southern Oregon small fruits are, like the peach, of unique quality. They grow with surprising vigor and in surprising quantity. Their flavor is unsurpassed. Comparison of the Ashland strawberry with the California strawberry, for example, puts the latter wholly in the shade; but the condition which establishes the quality of the Ashland fruit is as well the condition which limits its commercial value. It is too juicy, too rich, too intrinsically good to stand up under stress of time and change of temperature; therefore it will not bear long-distance transportation. Its market must be found near at hand--in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and elsewhere near home. A. H.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, February 23, 1902, page 9
Arrangements have been perfected whereby Medford becomes a distributing depot for refrigerator fruit cars to all points on this division, including Ashland and Grants Pass. Some fifty or more of these cars have already been ordered sent here for distribution--the greater number of them, however, will be loaded at this point. This first order is only for the Bartlett pear and peach shipments. A much greater number of cars will, of course, be needed later for the apple crop. This arrangement will be quite a convenience to the fruit growers of the valley, as the cars can be had upon short notice at other valley points and our growers here will always have a reserve to draw from. These cars will all be iced here as fast as orders are placed for them. From one to two tons of ice is required to ice one car.--Mail.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, August 7, 1902, page 1
IN EDEN VALLEY.
A Homestead Representative Tells About One of Our Orchards.
About three and a half miles south from Medford, Jackson County, is the Eden Valley Orchard owned by Capt. Gordon Voorhies, and J. Hugger is the manager. This is known as the old Ball place. Mr. Ball bought his fruit and vegetables and raised wheat. Five years ago the owner sold $22,000 worth of fruit from this place. The bearing orchard now consists of thirty acres of Petite prunes, 45 acres of apples--Newtown, Jonathan and Ben Davis varieties, 45 acres of pears of the Bartlett, Winter Nelis, Howell, De Anjou and Clargo varieties. The pear crop is immense, the prune fair, and the apple good, with the exception of the Ben Davis variety, which is light. There are 484 acres in the farm. This year 160 acres are in corn and set to young trees; ninety acres to Newtown pippin apples; forty to Bartletts, and thirty to Clargos. This coming fall they will set out 100 acres more to pears--50 to De Comice and 40 to Beurre Boss. This will be, when the 100 acres are set, the largest orchard in Southern Oregon.
There are, on an average, twenty men employed the year through; and sometimes as high as forty are employed at one time. This is exclusive of the pickers.
Last year there were shipped 200,000 boxes of pears and apples and about thirty-five tons of prunes.
They have sprayed five times this year, and will spray once more before picking time.
From Mr. Hugger we gained the following information concerning the orchards around Medford. C. H. Lewis of Portland, Or. purchased the Weeks & Orr orchard, consisting of 140 acres of apples, pears and prunes. Weeks & Orr have another orchard just coming into bearing. Mr. Anderson has an orchard of 30 acres, mostly prunes. Mr. Hartley set out 60 acres of pears and prunes this last spring. Mr. Pellett has 35 acres of Newtowns and 15 of Bartletts. Wm. Stewart has 120 acres of new orchard. Mr. DeHart has seventy acres, mostly apples. This was formerly owned by J. H. Stewart. Mr. Whitman has ninety acres in apples and Mr. McPherson 50 in Petite prunes, W. S. Clay 140 in almonds and prunes. Besides these there are a large number of from eight- to twenty-acre orchards and the 160-acre orchard at Central Point, owned by Olwell Bros.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 18, 1902, page 3
Small Fruit Farming Pays.
Nine years ago last spring Mr. C. A. Beaver dropped anchor in Medford with a good-sized family to look after and with quite limited means.
He was not positive as to just what line of business he would engage in, he then told the Mail publisher, but he had figured some on starting, in a small way, a chicken farm. With this object in view he bought a twelve-acre tract of land a couple of miles west of Medford and began laying plans to harbor egg-laying hens, but as time moved apace his chicken notions were sidetracked and a providential switch threw him onto the main line of industry--that of fruit raising.
He worked hard, and his family worked shoulder to shoulder with him. He was careful and painstaking in his work; he was economical in his methods of farming and honest in all business transactions--and all these redeeming traits have been, and are now being, rewarded. The twelve acres were not land enough for him to operate, and he now rents an eighteen-acre orchard of his neighbor, I. M. Thomas. Last year he had a big crop of all kinds of fruit; this year he has a bigger one. Today, instead of being in straitened circumstances, as he was at the outset, he is independent on money matters, rides to Medford in a carriage, and pays for his purchases about the city in checks upon our city banks--which checks are as good as government bonds. This year his prune crop alone will be more than 70,000 pounds, and besides he has 1000 boxes of apples, several hundred boxes of pears and other fruits in lesser quantities. The product of his orchard this year will reach very close onto $4000. This item, made up of actual facts, is here printed to dispel as much as possible the very erroneous idea that it is only the larger fruit growers who are making money.
Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 6
A great many of our orchardmen are considering the capabilities of the foothill lands as to the manner of fruitraising, and the experience of ex-County Commissioner Bradshaw, covering a period of something like ten years, tends to demonstrate the quality of the land and the superiority of situation for that purpose. It is a fact that this season the apple crop in the valley orchards has been short. There is hardly a fruit grower whose estimates, based on the situation in July and August, have been borne out when it came to picking and packing his fruit. This shortage was doubtless brought about by the unusually hot, dry weather of the latter part of August and during the month of September, preventing the full maturing of the fruit, and the consequence was that a large amount of it fell from the trees before it was ready to gather. Mr. Bradshaw had no such experience as this, and investigation shows that wherever there was a full crop it occurred in an orchard in the foothills, where the constant seepage from the mountains back of it counteracted the effects of the drought, or where the land on which the trees stood was naturally sub-irrigated.
Now, as to Mr. Bradshaw's experience, in the year 1891 Mr. Bradshaw purchased the place on which he now resides in the foothills on the Butte Creek section. At that time there was on the place a three-year-old orchard of some ninety acres, planted thereon by the former owner, a Mr. Upham. In June following the purchase a hailstorm coming from the southwest leveled almost every growing thing on the farm to the ground. Driven by a strong wind, the hailstones cut three hundred acres [of] grain closer than it could have been done with a scythe, and what was a few hours before a waving field of green was now only bare ground. When the storm was over it was found that every tree had been stripped of its foliage, limbs, both large and small, littered the earth, and the southwest side of every tree and every limb and twig still remaining had been stripped of bark as cleanly as if done with a knife. It looked as if every tree must infallibly have been killed, and Mr. Bradshaw immediately began to have them grubbed up, so as to prepare the ground for some other crop. Not being able to secure help to complete the job that fall, about fifteen acres of the original ninety were left. In the spring these trees leafed out thriftily, and it was concluded to allow them to stand. Now, mark the result. Last year the trees were loaded heavier, Mr. Bradshaw says, than he ever saw trees before, so that this year, as is natural, some of them did not bear prolifically, but, notwithstanding all this, Mr. Bradshaw marketed 2500 boxes of A No. 1 apples from that orchard. He sold four carloads before picking and overran in delivery one hundred boxes. That's the record this year.
And such apples! A sample box of Newtown Pippins, to be seen at the Medford Bank, are pronounced by orchardmen to be the largest and finest apples of that variety they have ever seen anywhere. These apples were not selected from the whole crop as the largest, but are an average box of the largest grade. One of them, picked up at random, measured twelve inches in circumference. How's that for a Newtown Pippin? Mr. Bradshaw's Baldwins, Red-Cheeked Pippins and Ben Davis are all on par with his Newtowns.
All this is not intended for an argument that the valley orchards are not suitable for fruitraising, not by any means. It is merely intended to show that there are thousands of acres of foothill lands, heretofore regarded as of less value for the raising of fruit than the valley lands, which could be converted into orchards, and this will doubtless be done in the not distant future.
In the matter of the shortage in the crop this year, as compared with early estimates, the shortage is really more apparent than real. At the time the early estimates were made the prospect was good for an enormous crop, but, as said before, weather conditions so unusual that they are not likely to occur again for many years caused the crop to fall below the estimate, but even with this the output will be up to the average in almost any country than this.
No. We do not mean to say that apples can't be raised on the valley lands (anybody knows better than this), but we do mean to say that there are many, many acres of foothill lands which are now bringing in little or no revenue to their owners, which could be made a source of wealth to both individuals and the community at large if planted to orchards.
Medford Mail, November 21, 1902, page 2
There is a remarkable bit of fruit history connected with the old Beeson donation claim, near Talent, which proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Rogue River Valley fruit trees are long lived. There are two trees on the place, a pear tree and a Spitzenberg apple tree, which were grown in 1854 on the Alford place and the next season set out on the Beeson place, and this year there were fifty boxes of choice fruit taken from these two trees. It must also be remembered, in this connection, that fruit trees in early days were not given the attention they are now, hence it can reasonably be presumed that the fruit tree of today, which is being given every attention possible and being handled scientifically, will live to produce fruit a much longer time than have these two above referred to. On this same Beeson place is a rose tree, or bush, which is still alive, and which blooms in season, that was the first rose bush brought to the valley, it have been brought here in '51 by a son of Jason Lee, the noted early-day missionary.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, November 21, 1902, page 6
CENTRAL POINT, OREGON
WHERE THE RED-CHEEKED APPLES AND
OTHER FRUITS ARE THE BASIS OF WEALTH
CENTRAL POINT, March 25.--(Special correspondence.)--Here is the heart of the Rogue River Valley, and the town of Central Point is the shipping station for thousands of boxes of splendid fruit which goes to all parts of the world. Nothing is more delicious than a really first-class apple or pear, and around Central Point are orchards which produce fruit selling at the very highest prices in New York and London. If a California orange will bring 5 cents in London, why should not one of the magnificent Spitzenberg or Newtown Pippin apples of this valley do the same, and in reality they do. There are about 120 apples in a box of these finer qualities, and these sell in London, at auction, for about 4 cents each. After paying freights, commissions, etc., they net the growers here $1.25 and $1.50 per box.
A Fruit Grocery.The level lands adapted to fruit growing in this vicinity are estimated to aggregate 30,000 acres, of which 20,000 acres are apple lands and the other 10,000 adapted to various other fruits. At the present time the total acreage of orchards in the vicinity of Central Point is about 1200, of which 700 acres, or over one half, are not yet in bearing. The first large orchard here was that of the Olwell brothers, of 200 acres, and it was nine years after the trees were planted before a crop was gathered, but every year since 1898 this orchard has produced 20,000 boxes of choice apples, which means an annual income of about $20,000. The success of these gentlemen and others in Rogue River Valley has given an impetus to the business of apple growing, and right now more new apple orchards are being planted than ever before. I met here Mr. L. W. Cox, who came to Central Point last year from Colorado, and he said: "I thought we could raise fine apples in Colorado, but since seeing and sampling the fruit of the Rogue River Valley I yield to it the palm, as they surpass anything I ever saw in abundant yield, high coloring, exquisite flavor and immense size."
There are about 80,000 acres in the valley here, but all land is not adapted to growing fruit. The experience of the fruitgrowers here has taught them to distinguish between the good and bad fruit lands, and as a consequence the prices vary greatly. You can buy land for as low as $10 an acre, but it is not fruit land. You can buy good apple land for $30 an acre, but it is six or seven miles from the railroad. If you want the very best land, in the best locality for growing apples, you will be called upon to pay about $100 an acre.
The number of trees planted to the acre varies from 50 to 80, and an apple orchard comes into bearing in from six to 10 years, depending upon the character of the soil to a great extent. Taking eight years on an average, and figuring cost of your land and interest on the money, also cost of the pruning, spraying and cultivating an acre of fruit trees, it will have cost you at least $300 when in full bearing.
From inquiry among the fruitgrowers I have learned that an average yield per acre of choice apples one year with another is 150 boxes, and if these net $1 a box the income from an acre of apples would be $150 a year. The cost of pruning spraying, cultivating and interest on cost of each acre of bearing orchard will amount to $50 an acre annually, leaving as profit over all expenses $100 an acre. This may seem an exaggerated statement of profits, but I have taken only an average yield and a fair price, which has ruled the past six years for the best qualities. Mr. J. W. Merritt, a well-known business man of Central Point, had a crop from a three-acre orchard which netted him over and above all expenses, including interest, $1200, or $400 an acre, and he sold the apples for 90¢ a box.
Ten Acres Enough.Supposing ten acres of the very best and most accessible land be purchased here and set out to fruit. It will cost at the end of eight years $3000. The first crop will net $1000 above all expenses, and in three years the farm will have been paid for out of the income. I was told of a case where a gentleman bought a fruit farm near Talent which was in full bearing, and the first year's crop following fully paid for the farm.
Let us suppose the 20,000 acres of estimated fruit land in this section were divided into 10-acre tracts. It would give 2000 families each an income of $1000 a year, and the total gross income to the people on these farms would be $3,000,000 a year. The amount of capital invested to secure this influx of money into Jackson County would be $6,000,000.
That the profits of apple-growing is not a new discovery is evidenced by the large number of orchards now being set out in this locality.
A. P. Armstrong, of the Portland Business College, has already set out 10 acres of the Armstrong homestead farm, which he now owns, to Newtowns and Spitzenbergs, with quite a block of Jonathans included, and has made arrangements to put out the balance of the ranch another year.
E. B. Hanley, of Dalton trail fame, has the ground laid out for planting 60 acres of the rich alluvium in his portion of the old Hanley ranch, two miles west, to the three varieties of apples named above, and will plow up a first-class setting of 2-year-old alfalfa in order to set the fruit. As this ranch is one of the best alfalfa locations in the entire county, this gives a pointer as to the views of a very successful business man as to the future of the fruit industry here. Adjoining his place is the young orchard of Arthur J. Weeks. 100 acres set to winter apples and winter pears, also on a portion of the old Hanley holdings. Mr. Weeks formerly brought to maturity one of the best orchards now bearing to the southward of this district, and sought the deep soil of the Central Point district for his latest venture. He is one among the most thorough horticulturists in the valley, and among other modern methods is tile draining to a greater extent than is usual in this county. He, too, will plow up magnificent alfalfa in order to get the soil he wishes for apples.
Miss Alice Hanley has also set a fine orchard on the western slope of Hanley Butte, which appears to be also adapted to apple culture. All of these orchards will find a shipping point here. To the south, in the same alluvial belt, is the young pear orchard and Jonathan apple orchard of C. E. Stewart, who will set the entire Mingus tract of 160 acres within the next year or two, he being on the road leading to Medford. Several farmers have made arrangements for setting winter pears and apples in the Heber Grove section, which includes Mr. Stewart's orchard, notably J. A. Thomas and J. N. Thomas.
West of the Hanley ranch, on the hill road from Jacksonville to Central Point, occur the fine young orchards of C. Elmore, A. Boosey, George Clark, J. M. Hurley, J. W. Corum, W. C. Leever, L. E. Van Vleet, J. H. Cochran, W. W. Scott, T. C. Law and others, all in the foothill belt, where the trees have made a wonderful development, and the fruit is noted for its high coloring and fine quality. Apple trees are rapidly supplanting the oak grubs in that section of the county.
The entire Willow Springs belt, comprising some thousands of acres of ideal hill slopes for orcharding, and the district from which in the pioneer era the choicest fruit in the valley came, lies open for the use of progressive fruitgrowers, for some reason but a small area having as yet been devoted to orchards. This is partly owing to the fact that a considerable portion of the land has been in alfalfa, while much of it has heretofore been considered too valuable for mining purposes to be set to trees. It was in this belt that a number of Portland capitalists were last year contemplating setting a thousand-acre apple orchard as a purely commercial venture. The district, most of which is sufficient depth to produce superior fruit, will furnish homes for scores of settlers who wish to engage in apple-raising of general farming. It lies within easy distance of the Central Point, depot, and has the advantage of good winter roads.
Adjoining the townsite on the east and north lies the famous Bear Creek bottom land, ranked among the richest in the state. But a small portion of this rich alluvial belt has as yet been devoted to apples, but it is a significant fact that all the records for phenomenal yields and fancy prices have been made by the small orchards scattered through these bottoms. Formerly it was not considered good policy to plant apple trees on rich alluvial soil, but since it has been demonstrated that the big profits come from strictly fancy four-tier apples and pears, the view pertains that nothing is too good for apples. In this bottom lie the Bennett orchard, the product of which has always been shipped from Central Point; the Norcross orchard, from which the largest returns one year with another, in the entire state, have been obtained, and the Merritt orchard, which holds the record for yield and revenue for a single crop. Within view of the townsite John Hamrick this year has set 500 trees; W. M. Holmes 500 trees last year, to be followed by as many more this season; W. J. Freeman set out 500 trees last year, and the same the present year; Beall Bros., 1300 the present year; C. C. Hall 500, all Spitzenbergs, the present season, and Henry Head, 500 trees. Forty acres in this belt, in full bearing, will mean an income better than a Congressman's, if properly cared for. The Barron ranch of 100 acres in this belt was last fall sold to a Mr. Hall from Alabama, who will this spring plant 2000 commercial trees on same. A local paper also gives the information that M. F. Hanley, who recently purchased the Ed Wilkinson place on Bear Creek, has purchased 2000 acres with which to plant the place. Between Mr. Hanley's place and Central Point lies the Prall ranch of 187 acres, for which the owner last week refused $20,000 from a party of Californians, who saw its possibilities for fruit and alfalfa. In addition to fine quality and coloring, Bear Creek bottom land yields a very large percentage of four-tier apples, the size which buyers will cross the continent to obtain. They are all labeled "strictly fancy."
To the eastward lies the belt of country known as "Big Sticky," which produces some of the finest Newtowns which have ever gone from Jackson County to the London markets. The Heimroth orchard has always borne a very high reputation since first coming into bearing, and much of the neighboring land is now going into apple trees, I. A. Pruett alone having set 40 acres in Newtowns and Spitz trees last year. Further to the east, but still tributary to Central Point, lies the famous Bradshaw orchard, on an adobe slope, which has the advantage of subirrigation from the mountains, and which produces apples which for size and flavor almost surpass Bear Creek bottom. The orchard of G. W. Smith, on Yankee Creek, in that vicinity, has also brought in a handsome income ever since it began to bear. A number of orchards, varying from ten to 40 acres, have been set last season and this, along the slopes of the mountains in this section.
Adjacent to the north lies the Butte Creek section, already famous for the immense onions which it annually sends out in car lots, and which has produced some of the highest grade Spitzenberg and Newtown apples which ever went to market from anywhere. Secretary Dosch, of the State Board, pronounces the onions from Butte Creek as being of a type unknown elsewhere in the world. They are certain unapproachable anywhere else in Southern Oregon. There are many tracts of land in the foothills along Butte Creek and north on the river which will produce the best class of apples and only await enterprise and development.
In the vicinity of the Table Rocks, in full view of Central Point, lies a rich apple belt, several bearing orchards attesting the fact that it is unsurpassed in the county. The warm soil there brings trees into bearing quickly, and their yielding is simply immense. J. W. Merritt, of this place, is setting out 600 trees over there this spring. Mr. Porter, recently from Harney Valley, has a large bearing orchard, from which he reasonably expects large returns in the immediate future.
Among other orchards which may be mentioned are the DeBar prune and apple orchard south of town; 40 acres adjoining, set by County Assessor Wilbur Jones; the Olwell Bros.' noted orchard of 160 acres, adjacent to the townsite, comprising the largest single block of Spitzenberg trees in the world; the Leever orchard, managed by S. F. Hathaway, all of which produce largely of the fruit which is making Southern Oregon famous.
A feature which should not be lost sight of is the fact that while the apple is destined to be the great leader in the fruit line, followed by the winter pear, yet there is a very large percentage of the lighter foothill land which produces a superior article of prune, while much of the red soil of the mountain slopes is as well adapted for peach and grape culture as any portion of the Pacific Slope. Recent developments have shown us that as fine apricots can be grown here as are produced about Vacaville, in California, and it has been discovered that the prune tree can be worked over in one year's time into a producing apricot tree by top grafting process. When it is remembered that the best class of apricot orchard land about Vacaville is held, and has for many years been held, at from $1000 to $2000 per acre, this fact may become very important in the future development of Southern Oregon. There are but few parts of the known world which produce the apricot in perfection, free from sun spots or blemishes. The fruit always commands high prices. It requires altitude and freedom from spring frosts, just the conditions furnished by the higher levels of the foothill belt here. While an undeveloped industry here, it presents large possibilities.
List of Fruitgrowers.The following list of fruit orchards includes those already in bearing, those lately set out and those being now set out:
A gentleman very truthfully said to me: "The very best kind of advertising ever done by the people of Rogue River Valley was in sending an advertisement in every box of choice apples and pears. The fact that they are choice speaks more for the country than anything else." That is all true, and yet you find the same people who advertise in that way are the very ones who will assist any good measure for further making known the resources of the country. The class of people who are making Rogue River famous are men of energy and push, and their very enthusiasm instills energy and push into the actions of others. Among such a people it is a pleasure to dwell.
Mr. W. J. Freeman is doing business in Central Point, and did not have time to go out on the fertile lands and plant an orchard, but nevertheless he owns 16 acres of bearing prune trees which brought him in an income of $750 last year, and this is how he came to get the orchard: He bought 32 acres of land and made a contract with Mr. Norcross, a well-posted fruitman, to plant the 32 acres and care for it three years, and agreed to deed Mr. Norcross one-half the land at the end of three years. The result was that Mr. Freeman secured a good bearing orchard of prune trees with but little cost of time and money, and Mr. Norcross made a profitable bargain also. This is a hint which may be made profitable to other persons similarly situated. Buy a tract of 25 or 30 acres and have some resident here plant and care for the orchard up to bearing time, on shares.
Central Point is on the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, only five miles from Medford, and has business houses, churches and schools, and is a desirable place of residence. The public school has an enrollment of 175, with four teachers, and a nine months' school. The principal is A. J. Hanby; assistant principal, J. A. Bosh; intermediate grade, Mrs. A. J. Hanby, and primary grade, Miss Zuda Owens.
Rural Free Delivery.The residents adjacent to Central Point are agitating the establishment of a rural free delivery route, commencing at Central Point, going thence to the home ranch of Beall Bros., thence west to G. Sears' farm, thence north to the Willow Springs district, thence down to near Tolo, or Gold Run [Gold Hill?], and back to Central Point, a circuit of about 25 miles and accommodating from 80 to 100 families. it is enterprise of this kind that makes a community prosperous.
E.C.P. [E. C. Pentland]Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 28, 1903, page 14
The Rogue River Fruit Growers' Union held its regular meeting, which was an important one, at Medford Saturday afternoon, at the office of J. A. Perry.
The articles of incorporation heretofore adopted were signed in due form and the organization of the union as a corporation perfected. They have been filed with the Secretary of State. Capital stock has been placed at $1000, in shares of $5 each, nearly all of which has been subscribed.
The following board of directors were elected: S. L. Bennett, W. H. Norcross, J. A. Perry, L. F. Lozier, H. F. Meader, T. L. Taylor, J. Merley, J. McPherson and G. A. Hover. At the close of the stockholders' meeting the directors held a meeting and elected officers, who are to serve for the ensuing year, to wit: S. L. Bennett, pres.; H. F. Meader, vice-pres.; W. H. Norcross, sec.; L. F. Lozier, treas.
The next meeting of the board of directors will be held May 9th.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 29, 1903, page 1
Rogue River Fruitgrower's Union.
The Rogue River Fruitgrower's Union has now taken up the principal object for which it was organized, that of marketing fruit. The union has leased J. A. Perry's big warehouse and fitted it up for a packing and shipping room. A large number of expert packers are employed and shipping was commenced last week when a carload of apples and two carloads of pears were sent East. Several carloads will be sent away this week, and from this [time] on regular shipments will be made. The union is now the only buyer at Medford handling fruit from small growers, and is paying a better price than the commission men. The board of directors of the union has employed W. H. Norcross, the secretary of the union, to attend to the buying and shipping of the fruit, the packing and loading of the cars being under the supervision of J. A. Perry. A large percentage of the fruit of this section will be shipped this season by the union, and it is quite certain that within a year or two the bulk of the fruit of the Rogue River Valley will be handled by the union. The union fruit all having one standard of grading and being packed in the best manner possible, it will gain a reputation in the markets of the world that will enable the union to secure better prices than can be had by small shippers. The affairs of the union are handled on the strictest business methods, and fruit men will find that they have no occasion to find fault with their returns.
The Southern Pacific makes Medford its distributing point for refrigerator cars, and all fruit shippers from Ashland to Grants Pass have to place their orders for cars with the Medford depot officials.--Jacksonville Times.
The Daily Journal, Salem, September 1, 1903, page 3
Rogue River Valley has long been conceded to be one of the best grape districts in all Oregon and one of the best in the United States, for here can be successfully grown all the fine table and wine grapes that are known in America, as well as many of the best European varieties. The time is not far distant when Rogue River grapes and wine will be known in all the markets and command top prices. As to prolificness and early bearing the vines of this section are hard to beat. T. C. Norris has on exhibition at his store a four-inch section of a twig from a Tokay vine, two years old from the cutting, that contains two bunches of grapes that weigh above four pounds. These grapes are from a 15-acre vineyard near Jacksonville of assorted varieties, all of which are equally as fine. This vineyard together with 25 additional acres of land, containing good buildings, will be sold by Mr. Norris for $1000. The reason for this bargain is that the owner has business to look after and has put his vineyard and land at a price that will make it sell at once.
Jacksonville Sentinel, October 16, 1903, page 2
The growth of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley is one of the factors which will make a steady and growing demand for boxes. The climatic and soil conditions are extremely favorable for the growth of apples and pears. J. D. Olwell, of Central Point, of the well-known firm of Olwell Bros., fruit growers, gave The Timberman recently some interesting figures regarding the future of the fruit business in the Rogue River Valley, of which Medford is the center. "Seven to eight years ago, fruit growing was commenced in a commercial way. At the present time there are probably from seven to eight thousand acres in orchard. The increase in fruit acreage is about 1500 acres yearly, probably more than less. It takes the trees about seven years to come into bearing. At the end of this period the trees should produce five boxes per tree, and more with age. Sixty trees are planted to an acre, requiring 300 boxes to the acre. In the early orchards the trees were planted closer, which was found to be a mistake. In our old orchard we are cutting down every alternate row. The principal varieties of apples grown are the Newtown Pippin and Spitzenberg. Our apples find a ready market in the large eastern cities, and in England. The Oregon Newtown Pippin attains its highest perfection here on Rogue River, the elevation being about 1400 feet. In a small section near Watsonville, Cal., some Newtown Pippins are grown at an elevation about six feet above sea level. This fruit brings about 40 percent less than the Oregon product. There is also a small section in Virginia, where Pippins are grown, which comprises the available area for the production of this particular variety of the apple family. In pears the Bartlett, Comice and Basque are the leading varieties grown. There is in my judgment no danger of the fruit business being overdone on Rogue River, as the markets keep constantly increasing. The profits in the business are good, with intelligent management. It is safe to figure on 25 percent of net returns on the investment."
"Southern Oregon," The Columbia River and Oregon Timberman, April 1904, page 20
J. A. Perry:--"Apple shipments are very slow, and there is no use trying to disguise the fact that the principal reason is that the apples are not here this season. The crop is even shorter than anyone imagined, due in a great measure to the heavy crop of last year and also to the dry season. The quality as a whole, however, is very good, although the percentage of small apples is pretty large. We shipped a carload of Newtowns from [the] Fruit Growers' Union Tuesday, and the fruit was excellent in quality."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, November 3, 1905, page 1
Mr. J. W. Hicks, of Central Point, is very sanguine over the possibilities of growing the Thompson seedless grape in Southern Oregon, and if his experiment proves a complete success, another profitable industry will have been added to the resources of the fertile Rogue River Valley.--Tribune, Medford, Oregon.
"What the Northwestern Fruit Growers Are Doing," Better Fruit, October 1906, page 17
Mr. M. L. Pellett received a dispatch saying his Bartlett pears sold in Montreal for $1480.00. There were 476 boxes in this car. Returns from Chicago bore the information that the Pellett pears sold for 30 cents a box more than the Suisun, California, product on market the same day. Six cars will be the yield from a ten-acre orchard this season, and it looks as if the gross sales of the crop will be $7,500.--Record, Ashland, Oregon.
"What the Northwestern Fruit Growers Are Doing," Better Fruit, October 1906, page 21
Medford, Oregon, will ship this season about 150 cars of as fine quality of apples as was ever grown. In spite of the large apple crop this season they have sold for higher figures than last year. Some of their first carloads of Newtowns going to London have sold from $3.12 to $3.60 per box. The cost of shipping from Medford to London is about $1.10, which leaves a good margin for the grower.
"Doings of Fruit Growers of the Pacific Northwest," Better Fruit, December 1906, page 22
WHAT AN OREGON GROWER HAS DONE WITH COMICE.
Hon. J. W. Perkins, of Jackson County, Oregon, says the Oregon Agriculturist, last year grew and shipped a carload of Comice pears to New York City, where they were sold at auction for $3,429, which broke all known records for price on that quantity of pears. This year, however, that record was again broken by the sale of another car of Mr. Perkins' Comice pears for $3,450. On the former car the net amount received by Mr. Perkins was $2,700.70, and on the latter car, $2,707. Mr. Perkins has an orchard of 200 acres on the foothills about two miles from Medford. He was recently interviewed by the Telegram, and we quote what he said about these pears and their production as follows:
"The Comice with which I won the record for high price is a French pear, and is but little known. The grafts for my trees came from the original trees, being brought from France by the late A. Block, the 'pear king' of California. My trees are without question the original true variety of the Comice, being only once removed from the original French stock.
"This pear has a wonderful flavor and is spoken of as the 'concentrated triple extract of pear,' and everyone who has eaten his first Comice will admit that never before had he realized what a real pear was. Its texture is smooth, like banana or butter, so that it veritably melts in the mouth, and is very juicy.
"When the trees are properly cultivated and thinned the fruit attains a large size without losing any of its flavor or becoming coarse in texture. In other words, it maintains its quality as well as its size, which combination has been the means of our getting $5 a box for them.
"This year's crop packed out from 35 to 40 pears to the half box, of 70 to 80 to the full box of 50 pounds. Last year's carload was the first half-box packing ever shipped out of the state. These pears are packed in lithograph labels, lithograph top-mats and lace borders. The boxes are made of clear lumber. This is a very expensive way of packing fruit, but so successful that all the large fruit growers in the Rogue Rogue Valley have adopted the plan, so that the fanciest fruits that we ship are given the fanciest pack regardless of cost, and we have all found that the returns have justified it.
"Our section of country lies in the climatic belt between California and northern Oregon, having features of both, a longer rainy season than California and with it a longer dry or sunny season than northern Oregon, elements which make the conditions for fancy fruit-growing ideal. Our land is unirrigated, the soil being the grade commonly called 'sticky,' really a very rich grade of adobe. For pears we do not need irrigation, for we have been able to carry off all honors without it, but for apple growing we need more water if we are to compete with the market conditions as they now exist, where size and color are the two requirements for fancy prices."
Pacific Rural Press, December 1, 1906, page 340
The Woodburn Nurseries, of Woodburn, Oregon, delivered $1,200 worth of nursery stock to different points in the Willamette Valley last month. The trees were of a general assortment, a large portion being English walnuts. A $12,000 order of nursery stock was delivered in Jackson County about the same time. The first carload of nursery stock valued at $10,000 was received at Medford, Central Point and Ashland from the same company two weeks ago. The Western Orchard Company alone will receive 28,000 trees, which in round numbers are valued at $4,000. A good deal of that stock will be pears.
"Doings of Fruit Growers of the Pacific Northwest," Better Fruit, January 1907, page 22
Fruit Industry Gains in Importance.--Over 200,000 Trees in Thirteen Months.--
Facts for the Skeptic To Consider.--One Order for Thirty Thousand Trees.
L. E. Hoover, local representative of the firm of J. H. Settlemier & Son, proprietors of the Woodburn Nursery, called at our office Monday and gave us the pleasure of a lengthy conversation on the fruit industry of Rogue River Valley.
Mr. Hoover has been doing business for the above-named firm for a number of years, representing them in Northern California and Southern Oregon, but the fruit industry has so increased in this valley that he seldom goes outside of Jackson County. The Woodburn Nursery has been doing business for forty-four years and has 300 acres of ground for nursery purposes. Ninety percent of orchards in Rogue River Valley are planted in trees from this well-known nursery, and the question now is not one of selling trees, but of getting them to the orchardmen in time to save the reputation of the company.
During the year 1906 and the few months of the present year, Mr. Hoover has taken orders in the valley for about two hundred thousand trees. One shipment alone, made to the Western Oregon Orchard Co., amounted to thirty thousand trees. Besides this large order, there were several smaller ones, running into the thousands, the names of the purchasers being as follows: Col. R. C. Washburn, Dr. T. C. Page, Geo. A. Morris, I. C. Bradshaw, Fitzgerald Bros., R. M. Stockard, Geo. W. Taylor, Fish Lake Water Co., Phipps Bros., John R. Morgan, Geo. M. Anderson, Bates Bros. and Iseman Bros. of Grants Pass. The nursery firm has purchased a tract of land near Central Point and will set 60 acres in trees in the near future. One may understand the strides that are being made in horticulture when they have read these facts, and still better when they are informed that Mr. Hoover has two men at Ashland taking orders for him. This may sound like an advertisement for the nursery company, but it is a better advertisement for our valley, for it shows that our soil and climate are adapted to horticulture, else these large sales would not be made.
There are some who are skeptical of the fruit industry of Rogue River Valley, and this because they do not take the pains to read and otherwise inquire into the past and present of the orchards that stretch away on every hand and dot our fair valley from one end to the other. There are facts beyond number to confirm the statement that horticulture in the Valley of the Rogue is a permanent asset and one that will make known to the civilized world the exceptional richness of this section, if it has not done so already. The large shipments of apples and other fruits from this valley and the sale thereof at prices unexceeded by the products of other sections adapted to horticulture have worked marvels in attracting the attention of the world to our nature-favored section. When apples can be shipped from Medford to Chicago and sold for $1 a dozen, or to New York, where they have been sold for $3 a dozen, there is certainly something of quality in them of which we may be imbued with confidence for future success. There are men today in business in Medford who obtained their capital from the sale of Rogue River apples, and others who made their start in the orchards [but] quit it to engage in other pursuits, and are now back on the fruit ranch, finding it more remunerative and pleasurable and attended by less risk for the capital invested. Men who cut down their apple trees a few years ago have replanted, and men who sold their orchards have purchased others after noting their mistake. One man who thought there was no money in apples was made sorry that he sold his orchard of some twenty-five acres because the man to whom he sold paid for the land from the proceeds of the fruit on the trees at the time the orchard was sold.
These are not all the cases to which we could cite those who have no faith in the fruit-raising industry of Rogue River Valley; there are hundreds of others, and we shall mention some of them in the future, when the opportunity presents itself.
Medford Mail, March 1, 1907, page 1
At Medford, Oregon, 200,000 trees were sold to fruit growers during the past season, and a nursery firm recently purchased sixty acres there, which it will set to trees this spring. Grape culture is also engaging the attention of horticulturists at Medford, and twenty-five acres will be set to the Flame Tokay variety. It is believed that as fine grapes can be grown in Southern Oregon as are raised in California, and those who have tried it are said to have realized ten percent on their investment.
"Increased Orchard Acreage in Northwest," Better Fruit, May 1907, page 12
Ashland Fruit & Produce Association of Ashland, Oregon, recently held its annual meeting and elected the following directors: E. V. Carter, W. S. Ball, S. F. Johnson, J. D. Bolton and E. D. Briggs. If Mr. Briggs can grow fruit as well as he does other things, he can't be beat, and we have no doubt he can, because he does everything well, and growing fancy fruit in Southern Oregon is dead easy. The Ashland Association has a reputation for fine fruit well packed.
"Notes on Business End of Fruit Growing," Better Fruit, May 1907, page 22
At Rogue River the Fruit Growers Union, according to the Oregon Journal, shipped 315 cars of apples and ninety cars of pears, the apples averaging $2.00 a box and the pears $1.50. The total for the whole shipment was $500,000. Most of the apples were Newtown Pippins, and were sent to London. The largest individual yield is reported from the ranch of S. L. Bennett, who is said to have taken $1360 from one and a half acres, or almost the equivalent of $1000 an acre. The Rogue River Union located at Medford reports the most successful season in its history.
F. H. Hopkins, proprietor of the Snowy Butte orchard, located near Central Point, Oregon, claims the distinction of receiving $2.38 per box for a car of apples shipped by him to London last season. The car contained 450 boxes of four-tier and 150 boxes of four and a half tier Newtown Pippins.
To Medford, Oregon, belongs the honor of having received the highest price ever paid for a carload of pears. The fruit was raised by J. W. Perkins in the Rogue River Valley, and were of the Comice variety. For the carload he received $3450 gross and $2707 net. They were packed out in half boxes containing from thirty-five to forty pears. For a full box of fifty pounds Mr. Perkins received $5.00 a box net.
"Fruit Profits in Nineteen Six Outlook for Nineteen Seven," Better Fruit, May 1907, pages 28-30
NATURE IS BOUNTIFUL TO SOUTHERN OREGONThe raising of fruit in the Rogue River Valley has been carried on successfully for years, and has now passed that stage where uncertainty exists as to the marketing of its product. This is so well established that it is possible for fruitmen to market at good prices all the Yellow Newtown and Spitzenberg apples and Bartlett, D'Anjou and Comice pears that Rogue River Valley, throughout its length and breadth, can possibly raise.
It has become a business proposition more certain than any ordinary mercantile pursuit. If the man contemplating raising apples or pears will use good judgment in the selection of his orchard site, and give it the care it deserves and should have, from the setting out of the young tree to the increased responsibility when the orchard is producing large quantities of the finest fruit, practically all chance is eliminated. There are ways and methods known and provided for overcoming all obstacles to the successful raising of good apples and good pears, if the man does what is required of him. In the past a big crop, with a liberal bank account established by its sale, has resulted in carelessness, but the experience of those who fell into this error is a good object lesson to future growers. Upper Rogue River Valley, in the neighborhood of Ashland, Oregon, where the altitude gives plenty of sunshine, and fog is rarely experienced, is one of the most likely spots to build a home and raise fine fruit on a practical business foundation. Located at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains and blessed with a temperature throughout the year devoid of extremes, this region is more than favorably situated for the raising of apples and pears. The natural passing of the moisture through the earth, down the mountainsides, reaches the more level lands by Nature's own perfect process, and at a time when needed the most. While the surface waters pass swiftly off, all that portion absorbed by the earth slowly finds its way from one atom to another, taking so much time in its journey that this excess of moisture in the mountains means moisture in the valley when the season is further advanced, and furnishes such a large amount of natural sub-irrigation that, with the added intelligence of the fruit raiser who adopts a proper system of cultivating the soil during the warmer and drier months, no surface irrigation is needed.
Beautifully located in the valley about eight miles from Ashland, and some four hundred feet higher in altitude, are the Barron orchards. Here the Newtown Pippin grows to an almost perfect state. One mile down the valley the A. D. Helm orchard of seven acres, shown on the front cover, has produced for its owner in the last seven years the following extraordinary amount in dollars:
1900 . . . . . . Gross receipts $1100.00This is an average of $4,114.28 each year, and an average of $587.75 per acre each year for the period of seven years. This orchard bids fair at the present time to equal in this season's crop the best year in its history.
1901 . . . . . . Gross receipts 3500.00
1902 . . . . . . Gross receipts 2500.00
1903 . . . . . . Gross receipts 8000.00
1904 . . . . . . Gross receipts 3600.00
1905 . . . . . . Gross receipts 7600.00
1906 . . . . . . Gross receipts 2500.00
What is true in regard to this orchard can be repeated by any man interested to that extent that he stands ready to put forth his best efforts, as he would in other pursuits if he looked for a successful outcome.
There is a wealth of opportunity lying dormant here. The great percentage of land now used for raising grain and for pasturage is especially adapted to the culture of apples and pears, and land now purchasable at from $10 to $30 per acre will find ready buyers at from $200 to $300 per acre. The great demand for Bartlett, D'Anjou, Comice and other varieties of pears raised in Upper Rogue River Valley is because of the fact that the most perfect and the best-flavored fruit for the cannery is raised here. Because of the demand for the pears from this region it is likely that when it becomes known that the land is best adapted for raising these products there will be a great demand for it. The growing of pears will undoubtedly become an industry of great importance there, as the profits are so great. All the available land will soon be utilized, and the man who raises a fine grade of fruit need never fear overproduction.
The seven-acre Bartlett pear orchard of John G. Gore, shown in the accompanying cut, located ten miles from Ashland, Oregon, produced a crop in 1900 which netted the owner $500 per acre. The eight-acre pear orchard of M. L. Pellett, located six miles from Ashland. Oregon, is another example of the profits in pear raising. The Bartlett pears raised by Mr. Pellett bring the highest prices in competition with pears raised in any other locality. His profits during the season of 1906 were upwards of $500 per acre. Mr. Pellett expects this same acreage to net him $5,000 for the season 1907. A trip on business, pleasure or recreation through Southern Oregon and the Upper Rogue River Valley, Ashland and the vicinity of the Siskiyou Mountains is one long to be remembered, as it is full of interest and instruction in the fruit business, accompanied by delightful scenery and a climate that rivals that of Southern Italy.
Better Fruit, July 1907, pages 7-8
Rogue River, Oregon, it is reported, does not share in the shortage of other districts this year, and apples and pears are said to be fully up to the average. The largest shipment in its history is expected to be sent out, owing to new orchards coming into bearing. The shipment from there last year was between 200 and 250 cars. Rogue River is looking for a harvest this year on account of its big crop and high prices and the shortage elsewhere. It is said one of the fanciest packs that has ever been put up in the Northwest will be sent out from this district this year.
"Present Outlook of Northwest Fruit Crops," Better Fruit, August 1907, page 14
Mr. H. Palmer, one of Chicago's distinguished citizens, and son of Mrs. Potter Palmer, known on both continents as one of America's great society leaders, included Hood River in a tour of the Coast which he made recently. Mr. Palmer has invested in timber in Southern Oregon, and is also interested in Oregon as a fruit country. In a very pleasant call which he made at our office he stated that in his opinion Oregon presented more opportunities to both homeseeker and investor than any of the other Pacific Coast states. It is his intention to spend part of each year on the Coast looking after his interests here.
"Personal Paragraphs About Fruit Lovers," Better Fruit, October 1907, page 27
The Central Point, Oregon, Herald says that a branch of plums was recently brought to that office by Hon. S. M. Nealon, grown on his place near there, that was one of the finest products ever shown in the Rogue River Valley. The branch was something like two feet long, having on it 61 big, fine plums.
Better Fruit, October 1907, page 33
Rogue River has almost the same story to tell of high prices this year as Hood River for apples, and a good deal bigger one than any other district for pears. Its Newtowns will this year bring a higher figure than last, when fine prices were received, and Bartlett pears this year have netted growers there better than $2.50 per box. As a pear country that around Medford probably has no equal in the world when it comes to raising the highest quality of fruit and getting the highest prices for it. It is estimated that several pear growers there will realize as high as $20,000 for their crops and that prices for the winter varieties which were thought to have touched the top notch last year will make a new record this season. As an apple, pear and peach country Ashland is coming to the front very rapidly. Its crop this year is of fine quality and a large share of it has been bought by a big New York buyer at a fancy figure. It is safe to say that the finest grade of peaches put out by any section on the Pacific Coast this year went from Ashland. Its other fruit also brought a good figure.
"Northwest Reaping Harvest from Fruit," Better Fruit, October 1907, pages 34-35
Ashland, Oregon, having successfully grown about every fruit that can be raised in the temperate zone, recently discovered that the olive also does well there. The trees are in the yard of H. L. Whited, and one of them has attained a height of twelve feet. They were set out with the idea that they were a dry land tree, but it has been found that they thrive better with plenty of moisture. The trees bloomed twice this year, a second blossoming coming on in June after a late frost had nipped the first crop of blooms.
Rogue River Valley, Oregon, as a pear country apparently has the world beaten. Recently Medford pears of all varieties have broken records for prices. The records for high sales there this year are: $8.40 a box for Comices, $5.05 a box for Bartletts, $5.60 for D'Anjous, $4.10 for Beurre-Bosc and $3.50 for Howells and Winter Nelis. From sixteen acres of the latter variety Fred H. Hopkins netted $19,000, and even this record is equaled and surpassed by other orchards. G. H. Hover purchased ten acres fifteen months ago, paying the record price of $560 an acre. Since then he has sold two crops of Comice and Beurre-Bosc pears for a total of $9600, or a profit of $4000 above the purchase price.
"Among Fruit Growers of the Pacific Coast," Better Fruit, December 1907, page 19
Life of the Orchardist in the Rogue River ValleyH. B. Tronson, of Eagle Point, in the Rogue River Valley, is in the city for the holidays, and when questioned as to how he likes the simple life as known to the fruitgrower in the mountain valleys of Oregon, states that he fancies it far more than he ever dreamed possible.
Appeals to H. B. Tronson
Aside from the charm of the occupation itself, despite the hard work and close attention necessary to secure success, the fact of the security of investment in fruit lands, the feeling in times such as have made life troublous and stormy to bankers and merchants during the last few weeks, the feeling that whatever betides the rest of the world, the fruitgrower is on easy street if he but grows the right kind of fruit and puts it on the market in the right shape, makes life worth living in this business.
Then, too, having selected the most picturesque of their three orchards purchased in the Rogue River Valley as a place of residence, and having had a nice bungalow built after their own designs, Tronson and his partner, Mr. Guthrie, now feel as if they were established for life amid lovely surroundings and in a line of business which, the longer and more fully one comes in touch with it, appeals to the man of refinement as being worthy of his best energies.
Messrs. Tronson & Guthrie own the noted Daley orchard at Eagle Point, the Spitzenbergs from which stand second to none which go into the New York markets. They also own a young orchard of Newtown pippins and Spitzenberg apples on the shores of Bear Creek, opposite Central Point, in what is probably the most productive fruit section of Southern Oregon. A third orchard, situated on the slope of "Coker Butte," east of Medford, engrosses a portion of their time, being composed of apples and pears, a good portion of same being already in bearing.
To a man fond of fishing and hunting, the life amid the hills and streams of the Rogue River country is especially attractive, Mr. Tronson says, and he often spends the night on the banks of Rogue River, one of the finest fishing streams of the West, in company with congenial friends, and always returns home with a good string of trout, some of them being of immense size, by the way. This form of recreation, with a gunning trip in the hills at times, where quail, pheasants and grouse are abundant, with a genuine outing in the late summer, when Crater Lake and Huckleberry Mountain are the drawing cards, give zest to the life of the ranch and add to the healthfulness of the occupation.
Messrs. Tronson and Guthrie aver, that if their orchards come anywhere near yielding such crops as were garnered in many of the orchards in full bearing in this valley during the present season, they will consider themselves as being compensated in full for their labors of today when their orchards are just in course of development. In the Eagle Point orchard, profiting by the experience of the former owner, they set largely of the Spitzenberg apple in their planting of the present year, and met with unexpected success, losing but half a dozen trees of some 1500 set, and the way those trees shot heavenward was a caution, some of them making no less than seven feet of growth the first season.
Not the least encouraging feature of the business is the great advance in values which is the direct result of the immense yields of the last two seasons in this valley. But a short time ago the best the young orchards here could be bought for but little more than the cost of good raw land. Now, however, with the growers uniformly in touch with the world's markets, and with the fact of values being fixed by the producing capacity of the land, the best of the young orchards are valued at something like their actual value. It is hard to place a value on land which will bring in returns of $1000 per acre, as has been done in numerous instances in the Rogue River Valley this year, and it is still possible to buy orchards for $400 to $500 per acre, which all know will occasionally bring in fabulous returns when in full bearing. There is a disposition to be satisfied with smaller holdings than formerly among persons seeking fruit farms, owing to it having been demonstrated that the small orchard, properly handled, is undoubtedly more profitable than the large holdings, proportionately. So much depends on the quality of the fruit sent forward in determining prices, that the advantage is with the small grower, who personally superintends every detail. Everything connected with horticulture is an engrossing and fascinating study, and the man who gives it his undivided attention is sure to make it a success, is the opinion of Mr. Tronson.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, December 22, 1907, page C3
Gold Hill, Oregon, is very much elated over the high prices received there this year for its apples. In a letter written to R. C. F. Astbury of that place by a large New York commission house he was recently informed that from $2.25 to $2.50 would be the price of a carload of Spitzenbergs shipped them.
Better Fruit, January 1908, page 16
Again has the world's record price for Comice pears been broken by Rogue River Valley fruit, this time by the product of G. A. Hover's orchard, south of Medford, near Phoenix, says the Medford Mail. Returns have just been received from fancy fruit shipped October 5 from Medford by J. A. Perry, manager of the Rogue River Fruit Growers' Association. The pears were kept in storage and sold at auction last week, grossing $4.60 a half box, or $9.20 a full box, the highest price ever received for even this high-priced fruit. It was thought two months ago when Comice pears from G. A. Morse's orchard brought $8.40 a box that the top notch had been reached, but even this has now been passed. The record for a carload still remains with the Lewis orchard, which is $4622.80. One from the J. W. Perkins orchard grossed $4558. The record-smashing began with the first shipment of the year, when F. L. Tou Velle beat the record with $8.10 a box. Then C. H. Lewis got $8.20. Then G. A. Morse $8.40. If there were any more pears to market the price would climb still higher, in spite of financial stringencies and bankers' panics.
Better Fruit, January 1908, page 18
Medford, Oregon, disposed of a large part of its Newtown Pippins this fall to Balfour, Guthrie & Co., who are said to have paid $2.60 per box for them. The apples were sold in a pool which was engineered by F. H. Lewis, and from 35 to 50 cars have been secured. Fruit from the Lewis, Burrell, Hopkins, Findley and other orchards was included.
"News of Different Northwest Sections," Better Fruit, January 1908, page 25
F. H. Hopkins, the well known Medford orchardist, will this year set about 6000 young trees on his Snowy Butte Orchard near Central Point. The ground is being prepared, leveled and put in first-class shape for the new stock. Mr. Hopkins, aided by his superintendent, Mr. Pankey, has made this orchard one of the most valuable and famous of the groves in the valley.--Medford Mail.
"Personal Paragraphs About Fruit Growers," Better Fruit, January 1908, page 27
Medford, Oregon, will plant many fruit trees, according to fruit inspector Taylor of that place, who says that at least 5000 acres of fruit trees have been or are being set out in the Rogue River Valley about Medford this season. He expects the total number of trees to be planted will probably reach 500,000, and may exceed even this amount. "I have inspected 250,000 trees," said Mr. Taylor recently. "There are 70,000 more from two other nurseries awaiting inspection. In addition, many trees from outside nurseries have been planted that I have no record of as yet, but will have soon. The total number of acres planted may reach 6000 or 7000 before the planting season is ended. Two-thirds of the trees are pears, one-third apples, with a number of peaches, and a miscellaneous assortment of other fruits."
"What Northwest Fruit Grocers Are Doing," Better Fruit, February 1908, page 21
Shipments of fruit for the season of 1907 from the Rogue River Valley exceeded 400 cars, according to records of the Southern Pacific, states C. A. Malboeuf, district freight agent for Harriman lines in Oregon. The shipments show an increase of over 100 percent. The crop was a record-breaking one at record-breaking prices. Probably two-thirds of the cars contained apples and a third pears. But the increased tonnage will again be increased this year in still greater proportion, for a still greater quantity of young trees come into bearing. From 800 to 1000 cars of apples and pears will be shipped out of the Rogue River Valley this season, and each year will see the tonnage nearly doubled, for from 5000 to 7000 acres of trees come into bearing each year.
Better Fruit, March 1908, page 22
Ashland, Oregon, Fruit and Produce Association at its annual meeting last month demonstrated that it handled considerable fruit last year notwithstanding the fact that it has been hampered by the withdrawal of growers from its ranks. At a subsequent meeting President Gillette made a strong plea for members of the association to stand together this year and also for those who had withdrawn to come back into the fold. Plans for extending the scope of the association and increasing its business were outlined by him, and it is believed that this year it will be stronger than for several years.
"Items of Interest from Different Sections," Better Fruit, April 1908, page 29
Medford, Oregon, fruit growers are busy improving that district and setting more trees. Orchard land there is gradually rising in value, and a twenty-acre orchard recently sold for something over $16,000, or a little better than $825 per acre. In this connection it is interesting to note some of the prices recently received for fruit land in the various sections of the Northwest. At Ashland a 130-acre orchard sold for $52,000; 240 acres near Walla Walla, Washington, suitable for fruit, brought $18,000; 400 acres of undeveloped land in the Spokane Valley sold for $40,000; at Hood River 31 acres were sold for $31,000, or $1000 per acre, and a sale is reported from Wenatchee of 39 acres for $50,000.
"Doings of Fruit Growers of the Northwest," Better Fruit, May 1908, page 22
C. H. Lewis, of Medford, Oregon, is reported as having sold his orchard for $160,000. This shows very conclusively what capital thinks of the future of the fruit industry in this country.
Nob Hill orchards in bearing in Yakima are selling at $2000 per acre, Wenatchee reports sale through the newspapers of ten acres in bearing orchard at $33,000. C. Hunt Lewis, Medford, Oregon, is reported as having sold his place for $160,000.
"General Fruit Notes of Northwest Sections," Better Fruit, October 1908, page 27
Chestnuts are being tried by J. M. Root near Medford. His intention is to plant a chestnut hedge around his forty acres.
"General Fruit Notes of Northwest Sections," Better Fruit, October 1908, page 28
Medford, Oregon, is shipping apricots to Portland. The quantity grown there is not great, but considered very good quality.
"General Fruit Notes of Northwest Sections," Better Fruit, October 1908, page 29
Many years ago the fruit industry as it existed in the East began slowly to extend to the Coast. It spread into new and undeveloped regions, and accordingly, about twenty-two years ago, the production of commercial fruits in Rogue River Valley began, though there were home orchards set as early as fifty years ago. Only one of these was of any appreciable size, this being a ten-acre tract owned by Mr. E. K. Anderson of Talent. Also James Vannoy, near Grants Pass, in Josephine County, had an orchard of about eight acres. There being no railroad, there was no market for the products of these orchards, hence they were given freely to the less fortunate neighbors.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMERCIAL FRUIT GROWING IN JACKSON COUNTY.
It was in the year 1883-4 that the road now known as the Southern Pacific was completed, thus furnishing railway facilities to Portland and San Francisco. Notwithstanding the fact that fruit buyers came into the valley from California [the first fruit buyer known to operate in the Rogue Valley was F. H. Page, from Portland], and bought the fruit and shipped it East as California-grown fruit, these two men above mentioned made neat little fortunes from their orchards. Thus the Anderson and Vannoy orchards were the factors in the commencement of the apple and pear industry in Rogue River Valley.
At that time the so-called father of the fruit industry of Jackson County, Mr. J. H. Stewart, who came to Medford from an eastern fruit district, and understood the possibilities of that enterprise, foresaw a great future for the valley, and accordingly, in 1885, he planted quite a large acreage of apples and pears, the former being largely of the Ben Davis variety. He cared for the trees according to his own ideas, and that orchard stands today as an example of one having always been well cared for. His methods, especially those of pruning, were followed by all the men who set orchards during the few years immediately following, and soon extended to the various other portions of the state where commercial fruitgrowing was attracting attention, the railroad making such an advance possible. It was he who so strongly advocated the industry and who so freely explained the methods of carrying on the work. Thus it was this promoter who first gave the impetus resulting in the large planting in Jackson County.
THE GROWTH AND DECLINE OF PRUNE GROWING.--It was between fifteen and twenty years ago, when the interest taken in the growing of prunes in California extended to Oregon, that a large area was set in prunes along the Coast. At that time very good prices were realized for this product, making it a very profitable business. It being a fruit used almost entirely for cooking and canning purposes, the market was soon overcrowded and the price lowered until prunes came to be of very little value. No more plantings were made, and finally the trees already set were being taken out. Thus, after a few flourishing years, the prune industry began a decline. Now, although there are over 15,600 trees, principally Petite, being cared for, prune growing is at a standstill. Although the prune outlook is more favorable at the present time, and prices continue to rise, there is so much more to be realized from the production of apples and pears, it is probable that there will be very few prune plantings in Jackson County in the years of the near future.
RECENT DEVELOPMENT OF PEAR PRODUCTION IN ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.--The commercial production of pears in Jackson County began at the same time as that of apples. They being a more perishable fruit, and transportation facilities not being as efficient as at present, there was not so great a demand for this kind of fruit as for apples. The market has developed wonderfully, however, the last few years, and since 1902 there have been about 109,500 pear trees set out in the county, that being about 77 percent of the total number of pear trees in the valley. Notwithstanding this enormous growth, higher prices were received for pears this year than ever before, a lot of Comice being sold in New York City for $9.20 per box. Rogue River Valley enjoys the distinction of being the greatest pear-producing district in the Pacific Northwest. Apples of as good quality as those of Jackson County may be produced elsewhere, but it is admitted that the flavor and keeping quality of the Rogue River pears have not been duplicated in any other fruit-producing country. There have been larger areas, respectively, of Comice, Bartlett, and Bosc, than of any of the other varieties. It is due to the fact that there is such a large demand for Comice that there has been the stride in the planting of this variety. The Comice is undoubtedly a very favorable pear, but the cause of the demand for Comice being so much greater than that for other varieties, as the Bartlett, is that it is a comparatively new commercial variety, is a shy bearer, and the supply on the market has been limited. But it is a question whether or not they are on the whole as profitable as some of the other leading varieties. In fact, the relative planting show that a plurality still favors the long-tried Bartlett, and it is safe to say that of the money-makers, that variety stands at the head of the list. Although the D'Anjou is only fifth in total acreage, that variety is rapidly gaining favor, and from a close observation of various orchards we would well recommend it as a very desirable pear for future planting.
C. I. Lewis, S. L. Bennett and C. C. Vincent, "Orchard Survey of Jackson County," Oregon Agricultural College Bulletin No. 101, October 1908, page 4
BREAKFAST FOOD FOR BRITONS.In the heart of this valley of the Rogue today--the old French Canadian trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company once called it Rouge from the color of its water [not true], but later on for manifest reasons the missionaries thought Rogue more fitting--are three cities of pretensions and promise, to say nothing of thirteen or more smaller towns where a few years will work wonders. These three cities are Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass. Fruit farming, mining, water power, and a climate worth talking about are making these gay blades of cities grow so fast that a daily directory is a crying need, like the handy slip that came to the city's help after San Francisco's great fire. Around Medford, pears are in the air and the talk--apples have been and are, but the generals of the troops predict an apple Waterloo unless some new Grouchy comes to help. It's about Medford that young [Honoré] Palmer tools his motor car for a few months every year. There are evidently others like him, for the motor car registry here August first last was just one hundred and thirty-seven. How's that for a city that is just beginning to make dents in the map, and to sigh for asphalt pavements and slot machines?
Just now Medfordians are shipping about half their apple crop to London, to make breakfast food for Britons. Just why over two hundred cars of seven hundred boxes each, or 140,000 boxes, or 7,000,000 pounds, or about 10,000,000 apples--that was the 1907 record--should be able to cross a continent and an ocean, and win their way to the favor of John Bull, seems one of the mystic results of modern trade.
But this demand is founded on the good sense, or at least the expressed sense of the Britons. When Mr. Day of Sgobel and Day, the New York commission men, started to send these apples across the ocean, he sent naturally the biggest he could get. Word came back that these jumbos were not salable.
"They are too large for breakfast and the Englishman won't cut them in half!"
"Help!" cried Mr. Day. The next shipment that went was of smaller fruit--technically four and four and a half-tier, all clear-skinned, with a sun-kissed spot of red on every apple.
"That's the sort," came back the reply. "Our people want a small apple; if we are very hungry for breakfast we'll eat two, but the large ones look too big to try!"
"God save the King--that's easy!" said Mr. Day, so he pressed a few buttons and wrote a few telegrams, with the result ever since that London pays a large price for small apples while New York pays a small price--comparatively--for large apples, and everybody is happy.
SOME APPLEPLEXY FIGURES.And some of these Roguish prices for apples would make a New England farmer with his Baldwins and Seek-no-farthers sit up straight and say "I swan!" In the first place all these apple eggs are, so to say, in just two baskets--Spitzenbergs and Newtown Pippins being the only varieties grown and shipped, with just a sprinkling of Hoover Red to cheer up the Christmas market. These varieties are good keepers and answer all demands, and so they grow and go, and the Rogue River apple farmers sell and smile.
The ruling prices of the valley fruit growers' union last season ran from $2.25 to $2.50 a box f.o.b. the cars at Medford or Ashland or similar points. That is all there is to it under present methods. New York dealers send agents here each season and they buy on the cars and take chances of sales. There's no waiting for vexing tidings of fruit arrived in bad condition and of heartbreaking and bank-breaking prices. As any number of trees bear as high as twenty-five boxes, and an acre holds fifty trees, and as each box sold at $2.50 represents a net profit of at least $1.75, a typical and obliging acre of Newtowns means a profit of just $2187.50!
When I ranged through the orchards a few months ago--trailing Skookum John and the money makers who have followed him--I found no specific instances like this, for apple trees do not bear uniformly, and they do not always agree to keep a-living on the same acre. Pear trees are much more ladylike and tractable. But I found any number of men who frowned and showed their teeth at the same time when I asked them about profits--that's an unfailing sign of a healthy cash balance. The records of the dealers' union helped me trace some figures worth reading, and some of the Medford bankers were surprisingly confidential, throwing off for the moment that look of hard, frozen sociability that bankers too often acquire from associating with their vaults. I heard of a certain nine acres of Newtowns, north of Medford, that in four years have yielded their owner a gross return of $16,620. From an acre and a half last year S. L. Bennett took in over $1400. Twelve acres of Newtowns netted f.o.b. orchard $1170 an acre. Seventy-one trees of Ben Davis apples yielded 700 boxes of fruit which sold on the ranch for $1 a box in 1907. One acre of six-year-old Newtowns netted $711. An 11¾-acre pear orchard netted $6600. 152 trees of Newtowns on a three-acre tract netted $3125.00 f.o.b. Medford. Fifty-five trees, also Newtowns, produced 815 boxes, which were shipped to the London market. In spite of the financial depression these boxes realized $1711.50 net. They were grown on less than one acre. From eight acres 6000 boxes of Newtown Pippin apples were marketed, netting $2000 an acre f.o.b. the orchard. For the past seven years this orchard has netted $791 per acre average.
SPROUTING FORTUNES.Everyone is taking a flyer in apples or pears. Not only are the valley lands becoming orchards, but far into the foothills the skirmishers of the fruit army are
deploying. Off to the east, high in the hills, fully two hundred feet above the valley, midway between Ashland and Medford are the Westerlund orchards of nine hundred acres, all in pears and apples, and all in one cleared tract. No water is needed here, no irrigation--just sunshine and sense. One pair of laboring lads from Gold Hill have applied their surplus earnings from trade to developing a Newtown orchard in the foothills, and had the pleasure recently of refusing to consider an offer of $25,000 for their place. They know that it will bring them an income of $5,000 a year within two years more. Another firm of mechanics have developed a peach and apricot orchard in connection with a Newtown and pear orchard, and can sell half their holdings for $7,000. An implement dealer in the valley bought a cheap tract of bottom land five years ago, hired a competent man to supervise the tract, planted twenty-seven acres to apples and has received an offer of $14,000 for the orchard. He figures that in three years it will be bringing in that amount each year, and he is holding on and sawing much wood.
THE PATOIS OF THE PEAR.Down in Riverside or Porterville no one talks of anything much besides oranges. Valencias and navels become a part of one's daily bread. In the great Imperial Valley, where the rebellious Colorado River has settled down to work, the lingo is all of 'lopes. But here in this Rogue country--this Skookum John land--the talk is all of Spitzes or Newts. When you meet a pear man you have to get a fresh grip on the words that profit a man, and then you hear of Bartletts and Boscs, or Banjos, Howells, Coms or Nells. I ran down the etymology of some of these words--looked up their family tree of these lordly pears whose crops are coin. Behind Banjo lurks the name that shows its Parisian ancestry--Beurre d'Anjou; for colloquial Com read Doyenne du Comice, and Nells our old friend, Winter Nelis. but men who can find shortcuts to fortune are never troubled about chopping language. Consider Siskiyou's Sis, or San Bernardino's Berdoo, or San Francisco's abominable Frisco!
SOME PEAR PROFITS.Old timers laughed at J. H. Stewart, a fruit-grower who knew, when he planted his experimental orchard of pears and apples near Medford twenty-five years ago. He did a lot of fancy things, including spraying for pests and fertilizing when needed. No one laughs at him now, but they may put up a monument to him some of these days. Everyone today is following where he led. He predicted more money in pears than apples and last year's record looks that way. Here are a few windfalls that came my way:
A single tree of "Banjo" pears produced $226. This tree has never failed to produce a crop in thirty years. A single acre of Bartlett pears yielded $2,250. A carload of pears from Lewis orchard brought $4,622.80 gross.
Sixteen and a half acres of Winter Nelis pears grown by F. H. Hopkins returned $19,000 net f.o.b. Medford. Just think of that! Comice pears from Medford sold as high as $8.20 a box in New York last autumn, and a carload brought the highest price ever received for a carload of fruit ($4,622.80). Another car from Medford sold for $4,558.
The fruit growers' union experimented by sending out Comice pears in half boxes, all alluringly wrapped and labeled, with fancy lace paper like a box of candy, and lo, the result was sale in the New York market at $5.40 a half box. New Yorkers will have a chance to buy more this present season. One shipment of ten half boxes of these Comice pears brought $46, giving the grower $4.60 gross. Out of this he pays commissions amounting to 46 cents, freight and refrigeration 45 cents, picking and packing and other expenses 59 cents, or a total of $1.50, leaving a net profit for each of these half boxes of about 25 pounds of $3.10.
The Bartlett record price last season was $5.05 a box in Montreal for a shipment from the Burrill orchard of six hundred and forty acres near Medford. They sold for $3.59 a box at Medford. D'Anjou pears sold last year as high as $5.60 a box in carload lots.
NURSERYMEN KEPT BUSY.All the nurserymen are busy helping make trees grow where none grew before. Over 500,000 apple and pear trees were planted last year in this section, and the coming season will far exceed that record. They brought $31 a thousand last year but contracts at $25 for this season are being made. Last year close to five hundred refrigerated cars of apples and pears left the valley; the present season the record will run up to eight hundred. The picking season begins in August and ends in November. White labor only is employed and good wages are paid. One woman packer last year made five dollars a day at five cents a box. Pears will run about five hundred boxes to a car, apples six hundred and fifty to seven hundred. Fruit is all wrapped and cardboard goes between each tier. Cherries grow wonderfully well about Ashland as well as peaches, to say nothing of the staple apples and pears. Around Jacksonville, table grapes, especially the Flaming Tokay, are being planted extensively. Here, too, are vineyards where wine has been made for many years. The climate the year around is so genial that it encourages overwork on the part of Mother Nature. It is all remindful of that great garden of Alcinous when Ulysses inspected it:
"And there grow tall trees blossoming--pear trees and apple trees with bright fruit, and sweet figs, and olives and their bloom. * * * Evermore the west wind blowing brings some fruit to birth and ripens others."
THE SIGNS OF PROMISE.This money-come-quick product means prosperity here--here on the crossed trails of Leylek and Skookum John. The oaks and madrone trees that once shielded the settlers from Indian bullets, that sheltered Celie and Skookum and Soltouk and their fathers in the days of their idyllic past, are still standing out bravely on many of these valley farms. But they will soon go for the timber and the firewood of the conqueror, and here will uprise at least one big city--perhaps three. Medford is planning and pluming itself to break into the metropolis class; Ashland has hopes, Grants Pass is confident, while Gold Hill is coy, but sure. A big city water supply to be brought from Wasson cañon in the mountains to the east is already under way, while miles of paved streets and all kinds of electric power are assured. Only forty miles away from Medford, where the headwaters of the Rogue drop fully five hundred feet, it is figured that fully 80,000 horsepower is waiting to help in development, while other falls would bring the total up to fully 300,000. Down the river at Gold Ray, the Rogue is already harnessed and is helping to light and power.
Off in the hills miners are busy--at the Blue Ledge copper mine, at the big Sterling gold placer mine, at the Opp quartz mine. They've been busy around quaint and quiet old Jacksonville since the early '50s. Several of these old timers are living yet in cabins on the hillsides. Once in a while they climb down the cañon trail to town, cross under the boughs of the tree where Chief George gave up his life [Tyee George was executed at Camp Baker, near Phoenix] and drop a bit of treasure into banker Beekman's strongbox. There have been many nuggets in that box and some are there yet. Seven hundred miners once washed wealth from that little cañon about the old county seat town. Since mining began here in this valley over $35,000,000 of gold have gone out to help the banks of the world.
And the men who know say there is more treasure yet--more than has ever been imagined, up in these hills--gold and copper and silver and onyx and jade and platinum and antimony. And the day is near when these treasures will be known, when far into the mountains and the forests the developing forces will go, joining hands with the city makers and the fruit growers in the valley, crossing and recrossing all of them many times the well-worn, devious and romantic trail of Skookum John and his people.Charles S. Aiken, "On the Trail of Skookum John," Sunset, October 1908, pages 488-494
Mrs. William Glover, Gold Hill, Southern Oregon, is growing some very fancy peaches. The hill lands around Southern Oregon are especially adapted to the production of very fine peaches, which are also excellent shippers.
The Medford Tribune states that Mr. Westerlund, who is a millionaire and president of the Western Orchards Company, owning 1000 acres in orchards near Medford, intends to bring a trainload of people to the Rogue River Valley next June. Mr. Westerlund is reported as being very enthusiastic over the fruit business, and has a large following among the Scandinavians, who seem to be very successful as fruit growers.
"General Fruit Notes of Northwest Sections," Better Fruit, November 1908, pages 30-32
THE HISTORY OF OREGON FRUIT
The first apple trees planted in Oregon were from seed that had been planted at Fort Vancouver in 1825 by Dr. John McLoughlin. The seeds were brought from England.
The evergreen blackberry was brought to Oregon in the early '50s from Hawaii, its native home. This blackberry has found conditions so favorable to its growth in Oregon that it has practically become indigenous to the country, and now grows wild in patches of hundreds of acres in the burned-over districts in the Coast counties.
The first nursery was started at Milwaukie in 1848 by Seth Lewelling and Stephen Meek, who hauled the trees in wagons across the plains from Iowa.
The first orchard of grafted trees was planted at Milwaukie in 1848 by Henderson Lewelling, and was made of apples, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, cherries, grapes and berries that had been hauled in wagons across the plains by Mr. Lewelling from Iowa.
In 1850 three more nurseries were started in Oregon, at Butteville by Mr. Ladd, at Oregon City by George Settlemeier and at Salem.
The Black Republican, Lewelling and Bing cherries were originated by Seth Lewelling in his nursery at Milwaukie. As to the naming of these cherries Mr. Lewelling named one of them Black Republican to emphasize the fact that he was a strong Republican in politics and was called by his pro-slavery neighbors a black Republican. He named the Bing in honor of a faithful old Chinaman, who had worked for him for several years and had proved himself a skilled horticulturist in the work of propagating new varieties of fruit. The Lewelling was named by friends of Mr. Lewelling in recognition of his work in developing new and more valuable varieties of fruit.
The Golden prune was originated by J. H. Lambert, who had a small nursery and a fine orchard at Milwaukie.
In 1858 Seth Lewelling set the first large prune orchard, five acres, on his farm adjoining Milwaukie.
The Italian prune was introduced into Oregon in 1857 by Henry Miller, of Portland, who got from the East scions and grafted them on bearing plum trees.
To Dr. J. R. Cardwell, of Portland, is due the credit of planting the first large commercial prune orchard in Oregon. This orchard was planted between the years 1871 and 1881 and was located at Dr. Cardwell's country home at Hillsdale on the West Side railroad from Portland.
The pioneer fruit growers even excelled the Rogue River growers of today in the record prices that they got for their fruit. The first box of Newtown apples sold in Portland brought $75. They were grown by Henderson Lewelling in his orchard at Milwaukie. In 1856 three boxes of Winesap apples were sold in Portland for $102.
In 1853 Oregon apples sold in San Francisco for $2.50 a pound. In 1854 a shipment of 500 bushels of apples to San Francisco netted the shipper a profit of $1.50 to $2.00 per pound.
In 1855 there were shipped to San Francisco 6000 boxes of apples, selling for $20 to $30 per box. In 1856 the apple shipments to California amounted to 20,000 boxes. A box of Spitzenberg apples sold in San Francisco in 1856 so as to net the Oregon shipper $60.
From 1856 to 1869 during each fall and winter the apple shipments from Oregon to San Francisco averaged 9000 boxes per month. The shipping was all by steamer, as there was no railroad between Oregon and California.--The Rogue River Valley Fruit Grower.
Medford Mail, March 5, 1909, page 3 This article was printed in the January 1909 issue of the Rogue River Fruit Grower.
FIRST ORCHARDS IN ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
Anderson Grove at Talent and Vannoy Grove at Grants Pass the Only Producers.
In the year 1883-4 the Oregon and California railway completed the building of its line south of Roseburg through the Rogue River Valley south to Redding, Cal., says Horticultural Commissioner A. H. Carson in his report just published. [The line was completed south to Ashland in 1884, but didn't cross the Siskiyous until 1887.] This gave the Rogue River Valley railway facilities north to Portland, Or. and south to San Francisco. Prior to the completion of this railroad, now known as a part of the Southern Pacific, the horticultural development of the Rogue River Valley was of a primitive character. Apples, pears, grapes and other fruits were grown by the pioneer settlers only for home use.
The only orchards of any size in the Rogue River Valley were the apple and pear orchards of E. K. Anderson of Talent, in Jackson County, of about ten acres, and the apple orchard of James Vannoy, four miles and a half west of Grants Pass, to Josephine County, containing about eight acres. There was no market for the apples and pears grown in these two orchards, and the surplus not required by the owners was freely given away to pioneer neighbors, who were without fruit.
When the railroad was completed, apple and pear buyers came into the Rogue River Valley from California and bought the surplus fruit from these two orchards, packing the apples and pears with their expert Chinese packers, and shipped the same south and east as California-grown fruits. Oregon, or the Rogue River Valley, at that time received no credit for her apples or pears in the eastern markets. Every box was shipped branded as California grown.
It is a fact well known here that the Anderson and Vannoy orchards, which were in their prime in 1883-4--the time of the building of the railroad--made both of these pioneers rich, as the demand created by transportation possibilities created high prices for the products of these two orchards.
It is correct to say that the Anderson and Vannoy orchards were the prime factors that started commercial apple and pear growing in the Rogue River Valley, which at the present time has reached an acreage that E. K. Anderson and James Vannoy never dreamed of when they planted their orchards in the early pioneer days of the fifties.
Medford Daily Tribune, May 1, 1909, page 2
Dayton, Ohio, February 2, 1909.Better Fruit Publishing Company.
Dear Sirs: I have been requested to read a paper on "Fruit Growing in Oregon" before the meeting of the Montgomery County Horticultural Association in May. I want all the light on the subject I can get. I was brought up in that region, and remember the first apple I ever saw. It was a big red one from the Willamette Valley, and was packed over the mountains on a mule's back in the year 1855, and was sold in the Rogue River Valley for one dollar. With that recollection it does not seem high at all to get Oregon apples here for a nickel apiece. The interest of horticulturists here is aroused on the subject, and as the business of fruit culture has improved somewhat since I left the state in 1874 I need to get late information. Can I get back numbers of your magazine? May I depend on you to guide me and help me? It may be that I can help Oregon, the state of my pride, in some small way.
Yours,"Miscellaneous Letters and Communications," Better Fruit, July 1909, page 58
S. O. Royal.
The Nothwell orchard, better known as the Erdman place, Medford, Oregon, containing 160 acres, 120 acres set to orchard, sold for $32,000.
Better Fruit, September 1909, page 22
ENORMOUS WEALTH OF ROGUE RIVER ORCHARDSIf Aladdin had rubbed the chimney of his magic lamp in modern times he could have caused no greater changes than those which have taken place in the Rogue River Valley during the past few years. From a partly desolate land of alternating meadows and mountains, marked here and there by a miner's cabin or Rogue River Indian village, the valley has become one of the garden spots of the world, sending its luscious fruit into all quarters of the globe. On every hand in place of the unkempt meadows and timbered uplands now stretch well-tended, clodless orchards, surrounding neatly painted homes, barns and packing-houses, all signs of the habitation of happy, prosperous, industrious men.
Rough Land That Has Been Made to Produce $1000 a Year; History of Pear and Apple Orchards, Costing Little Except Labor, Which Made Their Owners Rich; Record of Several Individual Enterprises in Horticulture
BY ARTHUR M. GEARY
* * *It was only in 1884 that the Oregon and California Railroad (now Southern Pacific) built its line down through this region, and the real growth of the country did not begin until long after transportation facilities materialized. True, during the boom which immediately followed the coming of the railroad, such men as J. H. Stewart, of Medford, and later the Carter Brothers of Ashland laid the foundation of the fruit industry. But the time was not yet ripe, the boom was short lived and the valley passed into nearly two decades of peaceful slumber.
It was only five years ago that the Rogue River pears and apples began to to be known in the world markets on account of their fine flavor and rare keeping qualities. Then the good prices for the fruit came, and the real throb of life was instilled into the valley. The old settlers found that they had a fortune in their bearing orchards and set out more trees. Capital and homeseekers were attracted to the locality and straightaway land prices began to double. The people could not realize the true value of their orchards, and many of the oldtimers sold out to eastern tenderfeet at what they considered fancy prices only to see the buyers pay for their orchards out of the first two or three crops and then sell at twice the former figure to other easterners who would repeat the performance. On account of orchard land being so cheap in proportion to the returns a vast number of fortunes have been quickly made, and a large proportion of the inhabitants of Southern Oregon now possess property worth from $50,000 to $300,000.
* * *The people who made fortunes out of the fruit industry may be divided into three classes: first, the early settler who by the sweat of his brow made his orchard in the meantime supporting himself by diversified farming; second, the tradesman who plying a business in the town developed an orchard from his net earnings, and third, the capitalist who more recently has been reaping rich returns from his investments in fruit lands.
A type of the successful orchardist who has made his way by being first on the ground and sticking to it through thick and thin is John G. Gore, the owner of the heaviest-bearing Bartlett pear orchard in the valley. His orchard, seven acres in extent, is situated on the heavy black loam of Bear Creek bottom and is irrigated by means of a gas engine pump from Bear Creek. The orchard is part of the donation claim taken up by Emerson E. Gore, the father of John Gore, in 1852, the trees being set out by the old gentleman in 1888. The father at the time of the building of the railroad in 1884 had a three-acre orchard which during the railroad boom brought him big dividends. This led him to plant his new orchard. It was remarkable the judgment with which the varieties for the new orchard were selected. The block of apples consisted of the Yellow Newtown, Spitzenberg and Baldwin, while seven acres was planted solid to Bartlett pears. Every one of these varieties has since then proven itself good, and the son is now reaping the benefit of his father's wise selection.
During the '80s the Gores' 3-acre tract of trees became infected with San Jose scale. As the old pioneer tells, "We did not know of sprays in those days, and when the San Jose scale infected my apple trees I dug them up, for I would not raise diseased fruit." Although with the knowledge of the spray such an action is no longer necessary, it was this spirit which made Rogue River Valley what it is, one of the cleanest fruit-growing sections of the world.
* * *The seven-acre Bartlett pear orchard now brings a princely income to its owner, the seven carloads shipped in 1907 bringing returns amounting to over a thousand dollars an acre. Last year the prices paid for pears were emphatically off color, but even then Mr. Gore's returns from his Bartletts amounted to $645 an acre. This year the prices are good and his harvest is enormous, filling ten cars.
Mr. Gore has worked hard and used much originality in the care of his orchard and well deserves his present success. It was he who introduced smudging in the Rogue River Valley, saving his crop from the heavy frosts in the spring of 1908. His system is to build wood fires between every four trees. This, of course, takes a great deal of labor, especially if the cold snap is at all prolonged.
Mr. Gore's methods in taking care of his orchard are original, many of them entirely at variance with scientific fruit growing. Instead of keeping the center of the tree open, he packs it full of pears. Thus by keeping his fruit-bearing limbs close to the tree instead of long and tapering, he is able to put more fruit upon them without fear of breaking the limbs. Mr. Gore does not thin to gain in size; his heavy black loam and plentiful water supply make this unnecessary. He thins just enough to keep his trees from breaking down. As stated his methods are not such as can be applied to the ordinary orchard, but the load that Mr. Gore packs into his trees is astonishing and is one of the sights that makes the eastern visitors gasp.
* * *Mr. Gore describes his method of irrigating thus: "I try to supply at each irrigation an amount of water equal to a good rain. I do not believe in drenching my orchard nor in applying water too frequently. I have noticed certain seasons in which the fruit throughout the valley was of good size, and from these good years I have learned the proper time to water. A rain in the early part of June spoils the hay, but makes the fruit. If this rain does not come I supply the necessary moisture by irrigation. Rains in the forepart of July and August also have always benefited the fruit, and at these times I again irrigate my orchard if the necessary moisture is not forthcoming from natural sources. I have been irrigating my trees for four years and find that double crops can be gained by the limited use of water."
The Bates brothers, William and James, for 15 years barbers in Medford, are fine representatives of the second class of fortune gainers. These men with their father, J. T. Bates, arrived in Medford entirely without means. But the sons had their trade and soon were earning good weekly wages. Different from most barbers, the Bates brothers were ambitious, saved their money, and instead of letting what they heard from the men they shaved pass in one ear and out the other, they retained and digested it. J. H. Stewart, the father of the fruit industry in Southern Oregon, was one of the men they came daily in contact with in the pursuance of their calling. He convinced them of the fortune to be made in the fruit industry. As luck would have it their father, J. T. Bates, was an experienced fruit man, having owned an orchard near Eldon, Ia., until the poor crop from the cold blizzards of that country broke him up in business. In 1900 the Bates boys were able to borrow enough money to buy a $2000 ranch, 115 acres in extent, three miles east of Medford. On the ranch they placed their father as superintendent and then with a vim entered into their eight-year campaign of development. The land was covered with chaparral and manzanita brush and scrub oak. This must be cleared, trees must be planted and the young orchard need be cultivated, pruned and sprayed. This farm formed a savings bank for the weekly earnings of the Bates brothers and kept them frugal and industrious in their habits. But the eight years' grind is over now, and although the sons keep on barbering it is from force of habit and not from need, as their orchard has come into bearing and with another year will bring an income worthy of the care that the father has expended upon it. Eight years ago the ranch, as stated, was bought for $2000; now, with a great deal of coaxing, the Bates orchard might be bought for $100,000.
* * *It is to the venturesome spirit of Dr. E. B. Pickel, a well-known physician of Southern Oregon, that the people of the Rogue River Valley owe the opening up to the planting of orchards of the large tract of land known as Big Sticky, however, better known among those familiar with the locality by several unmentionable aliases.
In winter the roads through this district are impassable to a wagon. Even in a light buggy a driver must get out every few rods and knock the mud off the wheels with a club. To work this land as an orchard needs to be worked was considered impossible, and there was little belief that the land would ever grow trees. In fact grave doubts were expressed as to Dr. Pickel's mental arrangement when he, in the season of 1905, set out 8,000 trees, covering 140 acres. But when he followed this up by planting 4,000 more trees the next year it was freely predicted that Dr. Pickel was heading for the wall. Little did anyone, even the doctor, think that three years after the first planting the orchard would be sold at a profit of nearly $100,000.
The story of Dr. Pickel's buy on Big Sticky reads like a fairy tale. It appears that the doctor and his wife had nearly completed plans for a trip abroad, but through the influence of Dr. Van Dyke, of Grants Pass, they became interested in orchard land and decided that if a suitable buy offered itself they would take it and postpone the trip abroad. One day Dr. Pickel was called on a case over into the Big Sticky district and his driver, who was familiar with the country, pointed out the Bush ranch of 161 acres which was about to be foreclosed by the state for the interest on money borrowed from the school land fund. Next to it was the Smith ranch of 240 acres which the driver said could be bought for $4000. Right then and there, Dr. Pickel forgot all his desires to see the cathedrals and art galleries of the old world. Instead he bought both farms, paying $6500 for the 401 acres.
The trees set out on the 401 Ranch, as the orchard was called, grew fine, despite the dismal predictions. The soil was even found workable if handled at the right time and in the right way. The second year Dr. Pickel bought 160 more acres, but the farm was still known as the 401 Ranch. Last spring, feeling that the undertaking was too great for a single man to handle, the doctor sold out to a stock company for $110,000. The land, the trees, the improvements and the labor expended cost Dr. Pickel $35,000, leaving the difference as a handsome profit on a three-years' investment. The doctor has since then bought another place which he is developing. Now, nearly the whole of Big Sticky is being set out or has been set out to orchard.
* * *Hunt Lewis, Walter F. Burrell and Captain Gordon Voorhies, all of Portland; Dr. Page, R. H. Parsons and C. E. Whisler, from the East, are representative of that class of moneyed men who, during the past several years, have gathered rich returns from investments in Rogue River fruit lands. Hunt Lewis, in 1902, bought the famous Bear Creek Orchard of 200 acres from Weeks & Orr, for $35,000. Strange to say, the people at that time thought Hunt Lewis had much the worse of the bargain. From the 85 acres of bearing orchard Mr. Lewis took off gigantic crops, averaging in receipts $1000 an acre, during the good years. In the summer of 1908 Hunt Lewis sold to a company composed of John D. Olwell, C. E. Whisler, Clarke & Meyers, for $160,000. These men now hold the property at $250,000, and judging from the returns expected from this year's crop, that figure is a reasonable one. Fifteen carloads have already been shipped from the 21 acres or Bartlett pears, and the picking is not yet completed.
* * *The Burrell Investment Company, which has 600 acres in trees and nearly 200 acres of the tract in bearing, is composed of Portland capitalists. Captain George Voorhies bought 152 acres from J. H. Stewart in 1900 for $22,000. This piece of land contained some of the oldest pear trees in the valley, which, in the banner fruit year of 1907, yielded $2000 worth of pears to the acre. After a few years Captain Voorhies turned his interests over to the Burrell Investment Company, which is now the largest single fruit grower in Southern Oregon.
One of the prettiest apple and pear orchards in the valley is the Hillcrest, four miles east of Medford, which was sold by Will Stewart in 1905 to J. W. Perkins for $22,000, by whom in July, 1908, it was resold for $75,000 to a stock company, in which the majority of shares was held by R. H. Parsons, of Seattle. This year the Hillcrest Company counts on a $35,000 crop, as its trees are loaded to the limit.
Medford, Or., September 1.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 5, 1909, page F2
ROGUE RIVER FRUITSMEDFORD, Ore., September 22, 1909.--According to the estimates of experienced men, the fruit crop of western Oregon this season will be about 1,100 cars of apples and 450 cars of pears. Hood River Valley will require 125 cars to carry its apples to market and 6 cars to carry its pears. The Grande Ronde Valley will want 150 cars for apples and 10 cars for pears. The Milton and Freewater district will require an equal number, while the Rogue River Valley will need 465 cars for its apples, 305 cars for its pears and 95 cars for its peaches. The orchards in the immediate vicinity of Medford will fill 400 cars of apples and 300 cars with pears.
Growers of Apples and Pears in Oregon Section.
VALLEYS ARE PRODUCTIVE
Thousands of Bushels Sent Annually to Eastern Markets,
WORLD'S RECORD FOR PRICES
Maximum and Minimum Figures Given by Association in Medford, a Commercial Center.
BY WILLIAM E. CURTIS.
Special Correspondent of the Star and the Chicago Record-Herald.
The Rogue River pears, like the Hood River apples, bring the highest prices. Pears will not keep like apples will, however, and are sold by the box at auction immediately upon arrival at market to commission men. A trainload of pears is made up here daily and hurried eastward on passenger schedule time. A car will be dropped off at Omaha, another will be run down to Kansas City, others to St. Louis, more to Chicago, and the rest will go on to New York, Philadelphia and Boston, dropping off a car at Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo by the way, where the commission men are notified and the auction sales take place.
The bids are governed by the state of the market and the quality of the pears--the old law of supply and demand. Early arrivals have sold as high as $6 a box in the New York and Boston markets. This year the Bartletts are selling at an average of $3.40 per box. One carload sold for $3.70 per box in Boston; another sold as low as $2.80.
The big orchard men, who are able to fill cars from their own trees, handle their own business, but the fruit from the smaller orchards is handled by an association, and each contributor receives credit on the books when his fruit is sold
One Company Holds Record.The world's record for prices is held by the Bear Creek Orchard Company, near Medford, which sold a carload of Comice pears at auction in New York City in 1907 for $4,622.80. The best previous price for a carload of fruit was obtained by the Hillcrest Orchard Company in New York in 1906, amounting to $3,450. During January last (1909) a shipment of Comice pears from the Bear Creek orchard sold in London for $10.08 per box wholesale, which is about 20 cents a pound. The highest price ever received, per box, in this country was $6.60 in America, at Montreal, in 1908. The highest price ever received in the United States was $4.60 a box for Bartlett pears. The highest average on record stands in favor of the Anjou pear, which sold for $4 a box during an entire season. The highest record for any orchard is credited to Mr. Hopkins, formerly of Chicago, who sold $19,000 worth of fruit from sixteen and a half acres in 1907, and Rae & Hatfield, whose orchard of seven acres of Bartlett pears, 102 trees to the acre, yielded seven boxes to the tree, and sold for an average of $2,200 per acre.
It is asserted that the average profits on Medford pears during the last five years have been $700 an acre.
Maximum and Minimum Prices.The Fruit Growers' Association furnishes me the following statement, showing the maximum and minimum prices received for fruit by the orchardmen in the vicinity of Medford during the year 1908. It is too early to furnish a statement for 1909:
Medford the Commercial Center.The town of Medford, which is the commercial center of the Rogue River Valley and the fruit district, has a population of about 5,500, having doubled in five years, and Jackson County has about 25,000 people. Medford is located on the main line of the Southern Pacific railroad, 331 miles south of Portland and 442 miles north of San Francisco, at an altitude of 1,374 feet. It is a well built, well kept place, with up-to-date shops, paved streets, concrete sidewalks, attractive homes and numerous schools and churches. The town was laid out in 1872 by a man named Broback, who came up here from California, bought 169 acres of land, and when the railway came along he persuaded the company to build him a station and call it Medford. [Broback moved to Jackson County--from Lake County--in 1882. Medford was platted in 1883.] There was a mining camp, one of the oldest in Oregon, called Jacksonville, five miles westward, which at one time was famous. Several millions of dollars of gold have been taken out there, and it is producing a little every year still. Medford became the railway station for the miners, and at once got a good business.
Rogue River Valley was one of the earliest of the mining districts on the Pacific Coast after the excitement of 1849 and at one time it was thronged with miners. It is claimed that it has yielded $25,000,000 of gold. There are various versions to account for the name.Some of the old settlers say that it is due to the performances of a Mexican desperado named Joaquin Murietta, who used to steal horses and cattle and hold up stages in early times; others declare that the eccentricities of the river are so roguish that it deserves the name. [It was named after the Indians.]
Railway Opens Market.The first people who followed Broback here raised stock and then plowed the land and sowed wheat. Several farmers set out fruit trees around their houses, which produced abundantly, but there was no market except in the mining camps, and the apples and pears were practically worthless, except for home consumption, until the railway came. Their reputation gradually extended to San Francisco, Portland and different mining camps, and shipments grew every year until 1885, when J. H. Stewart of Quincy, Ill., came out here and became the pioneer of the Rogue River fruit trade in a commercial way. He had been brought up among orchards, and not only had considerable experience, but a genius for fruit growing. He was president of the Illinois state board of horticulture for several years. He was also a member of the Illinois state senate.
Mr. Stewart came out here accidentally, and in looking over the ground immediately recognized the superior quality of the fruit and saw the possibilities. He bought a quarter section of land, set out 140 acres of pear and apple trees, and recommended everybody to go into the business. The development was slow for the first ten years, only a few carloads being shipped to San Francisco, Portland and other markets on the Pacific Coast, but occasionally a box of apples or pears was sent to Australia or China, and a few found their way across the mountains to Chicago, New York and Boston.
Acres of Apples and Pears.The business did not assume anything like its present importance until five or six years ago, but now there are 45,000 acres in apples and pears, averaging seventy pear trees and 50 apple trees to the acre. In the immediate vicinity of Medford. There are at least 100,000 unoccupied acres suitable for fruit growing in the Rogue River Valley, and they are being taken up at the rate of 12,000 acres
The planting of apples and pears is about even, and the two fruits pay equally well. Apples are a more certain crop; the pear trees yield larger quantities, and the fruit sells for high prices.
There are many large orchards, much larger than are found in any other section of the state, but most of the farmers limit themselves to forty acres, which is "a one-man orchard," as the saying goes. That is, one man can cultivate forty acres of fruit without assistance, except in picking time, but if he attempts more than that he is compelled to hire help, and then his troubles begin. Labor is very scarce, uncertain and unreliable; wages are very high, and if the owner's house is small, it is usually inconvenient to furnish bed and board for a hired man. The advice of experienced fruit growers is either to keep within forty acres, or else go into the business on a large scale, sufficient to justify the employment of a gang of men and the maintenance of a large plant.
Largest Orchard in Northwest.The largest orchard in the Rogue River Valley, and I am told that it is the largest in the Northwest, belongs to the Western Oregon Orchard Company, with offices at 59 Dearborn Street, Chicago, and is situated four miles from Medford. The company owns 1,700 acres, and has 1,120 acres planted in apple and pear trees, which are cultivated according to the highest scientific methods. This is a stock company, and I understand it has orchards elsewhere.
Mr. Walter Burrell, a merchant of Portland, has 500 acres of trees; the "401 Orchard Company" of San Francisco has 450 acres; Mr. F. H. Hopkins of Portland has 260 acres; the Bear Creek Orchard Company, belonging to Colorado and local people, has 200 acres; the Sun Crest orchard, owned by Dr. F. C. Page, has 140 acres in Newtown, Spitzenberg and Jonathan apples, and 60 acres in pears.
The Snowy Butte orchard has 300 acres; Mr. William Hart Hamilton has recently purchased 1,160 acres, and is planting 500 acres to pears this season. The Del Rio Company has 730 acres lying along the track of the Southern Pacific railway, and is planting 600 acres to pears.
Two years ago Mrs. Potter Palmer of Chicago purchased 100 acres of three-year-old pear trees, paying $370 an acre. Honoré Palmer, who came here to visit his friend, F. H. Hopkins, one of the most successful husbandmen in the neighborhood, caught the pear fever, and persuaded his mother to come out. She proved an easy victim to the fascination of the country, and has since bought l,400 acres of new land, for which she paid $35,000, and has already cleared 400 acres,
which will be planted to trees during the coming winter.
Several other Chicago people have orchards. Mrs. Streator, the widow of Dr. Streator, has sixty acres; Mr. Boudinot Connor has two hundred acres; Conro Fiero has sixty acres, and Mr. Vilas, a nephew of the late senator from Wisconsin, has fifty acres. There are also a large number of Minneapolis and St. Paul people.
Cost of Land.New land costs from $150 to $250 an acre; it costs an average of $25 an acre to put the soil in order and set out the trees, and an average of $10 an acre for five years to carry it to the bearing stage. Then the cost of producing the crop depends upon the ability to obtain pickers when the fruit is ripe. Pickers are scarce, and they demand $1.75 a day, boarding themselves, or $1.25 a day when they are boarded.
Mr. John D. Olwell, one of the most experienced apple and pear growers, tells me that the cost of production will average 60 cents a box; the freight on apples to New York is 50 cents a box, or $1 a hundred pounds; on pears it is $1.40 per hundred, with corresponding rates to Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis and Missouri River points.
Pears run from 110 to 155 to the box, about 500 boxes to the car. Apples run from 120 to 130 to the box, and will, bring an average of $2.25 a box through the season, here on the cars. The Newtown Pippins are nearly all shipped to England, and sold at auction upon arrival there. The Spitzenbergs are nearly all sold in New York.
The ground is prepared by plowing and cultivating, and nursery stock is set out during the winter season and cultivated regularly and closely. Corn, watermelons and strawberries may be planted between the rows, which will pay expenses until the trees begin to bear, the fifth year. Each year the trees must be pruned and shaped up, and after the fifth year, when they begin to bear, they are sprayed regularly to kill the San Jose scale and other parasites.
Medford is not dependent upon one industry, however. Timber, cattle, sheep and mining contribute to its wealth and prosperity, and a railway is now being built to the headwaters of the Rogue River, where is one of the largest stands of timber in the country.
Evening Star, Washington, D.C., October 1, 1909, page 11
MOVEMENT FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTWhile all Oregon has heard of the community cooperative plan of the Harriman lines, it is pertinent to state for the benefit of those who are not conversant with this plan of community development that it is an arrangement with communities on the Harriman lines whereby the burden of the publicity work is lifted from the shoulders of the community and placed upon experts employed by the Southern Pacific Company lines in Oregon; the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company, or the Oregon Short Line, as the case may be.
BY WILLIAM BITTLE WELLS
The plan consists of twenty features, one of which is the publication of literature. Other features are advertising through tried mediums, newspapers, magazines, etc.; exhibition of products, distribution of literature, and many other forms of publicity which experience has demonstrated to be of value. The results obtained through this plan have been nothing short of phenomenal. The colonist movement to Oregon was 100 percent greater during the months of March and April, 1909, than it was during the preceding season. It is not too much to say that the increased travel can be attributed largely to the community plan, inasmuch as practically the entire state of Oregon has adopted this method of publicity and development.
The literature issued under this plan has struck a new note in community publicity, a fact which is recognized by some of the strong educational institutions throughout the country. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, is using the booklets on Oregon as textbooks in one of its departments. It is generally admitted that this plan has brought to Oregon the highest grade and the largest amount of literature that has been published during the past year by any state in the Union. It has demonstrated to communities the necessity and advisability of high-grade publicity and it has been the indirect means of bringing about in the communities themselves a larger amount of civic pride and producing, consequently, some important civic improvements. The publication of this immense amount of literature has not only stimulated travel to Oregon and to other sections which have adopted the plan, but it has brought the communities themselves to a realization of their own opportunities and possibilities. Publicity has increased land values in every community in Oregon, without exception, and it has stirred the state to a more united effort to reach out for greater attainments in the future.
The communities which have adopted the community cooperative plan of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company and the Southern Pacific Company lines in Oregon, as executed by the Sunset Homeseekers Bureau, are as follows:
Medford, Oregon, was the first to adopt this plan, and has followed this method of publicity for four years in succession, beginning with 1907. The first booklet issued for Medford consisted of 20,000 copies; the booklet issued for 1908 consisted of 35,000 copies; the booklet issued for 1909 consisted of 63,500 copies, and the booklet for 1910 will consist of at least 50,000 copies. Work on this booklet is now under way. The total number of copies of the leading booklet issued for Medford, Oregon, under this plan, will aggregate more than 165,000 copies. This is for what is known as the "Community Book" proper, and does not include other forms of literature which have been published for Medford under this plan and which will aggregate 140,000 copies. The total will reach over 305,000 copies.
Ashland, Oregon, has adopted this plan for two years in succession, and of the community booklets which have been issued for Ashland 45,000 copies have been published. Seventy-five thousand copies of other kinds of literature have been issued for Ashland.
Grants Pass, Oregon, has adopted the plan two years in succession, and has secured community booklets aggregating 55,000 copies. Seventy-five thousand copies of other literature have been issued for Grants Pass.
Central Point, Oregon, has just adopted the community plan with its various features, and will have issued for it four kinds of literature aggregating 05,000 copies. This includes what is known as the community booklet, the conductor booklet, the colonist folder and a postal folder. This literature is designed to meet entirely different requirements and is consequently of varying grades. The community plan in the past included three grades of literature, namely, the community booklet, the colonist folder, and the conductor booklet. The postal folder has just been added. It is designed to keep the business men of a community as thoroughly in touch as possible with the work that the commercial organization of the community is doing. These folders are sent out with letters written by business men of the community to their regular correspondents, and in addition to the write-up of the community's attractions this folder contains a return postal card, one side of which is addressed to the secretary of the commercial organization, while on the other side is a request asking for more detailed information on subjects enumerated, and which is to be checked by the person receiving the card. The larger or community booklet can then be sent by the Commercial Club when requested by the recipient of this postal card folder, and a definite and valuable list of inquirers can thus be secured.
Roseburg, Oregon, adopted this plan once and has had issued for it 45,000 copies of the community booklet, and 4.5,000 copies of other literature.
Oakland. Oregon, has published through this plan 10,000 copies of the community booklet. and 25,000 copies of other literature.
Excerpt, Better Fruit, November 1909, pages 69-73
WILL PLANT MILLION TREES
Larger Acreage Than Ever Before Will Be Set Out This Fall--
Sixty-Five Percent Are Pears.
Sales made by nurserymen and estimates by Horticultural Inspector Taylor show that over a million trees have already been contracted for planting in the Rogue River Valley this winter, that a larger acreage than ever before will be set out to choice varieties of fruit, and that the inability to obtain sufficient nursery stock of the right variety alone limits the new fruit area.
Of these million trees, approximately 65 percent are pears, with Bartlett in the lead, D'Anjou, Winter Nelis and Comice following in the order named. Thirty percent are apples, with Newtowns and Spitzenberg leading, with Jonathan, Winesaps and a scattering of other varieties, and 5 percent peaches. There will also be considerable acreage planted to grapes and some to cherries, apricots and plums.
Probably 10 percent of the new trees will be used in replanting, leaving the estimated new orchard 12,000 acres. As the planting season has just commenced, it is safe to figure that 15,000 acres of new orchard will be planted this season, bringing the orchard area of the Rogue River Valley to a total of 65,000 acres.
This is the first year that there has been an extensive planting of large tracts for subdivision into five- and ten-acre tracts for sale on the installment plan.
Among the larger orders already placed for this purpose are those of the Oregon Orchards Syndicate, who will set out 8000 trees in Crestbrook; the Glen Rogue Orchards, who will plant 7000 trees on their tract near Jacksonville; the Palmer Investment Co., who will plant 7000 trees on Modoc Orchard; Ray Bros., who will set out 10,000 trees on the Orchard Home tract, near Tolo.
"There will be the heaviest planting this year in the history of the valley," stated N. S. Bennett, the nurseryman, "and if sufficient stock could be secured, probably double the acreage of previous years would be set out. All nurserymen report increased sales, and I know mine have almost trebled."
Medford Mail Tribune, November 28, 1909, page 1
ORCHARD RESULTS IN ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
NEAR MEDFORD, OREGON FOR 1909.
COMPILED BY HUNTLEY-KREMER COMPANY.
These figures are not exceptional and are selected at random from orchards in the Rogue River Valley adjacent to Medford, Oregon.
Huntley Scrapbook, SOHS MS105
Medford's Smudging Experiences.Medford Tribune: Smudging for frost is a proven success. Last night all doubt of the efficiency of smudges in raising temperature about an orchard was dispelled by experiments conducted at the Bear Creek Orchard by Professor Vincent of the Oregon Agricultural College, which were participated in by Messrs. Whisler, Waterman, Allen, Olwell, Martin and other orchardists, and witnessed by Freight Agent Malboeuf of Southern Pacific and others interested.
While there was no frost, the temperature was raised from 2 degrees to 9 degrees according to the fuel used. The temperature of the surrounding atmosphere was 44 degrees, while that in the orchard where the smudging was conducted was 52 degrees.
The night was quiet and still, with a slight northwest wind. The temperature was raised most in those sections where the smoke raised by the different smudges collected.
Crude oil, oil and sawdust mixed, wood fires covered with wet straw or manure, Rock Springs coal and Medford coal, and brush were the materials used. The results proved the feasibility of raising the temperature at a small cost, as only a small proportion of the ordinary number of fires used were lit.
Rock Springs coal raised the temperature 2 degrees. Medford coal burnt well, but did not produce as much smoke. Wood with wet straw produced the most heat and the most smoke. Oil and sawdust were very effective, raising temperatures 4 degrees. Wood and brush raised the temperature 9 degrees. Crude oil raised the temperature, but did not work to advantage, as the pots had a tendency to boil over and smother the flame.
It will require a number of tests with positions of fire reversed to arrive at an accurate basis of comparison.
Ashland Tidings, May 6, 1909, page 3
SOUTHERN OREGON APPLE GROWERS—It is a somewhat significant fact that the Rogue River Valley in Oregon, where the writer has resided for the past twenty-six years, owes its present position in the world's fruit trade largely to the good judgment and horticultural knowledge of a veteran in horticulture from the State of Illinois. There is no better illustration than his experience furnishes that methods of culture and selection of varieties must conform to local conditions. From the day when Hon. J. H. Stewart, now deceased, first saw upon the banquet tables of the Pioneer Association, assembled in annual reunion at Jacksonville, Oregon, a finer display of prime apples than he had ever seen at a state fair in the Mississippi Valley, he became a staunch advocate of commercial fruit culture in southern Oregon. Urging upon his neighbors in the [middle] eighties, before as yet the transportation was provided, the necessity of preparing to supply the Eastern demand for such choice fruit, he himself planted more than one hundred acres of apples and pears, fortunately including a good proportion of yellow Newtown pippins and Bartlett pears. Unfortunately, as usually happens when horticulture is in the experimental stage in a new district, many varieties were set which later proved not to be good commercial kinds, although yielding good crops. At that time there were many small family orchards scattered through the valley, affording a demonstration of what varieties were best adapted to the soil and conditions. A favorite among the early settlers, and found everywhere throughout the valley, was the Esopus Spitzenberg. Prior to the advent of the railroad, there were practically no fruit pests. The codling moth did not make its appearance until about 1890, closely followed by the San Jose scale. With the scale, those thrifty old family orchards became a matter of history. No effort was made to save them, and for a time even the commercial orchards seemed to be doomed. When the first salt-lime-and-sulphur formula was introduced, even applied with the crude man-power sprayers then on the market, it was apparent that science had triumphed over the pest. When gasoline power was used, and the first gasoline engine used for this purpose was equipped and used in a Rogue River apple orchard, very effective work was done in spraying, and each year has seen an advance in methods and a wonderful growth in acreage of orchards in the valley, until today there are no less than fifty thousand acres of apples and pears planted and approaching maturity in the valley.
"ROGUES" IN NAME ONLY.
By Wm. M. Holmes, Medford, Oregon.
Today the major portion of the apple trees planted each year in this district are of the yellow Newtown and Spitzenberg varieties. Since the first shipments were made directly from the grower to the distributing firms in London, the English trade has shown a decided preference for the Newtowns from this valley, and since the year 1900, when the grower first came in direct touch with the market here, the price has been uniformly good, car consignments frequently averaging three dollars per fifty-pound box, free on cars at shipping station. Until within three years there was the same effort made by the grower to excel in size of individual Newtown Pippins that still distinguishes the demands of the American red apple trade. It became evident, however, that the more conservative Englishman finds the four-tier, or 128 to the box, size more to his liking than the abnormally large apples, and that is the type most sought for at present. The tree is hardy, vigorous, and very productive in this section, and the smaller sizes being most in demand, the labor and expense of thinning the fruit of this variety is reduced to the minimum. The tree is allowed to bear to the limit, and in case of an unusually dry summer, if water is available, two moderate irrigatings are given the trees. Irrigation is not here considered essential, and yet all concede that it adds immensely to the yield of all apple trees, especially those over fifteen years of age. It will be resorted to much more in future than in the past, for as yet the bulk of the orchards in the valley are young.
Oregon prides herself especially upon her "red" apples. And yet the best of all the red apples, and the one best adapted to Oregon conditions, the Spitzenberg, has not proven nearly so profitable as the Newtown in the orchards of southern Oregon. Nor can it adapt itself so well to all soils, ranging from the volcanic ash to the black adobe, in all of which the Newtown thrives. When the conditions of soil are just right for the Spitzenberg, however, that blend of alluvium or sediment soil with the wash from the foothills, on which was produced the car lot of Spitzenbergs which in November last won the capital prize at the Spokane apple show, no other district on earth can surpass the Rogue River Valley in its production. The orchard which this year won for its owner the crown of an "Apple King" has produced car after car of just as fine apples in the past, but awaited the sagacity of the man who knows and the man who had the enterprise to enter the contest to win plaudits from ocean to ocean. Through the medium of the writer, the present owners purchased this orchard in 1906, men entirely without experience in horticulture, and it is sufficient to say that they have deserved all the success they have obtained in winning this world's prize, for they have applied good, hard business sense to the management of their orchard, and there is no better in the best district in the Northwest.
The close student of the markets knows that in the immediate future other varieties of apples will be planted largely in the Rogue River Valley, although today even the residents find it difficult to procure the Rome Beauties, the White Winter Pearmains, Yellow Bellefleurs, Jonathans and Ortley Pippins, which once filled their cellars for winter supply. Of these, the Rome Beauty and the Ortley will unquestionably be planted in a commercial way, on account of their uniformly high quality and productiveness. The Jonathan and the Stayman Winesap will also divide honors with the Spitzenberg for both are productive, very precocious in bearing, and much hardier than the Spitz. It is even predicted that in certain locations in a few years blocks of Ben Davis will be set, for that old standby is holding its own in productiveness, and with all its inferior quality, there are orchards in the Rogue River Valley of this fruit which are almost as good yielders in dollars as the choicer fruits.
In setting an apple orchard in this valley it is the uniform practice to use yearling nursery stock, and many prefer the medium sizes to the overgrown stock which was once in greatest demand. It is preferable to set on land which has been in cultivation for some years, and many of the most flourishing .young orchards are growing on land which had been "farmed to death" in the days of wheat production. While the apple itself is a shallow-rooted tree, it finds the elements it wants in the subsoil below the level robbed in grain culture through former years. Thorough preparation of the soil, often with subsoiling at least the tree row, is practiced and after setting the land between the rows of trees is either cultivated with spring-tooth harrows, extension tools and weed cutters, or planted to corn, potatoes or other hoed crops, and at times set to berries. Berries, however, require irrigation to be successfully handled, and our growers do not, as a rule, approve of irrigation for young trees, at least not until they have grown for some years with surface cultivation. The idea is that the roots of the young trees will extend further into the subsoil without irrigation, which may or may not be the case. Corn is the great "expense crop" grown between young trees in this valley. Other varieties come into bearing younger, but if an expense crop is produced on Newtown or Spitzenberg trees the sixth year in this valley, the grower is well satisfied. Many are now resorting to peach tree fillers, to expedite returns from the orchard, and this course is now considered good management, as conditions for peach culture are very good also in this valley. The markets, too, are accommodating, the northwest coast cities growing rapidly, and the product of the different varieties of peaches produced here coming to maturity after the California crop and in advance of the Columbia peach districts. It is customary to remove these peach tree fillers at about the tenth year. Some are setting them in the apple tree-row one way only; some in the center of the square. Of course, it adds greatly to the labor of cultivation.
While it is true that with the scale and the codling moth to combat, the southern Oregon orchardist can always keep busy, yet it is also true that, aside from these two foes, apple culture in this valley is beset with less trials than in almost any other district. Young trees are afflicted with green aphis, but the tobacco mixtures are found very efficacious, and fortunately there is but little trouble with the woolly aphis. Anthracnose at one time caused some solicitude, but Bordeaux applied before the leaves drop and again later in the season not only acts as a preventive, but effects a cure if the trouble is not of long standing. Apple scab is not a menace, the long dry summers protecting from this foe to the yellow apple. Some varieties of the apple are rather susceptible to the pear blight, but with ordinary caution it is handled successfully.
The class of men who are devoting their energies to apple culture in this section is perhaps the best guarantee we have of its continued success. There are probably two thirds of the men engaged in horticulture in the Rogue River Valley who have retired from active business or professional life, drawn back to the soil by that agrarian movement which bids fair to reverse the current from the farm to the city; and but very few orchards in this valley are in the hands of tenants. There are far too many large holdings in the valley, inviting labor troubles in the future. Thus far, the output of the orchards has been easily handled, but each year for several years to come should double the number of cars shipped, and it is foreseen now that the surest provision against labor scarcity will arise from the small land holder with surplus teams and help within his own family. Many of the large orchardists at this time are enabled to compass their field work in due season by offering especial inducements to neighboring men, with teams and equipment, and this phase of the business affords the man with a family of growing boys the opportunity to develop his own small orchard and obtain the wherewithal to live and improve his tract with surplus work for others, at very remunerative figures.
The regularity of crop production is here remarkable. Four times within the last ten years good apple crops have obtained high prices, owing to the short crops in the Eastern States. This has much to do with the immense returns obtained by our orchardists each year. Late spring frosts cause some damage, but with commendable system, and with the assistance of the government pathologist now stationed at Medford, during the last season telephone alarms were sounded on critical nights, and orchard heaters and small piles of light, dry wood, ignited with kerosene, saved the crop on low ground and demonstrated the possibility of thus saving the crop every year. This work was really without the province of the pathologist, but at the solicitation of our horticulturists, and with the consent of the weather bureau officials. Mr. O'Gara very accommodatingly placed his knowledge at the disposal of the growers.
The matter of standardizing the pack of the valley has received much attention during the past year, and through the different associations of growers, it is a certainty that within another year this valley will be distinguished by as uniform pack and thorough business marketing of our product as now characterize any other district. Each year it becomes more apparent that quality and uniformity alone will bring the largest returns. (Applause.)
Proceedings of the Thirty-Sixth Fruit-Growers' Convention of the State of California, Watsonville, December 7, 8, 9 and 10, 1909, State Printing Office, page 21
FIRST COMICE IN LONDON SELL AT $3.36 HALF BOXMedford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1909, page 1
A. C. Allen of Hollywood Orchard Notified of Sale
of 314 Half Boxes of Fancy Comice at $3.36.
A. C. Allen at the Hollywood Orchard received notice today that 314 half boxes of Comice pears from his orchard had sold at $3.36 a half box in London.
This is the high price for Comice this year in the London market, being $7.72 per box. They are among the first to be offered.
January sales in London are always the highest and it is confidently expected that the price will go over $8 a box.
The Snowy Butte orchard, the property of the Olwells, was sold by Fred Hopkins for $168,000.
Bear Creek orchards, in Southern Oregon near Medford, owned by Hunt Lewis, were recently sold for $160,000.
The biggest orchard transaction ever occurring in the history of the business, so far as we know, is the sale of the Burrell orchard of 600 acres near Medford, Oregon, which we understand was sold to H. J. Neeley and associates for $500,000. When capital is invested to the extent of half a million it is certainly very significant that orchards are considered gilt-edge investments.
C. E. Whisler, one of the owners of the Bear Creek orchard, has been sent by his district to Washington, D. C, to oppose the Lafean bill. Fruit growers of Southern Oregon were wise in their selection, because no more able representative can be found in the Northwest to represent the apple industry.
J. A. Westerlund, president of the Western Orchard Company, of Southern Oregon, says it now contains 1,760 acres, 1,040 acres being planted to apples and pears. This is one of the largest orchard tracts in the valley.
"Miscellaneous News Items of the Northwest," Better Fruit, April 1910, page 72
Alfalfa is still grown in the Rogue River Valley, but the meadows are being rapidly replaced by pear and apple orchards. Last year 15,000 acres were set out to orchards in the portion of the Rogue River Valley extending from Ashland south to where the valley pinches 12 miles below Medford before again widening out into the Grants Pass district.
In this 25-mile length of valley there are now 65,000 acres set in orchards, and from this area the fame of Rogue River fruit has been given by only 2500 acres of bearing trees. Next year will probably see more than 15,000 acres additional converted into orchard lands. In the season of 1909 this portion of the Rogue River Valley shipped 500 carloads of fruit, valued at $1000 a car. It is estimated that this year 1000 carloads will be shipped, next year 2000 carloads, and the following year 3000 carloads.
In the new orchards, pears are coming more and more into favor, for as a producer of fancy pears Rogue River prides itself that it never can be beat. In apple growing it has strong competitors in the Hood River, Wenatchee and other countries. Up to this year the percentage of new orchards set to pear trees was about 50. This year it is about 65 percent.
R. G. Callvert, "Orchards Replace Great Range Area," Oregonian, Portland, May 23, 1910, page 5
GROWING AND MARKETING FINE FRUIT IN ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
Southern Oregon's Great Industry of Producing, Packing and Selling
a Million and a Half Dollars Worth of Pears, Apples and Peaches
BY C. H. CLEMENTS
The great apple-producing, pear and peach district of Oregon lies nestled in the hills formed by the great walls of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, which vault into the sky until perpetual snow covers them. This particular section is called Rogue River Valley, and was so christened by the early settlers. Resting within the limits of Rogue River and its many tributaries are spots of beautiful scenery coupled with history of early mining, replete with pioneer acts and marked with frailties of human adventures and Indian depredations.
The prettiest part of the valley lies in Josephine and Jackson counties. These two counties form a sectional division of the state that makes up annually not less than $1,000,000 in fruit.
Fruit grows here naturally and bears in a prolific manner. The early pioneers did not consider or even see any profit in fruitgrowing; it was their duty to look for gold--that which had made them risk their lives in crossing the plains and venture into a new country undeveloped, with unknown resources. For years the great magnet along Rogue River from its mouth at Gold Beach, where it still exudes gold mixed with sand, to its tiny rivulets far up in the Cascades, has been gold, and many a miner within an incredible short time has taken out his fortune and thence slept on his rights, only to awaken at the present time to find greater mining opportunities in a different direction. This gradual change from primitive methods to support the early mining industry to the present-day achievements has taken years to bring out.
* * *The old-time thought that the hunter's good aim would appease the hunger and nature would provide the rest has slipped past, and today the man who settled in Rogue River takes a home equipped with an income equivalent to an insurance policy.
The idea of producing any more than a little grain, raising a few cattle [and] a family garden surrounded with a family orchard was the extent and magnitude of our forefathers' ambitions. But such ambition has been planted and in some instances it has remained undisturbed. Out of those old family orchards planted 50 years ago there remains the survival of the fittest. An instance of this kind is found on the commons at Merlin, in this county, where an apple tree for a half century has spread its green boughs each year with a full-bearing crop. This is an example of the life of fruit trees in the Rogue River Valley and fully demonstrates that it is better than an insurance policy in many respects.
These small family orchards are now supplanted with commercial fruit, and the one- and two-acre tracts hemmed in with a small brush fence have been supplanted with commercial fruit trees and the acreage surprisingly increased a thousandfold. Rogue River Valley figures on a big pear crop, apple crop and peach crop. These three crops give profits that are astounding. Already Eastern buyers are anxious to secure what is to be sold. It looks like this year's output will reach $1,500,000. This $1,500,000 will gradually pour into Rogue River coffers from all the marts of the world from now until late in the fall, when the three- and five-tier apples shall have been packed and ready for transportation.
* * *It is the consumers that look upon the apple-producing centers with an earnest appeal. It is interesting to see and watch the development of a fruit crop from beginning to end. Among the first steps which the producer has to take is to spray. This spraying consists of a chemical mixture which cleanses the tree of pests and scale. Favorable weather must be had, and it is generally done during the sunshine in November or late in February and early in the spring.
Long before the trees are ready to bloom, spraying outfits are assembled, and with pumps driven by gasoline engines each tree is given a spraying that dislodges the scale and causes the tree to take on a shiny luster that is clean, smooth and fresh. After the sprayers have passed through the orchards comes an army of expert pruners. These are men selected for their scientific knowledge, and they can prune a tree with the exactness of a skilled physician; in fact, they study the contour of the tree, the bark and its disease with the same care and caution that a doctor does his patient.
Pruning is essential to a uniform growth of marketable fruit, and if it were not carried out in this manner there would be an overproduction of scrubby fruit unfit for any purpose. At the conclusion of the pruning season an inspector carefully goes through the orchard and measures up the result of the first spraying, and if from such inspection there be found scale another spraying of the same character is given the whole orchard or any part that may need it. At the opening of the spring season and when the orchards are in fine bloom, they are given another spraying, but of a different mixture. This application is for the purpose of driving out the codling moth that has been taking advantage of the early sunshine and [is] looking for someplace to do harm. Another spraying for codling moth is given a little later, at which time the codling moth is no longer to be taken into consideration. During the early stage, and while the fruit is still sensitive to abnormal temperature, scientific instruments are placed in the orchards through the long rows of trees that are sensitive to any falling temperature. Communicated with sensitive plates is a system of telephones presided over by a government expert, whose duty it is to forewarn each fruitgrower, so that the threatening danger may be offset by a little smudging. Smudging is a method of building tiny fires along each row until the atmosphere becomes normal; the menacing condition then passes away.
* * *Rogue River Valley has for several years kept employed Professor O'Gara, who was sent here by the United States government to look after the fruit crops principally. Already buyers have entered the field and, as with other crops, options are frequently given for the green fruit long before it has matured.
These options are sent out to the leading markets through the daily papers and in return inquiries are made by phone, telegraph and daily newspapers for information as to the amount of the pears, apples and peaches that will be produced.
The business of raising fruit has become one of pleasure and far-reaching in profits. The planting of extensive orchards has driven the price of land up to the thousands of dollars mark, but this does not stop the person who is looking for a reward in his old age. Rogue River Valley fruit lands have been and are now attracting the capitalists, the banker, the retired merchant, who are anxious to perfect an annuity for their family. One of the latest colonies to be induced to buy and settle in this vicinity comes from the rich operatic class, who desire eventually to leave the stage and yet have a handsome income at a time when they are no longer able to follow their vocation. This season has been exceedingly favorable, and the late rain mixed with sunshine has forged the fruit ahead and eliminated any threatening frosts that might have brought damage.
* * *Last year the valley produced 30 percent of a full crop of apples and 70 percent of pears. The peach crop was very short in many places, but notwithstanding this shortage everything was sold early at a large figure.
This year the crop will be immense, and that is why last year's million-dollar crop will this year be augmented 50 percent. The apple crop for 1909 was estimated approximately at 500 cars for this valley, which was considered about four-fifths of a crop. Taking this as a basis to work from, there ought to be produced 600 cars, and added to this 25 percent for new bearing orchards, which bring it up to between 600 and 700 cars easily.
The Rogue River Valley pear crop last year was in the neighborhood of 300 carload lots. Counting a full crop this year and the increase in bearing, there should at least be 400 cars. This is a low estimate, as only 70 percent of a crop was marketed last year. The valley's output for 1909 of peaches was something like 100 cars. About one-half of Oregon's peach crop was produced in Rogue River Valley. The peach crop will be larger than ever, owing to many new orchards beginning to produce. Then it must be taken into consideration that thinning will be the greatest burden to bear this year.
In many places the fruit hangs on limbs like beads strung along a thread. The smallest and the largest trees seem to be in competition.
* * *Pears shipped from this valley in carload lots are marketed in Canada and Europe and bring $8 to $10 a box, which is above any other price ever received by any other section of the world. Pears produced here are of a better flavor, brighter color and have better keeping qualities, and this the Eastern buyer realizes, hence the price.
Experienced growers announce that it costs about 50 cents per box to produce and market a box of apples. Local orchardists state that one acre will produce 750 boxes of apples, and at the prevailing price per box it is easy to see what the profit would be.
A tree 12 years of age ought to produce from 12 to 16 boxes of apples. Taking into consideration what has been accomplished and what may be accomplished, it is no wonder that this section of the state stands preeminent in producing apples and for that reason it took the prize for the best carload of apples ever produced. Following along with this it is gratifying to note that pears grown here brought the largest price ever obtained. Among the commercial pears are Bartletts, Clapps, Great d'Anjou, Winter Nelis and Comice. These figures indicate what will be marketed in the commercial world, but it must be remembered that many tons will be used by the canneries in canning and drying. Thousands of pounds will be used by private families, and many will spoil from lack of help to care for them.
The great fruit crops of this valley are taken care of by an association. A few years ago the valley towns stood on their own pegs, but it was found to be advantageous to centralize the efforts, and this spring the matter was brought out by forming a fruit union that combines the entire producing acreage and binds all the market through the efforts of one set of officers. It is conducted on the plan of putting out but two or three grades with uniform brands which will become fixed and established in the consumer's mind, and from the inspection of the label he can intelligently select his fruit without opening the box as the intelligence and integrity of the union stands for the grade and the quantity. The union has a series of warehouses located along the railroad tracks in which several hundred men, girls and women are employed from the beginning of the peach crop to the termination of packing of apples. The whole business requires a perfect system, and the details of gathering, packing and sorting must all be worked out before transportation takes place. This is one of the vital steps in marketing fruit, and unless properly graded, packed and shipped the price is materially lowered. All these things are brought under the direct supervision of experts and are safely guided by officers of the union who devote their entire time and attention to what is needed to produce the best results.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, May 29, 1910, page E2
Mr. Charles Wilmeroth, who is well known in Chicago, on South Water Street, as an apple dealer, has accepted the management of the Rogue River Fruit Growers' and Produce Association. The fruit growers of Southern Oregon are to be congratulated.
Better Fruit, June 1910, page 46
MEDFORD COMING TO FORE
Rogue River Valley Products to Be Shown at Portland Club.Products of the Rogue River Valley through 10 counties will be furnished the Chamber of Commerce by the Medford, Or., Commercial Club. M. Mosessohn, assistant secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, returned yesterday from the Southern Oregon city and announced the success of his mission in signing Medford for an exhibit space.
"Medford is a wonderful little city," he said. "It is one of the most cosmopolitan towns I ever saw. They are building and boosting all the time. Recently $30,000 was raised for the Crater Lake road. They will come to Portland soon to secure our help in the matter of raising funds.
"The Rogue River Valley is becoming the world's greatest pear district. They have almost quit raising apples. The pears are already sold at $10.80 a box, which is more profitable than apple-raising. They will send a large exhibit to the Chicago dry farming exposition next month. Products from the ranches of Mrs. Potter Palmer and the Czar of Russia will be among those sent.
"Medford is now paving 11 miles of her streets and in other civic improvements is forging rapidly to the front."
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 3, 1910, page 16
PEACH GROWING IN ASHLAND, OREGON, DISTRICTOwing to the open winters in the Rogue River Valley, the winter season is very favorable to work in the orchard. Planting and pruning can be done at almost any time from November to May. This is especially true on the granitic soils around Ashland. It may rain in the night or morning, and by the time one is ready to go to work he can take off his coat, even though it be winter, and find his pruning shears, or his spade. The drainage is good--the surface dries quickly and there is no mud.
BY E. RISTE, MANAGER OF THE ASHLAND FRUIT AND PRODUCE
ASSOCIATION, ASHLAND, OREGON
There is no severe winter cold, and the planting of peach trees may be made in November or December, and the February or March planting does equally well. Plantings made at such times make a good growth early in the season, root deeply and the wood matures well. Young trees planted last fall or this spring have made a fine growth, with strong wood.
When the trees are set out they are headed back to about twenty inches. A shield is placed around the trees (the blue layer paper used in apple packing makes a good shield). When the growth starts the lower buds are pinched off, leaving three or five to grow. When these branches have attained the desired length the terminal bud is pinched, checking the growth, causing thickening of the branch and ripening of the wood. This must not be done too early, else branches will start out too freely and grow to too great a length. Pinching back undesirable growth is much better than pruning it away next season, for while much growth will be cut away every year, yet the process of pinching saves much waste, and the tree gains correspondingly. This applies especially to the first and second years' growth. The third year and after, an attempt is made to secure a "balance" between the new growth and the bearing fruit, so that there is neither an overgrowth, nor an overbearing.
Some summer pruning is practiced in connection with the thinning and picking. The orchardist always carries his small pruning shears, and uses it too. We know the old rule, "Prune when the knife is sharp."
Methods in pruning have changed the past few years. In old orchards the growth is high, with long, bare limbs. These, however, are being replaced by young trees, low-headed and pruned to bring the crop near the ground.
Clean culture is the rule here. Cultivation is thorough and is continued into midsummer, ceasing about August 1. Harrowing with the spring tooth and straight tooth harrow is the general practice. Some discs are used, especially in the black soils. Cultivation is very thorough, close to the trees and very frequent. Very few orchards are irrigated.
Spraying the peach trees for both scale and blight is receiving the attention of the inspectors and orchardists. This season, perhaps for the first, the spraying has been very effectively done. In the fall, after the crop is off and before the rains begin, a good, thorough spraying with the bordeaux is made. We do not wait until the leaves fall, but ensure a thorough spray in good season. In the after part of the winter or early spring a spray with the lime-sulfur is made. Where the application is made about the time the buds swell, one spray is sufficient, but some orchardists are now spraying twice with the lime-sulfur, once in the dormant season with the full strength, and again as the buds are ready to break. The inspector is recommending the spraying at the time the buds are ready to burst, as catching the twig borer, if there be any, and also as being more effective against scale. Supervision of this work is made through the county and local inspectors, and is resulting in clean orchards.
This spring some experiments were made applying both the bordeaux and the lime-sulfur, and in one or two orchards application was made with the self-boiled lime-sulfur. These experiments were conducted for the purpose of determining what could be done in the cases where the blight was bad. At the date of the preparation of this article, the results cannot be stated, though we are watching with considerable interest to see the effects of these experiments.
After the danger of frost is past, which is usually by the 10th of May, the work of thinning the peaches begins. Effort is made to thin the fruit so as to produce what we call a seventy-five pack, that is, large enough to run seventy-five peaches per box.
It is only the expert orchardist who is able to reduce the amount of fruit at the
first thinning to proper proportions. The inexperienced man will probably have to go over his orchard the second and even the third time, and sometimes absolutely refuses to have his fruit "thrown away," as he calls it. It is true, however, that the fruit must be thinned to probably a distance of four inches on the branch, depending of course upon the way the tree is pruned, the general strength of the tree and the general weather conditions. The Ashland Fruit and Produce Association, which ships practically all of the output of the Ashland district, has this year eliminated the small peach from their shipments.
Our successful orchardists have practically lived in their orchards. Successful men are the ones who like their work, and while they are following the proven methods in orchard culture, they are also experimenting more or less to discover improved methods.
We are quite free from pests and the work is both pleasant, owing to weather conditions, and profitable, owing to the superior qualities of the peach produced.
Better Fruit, August 1910, pages 27-28
This question of the danger of overproduction of the apple is the one asked more often than any other at the office of the State Board of Horticulture. Those who come to the Pacific Northwest with the intention of engaging in the apple industry hear of so many apple-planting projects of apparently great dimensions that they become alarmed lest when these projected orchards all come into bearing the supply of apples will far exceed the demand. There are two common causes of an erroneous belief in the danger of an early overproduction of apples. One of these is the assumption that the conditions in the matter of apple planting which exist west of the Rocky Mountains prevail throughout the United States, and the other is that the extensive planting of apple orchards is not of itself a sure indication of an increase of production proportioned to the increase in the area of orchards. Even men of high intelligence have been led into error by the assumption that this is the case. J. H. Stewart, the man who founded the modern commercial apple growing industry in Oregon, made this mistake. He was a skilled orchardist before he came to Oregon and was familiar with the condition of the apple producing industry on both sides of the Rocky Mountains. The orchard which he established near Medford is still one of the finest in Oregon, or in the world. Yet this skilled orchardist and successful business man was convinced in 1892 that we were then on the verge of an overproduction of apples. In a paper which he read before a farmers' institute held in Medford in 1892 he said: "The apple--in this county alone perhaps 50,000 trees are growing. When these trees all come into bearing, say, ten years, where will we market all this crop of apples? The 50,000 trees in the Rogue River Valley will produce 250,000 bushels. This amount is but a drop in the bucket compared with the amount produced in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Now, where are we to find a market for all these apples? When this time of overproduction does arrive where will some of us who have been planting large orchards find ourselves?"
Seventeen years have elapsed. The price of apples in the Rogue River Valley has never been lower than it was when Mr. Stewart read his paper. It has averaged much higher since then and the tendency of the price has been up--not down. The Rogue River Valley long ago passed the point of producing 250,000 bushels of apples in one year. Mr. Stewart's error lay in thinking that everybody in Oregon, Washington and Northern California who was planting apple trees would give them the same constant and thorough care that was given by the group of thorough orchardists in the Rogue River Valley who have made the industry a great success there. At the time he read his paper there were not less than 1,800,000 young apple trees growing in Oregon alone. Yet Oregon produces less apples now than it did then, although of much higher average quality and of greater aggregate value per year. The crop now is grown on a very small fraction of the young trees then in the state, and in a few localities--the Rogue River and Hood River Valleys, the Grand Ronde, and a few other places where apple raising was made a specialty and proper care was taken of the trees and orchards. The great mass of those young trees have never counted in supplying apples for market, because they have not received that care which an apple tree must have to enable it to produce fruit for market.
H. N. Williamson, "Apple Market and Danger of Overproduction," Better Fruit, November 1910, page 24
OUR MANAdvertisement, Chicago Tribune, November 26, 1910, page 22
From the Medford, Oregon District of the Famous
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
He has come to see you and tell you all about our Irrigated Orchard Tracts, which are located right in the center of the district, with splendid railroad facilities.
----Orchard Tracts with perpetual water right are sold on Monthly Payments, ranging in prices from $200 per acre for undeveloped land to $600 per acre for planted orchards where the company cares for them covering a period of five years.
----If you cannot buy your orchard now, buy your land and we will plant your orchard later. We will sell you five acres for $50 cash and on payments of $15 per month. No reliable company in any of the proven orchard districts is offering irrigated orchard land at such low prices and on terms so favorable. Ask our man to prove this and ask him for our bank endorsements.
----Travelers say that the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon has the most delightful climate in the country, and government experts say that it is the most perfect fruit belt in the world.
----Our Sales Agent, MR. JOHN S. MANLEY, is now at the offices of A. W. SMITH LAND CO., 1533 First National Bank Bldg. Phone Randolph 3032 and he will give you full information relative to our Irrigated Orchard Tracts and our attractive small payment plan.
FRED N. CUMMINGES
Oregon Pears and Their Future
By Reginald H. Parsons of HillcrestFor over 50 years Rogue River Valley has been producing pears which now, for flavor, size and keeping quality are known the world over. In fact, so favorably known is this luscious fruit and so much sought after is it that people are willing to pay almost any price in order to have the opportunity of partaking of its delicious flavor. The figures reached in this regard exceed those of any other kind of the deciduous varieties. Three times one of our orchards has reached the world's record prices, while others in this valley have had their turn as well, the maximum price being $10.08 per box for the average of an entire car of 504 boxes. This year again over $10.00 a box was reached for the car average, while some boxes brought as high as $12.00 per box of 70 pears or 17 cents each.
We can therefore well say that the Rogue River Valley grows the finest pears known to the present world. The reasons for this success are several, chief of which, however, are the climatic and soil conditions which are conducive to size, delicacy of flavor and a wonderful keeping quality. Some varieties, such as the Comice, D'Anjou and Winter Nelis, not being finally consumed until in February, the time of picking being the month of September preceding, this making possible a consuming period of four months, a wonderful showing considering the naturally perishable quality of this kind of fruit in the softer varieties and when grown under less favorable conditions and surroundings. While the pear has grown in this valley for so many years and tree specimens can be found here and there showing considerable age, the industry of growing the pear for commercial purposes is comparatively new. It is only during the past 10 years that any showing has been made on these lines and during the last five years that the marvelous results have been obtained. Starting as it did experimentally, as it were, and in the face of some opposition and scorn by the old-time settler, who ridiculed the idea of growing anything but grain, alfalfa and stock, the industry has now become the chief factor in the growth and upbuilding of this promising and productive valley, rich as it is in other agricultural crops, in mineral deposits and timber lands; numbering, as it does not, the shipments in domestic and foreign ports, in hundreds of carload lots. A few years will see these hundreds change to thousands owing to the rapidity with which the bearing trees are increasing constantly the annual yield, the coming into bearing of trees more recently planted and the great increase of acreage in pear trees being planted each year. The maximum area suitable for planting is far from being reached, as evinced by the thousands of acres which lie still untouched.
It must not be supposed, however, that pear trees will grow, flourish and produce the highest grade of fruit in all kinds and depths of soils. Care must always be exercised in selecting heavy, deep, rich soil, and well drained, if the best results are demanded. Other soils will do better for one or more of the many other kinds of fruit which do so well here. While nature does so much for the fruit grower in the valley, man must use intelligence of the highest order to properly supplement all that is given him to start with. As few realize that the growing of fruit commercially has for its principles the same things that a recognized manufacturing plant has: namely, the creating of as great a quantity and as good a quality of product as can be, the selling of it at the best possible advantage, and the producing of it at least possible cost. Like all manufacturing, the elimination of waste is the important thing. Waste of labor, time, effort and the great waste of competition. There is where the fruit-grower has been so lamentably weak in the past and where he is now wakening to the actual and crying need for cooperation and elimination of this competition in buying supplies, and in harvesting and selling the crop. While in growing the fruit there has been a spirit of camaraderie and helpfulness, seldom, if ever, found in any other business, aid cheerfully and willingly given by the owners among each other; the spirit of rivalry, to a certain degree very helpful and beneficial, has been carried to an extent where each fruit-grower is not only injuring his neighbor, but himself as well. The fruit-grower of the country and the Northwest in particular has come to see, through much bitter and unnecessary experience, that the only hope of the industry is in combining, as above mentioned, to form an association where the mutual help and personal disinterestedness of each one will help to the end that the industry will be built up and established in such a manner that each member will obtain the greatest value for his time, effort and money invested. In individual enterprise alone there is bound to be great hardship. One individual, we will say, thinks he knows perhaps more than his neighbor and wishes to be independent. He buys his land, plants his trees and cultivates his orchard, but without the aid of his neighbors, he cannot fight disease properly. If he neglects the necessary care, disease will show and if not eradicated will be transferred to the next orchard, oftentimes some distance away. Vice versa, if his neighbor fails in mutual help, each will suffer by it. It is the old adage over again, "United we stand, divided we fall." It is in the marketing of our orchards that the greatest waste occurs, the greatest waste due to unnecessary and foolish competition. We have for so long been selling our fruit as individuals to the middleman, who offers us the apparently best terms. Such a man either buys outright for a cash price or asks for the consignment to be shipped direct to him. If he buys outright, he is speculating on the opportunity the transaction offers to him of making considerable profit by the probable advance of the markets. In this the grower speculates likewise in the possibility of the market going down. But is the grower in an equal position with the buyer in this game of speculation? No, for the buyer has, in the very nature of his daily contact with all the sources of supply and points of consumption, an insight into probable market conditions the grower can in no way equal. Therefore, the grower is naturally the loser seven or eight times out of ten. Again if the fruit is shipped on consignment, the grower is without recourse and is in the hands of the commission man. While many such commission men are honest and capable, the majority have proven far from being so, and the consequent waste to the grower is very great indeed. It is an unnecessary risk added to all he has gone through with in bringing his fruit to maturity. The commission men are, as a rule, located at but one or two points, and any number or growers consigning to him will, if shipping at about the same time, experience a fall of prices at point of arrival or sale. The supply at any one time maybe so great as to form a glut on that particular market with consequent extreme fall of prices and a sympathetic lowering in a country town adjacent to or tributary to the place at which the fruit is sold. There is no way to prevent this with everyone shipping independently and voluntarily placing their heads in the lion's mouth. The only solution is to group the shipments into one channel, namely an organization having a common head to serve a common purpose, and that the assembling of the fruit for shipment and sale. This organization must control all that leads up to it, be it buying of supplies, fighting disease, employment of labor for picking and packing, or anything else of like nature. Carrying the point still further and to still more eliminate the waste factor of competition, communities growing fruit can combine for the purpose of getting better freight rates, a uniform package, better labor conditions, etc. Therefore, we should by all means combine for this mutual help. But one of the greatest problems of all, the problem of marketing and distributing our crop is as yet unsolved by the average grower. This problem will become greater and greater with each succeeding year. How to meet it is the crying demand of the hour. Many methods have been tried but with only varying success. We must find out in what way we can be assured of fair prices on our fruit, which means a fair return on our investment. These can be brought about only by a wide distribution of our product, avoiding an oversupply at any one point and a closer relation with the ultimate consumer. The medium for accomplishing this is through a wise, efficient and honest single-selling agency, where through the control of a majority at least of the output of the entire Northwest, competition can be almost entirely done away with and we can enter the markets of our own country and abroad on an even basis, organized as all other great industries are organized from the ground up, with the result that we will do the greatest good to the greatest number, grower and consumer alike. The stage of pioneering, wonderfully founded with great knowledge and foresight by Stewart, to whom we all, as fruit growers, owe a great debt of gratitude, is past. The present production of our fruit is ably nourished and protected by one of the most renowned pathologists of the country, Prof. P. J. O'Gara, whose constant help in time of need is so opportune and whose warfare against the enemies of destruction is so pregnant with results.
The future disposing of our growing supply of fruit with the possibilities of its reaching every community in our own land and gradually becoming known and used in all countries in the temperate zone is the problem which confronts us now. It behooves each and every one of us to lend all sincere and honest endeavor possible through collective and individual effort to aid in perfecting a method to meet these demands, obtaining as we must the best results with the least possible cost and waste.
Medford Mail, January 1, 1911, pages B5-6
In a recent interview Mr. F. N. Cummings, manager of the Rogue River Valley Canal Company, said: "Roguelands Inc. has sold more than $100,000 worth of irrigated orchard tracts since the beginning of the new year. It is true that some of these sales were taken up during December, but every one of them has been closed since January 1. We have interested some of the leading bankers and business men of Spokane, and we believe that we will sell a number of other tracts to Washington people who are now in correspondence with our company. We have actually closed twenty ten-acre contracts in Spokane at an average price of $550 per acre, or a total of $112,000. The company will plant the area between the Boulevard, the Agate road and the Pacific & Eastern Railroad, directly northwest of the Niles cottage, to a standard variety of pears. We have been advised by high authority that this part of our land is especially adapted to pears, and we have every reason to believe that we will be able to equal or excel any commercial pear orchard in the valley. These tracts will be cared for and be under the personal supervision of our experts for a period of five years, at which time they will be turned over to the purchaser.
"Here is a list of some of the Spokane purchasers who have invested in our irrigated orchard tracts: Charles E. McBroom, cashier, Exchange National Bank of Spokane, ten acres, $5,500; W. J. C. Wakefield (Wakefield & Witherspoon, attorneys), ten acres, $5,500; F. J. Finucane (Holly-Mason Hardware Co.), ten acres, $5,500; A. Kellett. ten acres, $5,733; A. E. Griffin, ten acres, $5,733; D. W. Twohy (president Old National Bank of Spokane), ten acres, $5,500; Fred Wilson, ten acres, $5,500; George Cunningham, ten acres, $5,500; R. T. Olsen, ten acres, $5,800; E. F. Burns, ten acres, $5,800; John B. Jordan, ten acres, $5,500; D. A. Rankin, ten acres, $5,500; E. M. Brown, Vancouver, B.C., ten acres, $5,500; E. F. White, ten acres, $5,700; J. A. McAlpine, ten acres, $5,700.
"We are expecting a number of visitors during February, and have received dozens of letters from Eastern people who tell us they have decided to locate in the Rogue River Valley. We have many letters from young farmers who are interested in intensive farming, and in such cases we show them what can be done by raising strawberries and cantaloupes between the rows of trees. Last year's experience was so satisfactory that a number of our tracts will be planted to cantaloupes this spring, and it has already been shown that in the future strawberries will be one of our most important products. Medford Rocky Fords and Medford strawberries are destined to rival our apples and pears, and these products will prove to be the stepping stone for the man who wishes to develop an orchard property, for they will bridge him over the time when his orchard is developing, and provide him with a splendid income while he is waiting for the income from his orchard."
Roguelands Inc. is largely a Spokane company, and two of its principal owners are Spokane business men. R. K. Neill and P. Welch are directors of the company, and both are men of large affairs and have large business interests.
Better Fruit, March 1911, page 92
OREGON FRUIT MEN ELECT.--The Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association has elected the following officers and directors to serve for the ensuing year: Colonel R. C. Washburn, Table Rock, president; F. E. Merrick, Medford; C. E. Whisler, Medford; G. A. Hover, Phoenix; R. H. Parsons, Medford; H. E. Gale, Merlin; A. C. Allen, Medford; A. C. Randall, Talent; L. K. Haak, Eagle Point; K. S. Miller, Medford, secretary; C. H. Gillette, Ashland; L. I. Wood, Grants Pass; P. J. O'Gara, Medford; J. W. Merritt, Central Point; C. C. Scott, Phoenix.
Better Fruit, May 1911, page 31
A BAD ORCHARD ENEMY.June is the month when careful inspection should be made of the young apple and pear trees to see that the newly hatched larvae of the borer beetle are headed off. While some orchardists encase the trunks of the young trees with wrappers of one kind or another, which extend a couple of inches into the soil, or paint the trunks with whitewash in which a rather strong solution of carbolic acid has been added, these precautions should not be allowed to take the place of an individual tree inspection. This is best done by keeping all grass and weeds hoed away from the trunk of the tree, getting down on all fours and carefully scraping the bark for a couple of inches below the surface of the ground with a sharp knife, a curved-bladed pruning knife being preferable. The presence of the newly hatched borers will be indicated by a drop of discolored sap exuding from the bark or a tiny bit of brown wood dust. If the borers have been in the tree a year or more this brown excreta will be considerable, the adjacent bark giving a hollow sound when scraped with the knife. This dead bark should be carefully pared away and the borer or borers located, for sometimes four or five will be eating the life out of the same tree. Borers of the preceding year's hatch usually work down and sideways from the point of entrance, while those which have been in the tree two seasons are deeply bedded in the wood and are usually working up preparatory to their change to the beetle stage and emergence from the tree in this form sometime in June. While a pliable wire is good for reaching these pests, a little peeled twig will answer the purpose nicely, the use of it often preventing a serious cutting of the bark and tree. When the borers have been cleaned out the wounds should be packed tight with moist soil, so as to hasten the healing process. There is no other single pest which does as much primary damage to fruit trees as borers, yet there is no orchard enemy which the novice seems to know so little about.
WILL BEAR WATCHING.The present unexampled solicitude of the fruit jobbers' trust for the financial welfare of the independent fruit growers is entirely too belated to be credited with any large degree of philanthropy or altruism. Time was--and that but a short time ago--when all growers were independent--that is, each operated individually, and was easy picking for the commission sharks, who saw that their victims got just enough returns for their produce to keep soul and body together, and sometimes not that much. The city buyers were banded together to quote a price for a given shipment of produce and then notify all members of the clique what that price was, and the victim could wait until he got black in the face, but he would get no better offer. In time growers woke up and realized how they had been hoodwinked and swindled. They are now organized, and organized effectively enough so that they are beginning to get fairly decent treatment from those who formerly plundered them at will. Some dissatisfaction has been felt by members of some growers' associations with prices received, and these are being enticed away from the organization by temporary decent treatment by the commission men and jobbers, but it is only for the purpose of disrupting these cooperative marketing organizations, when the old tactics can be counted on to put into play; hence when the fruit jobbers' trust displays undue kindness toward the independents it is safe to assume there is an ulterior motive behind it. There is a nigger in the woodpile.
HAND THINNING OF FRUITS.When danger of frost is past and it is apparent that the trees have set more fruit than their size would seem to indicate that it will be possible for them to bring to a good-sized maturity, hand thinning should be resorted to. This will not only reduce the number, but will at the same time improve both the size and quality of the fruit remaining, the total weight or volume of fruit not being reduced by the process, but simply being confined beneath fewer skins. The thinning in most of the western orchard districts is done when the apples are about the size of a shelled walnut, and the practice is to leave no fruit on the trees closer than six inches. The same rule holds for pears, while for smaller fruits, such as peaches and apricots, the distance at which the fruit is left apart is about four inches, varying somewhat upon the variety and size which it usually attains. If the thinning is carefully done much defective fruit may be eliminated in the process, thus reducing the number of culls which will have to be handled at harvest time.
F. E. Trigg, Central Point, "Farm, Orchard and Garden," The Bremen Enquirer, Bremen, Indiana, June 16, 1911, page 3
FRUIT BETTER THAN EVER
Rogue River's 1000 Cards to Excel Previous Products.
MEDFORD, Or., July 8.--(Special.)--The Rogue River Valley will ship 1000 cars of fruit this year, of which 400 cars will be pears, and 600 cars will be apples. The present crop is pronounced the finest in the history of the valley.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 9, 1910, page 12
EARLY DAYS OF FRUIT SHIPPINGF. H. Page, of the firm of Page & Sons, Portland, was a visitor in Medford yesterday, after having spent several weeks' vacation on the fishing grounds of the Klamath country. Mr. Page has the distinction of being the first [fruit] shipper from the Rogue River Valley [H. E. Battin & Co. preceded Page & Sons.], and his reminiscences of old times are replete with interest. The first car of pears came from the old Stewart orchard, now the famous Burrell property. This was in 1889 or 1890, Mr. Page is not certain which. [It was probably 1891, but fruit was shipped by the carload from the Rogue Valley in 1884, the year the railroad arrived.] In order to make the pack worthy of the quality of the fruit, which was destined to astonish the New York and other markets and create a standard which has never been equaled by any other fruit section, Mr. Page brought a force of ten or twelve people from Portland to sort and pack the pears, wrap and box them in fancy style, and personally supervised the work. The result was so satisfactory that the banner price of 80 cents per box gross was paid to the grower.
FROM ROGUE RIVER VALLEY SECTION
Fred Page, Pioneer Shipper, Tells of Early Efforts To Market Products
Before Valley Had Name or Fame Throughout the World.
First Introduced the Fancy Pack, but Returns to Growers Were Small--
Fruit Shipped in Boxcars to Portland for Refrigeration.
In 1885 Mr. Page built a warehouse at Ashland for the purpose of drying peaches, as well as shipping them green, and maintained the establishment for nearly a quarter of a century. The apple and pear industry of the Rogue River Valley was in its infancy at the time, and for years secondary to the peach business. In 1886 and 1887 Newtowns and Spitzenberg apples were first shipped, and even with the fancy style of the pack did not realize to exceed 65 to 75 cents per box to the grower. This was the foundation of the fruit traffic in the valley, and the great reputation which was made by the pears and apples soon attracted attention from all commission men in the great markets of the East. Nothing but the very best fruit was packed, Mr. Page stating that thousands of boxes of pears and apples were annually thrown away, and yet worthy of being considered first-class stuff in the desire to confine strictly to fancy grades.
Twenty-five years ago there was no market for high-grade fruit outside of New York City. The coast cities got their supply from local sources, and even with the efforts which the Southern Pacific made to aid the industry in the Rogue River Valley the Portland market consumed practically nothing, and San Francisco and other California cities were glutted with apples from Santa Clara Valley.
One of the most interesting facts of these pioneer days was the manner in which transportation facilities were afforded. The first car of pears from Medford was loaded in an ordinary box car, hauled to Portland and transferred there into a refrigerator. This astonishing condition continued until 1901, and in that year 63 cars were handled in that crude way. The time from Medford to Chicago was from 16 to 20 days, and three to four weeks to New York City. Peaches were treated the same, as far as the shipment to Portland was concerned, and the fact that no damage resulted is the strongest endorsement of the superior quality of the fruit. It took several years to properly establish local brands in the East. It is probably well known in Medford today that the average net price which the valley growers received for their apples as late as 1903 was only $1.17 per box, and 90¢ for pears. Since that time prices have gone skyward, the whole country knows of the valley, and there is now scarcely any limit to the expansion which is so rapidly taking place.
Mr. Page was also instrumental in bringing some of the most prominent people into the valley. He negotiated the sale of the Stewart orchard to Captain Voorhies and of the Weeks & Orr orchard, now the Bear Creek tract, to Hunt Lewis. Mr. Page is an old-time friend of Mr. Malboeuf, who was in the pioneer days of the fruit industry here connected with the Southern Pacific Company, and the efforts made in those days to get freight rates, cars and other assistance from the railroad was reviewed by them with keen pleasure. To Mr. Malboeuf Mr. Page unhesitatingly pronounced the Rogue River Valley as having a wonderful future, its fruits of the very best quality produced in the world, and Medford a city which has not only built up far beyond his most ardent expectations, but with the certain probability of its having 25,000 people in a few years. He believes that what will keep the valley to the front is the present careful methods and application of the most modern rules of horticultural skill, a powerful fruit growers' union, and a continued and determined effort on the part of the Commercial Club to keep up its splendid work of the past. Mr. Page left for Portland Monday evening.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 27, 1910, page 4
A FEW YEARS AGO A RANCHER IN THEBought several hundred apple and pear trees and set out an orchard. His friends expostulated with him, showing him that it was a grain country, and a grain country alone, but he had lived in the valley for years, and the arguments were of no avail. Despite the facts that were presented to him why fruit could not be raised in the valley, only a few years later he sold enough fruit from this orchard to have bought all the alfalfa and wheat land that joined it.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
When this fruit was first received in the Eastern markets, the people did not know what or where the Rogue River Valley was, and were backward about buying fruit from an unknown locality. The salesmen could give them little information, for they had only the merest idea as to its location and knew nothing about the valley or its products. For this reason Mr. Stewart (for such was the orchard owner's name) saw that in order to receive a just price for his fruit it must be advertised. This he did in a small way and the people bought "Stewart's Rogue River Apples" and found them delicious, and became interested in the valley that produced such fruit.
They came, investigated, and found that the land in this orchard was not perceptibly different from any of the other 2,000,000 acres in the valley. They bought small tracts, set them out to fruit and enjoyed immensely the mild summers, without the electrical, hail or wind storms. Then followed the fall rains, but no snow, and during the months of December, January and February it continued to remain the never-changing days of warm rain, interspersed with days of warm sunshine. These days surely had the breath of springtime in them, the robins, blue jays and meadowlarks sang unceasingly, and by the latter part of February many of them had their nests well feathered.
These people became enthusiastic and wrote to their friends telling of the climatic conditions, the bountiful crops of grain and vegetables and the sturdy fruit trees that had made such growth during the few preceding months. Some of these friends came, and in turn they wrote to their friends, and----
That was twenty years ago, but the same condition still exists. There is the one peculiar thing about the city of Medford and the valley of the Rogue River: It is the only place that made a record-smashing growth in population without advertising and without mines or oil wells. The country advertised itself by being all and more than the inhabitants claimed it to be, and the newcomer has always been satisfied. But these things are ahead of the story. Mr. Stewart realized so much from his orchard that the other land owners of the valley began planting orchards, and in a few years the valley looked more like a young forest than a valley. The trees, mostly pears, apples, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries, were set by the thousands, but still the friends were writing their Eastern friends. The demand was made for smaller tracts of land, and immediately the larger tracts were either subdivided or sold and then divided, into five- and ten-acre tracts.
It was during this immigration some five years ago that someone who was very deeply impressed with the valley said, "If only the world knew of this valley and its possibilities." It was with shame that the people thought of the existing conditions they had left in the faraway East, and of the oppressive heat in the summers, the electrical storms that in one short second take away all that it has taken years of hard toil to accumulate, of the cold rains and sleet storms of the fall and the heavy snow storms of the winter months. They remembered now the people who still labored for a bare living under these conditions, and resolved if possible to be of some assistance to their downtrodden brothers. A commercial club was organized with twelve members, and a few three-line advertisements were carried in Eastern papers and magazines. The members "took turns" answering the few letters of inquiry that came at first, then it became too large, and a man was paid $25 per month for as much of his time as was necessary to answer the letters. This method was outgrown in six months, for no one could be procured for that salary to give all their time to the work, and it demanded it. A capable man was next employed at a good salary, but in less than a year's time he was "buried" with work; next two people were employed, and so forth. The membership of the club has grown from twelve to six hundred in five years. Why? Because every new person that arrives in the valley wants to tell their friends what they have found. The acreage planted to orchard has grown from 1,500 to 65,000 in five years. Why? Because some of the friends have listened, come and found it just the same as represented. The city has grown from 3,500 to 9,200 in three years. Why? Because the friends have arrived, gone into business, found that it paid, and written for their friends to come.
During the year of 1909, 90 percent of the pears and 50 percent of the apples shipped out of the state of Oregon were raised in the Rogue River Valley, and the friends are still telling their friends. The latest of these is
Louis W. Hill, president Great Northern Railway, who said: "We dropped over the mountains into the Rogue River Valley, and found the RICHEST VALLEY IN THE WORLD. I say this advisedly, and after traveling over 100 miles through its length and breadth. I have traveled extensively, and nowhere have I ever found a richer or more beautiful valley.It might not be amiss to say that the great Hill system is now building from Medford over the mountains east, and thereby tapping one of the largest belts of standing timber in the world today. This railroad will be built to an eastern connection with other branches of the Hill system, and Medford will be the only city in Oregon outside of Portland with two great transcontinental railroads.
THE MEDFORD COMMERCIAL CLUBHave recently edited the 1910 number of "Medford and the Rogue River Valley," and it is conceded by experts to be the most beautiful community booklet that has ever been published. This can be procured free if 6 cents is sent to pay the postage on same to your address, and it is easily worth 50 cents per copy.
Advertisement, Better Fruit, August 1910, page 18
HARVESTING ROGUE RIVER VALLEY'S PEAR CROPThe Rogue River pears are famous the world over for the excellent quality of the fruit and the scientific methods in handling them. All varieties do equally well here; in fact, this is the acknowledged home of the pear. There are, however, only about half a dozen varieties grown commercially--the Bartlett, Comice, Anjou, Bosc, Howell and Winter Nelis. Each of these varieties have their good qualities, and it is often a disputed question among growers as to which variety brings the best returns. While the writer has handled hundreds of cars of each of these varieties, he is not prepared to say just which variety has made the best record. All have made big money for the grower. We have seen the Comice sell in the markets for five dollars per half box. Again, we have seen the Anjou do equally as well. The Bartlett has made its record of four or five dollars per box, and when we take into consideration the wonderful productiveness of this pear we are constrained to say that they stand at the head of the class.
BY J. A. PERRY, MEDFORD, OREGON
While we believe that nowhere in the world do pears grow to such perfection as they do in the Rogue River Valley, yet we realize that the high prices and the splendid reputation our pears have attained is due to a certain extent to the scientific methods employed in growing, picking and packing the fruit.
The commercial pear orchard receives the very best care possible from the time the young trees are planted until they are producing their golden fruit, which is usually from five to six years. Anyone seeking a position as foreman on one of our pear orchards must, before he is allowed to take charge, convince the owner that he is experienced in orchard work. The trees are too valuable to permit of taking any chances, or making mistakes in pruning or caring for them in anything but a scientific manner.
The orchardist who grows pears has a decided advantage over the one who grows apples, the young pear trees being much easier cared for from the time they are planted. Insect pests do not attack them as much as they do apple trees. In fact, pear trees are very little trouble or expense to grow; they simply want pruning and reasonable cultivation. Anyone may grow a first-class pear orchard in the Rogue River Valley with what information he may get by attending our horticultural meetings and hearing the methods explained by scientific orchardists and by specialists stationed here to assist the growers.
Pears never require over two sprayings to keep out the worms. San Jose scale is much easier kept out of pear orchards than the apple orchard. Many people think that because the pear is a very delicate fruit that they are difficult to handle, but we wish to say that after ten years' experience in handling all varieties of fruit we much prefer handling pears to apples. Grading is easier. There are not nearly as large a percent of seconds or culls as there are in any apple crop, and where the grower is prepared to handle fruit in the proper manner, as they are in the Rogue River Valley, pears are handled with scarcely any loss from injury in handling.
All fruit must be handled carefully, and the grower that does not exercise great care in picking, packing and shipping his fruit cannot expect to be successful. Pears must be picked at the proper time. We may say there is no fixed rule to go by, but the orchardists of the valley are experts in this respect. They are able to determine the very day the fruit will do to come off the tree and yet mature into perfect fruit. This is a very important factor in marketing a pear crop. If picked from the tree too green the fruit will be lacking in sugar and will shrivel and decay without ever getting fit to eat. On the other hand, if allowed to stay on the tree too long, the shipping quality of the fruit is materially injured. The grower must have everything in readiness when the fruit is ready to come off, as there is no time to be lost.
First, he has all his orchard boxes gone over to see that they are in good condition. Then he gets his wagons that are to haul the fruit from the orchard to the packing house, and from the packing house to the car, in shape, providing each with a set of springs and cover to keep out the hot sun and dust. He then procures enough pickers and packers to pick at least one car of pears every day, and if the crop be large he may load two or more each day. We always like to load each day's pack in the iced car the same day it is packed, and get the fruit cooled out as soon as possible, thus stopping the ripening process. We hope in the near future to have a pre-cooling plant established in the valley. This will extend the marketing period of our pears over three or four weeks, which will mean much to the grower. Bartletts are usually ready to pick from the tenth to fifteenth of August, and the grower who has several varieties is able to keep his crew working from the time Bartletts ripen until the first of October, as the different varieties ripen one after the other, Bartletts first, then the Howell, the Anjou, the Bosc, Comice, and last of all the Winter Nelis, which ripen about the same time, or just before, we commence to pick winter apples. Where a grower has a good-sized orchard, it is very desirable to have several varieties, for this reason.
The methods of packing fruit have changed quite noticeably in the last few years. In former years we used printed boxes, having the grower's name and the district from which the fruit was grown printed on the end of the box. This has been discontinued, for various reasons, and we now use a plain box made from the best pine lumber, and place on the end of the box a nice lithographed label. The grower's name, the variety and number of pears is neatly stamped on the box, thus giving the buyer a chance to know just what the box contains.
Pears are packed at less expense than apples, for the reason that no lining or layer paper is used. Grading is not as expensive. Pears must be packed in a nice, neat manner to make a good appearance in the market, as nothing looks worse than a ragged, poorly packed box of pears. We use for most all pears eight by ten duplex wrapping paper, except some of the very largest sizes, which require a larger paper. The paper should always be full large for the pear, and serves to a certain extent to form a cushion for the fruit. The folds of the paper should always come underneath the pear, being perfectly smooth on top. Pears should have a larger swell in the box than apples, and should weigh at least fifty-two pounds.
In order that the box may look neat and have full weight, the swell must be built in the box as it is packed. Packing schools are conducted each year to give the new beginners a chance to learn the work before they are required to commence packing for shipment. The accompanying cut shows a class of twenty-five taking lessons in one of these schools. Several instructors are employed, as it is necessary to show the pupil, it being very hard to tell anyone how to put up a pack so that they will be able to do the work properly. With a good instructor to show them, it is possible for a new beginner to learn so that they may put up a very good pack in a few days if they really try to learn. We find many who never learn, for the reason that they do not take an interest in the work. The accompanying cut shows a very good commercial pack of pears. They are all four-tier, however. We are sorry that we haven't a cut of a five-tier pack, as that is used mostly and is the most desirable size. The cut shows very well the manner of placing the pears in the box, the diagonal pack being always used. Box No. 1 shows the three, two pack, four and five up the box, and contains ninety pears. A person that does not understand packing will think that the box contains ninety-two pears, but the tiers are not all the same. The first tier put in the box was two pears, put in calyx toward the packer and about equal distance from the sides of the box and from each other. In the next row we place three pears, stem toward the packer, in the three spaces on the sides and in the center. Next two, then three, and so on. You will find this tier has only twenty-two pears in it, while the next tier will have twenty-three, so that we have two tiers of twenty-two and two of twenty-three, or ninety pears. Box No. 2 is three-four pack, four-four up the box, and contains twenty-eight to the tier, or 112 pears. Box No. 3 is three-three pack, four-four up the box, and contains ninety-six pears. This box is packed exactly like the largest size five-tier, and should have been packed five-tier. If packed the same way five-tier it would contain 120 pears. The five-tier packs are three-three pack, four-four up the box, 120 pears; three-three pack, four-five up the box, 135 pears; three-three pack, five-five up the box, 150 pears. We seldom pack smaller than the latter size in the five-tier pack. Six-tier are sometimes packed in winter Nelis, or some of the small varieties, and may pack as many as 200 pears to the box. Some of our fancy pears are packed in the half box, such as the Comice, Anjous and other varieties when they are very large and fine. We believe it pays to put up pears in the half box if the fruit is really fancy. In this pack the work is done almost the same, except we use a fine lace paper to line the sides of the box; a beautiful lithograph top mat is placed over the top of the fruit after the box is packed, the lace lining being folded over so that the center of the mat shows, making a very attractive package. The half box contains from thirty to fifty pears.
Better Fruit, August 1910, pages 20-22
DETERMINATION PROVES A REMARKABLE SUCCESSAbout six years ago there came into the state of Oregon a young man from Chicago, looking for a suitable place to plant a large commercial orchard. That gentleman was J. A. Westerlund, president of the Western Oregon Orchard Company.
Someone informed him that the Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon, produced first-class apples and pears, and to see it before he decided on a location. The fellow who said this was a knocker on his own country, of course, but his knock proved to be a profitable one for Mr. Westerlund.
He came this way, he saw, and was soon convinced that the proper place to plant a large commercial orchard was in the Rogue River Valley.
An option on 400 acres was secured for forty days; then he returned to Chicago, told his brother and associates what the possibilities were, and they soon had their company organized and bought the land.
As soon as enough capital was secured they started to clear, plow and plant apples and pears and other fruits on the fertile slope of Mount Roxy Ann.
The Medford people watched this concern with eager eyes. All manner of predictions of failure were made. Even the publisher of the Mail was criticized and reprimanded because he would not expose these impostors. The land was condemned, not fit for anything else but jackrabbits, coyotes, scrub oak--to them nothing else would grow there, save wheat and hogs--and these not to a profit.
But the publisher thought differently, kept quiet, would not listen to this kind of philosophy. The enterprising men from the East asked no favors or franchises from the people of the Rogue River Valley. They simply worked, and worked hard, grubbing, plowing and planting trees, and said nothing. They didn't parade the streets with a brass band, saying what they intended to do. They simply did things, and did them right. Paid their bills and the men promptly who labored hard to get the old oak stumps off the ground.
The result is that the Rogue River Valley now can boast of the largest individual orchard on the Pacific Coast, which is known locally as the Westerlund orchards, consisting of 2,100 acres in one solid tract, 400 of which has but recently been added. Over 1,000 acres have been planted and 250 acres more are to be planted this winter.
What Wm. E. Curtis, in the Chicago Record-Herald says: "The largest orchard in the Rogue River Valley, and I am told that it is the largest in the Northwest, belongs to the Western Oregon Orchards Company, with offices at 59 Dearborn Street, Chicago, and it is situated four miles from Medford. The company owns 2,100 acres and has 1,040 acres planted in apple and pear trees, which are cultivated according to the highest scientific methods."
The orchard is so planted that it can be practically subdivided in the future, should the company so elect. We predict that in the near future some of the modest and most independent money-making small orchardists will be located in this orchard tract. So successfully has the company managed its affairs that not a dollar of encumbrance burdens the enterprise.
On the tract is an orchard of about an acre that was planted with two-year-old or three-year-old trees (Bartlett pears and Yellow Newtown apples) when the company purchased the property. Six Bartlett pear trees netted. the sum of twenty-four dollars, and the Newtown apple trees will yield three to five boxes per tree this year.
Mr. Westerlund took a few samples to the district fair at Ashland, mainly to show what his soil would do. To his great surprise the judges awarded him second prize on the Newtown apples against a dozen other competitors, old orchardists, in the valley.
At the National Apple Show in Spokane, samples from Mr. Westerlund's orchard will be on exhibition.
Why could not all our rich foothill lands be converted into fine orchards? They can, if local capital will combine. If it does and is as careful in financing and managing as the Western Oregon Orchard Company have been, success will surely be their reward.
The publisher of the Morning Mail has been all over this orchard, and he fully believes that not an acre is there in this vast Westerlund orchard which will bring less than $1,000 an acre when it is fully developed and the orchard in bearing.
New land is being made ready for the plow and the fruit tree every year, and because of this, more value is yearly added to the tract as a whole, and to each individual acre planted to trees is added a value which only time can compute.
Orchard land any place in this valley is an asset upon which it is difficult to set a value, but when any particular locality is proven of actual worth by the product it gives forth, as is the case with the Westerlund tract, then its value gets into the four-figure row.
The publisher of the Morning Mail will watch with considerable interest and pride the certain outcome of Mr. Westerlund's venture in this valley.--Medford Morning Mail, October 30, 1909.
Better Fruit, August 1910, page 31
SOUTHERN OREGONWhile the development of the Northwest in all lines has been rapid, it has been almost a regret to the districts of Oregon that the state did not keep pace with the development in other sections, but all this has changed within a comparatively short time. During the past two or three years no state west of the Mississippi River has developed more rapidly than Oregon. The resources of Oregon are manifold, and of all the different industries of the Northwest, no industry has grown more suddenly or more rapidly, or achieved more publicity and prominence than the fruit industry. Great waste tracts in Southern Idaho and Eastern Washington, covered with sagebrush all dormant for years, now are being rapidly developed for diversified farming and fruit growing. Southern Oregon, frequently called the Rogue River Valley, for many years was without proper railroad facilities. There was no railroad connection between Portland and San Francisco, and the editor of Better Fruit has made a large part of this trip by stage. Today, the Southern Pacific goes through the entire Rogue River Valley, running several through trains each way daily. Before there was adequate railroad transportation, Southern Oregon was largely devoted to general farming and stock raising, but some of the pioneer settlers discovered that Southern Oregon was an ideal fruit country. Mr. Stewart was one of the pioneers in the splendid fruit industry of this section, and much credit is due him.
Rogue River Valley extends from Ashland to Grants Pass, a distance of a little over fifty miles. On both sides of the railroad can be seen orchard after orchard. From Grants Pass north, along both sides of the railroad are small valleys that are splendid fruit-producing sections. Fruit is also grown extensively around Roseburg, and many orchards are being set in Sutherlin Valley.
This issue contains more or less descriptive matter and illustrations which we hope will give our readers valuable information about Southern Oregon. The July edition of Better Fruit featured the Willamette Valley from the fruit point of view, and in future numbers, from time to time, as far as space will permit, we will endeavor to feature other famous fruit districts, like Wenatchee, Yakima, Southern Idaho, Colorado, Utah and Montana, and British Columbia, but as this edition contains a great deal of interesting reading matter about Rogue River Valley, it seems fitting that a few words should be said editorially about this section.
Rogue River Valley is about halfway between San Francisco and Portland. It is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, and the scenery is magnificent. The famous Rogue River flows through the entire length of the valley and affords excellent sport for the man who loves angling. The resources of this valley are many. It is only a question of a comparatively short length of time when this entire valley and the sloping surrounding hillsides will be covered with orchards and vineyards. Southern Oregon has achieved fame for the quality of its apples, pears, peaches, grapes, cherries and other fruits too numerous to mention. All kinds of fruit seem to thrive and do well, but perhaps Southern Oregon has achieved more fame from its pears than any other one variety of fruit, and as far as we know, no country in the world is better adapted to producing pears than this section. It is certainly true that Southern Oregon has received the highest price for pears by the carload ever achieved in the history of the business, and many of them, like the Comice, bring $5,000 and over per carload. Among the pears that are grown most extensively in this district that may be mentioned are Bartlett, Anjou, Winter Nelis, and Comice. Many varieties of apples are grown successfully in this district, but probably a greater percent is devoted to Newtowns and Spitzenbergs than any other two varieties. The Spitzenbergs go to New York and the Newtowns to England. Net returns are reported from different growers varying generally from $300 to $1,000 per acre. In some instances, the latter figure has been considerably exceeded.
Fruit growing is attractive to men in all lines of work, because the business pays and because it is pleasant and independent. Southern Oregon is particularly attractive to the Easterner on account of the mild weather and healthy climate, never very cold in winter nor hot in summer. It might be classed as a climate halfway between Oregon and California. That means it is ideal.
Better Fruit, August 1910, page 62
THE FORMING OF THE ROGUE RIVER FRUIT ANDAfter a number of preliminary moves in forming the association, the committee on organization was named. It had on it fifteen representative men from all sections of the valley, from Ashland to Merlin, sixty-five miles. It called for a new conception of organized effort, and the result is something midway between a one-town association and the California Fruit Exchange. One small union was superseded and two associations were absorbed, making not an exchange, but one large association, with twelve shipping stations, five houses for storage and packing, one manager over all, all business going through a central office. The packers are being registered, organized and instructed, all material for the orchard and the packing house being purchased by one man, and all information is gathered at the central office. All inquiries for Rogue River fruit comes here; everything is billed from here, and all money comes here.
PRODUCE ASSOCIATION OF MEDFORD, OREGON
BY C. W. WILMEROTH, THE MANAGER
The value of cooperation to a large section is evident, especially where the fruit is nearly uniform. Besides the difference in supplies of every description, the organization of packers and help of all kinds, it makes the actual handling of the fruit easier and cheaper. In shipping, the expense to the shipper, large or small, is much reduced; and thus, if for no other reason than that expert help is provided. It is the case of the specialist being employed. With a definite standard of excellence in the pack to be reached, with schools in the instruction of packing of various kinds of fruit, with semi-supervision at the grower's packing house, and rigid inspection of all fruit before shipped, a pack is attainable that will at least be nearly uniform and will give some standing in any market, year after year.
Crowning this is to come something like a scientific distribution of the fruit, intelligent marketing. This means to sell the fruit to the people that really want it, and [this] only becomes possible where a large amount of fruit is at the command of the distributing organization. It is one thing to make soap; it is altogether a different thing to sell soap. It is one thing to raise fruit, and quite another thing to sell it. There is no necessary vital connection between the two things. One requires a certain scientific common sense and physical labor; the other requires a broad intelligence concerning the needs and wants of the population of many cities and towns, and the ability to gauge their wants as a whole, and to attempt with real salesmanship to supply these wants.
There is a suspicion in many minds that cooperative associations are pure philanthropy, with enough business in them to save them from the Sunday school class. This suspicion exists because of the inability to see the business end of the organization, the cooperative sentiment necessary for the formation of such an organization being some evidence that many do not see past it. But cooperative buying and selling is pure business, and if it is not financially successful does not obtain better prices, create better conditions, it is not a success, and no amount of sentiment will hold it together. Education in cooperation comes only through experience and demonstration. One successful association is worth years of talk.
The ground has not all been covered by any means; there are many ideas unworked, others not worked out. Every new association opens new possibilities in cooperation, suggests different solutions to its problems.
The year 1910 will probably see the largest crop of fruit that has ever been raised in this valley; it is estimated at a thousand cars, and the association will ship about 95 percent of it. To be able to bring this fruit to the rolling stage, to have a pack that is something near uniform, that is satisfactory on the whole to market and grower--good at both ends of the line--to satisfy the constituency that grows the fruit and the market that buys it, is no small undertaking in a territory as large as this. But, unless this is done more or less successfully the fruit business cannot maintain its high level here. Future investors will look twice at the finest land if they are not assured of intelligent marketing of their fruit, but where it reaches a more or less certain market, and is handled satisfactorily from the blossom to the table, and yields something--a fair return for the intelligence and labor expended--it can be said to be the finest of the producing occupations.
Someday we shall have our own pre-cooling plant; another day, when we are producing and selling 5,000 instead of 1,000 cars, we shall have our own marketing machinery and our own agents in all the markets where our fruit is consumed. In the meantime, we content ourselves with the machinery that already exists for marketing.
There will be this year no competition between Rogue River pears in any market, for our distributing agent is the Stewart Fruit Company, and they will handle them all.
The success of the association so far is due to the time and effort given willingly by a number of men, among them some of our large orchardists, and others who have gladly made whatever sacrifices that were necessary in order to make the association a real and working force. With such a beginning, all that is needed now is the cooperation of the fruit growers with their fruit to ship. All cooperative institutions are difficult of management because of certain kinks in human nature; but no situation is impossible. The cooperative marketing idea is growing and the time is not far distant when the Pacific Northwest fruit exchange will be here, taking in every section and its associations, and doing business to the satisfaction of all.
(Editor's Note--The manager, Mr. C. W. Wilmeroth, has been an apple man for many years, not only well known to the trade, but an acknowledged past master in all that pertains to apples and their distribution.)
Better Fruit, August 1910, pages 72-75
HOW JOHN D. OLWELL BLAZED A TRAILThe manner in which John D. Olwell of this city blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, establishing the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards, is told in an article appearing in this week's issue of the Saturday Evening Post under the caption "Short Cuts from Farm to Market," from the pen of Walter F. Woehlke, a recognized authority on marketing of fruit and farm products. Mr. Woehlke says:
FOR WESTERN-GROWN FRUIT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
Overcame English Prejudice for European-Grown Fruit and Opened Up New Market.
Walter F. Woehlke, in the Saturday Evening Post, Tells Story of Olwell's Initial Step.
"Quantity, size, overpowering mass, the superlative expressed in seven figures, have been Europe's strongest impression of American activities and products. The bigness of things in the New World has ever been the wonder of the old. Somehow, though, this admiration of the size and quantity of things American was always mixed with a slight disdain; its open expression was usually qualified with a 'But----.' Europe did not believe that America would ever reach its standard of quality. That this European notion is not well founded, at least so far as American fruit is concerned, was proved by the enterprise of John D. Olwell, a fruit grower in the Rogue River Valley of Southern Oregon, whose energy not only blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, but who also established the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards by the fire test, in which the American fruit panned out the highest percentage of fine gold.
"Some seven or eight years ago Olwell heard a rumor concerning the reported sale of a shipment of Oregon Newtown Pippin apples in London. Though he could never confirm the rumor, his imagination was aroused, and he determined to see for himself whether a market for Oregon fruit could be established in England. Though he rode all over the valley hunting for a son of Albion who might put him in touch with a London commission house, he could not procure the information. Perhaps a London paper would help him out. He wrote; and in due time the name and address of a firm was sent him. That fall Olwell consigned two carloads of Newtown Pippins to the London house and waited.
"Six weeks later Olwell received a cablegram announcing the sale of his apples and stating the proceeds in pounds and shillings.
"'I guess I must be a little rusty on international exchange,' muttered Olwell after calculations lasting an hour and covering many a square yard of paper.
"'What's a pound and a shilling worth in real money?' he asked at the bank.
"'About five dollars to the pound and two bits for a shilling,' came the answer. 'What's up, John? Did a rich English uncle die?'
"'Much obliged. No, my old uncle over there is still alive. I just wanted to find out how much I had coming from him,' said Olwell; and once more he translated the English currency terms into dollars and cents. The result confirmed his suspicions. Somewhere along the line a mistake must have been made in transmitting the figures. Here he had been getting seventy to ninety cents a bushel box for years; this cablegram said the same apples had brought three dollars a box on the other side. Somebody must have gotten off wrong. Olwell said nothing and waited for the letter. It came, and the draft it carried called for the same incredible amount. Still afraid of waking up--of receiving a cablegram rectifying the mistake--Olwell carried the draft around for several days before he dared cash it. Once the three-dollar dream had become a concrete reality, he got busy. The next year no apples were left in the valley for ninety-cent buyers. Olwell took over the entire crop and shipped it to London as fast as the apples were picked, anxious to increase the gold imports.
"As the Newtown Pippin, a green-yellow apple, had captured London, so the Spitzenberg captured New York. Under the stimulus of high bids from the fruit centers of the world, many young quality orchards are rising everywhere in the sagebrush country and the clearings of the Far West."
Medford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1910, page 1
ORCHARD STUDY POPULAR
Rogue River Men Prepare to Take College Winter Course.
MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 23.--(Special.)--Several Medford orchardists are preparing to attend the short courses in agriculture to be given by the Oregon Agricultural College during January and February. Among them are many eastern college men, who have only recently taken up horticulture in the Rogue River Valley. Among them are Leonard Carpenter, Harvard '05, and Alfred S. V. Carpenter, Harvard '05, who are joint owners of the Hillcrest Orchard; G. R. Carpenter, Yale '03, who has recently bought a portion of the Walter Burrell orchard; W. Morrell and J. Reigel, graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, and owners of the Atsbury ranch, and Slater Johnson, Yale '10, of Antelope.
Most of the eastern men who have recently bought orchards in the Rogue River Valley conduct their properties in a manner far different from that in vogue among the older residents. The Carpenter brothers have an elaborate map of their 30-acre orchard, showing every tree. This map enables them to keep an accurate account of each tree. If one becomes diseased it is marked for special attention. The Carpenter brothers, as do most of the up-to-date Rogue River Valley orchardists, keep books showing in detail how much labor and money are expended on each division of orchard work.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 24, 1910, page 6
Oregon Apples and Their Future
By Professor P. J. O'Gara
How the Rogue River Valley came to be developed into a great fruit district is not generally known. The first fruit trees planted in the Rogue River Valley, a few of which are still living and bearing prolificly, are now fully 58 years of age. These apple and pear trees were planted by the early pioneers, and, although they did not receive the intelligent care and attention given the Rogue River Valley orchards of today, they fruited well and pointed the way to the greatest industry in the valley at the present time. Not until 34 years after the first fruit trees were brought into the valley were the older commercial orchards planted. These numbered but four or five plantings of pears and apples, followed two or three years later by about as many more. At this time, for several reasons, there was a sudden lull in the orchard business, and no further plantings of any considerable size were made until nearly a decade afterward. Then suddenly, as if by magic, alfalfa and green fields were changed into orchards; wooded areas were cleared and, in turn, planted to profit-producing fruits. Here the question may be asked, Why this sudden change from apathy of a few years before to the marvelous and wide-awake interest in the fruit industry? The answer is easily given. A few of the eastern and foreign markets had tasted of the products from the first commercial orchards and naturally inquired whence they came. Answer to these inquiries resulted in the coming westward of the best citizens in the country, people who believed in the future of a valley capable of producing fruit of unequaled quality.
Among the pioneers of commercial orcharding in the Rogue River Valley were men who knew of eastern varieties and eastern conditions, and naturally followed the beaten trail. They knew little of the valley's soil conditions, and the adaptability of the various varieties of pears and apples to suit these conditions. However, they made fewer mistakes than have been charged to them. They were working in the dark, mostly with unknown quantities, but out of it all came the happy discoveries which rewarded them for their efforts and left to the future generations a heritage whose worth has become millions, and whose ultimate value lies beyond the limits of the most vivid imagination.
If there ever were any doubts as to the possibilities of the fruit growing industry, they have disappeared. Seeing is believing. While it can never be said that further improvement along any line of horticulture is impossible, it must be admitted that the Rogue River Valley has much less to learn than many horticulture districts that boast of years of practical experience. It is true that the horticulturists of the Rogue River Valley, as a body, are made up of men who have made a success in various occupations or professional men, manufacturers, salesmen, bankers and even mere pleasure seekers, but they have put into their new life's work the same intelligence and vim which characterized them in their former occupations. Science and scientific methods have stepped in and taken the place of haphazard guessing, so that anyone making a mistake as to proper soils for certain varieties, methods of cultivation and fertilization, irrigation and treatment of diseases, which, by the way, are very few, would have only himself to blame. Located in Medford is a branch office of the United States Department of Agriculture, fitted with a library laboratory, which is in charge of a pathologist whose duty it is to look after the horticultural interests of the Rogue River Valley. All questions referred to this office are given the same prompt attention which is characteristic of the main office of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, D.C. At no other place in the United States is there an office of this kind. To the man who has but one acre an equal opportunity is given in the matter of getting scientific and practical advice as to the man who owns hundreds of acres.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1911, page B4 The full article is transcribed here.
THE PEAR BLIGHT.Considering the fact that there is probably no menace to apple and pear orchards that is so serious as pear blight, it will be well to be on the lookout for it as soon as the sap begins to flow, as the blight in question is a bacterial disease of the sap. It is especially important to see that all holdover cases--that is, cases in which the germs have kept alive during the winter season--are cut out before the sap begins to run so as to prevent their becoming sources of a spread of the disease by bees and other insects to the blossoms and tender twigs of other trees of the same family. The presence of dangerous cases of blight is indicated by a dark-colored and sweetish-tasting ooze or sap which exudes from the cambium layer through the bark. The bees visit these places, very naturally, get their feet smeared with myriads of the bacteria and as a result are likely to infect a majority of the blossoms which they visit in the course of a day. In view of the fact that bees often cover a territory included in a radius of two miles, the possibility of a spread of the blight will thus be seen to be very great and emphasizes the necessity of destroying completely and thoroughly every holdover case. The wild hawthorn and crab, belonging as they do to the pome family, may be sources of early infection, and if such trees are in the neighborhood they should be inspected. Later on if trees in the orchard are found to be infected through the blossom in the manner indicated the only preventive measure known is cutting out with a knife well below the point of infection all diseased branches and limbs. After each cutting both the wound and knife should be sterilized with a one one-thousandth solution of corrosive sublimate (mercuric chloride), which is a deadly poison, and at the close of the day the parts cut away should be burned. By careful cutting a tree can often be saved, even though the blight has got into the trunk or has reached down into the roots. The fighting of the blight will be greatly simplified and the damage from it lessened if all water sprouts are kept cut away well up into the head of the tree, as it is through those that infection is most often as well as most quickly carried to the main limbs and trunk.
F. E. Trigg, Central Point, "Farm, Orchard and Garden," The Greensboro Patriot, Greensboro, North Carolina, April 20, 1911, page 8
MANY ORCHARDS BEING NAMED
County Clerk Receives Many Registrations of Orchard and Farm names
From the Ranches Throughout County.
The law passed by the last legislature giving those owning farms and orchards the right to the exclusive use of names for their possessions if not previously applied for is being observed by many owners throughout the Rogue River Valley. The county clerk has issued certificates to the following, and there are other applications pending:History of Fruit Growing
No. 1.--"The Oaks Orchard," Table Rock, J. C. Pendleton & Son.
No. 2.--"Riverside Orchards," Rogue River, John F. Morrill.
No. 3.--"Fairview," Sterling, Belle Nickell.
No. 4.--"Table Rock Orchard," Table Rock, R. C. Washburn.
No. 5.--"Woodlawn Orchard," Central Point, A. Conro Fiero.
No. 6.--"Hilltop Orchard," Jacksonville, T. W. Hester.
No. 7.--"The Bear Creek Orchards," Medford, S. Rosenberg.
No. 8.--"Clayton Orchards," Ashland, Hegardi & Weaver.
No. 9.--"Arrowhead Orchard," Central Point, L. Harry Wilcox.
Anyone wishing to adopt a name can apply to the county clerk. The fee for issuing a certificate is only $1. This proposition is [a] rather novel one and is already proving popular throughout the state.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 2, 1911, page 5
A CORRECTIONThrough an oversight in proofreading a slight error was overlooked in the article entitled "Frost Injury Prevention Methods in the Rogue River Valley," in the November issue of Better Fruit. On page 29, about the middle of the third column, the sentence beginning, "But if the air moved, etc.," should read as follows: "But if the air moved only 100 feet per minute, or a little more than one mile per hour, the temperature could never rise more than one degree above the temperature of the incoming cold air. At four miles per hour it could rise but one-fourth degree. This would be true only in the outside tree rows, on the side from which the air movement comes. For all the rows beyond the outside row, some of the heat units generated in the first row would be added to the heat generated inside."
Better Fruit, January 1912, page 26
ORCHARD SALES $427,000MEDFORD, Or., Jan. 19.--(Special.)--With the sale of 45 acres in the Morrill orchard by Captain Gordon Voorhies, of Portland, to Mrs. A. E. Bingham, of Santa Barbara, Cal. yesterday, and the sale of 230 acres of the Potter Barneburg place to Stephen Tobin, of Casper, Wyo., the orchard sales of the last six weeks in Medford total $427,000.
Activity in Lands Around Medford in Last Six Weeks Notable.
The tracts sold since December 7 are as follows: Suncrest orchard, 461 acres, $250,000; Whitney orchard, 55 acres, $30,000, Sisty orchard, 23 acres, $15,000; Worrell orchard, 20 acres, $12,000; Merrick orchards, 171 acres, $60,000; Barneburg tract, 230 acres, $30,000; Burrell tract, 45 acres, $30,000.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 20, 1912, page 1
ROGUE FRUIT CROP HEAVYMEDFORD, Or., May 31.--(Special.)--According to the statistics of Professor O'Gara and the Southern Pacific railroad, the Rogue River Valley will have the largest fruit crop in its history in 1912.
Valley Promises Largest Yield in Its History.
The following comparison with 1911 has been compiled:
Carloads, 1912--Pears, 150; apples, 450; peaches, 33; small fruits, 65; total, 700.
Carloads, 1911--Pears, 117; apples, 81, peaches, 10, small fruits, 3; total 211.
The largest previous crop was in 1910 when 534 cars were shipped. But for the cold and rainy weather in April and May it is computed there would have been 800 carloads, the impoverished fertilization and consequent dropping having materially decreased the output.
This increase may be largely attributed of course to the increased acreage annually coming into bearing.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 1, 1912, page 5
MEDFORD ICE PLANT DOING PRE-COOLING
Government precooling experts are still conducting experiments with Rogue River fruit and expect to secure data invaluable to fruit growers regarding refrigerating and keeping fruit.
The precooling is being done at the plant of the Medford Ice and Storage Company, which is cooperating with the officials in every possible way. The plant has a large capacity and can handle a number of cars and if the demands justify will be enlarged to precool a large portion of the valley's pear crop.
Jonathan apples have been kept in cold storage at this plant for over a year in good condition, and as the Jonathan is a perishable apple, it shows what the possibilities are.
The Southern Pacific has purchased refrigerator cars for the experiment, and the various orchardists and the fruit exchange furnishing the fruit and the boxes.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 4, 1912, page 7
F. L. TouVelle has purchased the six-acre pear orchard near Jacksonville known as the old Hoffman place, and one of the oldest orchards in the Rogue River Valley. On the place is a walnut tree over 50 years old, and the seed of which was brought from the Atlantic Coast by C. C. Beekman of Jacksonville, who has just recently retired from the banking business in that town.
"Crop Value Is Great," Sunday Oregonian, October 27, 1912, page D10
FRUIT STORAGE IS DESIREDMEDFORD, Or., Nov. 22.--(Special.)--Medford orchardists are bending every effort to secure cold storage facilities here and in the Middle West for the season of 1913.
Medford Orchardists Plan to Secure Good Prices Hereafter.
The past season has demonstrated conclusively that the secret of securing high prices is holding the fruit until the market is high. When the picking season starts on pears, for example, the markets are usually glutted with California fruit, and the prices are at the bottom.
This year, for example, the average price secured for pears during the regular season was $1.50 a box, but Wednesday of this week A. C. Allen, of the Hollywood Orchards, put a carload he had in cold storage since September, on the Des Moines, Ia., market and secured an average of $6 per box. This is the highest price ever received in this section for pears in carload lots.
Heretofore there has been considerable doubt as to the pear standing up under cold storage. The California pear will not, but the Rogue River Valley pear, according to local experts, is peculiarly adapted to storage, and recent experiments by the government in Medford are said to have sustained this view.
The local fruitgrowers are endeavoring to raise money not only for cold storage in Medford, but for space in storage houses nearer the center of population, where fruit can be delivered to the market at a few hours' notice.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, November 23, 1912, page 20
Sixty years ago a few hardy pioneers, braving the dangers and hardships of a transcontinental journey by slow wagon trains, brought into the Rogue River Valley seeds and scions of the fruits with which they were familiar in their eastern homes. They were not horticulturists, or fruitgrowers as the term is applied today; they grew apples, pears, peaches and other fruits more for the pleasure of growing them than for any profit that might have been made from them. They were too busy getting the absolute necessities of life to think of commercial fruitgrowing. For the most part the varieties of fruits which they grew were without name, that is to say, they were seedlings; and today many of the sturdy old trees that sprang from the seeds which these men planted in the fertile soils of the Rogue River Valley are without a horticultural name. Nevertheless, many of these old fruit trees have borne prolificly in all the years that have passed since they came into bearing. The pioneers who settled the valley not only had good fruit but plenty of it.
Among the pioneers of commercial orcharding in the Rogue River Valley were men who knew of eastern varieties and eastern conditions and naturally followed the beaten trail. They knew little of the valley's soil conditions, excepting that they were good, and the adaptability of the various varieties of fruits to suit these conditions. However, they made fewer mistakes than have been charged to them. They were in a new country, working in the dark, mostly with unknown quantities, but out of it all came the happy results which rewarded them for their efforts. They constructed for future generations the foundations of an industry that cannot be surpassed the world over.
While the real beginning of fruitgrowing dates back to the early '80s, the commercial side of the industry dates back only 25 years. However, let us say that while commercial fruitgrowing began a quarter of a century ago, it was only a beginning. About that time the Stewart, Gore, Olwell, Weeks and a few other well-known orchards were planted, and only a short time thereafter did such men as Stewart, Olwell and Weeks establish markets for our fruits, not only in the East but also in the markets of Europe. Those of us who are living in the valley today should have a profound respect for these men who staked their all in an enterprise which at that time was merely one of chance, but of wonderful importance as it has since proven. Even now, the valley is only beginning to come into its own. In a short time it will be producing tens of thousands of carloads of the various orchards' fruits, especially apples and pears. It already has planted an acreage large enough to produce an output of 30,000 cars per year; all that is required will be the proper attention necessary to the growing of the trees into bearing. The soil and climate are perfect, all that we need is time and well-directed labor.
There is probably no fruit district in the United States where so great attention is paid to the matter of the health of the orchards as in the Rogue River Valley. Not only are the orchards well cultivated, but every attention is given to the treatment of orchard fruit disease.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1913, page D5
The Ashland DistrictThe Ashland exhibit of the Rogue River Valley, embracing an agricultural and horticultural display, was intended to (and we think did) correct an erroneous impression regarding that part of the valley across Bear Creek, north from Ashland, such impression heretofore having been that the soil in this particular territory was not fertile. To all who care to investigate this question, it can readily be demonstrated that the large tract mentioned, which has been undergoing the process of development for the past four to seven years, will eventually represent the real agricultural portion of this valley. And in this connection we might add that the territory under consideration extends as far west as Talent, with approximately 50,000 acres as yet practically untouched save by the mowing of wild oats. In the main this extensive area is still used as grazing lands for cattle and sheep. Here corn, wheat and alfalfa, as well as all kinds of root products for both stock and household use, can be raised with comparative ease. Here also poultry thrives. The nights and days are from six to eight degrees warmer in winter owing to the open valley exposure, the sun shining from two to four hours per day longer, inasmuch as this district is removed from the shadow of the mountains. Possessing so many advantages, the bona fide homeseeker is bound to be attracted to this locality, where land can still be obtained at reasonable prices, and where the yield therefrom is remunerative. To summarize, the Ashland exhibit is all that is claimed for it, and the display as shown at the recent local District Fair, also at the Pacific Northwest Land Products Show at Portland, speaks for itself.--(Signed) D. M. Lowe.
Better Fruit, February 1913, page 22
Fruit Yield GrowsAccording to report for the year 1912, Medford, Oregon, will ship 775 cars, against 534 in 1910, which was the previous high year. There were 244 cars of pears, 436 of apples and 10 mixed. This is quite an increase in the output of this district, which will be increased as the young orchards come into bearing.
Better Fruit, February 1913, page 48
After an exhaustive study of orchard conditions following an extended inspection tour, Professor O'Gara states that the probabilities are that the pear crop in the Medford district will equal the apple crop, as there will be probably 200 cars of pears more than first estimated. The drop in most orchards has been very light, and some orchards, like Bear Creek, have record crops. The prospects are that 600 or 700 cars of pears will be harvested by the valley.
"Pear Crop to Equal Apple in Medford Region," Medford Mail Tribune, May 23, 1913, page 1
The Rogue River fruit crop will be handled by the Rogue River Valley Fruitgrowers' Association, consisting of a membership of between 400 and 500 growers. This is the old association in the valley. Its output will be handled through the Northwest Fruit Exchange. A new association has been formed this year called the Rogue River Cooperative Fruitgrowers' Association. Mr. J. A. Perry is president. The Producer Fruit Company will also operate in the Rogue River Valley during the coming season.
Rogue River Valley estimate: Estimates in Rogue River Valley on May 30 of this year's crop were 550 cars of apples, 400 cars of pears, other fruit 100 cars.
Better Fruit, July 1913, page 26
THE PEAR VS. THE APPLE
WHICH IS THE MORE PROFITABLE FOR THE GROWER?
Reginald H. Parsons Answers in Favor of the Pear--
The Crop Is Much More Certain, He Says.
Portland, Ore., Aug. 22.--What is the best paying crop in the Pacific Northwest? Some say apples, while others strongly assert that the pear is the peer of all so far as profits per acre are concerned.
Reginald H. Parsons, owner of the famous Hillcrest Orchards near Medford, and by the way directing head of the Northwestern Fruit Exchange of this city, strongly asserts that pears are the thing--or in fact the profit. His orchard consists of 160 acres. His holdings of pears include 85 acres, the remaining area being planted to apples and other fruits.
While the Rogue River country has received the highest awards in the world for the excellent of its Yellow Newtowns and Spitzenbergs, still it is partial to the pear--in fact its greatest glory as a fruit center has been received by the latter crop. The entire Rogue River country is destined to become one huge pear orchard in the future, and it is already counting its profits.
Mr. Parsons has returned to Portland after an inspection of his orchard. "The crop of pears in the Rogue River country will this year show an increase of 25 to 50 percent over a year ago," he said.
"There is an increase of probably 30 percent in the bearing area of pears this season. We are going into pear raising in the Rogue River country for two reasons--the soil is particularly adapted to its growth, and there is a greater profit in it. We plant about 75 pear trees to the acre, and only about 60 apple trees, because the former does not grow so big. While it is true that the average apple tree will produce more fruit than a pear tree, the greater number of the latter planted to the acre more than makes up for this loss.
"Then the production of pears is much more certain than apples. While the apple tree sometimes produces a bigger crop than does the pear, still the average is far better in the latter. Then again the pear brings more money in the market, is easier gathered and is more free from disease than the apple.
"Rogue River is today the most favorable pear section in the country, and its merits will increase from year to year. We have had excellent growing weather recently--over 2½ inches of rain falling during July. The outlook is not only for a good crop of pears, but large sizes and good quality."
The Chicago Packer, August 23, 1913, page 16
LONG TRIP MADE BY OREGON PEARSAn agent of the Department of Agriculture, who was assigned to keep in touch with a carload shipment of Bartlett pears from Medford to Washington, D.C. and determine its condition, reported as follows:
Government Report on Shipment of Bartletts from Medford to Washington.
"We found the fruit in generally good condition, although two top tiers showed considerable ripe fruit. The car received 12 reicings and from the records made from readings of the electric thermometer we found that the temperature remained practically even from the point of shipment to Washington. In all 82,820 pounds of ice were used on this consignment.
The Rogue River Fruit Produce Association certainly has the right idea in regard to packing and loading cars. The fruit appears to have been well selected and sized, the boxes are made of good lumber and the label is a neat and attractive one. The fruit was loaded right for long carrying."
This car left Medford on August 21 and reached Washington September 2.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 13, 1913, page 15
Top Price for Oregon Pears.
The United States government has solved at Medford the problem of proper refrigerating of fruit so that growers can delay the marketing of their product for at least two weeks. A carload of Rogue River Bartlett pears shipped by the Rogue River Fruit & Produce Association was sold at New York at $3.15 a box, which means $2.30 a box f.o.b. Medford. The price is believed to be the record received by growers for Bartlett pears in the United States this season. The carload was the last of a lot of four that had been placed in the new $60,000 storage built at Medford.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 2, 1913, page 19
Reginald H. Parsons, who has one of the finest pear orchards in Southern Oregon, considers pears the best and most profitable fruit for that district. If we remember correctly Mr. Parsons has received the highest price for Comice pears ever received by any grower.
C. E. Whisler states that the Bartlett is the leading pear in Southern Oregon and grown in greater quantity than any other pear. He considers the Bosc in second place so far as prominence is considered. The Bosc is an excellent pear, very sweet, very rich and with very little core. The Comice, Winter Nelis and Anjou are all favorite pears in the Southern Oregon district. The October edition of Better Fruit contained an article on the pear industry in that section.
"About Fruit and Fruit People," Better Fruit, November 1913, pages 40-41
ROGUE RIVER FRUIT SEASON PRODUCES SEVERAL SURPRISESMEDFORD, Or., Dec. 31--All things considered, the season of 1913 has been the most successful one in the history of the fruit business of the Rogue River Valley. In spite of some early loss by frost and inroads by blight, there were never before so many cars of fruit shipped, nor have prices on the average ever been better.
Results Again Show That Yellow Newtowns and PearsAre Most Suitable Crops.
The prices for Jonathan and Ben Davis apples have been the surprise of the season. Heretofore these grades have gone begging; last year they did not pay the freight and many of these apple trees were taken out, but this year the entire crop of both species has been sold at excellent prices, ranging from $1 to $1.50 f.o.b. Medford, the demand for Jonathans having been particularly strong in South Africa and Australia.
As usual, the Yellow Newtown has led the apple sales at prices ranging from $1.70 to $2.25 per box net while the unusual high grade of the 1913 Spitzenbergs, both in size and color, secured an average for this fruit at from $1.50 to $2.00 a box net.
Local shipments have been about equally divided between the local association and independent fruit brokers, but the local association has increased its prestige through the season and will enter the campaign for 1914 much stronger than ever before. With the construction of a $40,000 cold storage plant this year the members of the association were able to make twice as much on four cars of Bartlett pears as would have been possible if the cold storage plant had not been built. Although fruit prices in general for 1913 were good and well sustained, there was the usual slump in the pear market in mid season after the first Rogue River Bartletts had been sent and the heavy shipments from Washington and New York had started to come in. Four cars were put in cold storage when the market was $1 net to grocer and were finally sold at an average of $2.15 f.o.b. Medford.
Taking the valley as a whole, the Bartlett pears ranged in price from $2.32 f.o.b. Medford to $1.25 f.o.b. Medford, the Howells from $2.95 to $1.50, the Comice, Anjou and Winter Nelis ranged from $4.50 to $2.25 f.o.b. Medford, with the Anjou as usual at the highest figure.
The season 1913 has shown that while Medford should specialize in pears and Yellow Newtowns the orchards which have been planted to other brands of apples and are bearing should be retained and orchardists should not pull up the trees if conditions otherwise are favorable. The early frosts demonstrated the necessity of smudge pots on all unprotected areas, and showed conclusively that a cheaper form of insurance could scarcely be imagined. The inroads of blight have shown that eternal vigilance is necessary and a committee of orchardists has been formed to see that more extensive inspection is carried on and that failure to obey instruction of the county pathologist be followed by cutting down the infected trees.
With the trees heavily set for next year the prospects of a bumper crop in 1914 are excellent. County Pathologist O'Gara places the total of 1500 cars as a conservative estimate.
Oregon Journal, Portland, December 31, 1913, page 20
In 1913 the largest fruit crop and the best average fruit prices have been received in the history of the valley. In round numbers 1079 cars of fruit have been shipped out, divided as follows:
Apples Pears Peaches Mixed Total
Medford . . . . . . . . 391 355 1 9 756
Central Point . . . . 103 35 138
Ashland . . . . . . . . . 35 1 12 17 65
Gold Hill . . . . . . . . 30 30
Phoenix . . . . . . . . . 28 18 46
Talent . . . . . . . . . . . 41 41
Rogue River . . . . . 3 3
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . 631 409 13 26 1079
According to actual returns, deducting freight and commission charges, the fruit crop of 1913 brought $1,000,000 in cash into the valley.
"Jackson County," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1914, page C4
SNOWY BUTTE ORCHARD.
I purchased the Snowy Butte Orchard at Central Point in November, 1904. I was warned after purchase by the former owners, Olwell and Sons, that pears were "not the thing," but that apples must be depended upon as the source of the orchard revenue. F. H. Page, of Page & Son, Portland, commission men, also told me that there was no market for Winter Nelis pears except in Chicago and Cincinnati. Mr. Day of Sgobel & Day advised me never to ship to New York as there was no sale for "gum crushers," as he styled them. I have less than 16 acres of Winter Nelis pears.
In 1905 the pear crop was caught by frost, only one car being marketed. These brought $2 a box.
In 1906 W. N. White, the New York fruit broker, contracted for five cars at $2 a box f.o.b. orchard. As he was not in the city when the draft arrived to pay for the cars, they were turned over on consignment to Rae & Hatfield, who realized me $1.90 a box at the orchard. The crop totaled 12 cars. The balance was sold in New York and London and averaged me about the same, $1.90 net.
In 1907 Rae & Hatfield purchased the entire crop, 7,300 boxes, at $2.50 net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1908 the crop was light on account of frost.
In 1909 I marketed 7,000 boxes at $2.25 a box net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1910 the crop of 6,000 boxes sold for $1.87½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1911 I marketed 1,287 boxes at $2.12½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1912 the crop of 7,487 boxes of pears netted $14,385, the Winter Nelis selling at $1.87½.
In 1913 I sold 7500 boxes of five- and six-tier Winter Nelis, the former at $2.25 a box f.o.b. orchard, and 500 boxes of second grade.
In addition to the pears I have annually turned off hogs, barley and other crops at a considerable value.
(signed) F. H. Hopkins
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1914, page D8
New Plant Pathologist for Medford DistrictA specialist in plant pathology, Dr. M. P. Henderson, University of Wisconsin, has been appointed by the Oregon Agricultural College as pathologist and assistant county adviser of Jackson County, with headquarters at Medford. Under the provisions of the county farm adviser law Jackson County maintains a county adviser cooperatively with the extension division of the college. This office is filled by Professor F. C. Reimer, superintendent of the Southern Oregon Experiment Station at Talent.
The new arrangement was secured through cooperation between the experiment station, the branch station and the extension division on the one hand and the County Court of Jackson County on the other. It goes far to assure close cooperation in carrying on the work.
The newly appointed pathologist is a graduate of the Utah University and took his doctor's degree in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin last June. He is a native of Idaho and has had extended experience in orchard work under Western conditions.
Better Fruit, September 1914, page 26
Rogue River Valley of Southern Oregon had a very light crop in 1914 on account of drought, and it is now feared that there will be another shortage of water and crop. The present normal prospect is for 1,200 cars, consisting of 700 of pears and 500 of apples. However, unless weather conditions are favorable, this estimate will fall short of realization.
"Prospects for Short Apple Crop in the Northwest," Better Fruit, June 1915, page 34
Southern Oregon apple crop and pear crop are reported very light this year on account of frosts and exceedingly dry weather. It is stated by some who have visited this district that the shipments in pears and apples will probably be around 300 carloads.
Better Fruit, October 1915, page 26
Rogue River reports an unusually light crop of apples this year, probably somewhere between 100 and 200 carloads, due principally to two causes--drought and frost.
Better Fruit, November 1915, page 18
PREPAREDNESS MAKES SUCCESS IN FRUIT RAISING"I would buy Rogue River orchards today more cheerfully than ever if I had the money," said Dr. E. B. Pickel in the presence of a party of citizens who were discussing the present situation as enlivened by recent frost injury. "Just two things are required to make orcharding a fine success in this valley," continued the doctor, "and they are adequate preparation to protect the orchards from frost and from drought. The former can be done inexpensively, in proportion to the great benefit derived, and the latter, an absolute necessity, will practically double the value of the output. These things provided, and there will be no excuse for our not having the best fruit district in proportion to its area on the Pacific coast today.
"Had we been provided with irrigation during the last two seasons in which we suffered from drought on account of its absence, we would not now hear any local hard times talk. But we weren't prepared. Had we had ample frost protection this year, as we should have had the foresight to provide, we would not now be talking about our losses.
"About it all there is one good thing. That is the lesson there is in it. It ought to be worth two or three million dollars. Come to think of it, that's not so bad for one season. But the only way we can turn it to profit is by using the lesson in proper and adequate preparation against drought and frost next year. That is the only way we can come out ahead on last year and this."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 11, 1916, page 3
VALLEY HAS A PAYROLL IN ORCHARDS
Every good citizen of Medford or the Rogue River valley is keenly interested in its present and future prosperity. Every business project that promises a payroll, substantial or otherwise, and the expenditure of money in our midst, is welcomed and investigated and assisted, if worthy, by every legitimate means in our power.
Speaking of payrolls, how many of us realize the magnitude of the yearly payroll in this district that is connected solely with horticulture and its attributes? According to the statistics compiled by the county pathologist, there are approximately 23,000 acres in the Rogue River Valley planted to apples and pears. It is safe to assume that 20,000 of these acres are being intelligently cared for by their owners. According to the same statistics, 25 percent of the total average is at what may be called a fruit-bearing age. In other words, we have approximately 5000 acres in bearing fruit in the Rogue River Valley. It will cost the grower approximately $200 per acre per year to grow his fruit and place it on the cars. This includes all of the expenses of cultivation, spraying, pruning, thinning, harvesting, hauling, packing and car-loading. It is also safe to assume that of this $200 per acre, one-half of it represents labor and the other half materials.
Half Million in Payroll.On this assumption the labor item or yearly payroll at $100 per acre on 5000 acres of bearing orchards should equal the sum of one-half a million dollars. Of the remaining 15,000 acres not in bearing, a conservative estimate of cost of intelligent care would be one-quarter of the cost of similar care of bearing orchards. This would give you $25 per acre of bearing orchards. This would give you $25 per acre of labor per year on the non-bearing orchards, of which there are 15,000 acres, which would mean an additional payroll of $375,000, or a total horticultural payroll in this community of $875,000 per year, not including extraordinary expenses, which occur periodically, for instance in the fighting of blight. A statement then that the payroll of this valley connected with horticulture or horticultural products equals half a million dollars per annum would surely be conservative.
What other business enterprise here has ever reached in the past, or is likely to reach in the future, anywhere near this total? It must be remembered, too, that as the remaining 15,000 acres come into full bearing the payroll on every one of these acres will be increased four-fold.
Our Greatest Enterprise.Therefore, we say, keep on boosting for every legitimate enterprise that can be induced to come our way, but do not forget that the greatest enterprise we have, in which is invested by far the largest amount of money, and which produces by far the greatest payroll, is the growing of Rogue River pears and apples, and this enterprise deserves the constant support of every good citizen, whether orchardist or not, and no single one of us should omit any opportunity that may offer to help grow the fruit, or help harvest and market it.
Distribution as far as marketing is concerned is the greatest solution of the problem. Cooperation helps distribution. This association has sold pears and apples in half of the states of the Union, as well as in Canada and Europe. The great bulk of the fruit has not been placed in the large cities, but distributed in the smaller towns and in new markets, which have not heretofore known our product. This policy will be continued, and with the united support of the growers of this valley cannot help but result in better conditions for everyone.
Newtowns $1.87 a Box.Only this week we have received accountings from two cars of Blue Triangle Newtowns sold in a comparatively new European market. The largest apples in these two cars were 175 to the box, and yet each car averages a price of $1.87 a box f.o.b. Medford. This means that after taking out all selling charges, all cold storage charges and all packing and hauling and loading charges, the grower will receive absolutely net to him in the neighborhood of $1.25 a box. There are many markets like these if we hunt for them. We cannot afford to hunt for them unless we have a large tonnage among which to distribute the expense. It is distinctly up to the grower to see that we accomplish the right results. Up to date the growers have responded magnificently to our call for support. A large number of the growers are already with us. Only yesterday Bear Creek Orchards, with a possible tonnage of seventy-five cars this season, was added to the list. We should have many more. We believe our lineup this year is right and that a larger percentage of the growers than ever before agree with us as to our proposed policies and methods.
ROGUE RIVER FRUIT & PRODUCE ASSOCIATION,Medford Sun, May 31, 1916, page 3
S. V. Beckwith, Manager.
Mr. Horace W. Day, of Sgobel & Day, after making a tour of California and the Northwest, reports in an interview given out by the press, published in various newspapers, that the California Bartlett pear crop will not exceed 60 percent of last year, and that the Medford pear crop suffered severely from frost also. From information obtained, Mr. Day says he understands that Hood River did not suffer from the frost. Mr. Day gives the very interesting statement that deciduous fruits, including pears, will bring much more money this season than for some years past. Mr. Day, when interviewed in May, stated that the condition of the apple crop was problematical, for the reason that at [the] time he was unable to determine definitely the amount of damage done to the crops in the Northwest. He believes, however, that prices will depend upon two factors largely--the amount of tonnage and the methods of marketing.
"Fruit Industry Paragraphed," Better Fruit, June 1916, page 20
The total pear shipments from Medford of last year have already been doubled and many cars of Winter Nelis have not been forwarded. Last year 219 cars were shipped. This year 470 cars have already been billed out. The entire fruit crop promises to come up to the early estimate of 1000 cars.
"Oregon News Notes of General Interest," Monmouth Herald, Monmouth, Oregon, September 29, 1916, page 5
MILLION-DOLLAR APPLE CROPMedford and Ashland, in Jackson County, Oregon, which is better known as the Rogue River Valley fruit belt, are the cities most renowned as distributing centers for Oregon's fruit. The practical salesmanship methods employed by the fruit exchange of this section has caused the veneration of the Englishman for his king and his roast beef to yield space for the Yellow Newtown Pippin, grown in Rogue River Valley. The best Yellow Pippins grown on earth are produced in this valley. The chief varieties of apples grown in Rogue River Valley are Newtown and Spitzenberg. The record yields of the two varieties are 593 boxes of Newtowns and 620 boxes of Spitzenbergs to the acre. The former variety brings from $2.50 to $3 per box and the latter from $2.75 to $3.25. It is not, therefore, excessive to state that apples under scientific cultivation and care may be made to produce a profit of $800 per acre.
Oregon, an Exponent of the Benefits of Scientific Methods
The increase in fruit production in Rogue River Valley for the past six years has been more than 1,000 percent. No other fruit district of the world can show so remarkable a gain in so short a time. More than 1,200 cars of fruit are annually shipped from Medford and Ashland. Compared with the vast area of the Golden State, Jackson County shipped more than one-sixth as many cars of fruit as California. The annual fruit checks which the growers of this region receive in return for their fruit are each above the million-dollar mark.
There have been years when Jackson County placer mines returned many millions, but gold once removed from the earth leaves little for future generations to rely upon for financial support. Not so with permanent agriculture, for when the million-dollar apple crop has been shipped to the people of the world, the agricultural wealth has not been depleted, but increased in value.
If the entire fruit crop of Jackson County were lined up in one railroad train of refrigerator cars, this train would be more than ten miles in length.
The success indicated by these facts and figures has been brought about by the energy, thrift and foresight of the fruitgrowers of this region. Jackson County fruit growers as a whole have used the very best judgment in adopting scientific methods in all their horticultural practice and salesmanship.--Christian Herald.
Cortland Standard, Cortland, New York, January 9, 1918, page 6
Medford OptimisticProspects were never brighter for a big fruit crop at Medford than at the present time, says the Medford Mail Tribune, because of the great amount of moisture in the ground, the shortening of the frost danger period by the later development of buds this year than for years, and the heavy setting of the apple and pear trees with fruit buds. Some of the most optimistic of the fruit growers are enthusiastically predicting an apple and pear crop of 2,000 cars next fall.
While County Agricultural Agent Cate agrees the prospects never appeared brighter for a large fruit crop, yet he warns not to be too optimistic about the frost outlook, and points out that May 21st last year there was a heavy frost of from 22 to 30 degrees, and April 3rd a severe frost of 18 degrees in the valley and 22 degrees in Medford. And two years ago on May 12th there was a severe frost of 26 degrees.
A prediction of 2,000 cars for the entire valley this year seems to require much optimism, as the highest previous crops of apples and pears did not approach anywhere near that number of cars.
But with the glorious prospects and abundant late moisture this year there is a thorn with the rose, as on account of the saturated ground and continued rains the orchardists are so far behind with their spraying for scale that the majority of them will abandon any further attempt at spraying this year, and this will have a tendency to allow the scale to increase. In some of the orchards located in sticky soil in the past week or two attempts to spray resulted in the spraying apparatus being mired so fast in the mud that it was with great difficulty that the spraying wagons and horses were extricated and gotten back to the barns.
Better Fruit, April 1919, pages 7-8
The fruit-thinning situation, which promised to be serious in the Medford district, was finally adjusted and orchardists very materially assisted by women and girl workers who volunteered for the work. Orchard and ranch hands, however, are said to be still needed very badly in the Medford district.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, July 1919, page 29
Medford will have this year the largest and best quality pear crop in its history, and this fact is said by growers there to be due to better facilities for irrigation. The Bartletts and D'Anjous are particularly fine and will ripen early. Fruit men at Medford are optimistic in regard to the future of that district and say that from now on it is bound to be very prosperous and to develop rapidly. Medford will ship between 700 and 800 cars of pears this year and about the same number of cars of apples according to late estimates.
The Rogue River Valley Canning Company, which had been in the hands of a receiver for some time, has changed hands, the new owners being S. S. Bullis and E. T. Skewis, who are now operating it. The price paid for the property, which is said to have included 30 acres of tomatoes, was $5,000. H. W. Hoke, former manager for the old company, is in charge of the plant.
P. J. O'Gara, formerly plant pathologist at the Medford experiment station, was a recent visitor in the Rogue River Valley. Mr. O'Gara is now connected with the American Refining and Smelting Company of Salt Lake, Utah.
The Bear Creek Orchard, one of the largest commercial orchards in the Rogue River Valley, is now in the possession of the Rosenberg Brothers, who recently acquired title to it through the settlement of the estate of their father. The orchard comprises 240 acres, two-thirds of which is in apples and the balance in pears.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, August 1919, page 21
At Ashland and Medford the fruit crop is heavy and of fine quality. Satisfactory prices are being received and a very strong feeling of optimism for the future of the fruit industry in this section is reported. From 700 to 800 cars of pears and the same quantity of apples will be shipped from the Medford district this year. The peach crop at Ashland moved under very favorable conditions and the apple crop there will also command a good figure.
F. M. Radovan is erecting a $10,000 fruit drier at Medford. The plant will be completed in time to receive apples and pears and will be equipped for the evaporation of all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, September 1919, page 16
Claiming the record for Bartlett pear prices in Oregon, Medford during the month of September reported the sale of a car of Bartletts at $5.20 per box. Another car from that district sold for $5.00 per box.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, October 1919, page 18
The record shipment of fruit from the Rogue River Valley is predicted for this year. It is stated that 1,000 cars of fruit will be shipped from this section before the 1919 season closes. Buyers of fruit for dryers and cider plants are active there and have bought many tons for these purposes.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, November 1919, page 20
Medford about wound up its shipment of an 800-car apple crop December 15. While this section has experienced some damage from the cold spell, it is stated that not over 20 cars of fruit were frozen and these were in the storage houses of the owners on their orchard properties. Prices for apples in the Medford district this year have been more than satisfactory.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, January 1920, page 21
The Ashland section has had the most prosperous year in fruit in its history according to A. C. Briggs, manager of the Ashland Fruit and Produce Association, a cooperative marketing concern. The association did a business of $150,000 during the past year and recently has bought a property adjoining the present warehouse in order to extend its operations. The new directors recently elected are J. H. Dill, A. S. A. Peters, J. M. Wagner, J. H. Sander and S. J. Evans.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, February 1920, page 27
Shortage of water to irrigate the rapidly increasing fruit crops in the Ashland district is called attention to in the Ashland Tidings, which says that there should be no further planting in that district until growers are assured of sufficient irrigation to mature their crops. A conference of fruit growers in that district has been planned to discuss the situation with a view to taking steps to secure a larger supply of water for irrigation.
Jackson County fruit growers, numbering 106, and controlling 4,251 acres of orchards, recently joined the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association at a meeting held at Medford. The enrollment followed talks made by C. I. Lewis and M. O. Evans, representing the association. A large part of the acreage signed up is in the Gold Hill and Talent section. A committee of representative orchardists was elected at the meeting to represent the association locally and to carry on the extension work of the organization.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, March 1920, page 42
Owing to the fact that pear growers in the Rogue River Valley, Oregon, are being offered $45 per ton for their pears for canning purposes this year the California Pear Growers' Association is advising the Oregon growers not to sell at that figure, as indications are that canning pears will bring a much higher price. A telegram recently received at Medford from California advised the local Chamber of Commerce that buyers in the latter state were offering $85 per ton for the same stock that they were trying to buy in Oregon for $45. It is freely predicted at Medford that canning pears will sell for $100 per ton before the season is over.
A fruit ranch sale of interest recently took place at Medford, when Lieutenant O. V. Morrow purchased Brookhurst, the large place formerly owned by E. B. Pickel, near Medford. The ranch, which consists of 153 acres, 60 acres of which are in pears, 6 acres in apples and the rest in barley and alfalfa, sold for $45,000. The entire acreage is under irrigation and is considered one of the best-producing fruit farms in the Medford district.
An innovation that is causing considerable interest among fruit men in the Medford district is the announcement of the installation by the Bardwell Fruit Company of two box-making machines. These machines are the first of this kind to be installed in this district and will have a capacity of 2,000 boxes per day. The Bardwell Company is establishing equipment in its plant which it expects to almost entirely do away with hand labor in packing fruit. The equipment consists of a Cutler grading machine, Doig box-nailing machine and a Matthews gravity conveyor system.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, April 1920, pages 25-26
The Rogue River Valley Canning Company of Medford is already making contracts for the 1920 season's pack of vegetables and all kinds of fruits.
Fruits and vegetables to the value of $40,000 were put up by the cannery at Ashland, Oregon, during the past season. The quantity of product canned was as follows: Tomatoes, 200,000 pounds; apples, 143,000 pounds; peaches, 125,000; pears, 87,000; plums, 15,000; beans, 14,418; apricots, 4,418; cherries, 2,150; pumpkin, 2,500. The number of cans of all sizes used was about 120,000, of which over 50,000 were gallon containers.
"Cannery Notes," Better Fruit, April 1920, page 30
In order to do business on a much larger scale than heretofore the Rogue River Valley Canning Company, at Medford, is installing more equipment and providing for increased space. Having purchased additional land, the company is now building a new warehouse and cold storage plant 50x75 feet. The company has also purchased an additional half block near its new warehouse for a new cannery site.
The Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association, which is rapidly getting into shape to handle the large tonnage of fruit placed under its management, announces that it has taken over packing houses at Medford and Roseburg. The price paid for the Medford property was $50,000.
"Cannery Notes," Better Fruit, May 1920, page 28
Frost damage in the Medford district this year was reduced to the minimum. Although growers in that section had their smudge pots ready there was very little use for them. Reports from Medford state that prospects for all fruit is promising although the crop is not expected to be as large as that of last year.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, June 1920, page 18
The Suncrest orchard at Medford, consisting of 461 acres, and planted to good commercial varieties of apples and pears, has been sold to Jones Brothers, canners and packers. The orchard was formerly the property of Dr. C. F. Page, but at the time of its sale was owned by the Mutual Life Insurance Company. It is said that the new owners who operate packing plants at Boston, Massachusetts, and at various points in the Northwest will erect a plant at Medford. The price paid for the orchard was $275,000.
In organizing its marketing force for the coming season the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association has secured the services of three men well known in the fruit industry of the Northwest. To manage the Medford and Grants Pass branches of the association, one of the most important, C. C. Lemmon, formerly of Hood River and later of Yakima, has been chosen. Mr. Lemmon has had a wide experience with various fruit shipping organizations in Oregon and Washington and comes to the association from the Perham Fruit Company at Yakima.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, July 1920, page 15
Denney & Co., fruit shippers and packers, have leased the building formerly occupied by the Rogue River Fruit Association at Medford and will conduct their business from the new plant in future. M. E. Root is the local manager in charge of the Denney interests in this district.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, August 1920, page 23
The sale of the J. D. Housley pear orchard at Medford to County Pathologist C. C. Cate is reported. The orchard consists of 40 acres in pears in a fine state of cultivation and the sale price as announced is $23,000. Another sale of orchard property in the Rogue River Valley recently of more than usual interest was the transfer of the Austin Corbin ranch near Eagle Point to Fred C. Bell, a Chicago capitalist. The Corbin ranch consists of 250 acres, 49 of which are in pears, 71 in apples and 30 in grain. The remainder is in meadow and woodland. The sale price was $80,000, according to the reports from that section. Mr. Bell, it is stated, expects to manage the ranch personally.
A number of the leading handlers of fruit in the Rogue River Valley have recommended that all fruit to be packed in that district be wiped before delivery to the packing houses. This action has been taken to meet the objections of some of the eastern horticultural inspectors against fruit showing an excessive amount of arsenate of lead spray.
The pear crop of the Rogue River Valley, the harvesting of which was started about the middle of August, will total 700 cars, according to local estimates. The shipment of apples is expected to reach 500 cars. The yield of pears, it is stated, is 15 percent greater than was anticipated early in the season. Mention is made of the fact that for the first time in the history of the fruit business in Oregon solid trainloads of pears were shipped this year from the Southern and Western Oregon districts.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, September 1920, page 22
The first car of Rogue River Bartletts of the 1920 crop to reach Chicago sold for $2,886 gross, or an average of $5.55 per box. Another car sold for $2,783 per car, or $5.28 per box. The above sales are said to break all record for pear sales in car lots from Medford.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, October 1920, page 26
The Sunnycliffe Orchard at Medford, Ore., recently changed hands, being purchased by Rupert Henry, a Chicago real estate man. The orchard was formerly owned by C. H. Chadwick. The property consists of 220 acres, 125 of which are in pears and apples, and the rest in grain and hay. It is located on the Talent irrigation ditch. The new owner will take charge of the property next spring.
It is announced that 300 orchardists are enrolled with the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association in Jackson and Josephine counties, comprising about one-half of the acreage in the fruit-growing districts of those counties. The local members of the association include most of the largest orchards. Packing and warehouses have been located at Eagle Point, Grants Pass, Voorhies, Phoenix, Gold Hill and Davis. The value of the association's property in the Rogue River Valley is stated to be $85,000. The largest warehouse is located at Medford, where 200 people are being employed during the heavy apple and pear packing season. The acreage of the association in fruit now comprises 30,000 acres and extends from Portland to Ashland.
Professor A. Kikuchi, one of the best-known authorities on fruits in Japan, recently spent a week at the Southern Oregon Experiment Station visiting with Professor F. C. Reimer, who is making extensive experiments with blight-resistant varieties of pears. Professor Kikuchi is the director of the experiment station at Yokohama, Japan, where he is conducting very extensive experiments with Japanese pears. While Professor Reimer was in Japan, Director Kikuchi gave him very material assistance in traveling with him to various parts of Japan, where the wild pears of that country are most abundant. Professor Kikuchi is looked upon as the greatest authority in Japan on Japanese pears. He is vitally interested in the extensive experiments with pears conducted at the Southern Oregon Experiment Station and will spend the week studying the work at this station.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, November 1920, page 19
Statistics recently prepared show that Jackson County leads Oregon in pear acreage and stands second in apple acreage. According to the figures given out this county has 5264 acres of bearing pear trees and 2767 acres of non-bearing trees. Douglas County, with 785 acres, has the second largest pear acreage in the state and Hood River is third with 385 acres. In apple acreage Hood River County leads the state with 8,827 acres of hearing apples and 1,619 acres in non-bearing trees.
Pear growers who are members of the Oregon Growers Association received the highest prices this season ever known west of the Cascade Mountains. On November 1 a car lot of Bosc, grown at Medford, Oregon, topped the New York City market at $7.38 a box. On November 2, part of another shipment of Bosc pears was sold for $7.09 a box.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, December 1920, pages 20-21
The Rogue River Valley, although now widely known as a pear section, is the second largest apple-producing region in Oregon. The valley is somewhat highly specialized, although its development has been slower than in most other apple districts in the Northwest. Land values at one time were very high, and a large number of easterners were attracted to the valley. A period of drought years, during which the annual rainfall dropped from the normal twenty-two inches to as low as twelve inches, caused great loss and emphasized the need of irrigation, which is now practiced in about a third of the orchards and is being extended to the others.
The fruit acreage lies almost wholly in Jackson County and plantings are centralized in Stewart Creek and Rogue River valleys, about the towns of Medford, Ashland, Talent and Phoenix. Of the approximate acreage of 23,000 acres of commercial fruit plantings, about 13,000 acres are in pears and 10,000 in apple trees. In the apple acreage, Yellow Newtowns, Esopus (Spitzenberg), Jonathan and Ben Davis are the predominating varieties. Probably 75 percent of the present production consists of Yellow Newtowns. As in other Northwest districts, the summer apple is an almost negligible factor. Approximately half of the apple acreage of this region was ten years of age or over in 1918.
The prevalence of spring frost injury led to a rather wide use of oil heaters, particularly in the orchards on the floor of the valley. Foothill orchards are less subject to frost and as a rule are not smudged. Despite the dry atmosphere, the apple scab is more or less prevalent and requires summer spraying. Fire blight, particularly among the pear trees and Esopus (Spitzenberg) apple trees, caused great loss in the years 1913-1915.
The droughts between 1914 and 1918 checked the normal increase in production. The largest crop of apples prior to 1919 was harvested in 1917 and consisted of about 700 cars. Practically all of the marketable apples are packed out in boxes.
J. C. Folger and S. M. Thomson, The Commercial Apple Industry of North America, 1921, page 72
A merger was recently completed between the Jackson County Farm Bureau with headquarters at Medford and the Ashland Fruit & Produce Association whereby the two organizations will work to promote the agricultural and horticultural interests of that district. The cooperative movement between the two organizations was brought to a satisfactory conclusion at a meeting held recently by the directors of the respective concerns.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, January 1921, page 27
Jackson County fruit growers, through the Oregon legislative assembly, have addressed a memorial to the honorable the Secretary of Agriculture, earnestly petitioning the Department of Agriculture to maintain the frost warning service with which the weather bureau has been serving the growers of the Rogue River Valley for several years during the spring months when orchard heating is practiced. The memorial says, in part:
Whereas, this service has proven of inestimable value to the fruit growers of that section as a guide in the taking of measures for the prevention of frost damage to their crops, whereby many hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fruit crops have been saved, and
Whereas, the fruit growers of that district, many of whom were at first skeptical as to the value of frost prevention measures, have rapidly grown to appreciate the value of the same by reason of the results obtained during the years this service has been maintained by the weather bureau, and are building up a stable horticultural practice of frost prevention measures under the direction of the weather bureau's representative sent to the valley each spring.
Therefore, be it resolved that the legislative assembly of the state of Oregon earnestly petitions the Department of Agriculture to maintain the frost warning service hereinabove referred to without interruption, to the end that many thousands of dollars worth of fruit crops may be saved to the growers of Southern Oregon.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, February 1921, page 28
By the completion of the financing of the Savage Rapids irrigation project it is expected that 14,000 acres of fruit and other land in the Rogue River Valley will be receiving water next September. The project has greatly stimulated interest in fruit growing in this section and is expected to be responsible for a big development in the near future.
J. A. Ormandy, assistant general passenger agent of the Southern Pacific lines in Oregon who recently made a survey of fruit conditions in the Rogue River and Umpqua valleys, reports that between 1,600 and 1,800 cars of apples and pears will be moved this season from this section.
"Northwest Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, August 1921, page 22
In estimating the fruit shipments that would be made from the Medford district this year, Mark Montgomery, local agent of the Southern Pacific Company, says that the railroad has handled over 600 cars of pears and expects to ship out 1200 more cars of fruit before the season ends. In 1920 the total shipment of fruit was 1050 cars.
"Northwest Fruit Notes from Here and There," Better Fruit, October 1921, page 22
The first annual Rogue River Valley Pear Show, which was held in the Chamber of Commerce exhibit rooms at Medford, was a big success. On the closing day it was estimated that 4,000 people visited the pear exhibits which told the story of the excellence of this district for raising this fruit. There were 293 plate displays, while the number of pears on the plates totaled 2,500.
The two largest sales of orchard property during the year in the Rogue River valley were announced recently. Colonel R. C. Washburn of Table Rock sold his fine 174-acre Table Rock orchard property to Captain H. M. Tuttle for $40,000. Fifty-five acres are in orchard, 28 acres of commercial pears and 27 acres of Newtown and Winesap apples, and 40 acres in alfalfa. Captain Tuttle, who is from Nebraska, has been in the United States army service five years. The other sale was that of the Hampton orchard of 50 acres near Medford, owned by Mrs. Bingham of Santa Barbara, Cal., to Eric Wold of Medford for $35,000.
"Marketing News of Interest," Better Fruit, October 1921, pages 26-27
Under sponsorship of the Medford Chamber of Commerce an excellent apple show, officially known as the Rogue River Valley Apple Exposition, was staged in that city the last of October, opening to the public October 29. The judging was done the day before. An attractive premium list, including both cash and merchandise awards, was arranged by the committee in charge.
The first Rogue River Valley apples sold in Chicago this season consisted of a straight car of choice Winter Bananas, packed and shipped by the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association, and brought an average of $3.40 a box at auction. The apples were the property of Lathrop Brothers.
The Radovan fruit dryer at Medford, the largest of its kind in Southern Oregon, was destroyed by fire on the morning of October 9. The plant was owned by Mrs. F. M. Radovan, who said the loss amounted to $33,500. Insurance held aggregated $25,000.
Rosenberg Brothers, proprietors of the Bear Creek Orchards, near Medford, sold a carload of D'Anjou pears on the New York market for $4249, said to be the highest price ever paid for pears in the United States. This represents a price of $4.25 per half box. The deal was made through the Stewart Fruit Company.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, November 1921, page 24
The largest trainload of fruit ever shipped from the Southern Oregon district was composed of 51 cars, dispatched from Ashland over the Southern Pacific on November 1. The shipment, which went south, was composed of fruit from the Willamette, Umpqua and Rogue River valleys.
So difficult was the matter of judging between exhibits at the highly successful Rogue River Valley Apple exposition at Medford that the judges resorted to microscopes in looking for blemishes. In the three-box entries contest the judges thus examined every apple in the competing exhibits of Upton Brothers of Central Point and the Bear Creek orchard of Medford. The award was finally given to Upton Brothers. They also won first in one-box entries of Jonathans, Newtons and Spitzenbergs.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, December 1921, page 24
G. M. Frost, member of the city council at Ashland and a prominent orchardist there, won first prize in a contest conducted by Stark Bros., at their nurseries at Louisiana, Mo., with an exhibit of 10 Stark Delicious apples. There were competing entries from many sections of the country and he was highly complimented on the victory. Apples exhibited by Mr. Frost won blue ribbons at the Oregon State Fair and the Medford fruit exhibit.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, March 1922, page 30
F. C. Faber, formerly a merchant at Central Point, has purchased 20 acres of uncleared land at Willow Springs and has been having it cleared preparatory to setting out prunes and grapes.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, June 1922, page 27
Peach shipments from Ashland approximated 50 carloads at last report and the growers expected to net above $1200 per car. Apple shipments are expected to be about 20 cars and those of pears, berries and small fruits about 30 cars.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, August 1922, page 26
Last month the commodious new warehouse of Sgobel & Day, New York fruit distributors, was completed at Medford. It is a frame structure 60 by 104 feet and 22 feet in height, fully provided with modern machinery. Harry Stoltz is foreman of the plant. Crawford C. Lemmon is the Medford representative and manager for the firm.
The Rogue River Canning Company at Medford, under management of S. S. Bullis and R. D. Hoke, has greatly expanded its operations this season, expecting to quadruple the output of last year. Its plant was rushed to completion last year in time to handle only about $50,000 of business.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, September 1922, pages 27-28
Growers of Jackson County were elated by the fact that their exhibit at the land products show in connection with the Pacific International Livestock Exposition in Portland won the sweepstakes prize on apples. This was on a box of Spitzenbergs. First prize was also captured on Delicious, Winesap and Winter Banana apples and Bosc, de Anjou, Comice and Winter Nelis pears.
Rosenberg Brothers have installed equipment at their spray plant on the Bear Creek Orchard, Rogue River Valley, to turn out 2000 barrels of lime-sulfur spray. They started the plant to supply their own needs, but decided to expand, order lime and sulfur by the carload and supply most of the needs of the valley.
At a recent date it was reported that the Rogue River Canning Company at Medford had made a total pack of 40,000 cases or 40 carloads of products. Berries, cherries, apricots, string beans and tomatoes constituted most of the pack. The company recently installed vinegar making equipment.
"Oregon," Better Fruit, December 1922, pages 22-23
I would like to call the attention of the growers of our community, through the columns of your paper, to the changing conditions which affect the marketing of our products, to what in my opinion is the best way to meet these changed conditions to our advantage and profit. A few years ago Ashland produced the most of the fruit and vegetables raised in the southern end of our county and found a ready market in northern California and the Klamath country for all we could produce.
There was at that time no Green Springs Highway, few trucks and peddlers, and little competition from other sections of the country so that the people of these districts were compelled to look for us for most of their fruit and vegetables.
Today conditions are entirely different, the competition is keen, and I want to mention some of the things which now and in the near future we will have to face to solve. First, the completion of the Natron Cutoff will open the districts I have mentioned to the products of the Willamette Valley, and while the consumption of fruit and vegetables in that part of the country will increase greatly, the growers of the Willamette Valley never have received the prices that we have for our products and will send their stuff out at prices far below what we have been accustomed to, and be well satisfied with the returns. Second, the Pacific Fruit Co., buying produce from every district at the lowest prices possible, have wagons visiting every town in northern California and the Klamath country daily, thus giving the dealers a chance to take just what they need for the day's needs. Then the Wood, Curtis Co. of Sacramento has a branch house in Klamath Falls, shipping in produce from the rich farming lands of the Sacramento River Delta and ripe fruits from the large fruit-producing districts of California, this stuff being sold at any price possible to move it, rather than have it spoil on the grower's hands. Then the district around Anderson, between Red Bluff and Redding, has come under irrigation, and we have had to compete with berries, apricots, peaches, cherries, apples and vegetables from this district, their produce coming on the market at the same time as our town. The greatest difficulty we are facing, however, is caused by the action of the growers of the Grants Pass district. This district has been largely settled, the past few years, by people new to the fruit game; a large acreage has been planted, and they apparently have no organization or idea of the cost of production, throwing their fruit on the market at less than cost of production for far less than the demand warrants and thus not only ruining their own prospects for the future, but causing other districts much needless loss and grief. Many times the past season they have thrown large quantities of berries on the Klamath and California market at 75¢ to $1.25 per crate, when our price was 50 percent higher and the demand good. Until someone with a vision of what can and should be done with the fruit of this district takes hold there, they will be a thorn in the flesh to other communities which are trying to put their growers in a position to get adequate returns for their produce.
As to the peddlers, which I mentioned at the beginning of this article, they are necessary to take care of stuff which is not good enough to go out under the community brand, or surplus of perishable goods which must be moved, but I feel that they should buy from the marketing agency of the community, rather than from the individual grower, and that every time a grower sells to a peddler at less than the market price, he is not only injuring his neighbor but himself also. Managers of their own association have, in the past, been blamed for small returns for produce, when the grower alone was responsible for the state of the market. If the grower would only remember that the manager, whoever he may be, is only human, that if he does anything at all, he is bound to make mistakes and that he is interested in getting all he can for the growers' produce, much needless criticism would be avoided and the entire community would be benefited.
Personally I have no complaint to make, for since I have been manager I have had the hearty cooperation of all the growers, for which I am very thankful, but I feel that there are so many problems to be worked out before our produce brings the price to which it is entitled by reason of its quality.
As to the best way to meet the situation as I have outlined it, it is summed up in a few words: the production of better stuff than the other fellow and care in gathering, packing and marketing. As I have talked with our customers, at their places of business and on the floor here, they have been unanimous in saying that the trade we have held and the new accounts we have secured are due to the fact that we try to get all produced to the consumer in the best possible shape, as soon after gathering as we can, and to the fact that we try to tell the buyer just what he may expect as to quality and condition with the thought in mind of building up a permanent connection, rather than unloading what we have today and letting the future take care of itself. Sharp practice never pays in any line of business, but the fruit and vegetable grower, especially, must please his customer a little better than anyone else if he is to succeed. May we count on you to help put the produce of the Ashland district on the market in the best possible manner and to work with us in establishing a reputation for our fruit and vegetables which will enable us, at all times, to find a profitable market? On our part we pledge our best efforts to attain this end.
S. D. TAYLOR, Manager,Ashland Daily Tidings, June 25, 1926, page 4
Ash. Fruit & Pro. Assn.
FIRST COMMERCIAL ORCHARD PLANTED IN THIS SECTION NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO
The history of commercial fruit growing in Rogue River Valley really dates back to the year 1882, when Arthur J. Weeks, the pioneer orchardist of the valley, arrived from the East at Portland. The late Col. I. P. Moores, land commissioner of the Oregon & California Railroad, advised Mr. Weeks to go to the Rogue River Valley and plant a large commercial orchard. Mr. Weeks still resides in the valley, and is still planting trees and in the fruit growing business. It was through the persistent effort in the 'eighties of Mr. Weeks, and the late J. H. Stewart, P. W. Olwell, and several others that have passed on, that the present fruit industry in Rogue River Valley is what it is at the present time.
Mr. Weeks planted 15,000 apple, peach and prune trees near Medford in 1883. In 1885 J. H. Stewart followed by planting 200 acres of orchard two miles south of Medford. He was followed by the Olwells, who planted about 200 acres between Medford and Central Point, and then planting of large tracts became more general.
In 1887 the driving of the last spike at the meeting of the Oregon & California and the Southern Pacific at the state line on the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains [The last spike was driven at Ashland] was hailed as an auspicious moment in the development of the Rogue River Valley. The people of the valley were called upon to adjust themselves to the new commercial conditions. The temporary stimulus of railroad building, springing up of new towns along the line of the railroad, and the rivalries engendered between contending places, permeated society in all its phases, until morally, politically and commercially a change had been wrought. Under these changes conditions and working out the new problems presented was the task of the pioneer and the newcomers in Rogue River Valley.
With the completion of the railroad the markets of the world were suddenly opened to the valley of the Rogue, and the millions and millions of golden nuggets that went out from the mines of the region began to flow back in exchange for fruits, grain and other foods they once had gone to buy. Medford and other towns sprang up along the railroad, and a ceaseless tide of immigration swept in to break the idyllic charm of pioneer life. To the newcomer the Italian landscape, the perfect equipoise of seasons, the charm of wondrous fruitage, the infinite variety of Nature's bounteous gifts, lured with resistless charm.
Prior to the advent of the railroad into Rogue River Valley, but little mention was given to the growing of fruit beyond supplying the local demand. With no fruit pests to defeat their efforts, the growing of the choicest fruit was a most easy task for all. On the coming of the railroad, the fruit that year after year rotted ungathered for lack of means of transportation now found a ready market, north and south, and this branch of husbandry through the discriminating judgment of its votaries has been carefully fostered and extended until today it is the leading industry of Rogue River Valley.
The long exemption from the fruit pests enjoyed before the advent of the railroad by the pioneer, enabling them to grow the finest of fruit with but little care except to harvest it, caused them to be very slow to arm and equip themselves for so severe a contest as the one that came upon them in fighting the pests of modern civilization, which was brought in by the shipment of infested nursery stock.
With the coming of the affording facilities for reaching the outside market came also the fruitgrower seeking soil favorable to the production of the choicest fruits, ranging all the way from the semi-tropical to the hardiest varieties. But when the men of faith commenced planting large orchards, the Rip Van Winkle element of the valley commenced croaking "insects--frosts--no markets," and seemingly very candidly advised us that we would soon be digging up our orchards to grow wheat in the place of fruit.
But, fortunately, among the fruitgrowers were the Weeks, Stewarts, Olwells and others of vast experience in fruit culture and of indomitable courage, to whom neither Rip Van Winkle, nor fruit pets, frosts and no markets could prevent pushing ahead with all possible industry, intelligence and energy, to final success.
Due to the excessive fruit rate charges by the railroad and the perishable character of peaches and other perishable fruit planted in the original plantings of the Weeks and other early orchards, they were dug up and replanted with pears. On the coming into bearing the Weeks orchard holds the banner price received for pears. In one of their early shipments to New York City a carload of Comice pears were sold on the market at $10.20 per box.
The late J. H. Stewart, who came to Rogue River Valley in 1884 from Quincy, Illinois, as an expert orchardist and nursery man, came west seeking a new home to follow his favorite vocation. His name is worthy to be mentioned in the annals of the history of the fruit industry in Rogue River Valley. He presents today a model fruit orchard of the state of Oregon, consisting of several hundred acres, largely the work of his own hand during his lifetime. In 1898, before his death, this orchard came into full bearing and was sold to Colonel Voorhies, who is still owner and operator of the property. It was the first sale of a commercial orchard in the Rogue River Valley which sent prices skyward and caused the great rush for valley fruit lands.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page J2
ROSENBERG, David Hugh, horticulturist; b. Seattle, Washington August 22, 1889; to Oregon 1913; Cornell University 1913; m. Muriel Kinney June 18, 1921; children--David Hugh Jr., Gloria Nanette. Mason; B.P.O.E.; Rogue Valley Golf Club. Address: 41 Ross Court, Medford, Oregon.
Who's Who in Oregon 1929-1930, Oregon City Enterprise, page 188
THE PEAR PIONEERS OF MEDFORD
By JEUNESSE BUTLER
From "way down east" to "the far west" (Maine to New York, New York to Illinois, Illinois to Oregon) came the Stewarts, all nurserymen, unto the fourth generation. True pioneer souls they were, with the courage and vision, patience and persistence which characterized those whom all Oregon is remembering today during her Diamond Jubilee. The courage to leave the familiar for the unknown, the vision to sense what the future could bring, the patience and persistence to work for it.
"The Illinois State Agricultural Society award this diploma to Wm. Stewart and Sons, Hannibal Mo. for the best 25 varieties of fruit. October 4, 1856," reads a framed announcement hanging on the dining room wall of the Dillon Hill home on Kings Highway, where lives Wm. Stewart's granddaughter, Mrs. Hill. Opposite the diploma is a beautiful picture of a Rogue River Valley orchard in bloom, taken in 1914.
Joseph H. Stewart, son of William, planted the first commercial orchard in this valley, the Eden Valley [orchard], now known as the Voorhies orchard and owned by Col. Gordon Voorhies, experienced and prominent grower. Mr. Stewart bought the tract of 160 acres in the spring of '85 when it was known as the old Ball place, and planted 100 acres in fruit. In '87, he bought what was known as the Justus place, now the George Marshall, and two years later planted about 76 acres in apples and pears.
Spraying did not appear as necessary in those days, more moisture made less irrigating, and smudging had perhaps not been invented. Good corn could be and was raised without a drop of water, according to those who remember, and corn and watermelons were grown between trees in the orchards while they [i.e., the orchards] were growing. Blight was something of a problem, then as now, and the soil of the Eden Valley was a mixture of the sandy and "sticky."
Mrs. Hill likes to recall that her father sent out the first carload of Ben Davis apples that ever left the valley. Their destination was Germany, she says. Bartletts, 'Anjous and Howells were the principal varieties, with the Bartlett considered the best commercial pear.
The Dillon Hill home is a quaint and charming place, by the way. Marble-topped tables, capacious fireplaces, old-fashioned rocking chairs and a Steinway parlor grand piano, rosewood cased, combine to give an air of old-time repose and comfort. The house was built in 1905, a year before Joseph Stewart died. The lumber was hauled from a mill near Prospect by mule team. But all this does not concern orchards, nor growers.
It was in 1901 that 160 additional acres of fruit land were purchased from Asa Fordyce. Fred Page of Portland bought much of Mr. Stewart's fruit, states Mrs. Hill. They also shipped to Sgobel and Day of New York, Ray and Hatfield of New York and Dennis and Sons of London, England. By this time, residents of the valley and others were ready to believe Mr. Stewart's evaluation when he predicted the Rogue River country would be the "ideal pear spot of the West." Mrs. Hill also likes to dwell somewhat on the visits to her father of both Mr. Sgobel and Day, whose names are still familiar to this section. For the possible encouragement of those who today may need it, there is Mr. Stewart's advice given so many years ago, "It may be slim in spots, but just grit your teeth and hang on."
Mr. Stewart and his family took things as they came, from the time he took a crowbar and sounded the ground to find what he wanted until actual buying and selling took place. Sacks of flour were only 75 cents in those days, and a side of bacon cost about one dollar. "Father eventually sold enough fruit to make a good living," Mrs. Hill recalls, and "he was a good financier," she adds with pardonable pride.
A story such as this must necessarily be written somewhat sketchily, for the writer is dependent upon memories for most of the information, and the present writer believes it is much better to give the readers of the Pear-O-Scope all she has been able to gather even if not presented in ordered sequence.
For instance: The Eden Valley orchard boasted 50 varieties of pears and apples, the elder Stewart having brought his own nursery stock from Illinois. He came before there were any railroads. [This is incorrect.] His brothers came later and also bought fruit lands. The codling moth and the blight were early arrivals. Ninety acres were planted in melons. Although having been a commercial grower in New York and later in Illinois, Joseph Stewart encountered something "new and different" when he discovered "sticky."
That he was considered in those early days to be "crazy" doesn't seem so unusual, for he had new ideas about fruit production and marketing. "A true conception of values in properties and varieties," states his daughter. Ninety-six cars of his own fruit were shipped in 1896.
The price range was about the same as today, and the pack practically the same. Although it was thought the Newtown apple would last, the pear was even then considered the important product of the valley. The Clairgeau was once a moneymaker. The Nelis, the Bosc and Comice were first planted about 1890 by Will Stewart, a son, at what is now known as the Hillcrest orchards. Wagner Butte was planted by his brother, A. J. Stewart.
Sons and sons-in-law planted and owned the Marshall orchard, the Hillcrest, the Hollywood, the Burch property and the Weeks tracts on the river. Also the piece now owned by Mrs. Jessie Minear close to Jacksonville.
The Olwells were the next to join the growers in the Rogue Valley, then W. H. Norcross of Central Point and Mr. Whitman, grandfather of Olin Whitman. The Pellett orchard near Talent was one of the early tracts, also the Helms property near Ashland and the orchards of Chris Eismann and brothers at Grants Pass.
If the Stewarts have a coat of arms, many of their friends think, it should bear an insignia of pears, for Joseph Stewart was surely a pear pioneer. He was a member of the first horticultural society in the United States, the American Pomological Society, which originated in 1848. Howard Hill, his grandson, has a most interesting copy of the proceedings of the eighth session of the society held at Philadelphia in 1860. Interesting and informative data taken from this book and other sources will follow in additional articles which will appear in the Pear-O-Scope from time to time, at the request of our readers.
Rogue River Valley Pear-O-Scope, May 1934, page 3
Handling Perishable Fruit Traffic
From the Rogue River Valley
By A. S. Rosenbaum, District Freight and Passenger Agent, Southern Pacific Co.
When the discriminating housewife who lives in a Midwest or eastern city tells her grocer or market clerk that she wants a "dozen of those fine-looking pears," does she ask where the fruit is from and then voice surprise that it could be shipped that distance from Oregon and still be "fine looking"?
It's likely that she does not. Probably she takes it for granted, just as do millions of other persons throughout the nation, that her favorite fruit will be right there in the market when she wants it. Perhaps she little realizes how the perfection of a complicated phase of rail transportation has influenced her buying and eating habits.
Yet it has been only through the process of refrigeration in rail service that the nationwide distribution of perishable products has become possible, which in turn has helped to develop in Oregon and other Pacific coast states the orchards and vegetable acreage that serve the far corners of our country.
The present high standard of rail refrigeration service is comparatively recent in its creation and is under constant improvement. It was, however, nearly simultaneous with the planting of the first commercial pear orchard in the Rogue River Valley during 1885-86, that fruit was successfully shipped under refrigeration for the first time from the Pacific Coast to eastern markets.
These first "fruit cars" were little more than ordinary freight boxcars. Blocks of ice had to be piled in each end of the car before the fruit was loaded. There was no insulation of the car, nor was there any provision for re-icing the cars en route. Crude and impractical as this method now seems, these cars were the forerunners of the modern Pacific Fruit Express "reefer."
Unfortunately, we can find no record of just when the first carload of fruit was shipped from the Rogue River Valley. Most likely it was a shipment to Portland probably made in the early '90s [It was in 1884.] as soon as the first commercial orchards came into bearing. There were, of course, many earlier less-than-carload shipments. Some of the fruit was shipped by express to the eastern markets at that early date.
By the turn of the century the rail refrigerator cars had been developed sufficiently to ensure protection of the fruit on the long transcontinental trip, and the Rogue River Valley shipments gradually began to assume greater proportions in this traffic as the acreage and production increased from year to year.
During the past ten years, for which records are available, the peak in carload shipments was reached in 1930, when 4619 carloads of fruit were shipped from ten concentration points in the Rogue River Valley. Of this amount, 3723 carloads were shipped from Medford. Phoenix was second with 354 carloads. Of this total for the valley there were 3933 acres of pears, 617 cars of apples, 19 cars of other deciduous fruits and 50 cars of miscellaneous perishables.
The train schedules for handling perishable shipments from this valley are not available prior to 1920, when the government returned the railroads to private operation. In that year the schedules from the Rogue River Valley provided delivery at Chicago in time for the ninth-day market and 13th-day at New York. Since that time service has been constantly improved and schedules shortened until at the present time shipments arrive in Chicago for seventh-day auction and tenth-day at New York and other Atlantic Seaboard markets.
All rail shipments out of the valley are transported in Pacific Fruit Express equipment. That company was organized in 1906 by the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific companies. When the Pacific Fruit Express started operations in October 1907, it owned 6600 cars and during its first year handled 48,903 carloads of perishable traffic. Today it has more than 40,000 cars equipped for freight service, and in 1934 handled 322,523 carloads of perishable and semi-perishable commodities.
The Pacific Fruit Express company stands today as the largest operator of refrigerator cars in the world. At Roseville, California, where the majority of shipments from Pacific Coast points are re-iced and assembled into solid fruit trains for the transcontinental trip, the P.F.E. has constructed the world's largest ice manufacturing plant, with a daily production capacity of 1300 tons and storage space for 52,606 tons of ice.
Icing services of P.F.E. cars in the Rogue River valley are performed by commercial ice companies under contracts. At Medford, where most of the cars moving under refrigeration are iced, the work is done by the Medford Ice and Storage company, whose facilities consist of a plant with 110 tons daily manufacturing capacity, 19,350 tons storage, and platform that will accommodate 51 cars at a time. This platform was originally built to handle seven cars. In 1925 it was expanded to take care of 21 cars, and in 1929 built to its present size. The original ice storage capacity of 8,750 tons was also extended in 1929.
At Grants Pass such icing service as is required is done over a two-car single icing platform, from an ice plant of eight tons daily manufacturing capacity and 100 tons storage. Facilities at Ashland, consisting of an eight-car single icing platform, 18 tons daily capacity and 1,200 tons storage, have not been used to any extent in recent years, as it has been found more expeditious to perform the icing services at Medford.
Perishable commodities moving by rail to distant markets require diversion and reconsignment far more than any other kind of freight. Also it is essential that shippers and consignees be promptly and properly informed as to the location of their shipments in order that they may take full advantage of the best possible markets. Through its scores of agents in the United States and Canada, the P.F.E. performs this service most completely. It is estimated that approximately 85 percent of all cars of perishables from the Pacific Coast territory are changed in some manner between point of origin and final destinations. With the improvements in telegraph during recent years, particularly the perfection of the teletype, the P.F.E. has developed its diversion and passing advice service to a high point of efficiency.
Indicating the magnitude of this service, the P.F.E. offices during the past five years have handled more than four million diversions, an average of 800,000 a year. When the Rogue River Valley fruit is moving in volume, the rail company has stationed an experienced diversion clerk at Medford to ensure the most expedited handling of shippers' diversion orders.
Rogue River Valley Pear-O-Scope, January 1935, page 3; also reprinted in the March 29, 1935 issue of the Medford Mail Tribune, page 9
September 1935 Rogue River Valley Pear-O-Scope
Coming to Medford in 1907, Mr. Rosenbaum has watched the fruit industry in Medford district from its infancy to the present time, having been closely identified with the transportation of the fruit crops since the days when it amounted to but a few cars per year to the 1935 season when figures show a total of 1836 cars of pears and 128 of apples. In 1928, there were 75 cars a day for 30 days. The peak was reached in 1930 with 3810 of pears and 719 apples.
Mr. Rosenbaum remembers particularly the times when special train loads of smudge oil were necessary to preserve the crops, when special trains to Portland were imperative to make boat connections, and the very helpful part the Southern Pacific played that fateful year of 1926 during the spray residue situation, when a large amount was contributed to help the Fruit Growers League and the refund later refused.
To give proper credit to Mr. Rosenbaum and his associates for all they have done and tried to do during a long period of years would take a much longer article than this brief one which accompanies "Rosy's" picture, an article which will, however, appear in a later issue.
Rogue River Valley Pear-O-Scope, November 1935, page 8
OREGON APPLES OF EARLY DAYS WORTH $1 EACH
First Tree Planted in Southern Oregon--
Wild Cherry and Plum Sprouts from Rogue River Valley Used
PORTLAND, March, 16.--(AP)--The hectic history of agriculture in Oregon began with a total crop failure and zoomed to a bumper apple crop that sold for $1 per apple.
In fact, regardless of later ups and downs, apples might be called Oregon's number one crop on the strength of their introduction to the territory, as revealed in data gathered by the federal writers and historical records projects of the Oregon WPA.
The first white man's plow was applied to Oregon soil by Etienne Lucier in the winter of 1830-31 on Swan Island, a newspaper story of 1889 recorded. Thus Oregon farming took off from the site of Portland's airport nearly a century ahead of the transcontinental airliners. The crop, unnamed, was washed out by the June freshet.
Planted in 1844.Getting back to apples, the first tree was planted in southern Oregon, in the yard of the Rev. Gustavus Hines, in 1844. Ten years later his brother, Harvey K. Hines, early Oregon historian, picked 12 bushels of fruit, which sold for $9 a bushel. [The WPA history of Oregon located this tree in Oregon City.]
The Gold Beach Gazette of April 22, 1895, recorded the ultimate fate of the pioneer tree. It was made into canes, which were sold for the benefit of a church exchequer.
In 1847 an assortment of fruit trees and a sack of apple seeds were brought across the plains by Henderson Lewelling and William Meek. Roots from seedlings planted at French Prairie and Oregon City and wild cherry and plum sprouts from Rogue River Valley furnished the first grafting stock. One big red apple was produced the first year, and people flocked to the Lewelling home at Milwaukie to view the wonder.
Sold for $1 Each.The first box marketed at the Portland curb by Lewelling brought $75--a dollar an apple. Great crowds gathered around wagons peddling the fruit in the streets.
The first exported fruit went to San Francisco in 1853 and brought $2 a pound. The precious boxes were bound with iron bands to prevent theft. A box of Esopus apples brought a net profit of $60 in 1856 in California. The previous year 6000 bushels were marketed at from $20 to $30 a bushel.
Loss of a wagonload of apples in Indian depredations resulted in a $500 damage claim, the Gold Beach Gazette recorded in 1893.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, March 16, 1938, page 5
Seems I owe an apology to all stalwart sons of Oregon for an unintentional slight. Wrote a gentleman from that state:
"Being one of the many men who read your sprightly and informative column eagerly but surreptitiously, I was keenly disappointed to observe that, in a recent column devoted in part to the fancy Christmas gift package business, you named practically every state except the one in which it was originated."
I hasten to make amends.
Well, it seems that it originated in Oregon in the lovely Rogue River Valley city of Medford. Two native sons, Harry and David Holmes (whose luscious ads you can see for yourself around this time of the year in the slicks), found themselves in the midst of the depression with Comice pear orchards on their hands and their European market gone because of the lack of epicures with cash. The U.S. market for such fancy fruit was restricted largely to aristocratic families who had learned to eat the pears in Paris or swank New York hotels at 75 cents per half portion.
The Holmes boys had to do something with all those pears, so they decided on wrapping them in fancy packages at low prices. They sent out letters rather fearfully to such industrial giants as Henry Ford, such Hollywood names as Louis B. Mayer. They sent out other letters to names found on mailing lists.
The response, almost 100 percent and enthusiastic, almost knocked them off their feet and led them into a lucrative business. The brothers plunged their tractor money into some high-class advertising and again held their breath. The business grew, said my Oregon correspondent, until there were long trains of express cars leaving daily, and the Railway Express Agency moved a whole staff from other offices right into the plant.
Things like this happen: A business man phones from Denver to Oregon and orders two small packages sent air express to a friend in Honolulu for Christmas. The two packages of pears cost around $5, the air express $85. Within the U.S. the purchase price includes railway express. Then the Holmes boys got another idea: The Fruit of the Month Club. To its members a package of seasonal, and usually exotic, fruit is sent each month. The package idea spread up and down the coast.
Another Medford brother team, the Spatz brothers, made a specially of pheasants, in addition to pears. (Seems everyone in Medford has a pear orchard.) At first the Spatz brothers concentrated their mailing lists to the New York and New England area.
One day, two orders got mixed and a brace of pheasants were sent to a Bostonian who had ordered pears. The Bostonian wired frantically:
"I ordered pears and received two chickens. Send my pears. Am returning chickens."
After that the Spatzes turned their pheasant trade to the South and Southwest, where gentlemen know their pheasants.
Lois Johnson, "We Women," San Antonio Light, San Antonio, Texas, November 19, 1945, page 10
SOUTHERN OREGON SALES, Inc.
This is a group of pear-growers who organized in 1926 a cooperative for packing, cold storage sales and orchard supply, today own their own $500,000 plant and handle a $2,000,000 annual business today which includes 400,000 packed boxes alone.
The sixty-five grower-members producing and packing pears and apples in and around Medford maintains employees on an annual payroll in excess of $200,000.
Capacity of the cold storage plant is 320,000 annually. In addition to securing the advantages of the cooperative system for their business operations, these growers have gained the confidence of those with whom they deal in the firm's fair dealing, high credit rating and the excellency of their products.
Main offices are at P.O. Box 126, Stewart Avenue, Medford. Managing officers are: Leonard Carpenter, president; C. C. Clemens, vice president; E. R. Hull, treasurer; Mrs. Marion Reigel, secretary; S. V. Carpenter, F. C. Kenly, A. E. Brockway, Paul Culbertson and Bruce Fleming, directors; S. M. Tuttle, manager; J. J. Finegan, sales manager.
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1948-49, page 46B
GREEN, GORDON ROOSEVELT
Gift Fruit Shipper, Co-Owner, Stage Coach Orchards.
b. St. Paul, Minn., Nov. 23, 1900; son of Walter Scott (pioneer lumberman Seattle and Hood Canal, Washington) and Mary E. (Hamilton) Green; educated public schools Seattle, Wash.; Wilson Business college, Seattle; son Gordon R. II; began, personnel manager, Western Electric Company during period of installation dial telephones 1920-25; manager Hood River operations, American Fruit Growers Association 1925-31; division manager, American Fruit Growers Association, Medford 1932 to date; founder fabulous Blue Goose Orchards, originator of "Fruit o' the Calendar Club," a million-dollar-a-year business devoted to shipping to every state in union gift baskets and boxes of world-famous Rogue River Valley fruit, basically a friendship business, 1934 to date; co-partner, Green Acres Orchards (formerly Charles Wing Orchards, Inc.) 1945-; co-owner Stage Coach Orchards, gift box fruit shippers; writer of many humor and general interest magazine articles; member International Apple Association; trustee, Oregon-Washington-California Pear Bureau; very active in Red Cross work; member Rogue River Traffic Association; chairman Siskiyou Service Council; member University Club, Medford; member Knife and Fork Club; Rogue River Valley Golf Club; Elk; Episcopalian; home 15 Corning Court; office Box 1226, Medford.
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1948-49, page 227
HOLMES, DAVID HUGH
Horticulturist; Partner, Bear Creek Orchards.
b. Seattle, Aug. 22, 1889; son of Sam and Anna (Lapworth) Rosenberg; educated grade, high schools, Seattle; Cornell University B.S. 1913; children G. Nanette and David H. Jr.; began in ranching; co-partner (with brother) livestock ranch (sheep and cattle) five years near Medford; co-partner, Bear Creek Orchards, 1928 to date; established mail fruit business, Fruit of the Month Club; growers, packers and shippers of fruit baskets nationally; nearly one thousand acres of fruit orchards including pears, peaches and plums; owner packing house, cold storage plant and marketing agency, large publicity staff (700 employees); first president California, Oregon and Washington Pear Bureau; home 1327 Reddy Ave.; office Bear Creek Orchards, Medford.
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1948-49, page 272
HOLMES, HARRY LAPWORTH
Horticulturist; Partner, Bear Creek Orchards.
b. Seattle, May 6, 1892; son of Sam and Anna (Lapworth) Rosenberg; educated public schools, Seattle; Cornell University B.S. 1914; m. Eleanor Hunter of Kankakee, Michigan, Dec. 28, 1939; son John Hunter; began in ranching with brother, sheep and cattle five years near Medford; co-owner Bear Creek Orchards 1928 to date; national shippers and packers, mail fruit business 1932-; Fruit of the Month Club, gift baskets; nearly one thousand acres fruit orchards; pears, peaches and plums; owner, packing house, cold storage plants and marketing agency; shippers fruit nationally with large European market; past president Rogue River Valley Traffic Association; member Fruit Growers League; served Field Artillery, World War I; member Chamber of Commerce (former director); University Club (Medford); Rogue River Valley Golf Club; Legionnaire; Elk; Mason; Republican; home Modoc Ave.; office Bear Creek Orchards, Medford.
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1948-49, page 273
D'Anjou StreetTo the Editor: In reference to the matter brought up at the last meeting of the Medford city council, regarding changing the name of "Front" street to "D'Anjou," or some other suitable name, I should like to share with the townspeople, especially those who own property on the street in question, some information that has come to my attention, from the book, "The Pears of New York," issued by the New York Agriculture Experiment Station.
The name, Beurre d'Anjou, is of an old French pear, the origin of which is obscure, although it is supposed to have originated in the vicinity of Angers. It was introduced into this country by Col. Wilder of Boston, in 1842, and first fruited by him in 1845. Recommended by the American Pomological Society and added to the list of fruits recommended for general cultivation in 1852. Within 20 years, it was being grown in Medford.
John Norton, 90 years ago or more, planted the first three d'Anjou trees in the Rogue River Valley--and they are still there. They may be seen on the present Bert Kellogg place, southwest of the Hillcrest Orchards. Norton was a relative of the Barneburg family.
The d'Anjou is now fairly generally distributed. There are 3,000 acres in Medford fruit district and it is the second most important pear, commercially, in the valley. Medford produces one-third of all d'Anjous on the Pacific Coast.
It would seem that the property owners on "Front" stireet could scarcely find a more suitable, dignified, beautiful, or even tourist-attracting name, and one with a commercial as well as local appeal than "d'Anjou." Pronounced with the broad "A" and the soft sound of "J," with accent on the first syllable, the word itself is distinctive, unusual and ear-appealing.
Jeunesse (Sally) ButlerMedford Mail Tribune, June 8, 1956, page 4
106 South Ivy St.
Rogue River Valley: Pear Center of USAAH, PEARS!
The kings of ancient Persia (notorious gourmets) valued them. Indeed, they regarded the golden flesh of a pear as a rare delicacy, to be enjoyed only by those with royal blood in their veins. Pears were not for the masses.
But today, centuries later, we commoners can eat pears to our heart's content--limited only by our capacity and our finances.
And, thanks to the march of horticultural science, the modern pears are much tastier and more plentiful than in those bygone days when Persian poets wrote lyrical songs about them.
We of Southern Pacific are particularly interested in this delicious fruit, because much of it is grown in the territories we serve.
For example, Rogue River Valley in Oregon has the highest concentration of pear orchards in the entire country--more than 10,000 acres.
The rich volcanic-ash soil found in the principal pear growing districts of the Pacific Coast provides the finest type of tree food for pear production. Warm sunshine and cooling breezes from snow-capped mountain ranges join with soil excellence in making the coastal states of Washington, Oregon and California ideal for the development of top-quality fresh winter pears.
Orchards are cultivated from five to nine times a year in order to keep them free from weeds and to conserve moisture. Spraying from three to eight times annually is essential to protect the trees and fruit against insects and disease.
Fresh pears, together with apples, come to the fore during fall and winter months, as the fruits most enjoyable for out-of-hand eating and most versatile for cooking and baking.
Our people cooperate with the pear farmers and the pear brokers in order to place pears in the hands of consumers at the best eating time.
Among the many varieties of fall and winter pears that are grown in the Rogue River Valley, these four are the commercial leaders:
(1) Bosc--Distinguished by its symmetrical body and long tapering neck, this russet-colored pear is tender, buttery, and sugar-sweet. Best eaten from September into January.
(2) Anjou--Either green or creamy yellow in color when ripe, this pear is very juicy and has a spicy flavor. Best eaten from October into April.
(3) Comice--Considered by connoisseurs as the perfect pear for salads, gifts, and fresh eating. Celebrated for its size, fragrance, and flavor. (Grown only in Southern Oregon and in a little village near Paris, France.) Like the Anjou, the Comice may also be green or yellow in color when ripe. Best for eating from October to February.
(4) Nelis--A russet pear, very sweet, tender, and luscious. Appreciated for its dessert and culinary qualities. Best eating time is January to June.
Pears are always picked from the trees before they are ripe because scientists have found that pears ripen best if they are picked green and are allowed to ripen off the tree. How can you tell if a pear is ripe enough to be eaten? Hold the pear gently in the palm of your hand. If the pear responds to slight pressure in the manner that a ripe peach does, it is ready to eat, regardless of color.
A standard system of pressure tests is used in telling when to harvest the pears so that they will eventually ripen to their characteristic fine quality.
Pickers equipped with specially made ladders remove the pears from the trees with a slight pressure of the forefinger against the stem. The fruit is then placed gently in canvas picking bags from which it is carefully emptied into field boxes, for transporting to the packing houses.
In packing warehouses, the pears are washed in pure, cold water to remove all orchard dust, sorted for size, graded and wrapped individually in tissue paper which helps preserve quality and prevents bruising.
After the pears are wrapped, they are packed in boxes and placed immediately in cold storage to hold their "tree-freshness" until shipment to market--most of the time in Pacific Fruit Express reefer cars.
Southern Pacific Bulletin, October 1958, pages 10-13
Older Pear Trees Problem Now Facing Local Growers
"One of the major problems facing Medford growers is the fact that 95 percent of their bearing acreage is 40 years old or older," it was reported during the Oregon Extension Service long-range planning session last night.
"Much of this is planted on relatively shallow soil and, in some cases, it is complicated by a high water table," the pear committee reported.
Decline, which started in 1955, has added more stress. Therefore, less favorably situated orchards are not producing enough fruit to make it profitable.
About 2,000 acres of young pears will begin to produce shortly. This will permit removal of some of the lower producing blocks.
New PlantingsAlthough new pear plantings are needed, only orchardists who have acreage already in bearing should do the planting. Too many new growers planting new acreage have "gone broke."
Bosc pear tree plantings might be increased modestly, the committee recommended. It is a high-quality eating pear which is now well established with the consumers. Medford produces 70 percent of the Western Bosc, and the major acreage should continue to be in the Medford area.
Some additional acreage in the comparatively new Eldorado variety would give a better chance for widespread distribution and market promotion, it was suggested.
The pear committee observed there is considerable young Eldorado acreage in the Medford area but no commercial production as yet.
About 250 acres or more would be needed to properly promote a new red pear (No. 5-235). It has been released by the Oregon State Experiment Station for commercial planting. It is fairly attractive. It stores until late winter and ripens with acceptable quality. It is sweet, juicy and has long shelf life. It needs more market testing.
Discussing other varieties, the committee said Bartletts may be overplanted. Anjous have been heavily planted in recent years. Washington in 1963 had 2000 acres of nonbearing trees or 47 percent of the total. Oregon in 1963 had 1,800 acres of nonbearing acreage or 31 percent of the total. California is not a major producer of this variety.
Comice is the finest quality eating pear but is hazardous to grow due to susceptibility of wind, hail and uncertain cropping.
Seckels have a limited market.
Heating PracticesRegarding orchard heating, the committee recommended: (1) Return stack or jumbo cone heaters should be purchased to replace worn-out heaters or to heat now unheated acreage. (2) Additional gas should be allocated for orchard heating. (3) Overhead sprinkling should be observed further under varying conditions. New methods of heating should be sought and tested.
Improved and more farm housing is needed. Year-around, single-man housing in a central location with eating facilities should be provided. A central located family housing unit is desirable, also. The latter would be coupled with such governmental services as education, health, sanitation.
The legislative delegation should be urged to support research in the fields of biological and integrated control. Development of a systemic bactericidal spray that would control established blight infections would remove the threat of disaster.
Pear DeclinePear decline reduces the vigor of trees and makes them more susceptible to damage from other stress factors. It is still a problem.
The committee observed that cork spot of Anjou pears always causes considerable loss. Since it is not always discovered, an electronic sorter should be developed to discover it.
More information is needed on rootstocks, interstocks and training methods before widespread closer planting of trees is done, Jud Parsons reported for the committee. Someone should visit European pear-growing areas and study these factors, it was suggested.
Traditionally here trees have been planted 70 to an acre. Closer plantings of 300 to 400 trees per acre might make it possible to produce the same tonnage on half of the present acreage.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 23, 1968, page 10
Last revised July 31, 2020