R. G. PHILLIPS, ROCHESTER, N. Y.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : It gives me a great deal of pleasure to be here today, even though it is a rainy day, and for several reasons : First, I am always willing to do anything for your good Secretary, Mr. Bassett, and for Prof. Eustace, one of the members of your Agricultural College staff; and then, these and other gentlemen have said so many things about your good fellowship, your energy and intelligence, that I felt that it would be a real pleasure to speak to you; and then further, because I have the interests of better packing very much at heart.
Now as to the intelligence of Grand Rapids, there is no question. There must be something about the air that stimulates an abnormal mental development. I received an illustration of it this morning. T went into a barber shop to get shaved, and the man behind the razor had evidently been out a little late the night before, for his hand trembled a good deal, and before he had fairly begun, he cut me under my chin. I jumped out of my chair, and began to read him a temperance lecture. I said to him, “George, this is an awful thingyou can see the evil and influence of strong drink.” Quick as a. flash, he answered back, “Yes, boss, it sure does make the face tender.” (Laughter.)
You can not beat that outside of Grand Rapids. I said to myself, “This place is altogether too keen for me, I had better take the next train back for Rochester.” But then I remember that Prof. Eustace told me that I might go for you just as hard as I pleased on the subject of packing apples, but I argued with myself that I was a long way from home, and I was in something the same frame of mind as the dear old sister, who every time her pastor- mentioned the name of the devil, she would bow her head. He stood it as long as he could, for it worked on his nerves. Then he went to her and inquired the reason why she did it, and her reply was: “Yes, you are rightI do how my head when you mention the devil’s name, and what is more, I am going to keep right on doing itwe can not be too careful, for you can never tell what will happen.” (Laughter.) But there is one thing that I will not be careful about, and that is, the condemnation of the reprehensible methods of packing apples, practiced by so many people.
The packing of apples is always a delicate matter. Like all subjects involving sin and wickedness, people prefer to hear about the other fellow’s crimes, rather than their own. Every time I talk on this question I know just how a minister feels when he tries to arouse his congregation to the error of their ways. On the one hand he has his duty to perform and on the other are some of the pillars of the church who are likely to reduce his salary if he isn’t careful. I have this ad-vantage, however, I am not running for office and there is no one to reduce my salary. But even if there were, there is one thing concerning which I will not be careful of condemning to the limit of human speech, and that is reprehensible methods of packing which result in the “junk” that ruins our markets, alienates the consumer, causes loss to the dealer, and ultimately reacts upon the producer. And I want to speak to you about it, not because you are any more guilty than anyoneperhaps not so muchI don’t knowbut because I believe it lies in the power of people like yourselves to absolutely pre-vent the evil and because I have the best interests of the apple industry at heart.
We are not measuring up to responsibilities. We are not proving ourselves worthy of this magnificent commodity which we grow and handle. I sometimes think, yes, I know, we are blinded to the finer points of horticulture and the finer points of the fruit which we handle. We are blinded by a variety of causes, a general spirit of don’t care, a familiarity with the great things about us which leads us to take them as a matter of course, and at times by an over-reaching greed, which does over-reach itself and not only prevents us from attaining the high mark we ought to but actually returns less in dollars and cents. You as growers are creators, working in harmony with Divine laws. You bring into .being an apple out of mother earth and dew and rain and light and darkness, and the warmth of days and the cool of evening, plus the energy and intelligence which are yours. You catch the elements of earth and air, and mind and body, and out of all these form a new substance which we call an apple, with sunshine of its cheek and joy in its heart. And to this extent you are a part of divinity. There is no existence more independent, and no vocation which calls for more of the whole man. To produce a perfect apple requires the Al-mighty plus a Man. I therefore submit we should recognize that we are co-workers in an undertaking which should appeal to our finer instincts as well as to the material side.
Coming to the more material aspect, within the last few years thou-sands of acres and trees by the million have been set in every state where it was imagined a tree would grow. Old orchards have been reclaimed, pruning, cultivation, fertilizing and spraying have been practiced as never before. The investments in orchards are not very great, and by all walks of life from the clerk and the teacher, the doctor and lawyer and minister to the legitimate or real fruit grower. The capacity for production has been in-creased until it was undoubtedly never greater. Production under normal conditions must be expected to continue on a much larger scale.
You thus have not only a noble calling, the inherent merits and responsibilities of which I trust may appeal to you more and more, but there is also a vast financial investment in orchards throughout this broad land which every true man and every man .having the interests of his country and fellowmen at heart is bound to preserve and conserve to the limit of human endeavor.
Now what are some of the ways in which this can be accomplished? There are two principles which stand out above all others,first-abolish junk, and second, advertise. I shall say but very little about the second at this time, because we are now primarily interested in the first.
I said a little while ago that to produce a perfect apple requires the Almighty, plus a Man. And, based solely upon experience, I have found that to produce a well packed barrel of apples also requires the Almighty, plus a Real Man. If you have a real Man with a capital M, it may not require so much of the Almighty, but I have seen a multitude of cases where Divinity should have had full sway. In other in-stances the evils of packing have resulted from ignorance of how to pack, of its bad effect upon markets, and from a general tendency which all of us in America have of looking only unto today instead of building something which will stand through the years. We are “penny wise and pound foolish.” If it is possible, I want to see an awakening in this country on the part of grower, dealer and everyone who handles the apple. I wish we could get a baptism of morality, the square deal, intelligence to our best interests and determination to realize our possibilities, and I’ll tell you why.
In every year when there is a crop, junk is the ruination of marketsjust plain J-U-N-K. The trouble is we haven’t cider mills enough in the country, or a disposition to patronize those already existing. There is many a God-fearing community without even the sign of one. And as long as the rubbish, the Junk and topped-off packages, cider apples and windfalls, and worms and culls are shipped, we never will have a market.
The reason is self-evident. It is written large in the very appearance of the fruit itself, in the deception which the package conceals, gild in the inevitable disgust and resentment which that deception fosters. Confidence is the foundation of all progress, industrial, mental and spiritual. Faith is at once the basis and the key-stone of success. The old order of things has passed away when sharp practices were a badge of merit and dishonesty a thing to be commended. Go where you will in the business world today and reliability is the watchword. Integrity and confidence are at the bases of this wonderful commerce of the age in which we live. Men have found that they and they alone pay.
How long do you imagine the steel trust would continue to pay dividends if it furnished steel beams that cracked at the first load, and locomotives that fell apart on their first trip? How long would your groceryman be out of bankruptcy if he sold you sugar that was half sand? What would you do about it as a consumer? Suppose we change places for a while with the consumer and the retailer of apples. Let us take a state of facts that illustrates the normal procedure in the markets of the country: The ultimate jobber of fruit today buys five barrels of apples, takes them to his store and finds them excellent. He figures a fair margin of profit on them, sells them and the customer is satisfied. Tomorrow he buys ten barrels to satisfy the increased demand. Those ten barrels turn out to be stuffed; they are full of wind-falls, wormy apples, ciders and culls. He puts them out and straight-way the telephone begins to ring and voices begin : “Come and get those apples; we don’t want them.” Back they come to the store. He either sorts them over, throwing part of them away and marking up the price on the balance, or he in turn calls up the wholesaler and advises him to come and get his apples. Now let this experience be repeated a few times and the inevitable result is disgust with apples clear along the line. The consumer refuses to buy and the retailer, instead of handling ten barrels a day, handles two or three. He be-comes alarmed and to protect himself from loss marks up the retail price to the clouds and reduces his purchase price to the wholesaler. Consumption is limited, markets are restricted and whoever owns apples takes a loss.
These experiences are repeated year after year in every city of the land. The City of Rochester, where I live, in the heart of one of the greatest apple belts of the world, is one of the poorest markets in, existence. It ought to be one of the best, but the growers of apples ho have a market at their door draw into that city and peddle the culls and “junk,” until we have the reputation of being consumers of cider apples.
One evening early last winter I was at dinner with a friend of mine and his wife said to me: “Why can’t I get any good apples? You say there was a big crop and plenty of them, but I haven’t had a de-cent apple this year. I am through with them. I shall not buy an-other one. The last I ordered I threw away and I could only use half of those I ordered before.” Inquiry revealed that she had been getting cider apples and fruit affected with the Baldwin spot. Here was a consumer alienated for the rest of the season. In Philadelphia, in 1907 and 1908, it was almost impossible to force the sale of apples at any price. Housewives would come into the stores and refuse to even look at or consider them. Retailers were met with the statement, “I don’t want to even hear the word appleI am sick and tired of them. I am through with them for this year.” And this thing went on up and down the land until there was no market and the losses of growers, dealers and handlers mounted into the millions. In western New York alone they amounted to upwards of $3,000;000. Killed by “junk” and the worst lot of rubbish ever attempted to be foisted on a confiding public. Over the fresh made grave of that year and other years since there should have been erected a shaft of black marble and on it in white letters should have been : “A SuicideA Jackass Kicked Himself To Death.”
What a commentary upon our intelligence, our business acumen, our foresight and our honesty ! Why, we weren’t fit to be trusted with a peanut or popcorn wagon.
At one of the hearings last winter on the Sulzer Bill we had an actual demonstration of the vices of a good deal of our modern packing. We went on the public market in the city of Washington and bought at random, without examining it, a barrel of apples branded “Extra Fancy Virginia Rome Beauty” and had it sent up to the House Committee Room of Coinage, Weights and Measures. We opened it there for the first time for the purpose of comparing it with a barrel of apples packed by Hon. S. L. Lupton of Winchester, Va., in accordance with the provisions of the old Lafean Billnow the Sulzer Bill, and a barrel which we knew was right. That barrel of Rome Beauties didn’t have a peck of apples in it, outside of the face and back, fit even for a No. 2. They were diseased, spotted, under size, off color and wormy. They were scarcely fit for cider. And yet that barrel was branded “Extra Fancy.” Thousands of barrels just like it are in the markets of this country every year. They pass into the hands of the retailer and then in half bushels, pecks and quarts to the consumer, bearing at every step a curse upon the business we have at heart and destroying confidence in a multitude of homes. This is just the pointThe evil does not lie in the loss to the man who packed it. If he would lose every dollar he possessed, it would be a cause for thanksgivingthe more he loses, the better. But the evil lies in the damage done to the whole industry, including those four square growers and dealers who believe in giving an honest deal.
Don’t be misled. If the other fellowyour neighborraises, packs and ships “junk,” he is injuring you, no matter how well you pack. Never was there a more mistaken notion that it didn’t matter what the other fellow did as long as you were all right. It has led to more evil and more temporizing with wrong doing than anything of which I know. Just so sure as the sun rises, the poor fruit brings the good down toward its level rather than the reverse. The man who packs good fruit gets a greater reward,that is true, but not nearly in pro-portion to what he ought to get or would get if the “junk” were kept out of every barrel. When a year comes along when the quality is generally poor and the packing as a consequence is worse than wretched, when crops are large and packing indifferent and markets go to pieces as a result, the innocent suffer with the guilty. “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” And while the dishonest packer may drown in the torrent, yet the honest one many times has a stiff time reaching the shore.
You are, therefore, your “brother’s keeper.” Make no mistake about it. It is an act of self-preservation. I hope the time will come when associations like this will make it a point to see that the man who persistently violates the common-sense rules of packing, rules which business sense teaches to be wise, either changes his methods or gets out of the business, and I don’t care whether he is a grower or a dealer.
I said a little while back that faith or confidence was the basis of commercial prosperity and development. There is no mystery about it. It is just plain common sense and ordinary business intelligence. People resent being imposed upon. To cheat them is to arouse a bitter and justifiable hatred. When the consumer places on the counter good money, worth one hundred cents on the dollar, he has a moral and legal right to expect in return a commodity worth one hundred cents on the dollar. If he doesn’t get it, there is trouble. He settles these questions beyond our poor power to change. He settles them so effectually that business enterprises are ruined, markets destroyed and enormous loses created. For, gentlemen, the consumer must be pleased. He is the court of last resort. The only way he can be pleased is by giving him a square deal and value received. If he doesn’t get them he goes back on the commodity and it is then too late to win him over. He refuses to be won. It matters not what we may call him or how much we may wriggle and twist and blame everyone and everything for our sorry plight, from an eclipse of the sun to Hindoo magic, there he stands the same old Gibraltar. We must please the consumer; we must deliver the goods; we must “make good.” The time has come to absolutely destroy root and branch every element of dishonesty, sharp practice and ignorance in the packing of apples. The time has come when we must cease temporizing with evil. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” It is applicable in more ways than one. A house divided against itself must fall. If fifty per cent of the people pack junk, it injures the other fifty per cent. They must be rooted out. You up-to-date growers with large investments and the business at heart owe it to yourselves.
Apples are not worth a dollar merely hanging on the trees. Their only value lies in the ability to change them into real money. And this change in its last analysis comes from the consumer. Our supreme thought and care therefore ought to be to please him. From the times these apples are in blossom until they are packed, and especially while being packed, we ought constantly to have him in mind. We ought to put ourselves in his place every packing season and if we did, there would be no further trouble. Instead, however, of doing this, our sole thought has been to unload just as much “junk” as possible as someone elseto pass it along and take the chance. It is a mystery to me that apples sell as well as they do.
Now you may want to know what can be done to remedy conditions. It is easy to criticise and find fault, but to build up and create, that is the great workit is a man’s job. You have the remedy at hand iii the Sulzer Bill, to the passage of which your secretary, Prof. Eustace, the Congressman of Michigan and others in this commonwealth lent their assistance, and that help was greatly appreciated. You have the standard of a Government of the United States at your hand and you have the right to brand on your packages the index of its approval. That brand tells to the world at large that there is an honest pack and a square deal underneath it from the face clear through to the cushion. It says there are no turnips and pumpkins and leaves and stones in the center. It proclaims positively that there are no cider apples, no worms, diseased or windfall fruit in the middle of that package. It looks the world in the face like a man, and says, “I deliver the goods; try me and prove me.” What more can be asked?
I regard this bill as coming at the psychological moment, at the beginning of a crisis in the apple industry. We are at the parting of the ways. By following the old lines and refusing to make the change which common sense and experience have taught to be wise we will court something of the same depression which followed the industry in the eighties and nineties. By making the change and establishing our-selves upon the right basis, we may reasonably hope to standardize it and make its production staple is to increase its consumption, de-crease the risk and cost of handling and form a proper basis for advertising.
Now just a word on these points. The retailer and wholesaler today who handle apples buy them in the dark, so to speak. On Monday they may prove to be good, on Tuesday fair and all the rest of the week very poor. The waste in many instances from decayed windfalls in the center of barrels, cider apples and diseased stock is great. The business is a gambleworse than poker in its uncertainty–because the bluff won’t work with the consumer on any occasion. The retailer, therefore, is forced to put his selling price high enough to protect him against any emergency and keep it there. Do away with this uncertainty, give him a standard packa staple productand he can afford to handle it on a small margin because he knows that he can depend upon the reliability of the commodity.
Now as to advertising: There is nothing to be gained unless we have something. to advertise, and that something must be capable of identification and must be an honest commodity. Imagine advertising the heterogeneous mass of apples that go onto our markets today ! Induced by a glowing word picture of the health giving properties of the apple, or lured by the rosy red on the cheek of a lithographed Bald-win, some poor consumer buys a barrel only to find that it has three layers on the face and two on the tail that are good, while the rest run in size from marbles to butternuts ; in color from a green gage plum to a sick lemon, and in health to prickly heat to smallpox. The commodity which you advertise must square with your promises, and when it does, there is no greater power under the sun. Advertising has changed the map of commerce. It has established financial empires and crowned “Captains of Industry.” It has created demand along a thou-sand lines and stimulated industry the world around.
In the Sulzer Bill we have every requirement necessary to a scientific advertising campaign. In the Standard Grade we have something definite and capable of identification. No man can be misled. It is a specific brand and when he buys a barrel with that brand upon it, he knows that he will get what he buys. Standard Grades can be advertised in good faith with the full assurance that they will make good no matter where they are bought, from one end of the country to the other. And, gentlemen, we hope they. are going to be advertised. By another year plans will be perfected for undertaking this work. A committee of our Association is now at work upon this very question and’ we hope that when that plan is ready every member of the Michigan Horticultural Society who believes in a better pack and who is willing- to use the Sulzer Bill will give it his financial support. You have the greatest power and the most favorable circumstances- ever granted to an agricultural product. Think of ita Standard Grade where apples established by the United States Government and on which can rest that powerful lever, publicity! Are we blind? Has reason departed? Are we but little children? Is common sense no more? Can we do nothing but complain when the door of opportunity stands wide open before us? Give me the power and I would pack every barrel under the Sulzer Bill; I would advertise those grades and I would guarantee to double consumption at a fair price. The square deal plus publicity are the keystones to our arch of success, and without them you can do nothing.
The man who persists in refusing to use Standard Grades is like a man going to war without a gun. He isn’t going to a battle, he is going to a funeral. Make no mistake about it. Canada, under her Fruit and Marks Act, outstripping us in foreign markets and the North-west has cut off our fancy trade because of her packing. These are not idle dreams. It is time to wake up, to do something, to act. Let me read you the export figures and what our foreign Consuls say.
Taken in five-year periods in 1882 to 1907, the exports from the United States exceeded those from Canada all the way from 16% to 300%, but during the last five years this country shows a decrease under Canada of 14%. This is the first time it has happened in over thirty years, and should cause us to wake up. Canada has shown a steady in-crease from 1882 down to date, and a very large increase since 1902. At the close of that five-year period her exports had reached 2,450,101 barrels; at the close of the last five-year period they were considerably over 5,000,000 barrels, or more than double. During the last five years the United States has shown a decline of from over 8,000,000 barrels to about 4,500,000 barrels. –
What is the cause of this? In 1902 (I think) the Dominion Government established its Fruit and Marks Act, and ever since has been acting thereunder. This Act was amended in 1906, and you will observe that from then on her success has been phenomenal. In an ad-dress delivered before the New York Agricultural Society at Albany, N. Y., during the week of January 15th, J. A. Ruddick of Ottawa, the Dominion Cold Storage and Dairy Commissioner, said that before the law was enacted the apple industry in Canada was in a declining condition and seemed doomed. Said he :
“The packing was so bad no one would purchase apples without seeing them, even though they were offered as marked with a dozen Z’s, a mark of superiority, as they sometimes were. * * * There is still improvement to be made, but on the whole the markets of fruit especially of apples, has almost been revolutionized. Brokers will now purchase on the grade with a reasonable assurance of getting what they bargain for.”
Some of the big reasons for the decline of our open exports may be summed up in the words, “junk,” cider apples, poor packing, deceit and lack of standards, undermining confidence and disgusting the purchaser. I wanted to find out last year what the trouble was and how we could broaden our markets. I took it up with our foreign consuls and others, and here are two samples of the replies :
Quotation from a letter by a U. S. Consul in Europe, written to the Secretary of the International Apple Shipper’s Association July 13, 1911:
“There is no doubt, however, that the sale of American apples could be greatly extended, if our shippers would be more careful in the selection and packing of apples intended for this market.
There has been so much dishonesty practiced in the past * * * that a number of dealers would not handle the American fruit if they were not obliged to do so * * *.”
The following is a translation of a letter received from one of the more important handlers of fruit in * * * * in answer to interrogatories sent from this office:
“(1) During the past season American apples in barrels have arrived badly damaged, owing to the careless manner in which the fruit was packed. American packers do not use the same care in sorting apples as in former years. In most cases the barrels contain apples of three or four different sizes and vary greatly in appearance. The top layers are good, while the middle and bottom rows are very different both in size and quality.
Inferior fruit should remain in the United States. In my opinion the trade in American barrel apples will decrease from year to year.
I am also of the opinion that the imports of American apples into this country would increase enormously if the prevailing defects could be eliminated.”
Quotation from a letter written to the Secretary of the International Apple Shippers’ Association by a large distributor of apples in Ham-burg, Germany, April 15, 1911:
“Apples in barrels : You are undoubtedly aware of the fact that the crop of last year was of about the poorest quality we ever had, and, al-though we tried to get the best possible stock for our market, yet the quality gave no satisfaction whatever, and by about the beginning of December the import ceased altogether. As apples were very scarce in our market, those that were shipped here brought fairly satisfactory prices, but by about the last of December there was practically no ship-per and no importer who would risk any money in shipping poor stock across the Atlantic. Thus it happens that the total imports of American apples in barrels amounted to only 52,000 against 250,000 to 300,000 barrels five to seven years ago. We wish to point out that it is absolutely necessary for the growers and shippers in the East to improve quality in packing, or the Eastern apple will find no buyers here any more.”
Now our foreign trade is of the utmost importance. It is a safety valve. It needs to be increased rather than decreased, but to increase it we must get in line with Canada. They are planting trees in Canada just as fast as on this side. The last Canadian Crop Report stated that the number of trees not yet in bearing north of Lake Ontario now exceeded those in bearing, while Nova Scotia is making tremendous progress. Nova Scotia has some of the best cared for orchards in the world and her best posted men stated positively that in the next few years she alone will be able to supply the foreign market. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to give up in despair, or get busy and fight it out?
When Fort Sumpter was fired upon and the irrepressible conflict was on, the boy and the man on the farm and in the store from Maine and Michigan, from Old Virginia and Alabama, shouldered the musket and fought for the right, as they saw it, on the heights of Gettysburg, from the Rapidon to Appomatox and from Chattanooga through Atlanta to the Sea. They were men of conviction, whether they wore the blue or wore the gray. The rifles loaded with real powder and real shot piled the bloody field of many a Cold Harbor with the evidence of their sincerity, and their bayonets of real steel swept over the blazing ramparts of many a Fort Wagner.
We are now in an irrespressible conflict which must and will be settled right. We must have markets; we must eliminate chicanery and evil practices. We must conquer deceit and fraud. There are our ancient enemies against which war has been waged; but don’t go into this fight with your guns loaded with “junk,” cider apples and windfalls, and in place of a real bayonet a limber twig from the old apple tree. If you do, you will go to a funeral and you will be the corpse. Load your guns with Standard Grades and have the cold steel of integrity on the end of them, and march on to victory.
The most important thing to which this Association can give its attention for the next few years is packing. .Establish packing schools, like the Virginia Horticultural Society, and teach your people to use the Sulzer Bill. Make it alive. Use it and then insist upon selling under it. If some weak-minded buyer wants to put up a lot of “junk,” set the dog on him and order him off the premises. Don’t allow this poison to go out of your orchards. You can’t tell what will be done with it. Buyers and dealers are just as bad as growers, and I don’t know but they are worse. We are tarred with the same stick, but I am appealing to you because you are the fountain-head and because I know that the buyers can’t solve the problem alone.
Gentlemen, there is no use in just talking. It is a waste of time to consider these questions unless action results. I didn’t come out here for fun. I came because I know that we must have a better pack. I know what we are up against. I came because I believe heart and soul in the merits of the Sulzer Bill. It is the way of salvation and I beg of you to rally around and fight the good fight.
When Saladin, the Sultan, thrice conqueror of Syria, the man who made the desert blossom with civilization and before whom the cohorts of Richard the Lion-Hearted trembledwhen he died there was carried before him in his funeral procession his shirt and before the shirt walked a crier who cried unto the people, “Behold all that is left of Saladin, the Mighty Conqueror of the East!”
When Robert Bruce of Scotland died, he committed his heart in a golden casket to the Douglass. The Douglass setting out upon the crusades carried the heart of Bruce as his most sacred possession. When in Spain and surrounded by the Moors, seeing the tide of battle turning against him, he flung far the golden heart of Bruce unto the very midst of the conflict crying, “Lead on, Oh Heart of Bruce, living or dead the Douglass will follow thee.”
I prefer to follow the heart of Bruce rather than the shirt of Saladin. T do not care to walk in the funeral procession of the apple industry while before it is carried a barrel of “junk” and before the “junk” a crier who shall cry unto the people, “Behold all that is left of a great business that was established by the Almighty, favored by the Government and blessed by every suitable facility, but was killed by its friends.” Throw out your Standard ‘Grades into the very midst of the conflict and say, “Living or dead, the Douglass will follow thee.” The golden heart of Bruce is in your keeping and the keeping of every man who is interested in the apple. Guard it, use it. Pack under the Sulzer Bill.
A MemberI think we should take some action on this Sulzer Apple Law. It is not compulsory. I wish we could get all our members to pack under itit would be a good thingand to ask all our subordinate societies to do the same.
Mr. SmytheIt seems to me that we should carry this a little further. It is not the honest man that we want to get afterit is the dishonest man. This Sulzer law is a good thing, but what we want is something for the men who do not come to these meetings. We have hundreds of berry growers who are Germans, and they will put hi any old thing in the box. You can not get them under the Sulzer law. I have advocated that we should have a law by which every man puts his name on every package sent out. I know of a case where a shipment of sixty barrels of pears went to Milwaukee, and when they were opened up, the middle was filled with apples. There are those who are intentionally dishonest, as in this ease, and we want a law to reach them. Most men are honest, if made so, either through the fear of God or through. fear of the law. We must come to some definite understanding in this matter, and if possible provide for something more stringent than this Sulzer Law.
The ChairmanI think there should be some time set for the discussion of this question, when we have more time at our command than we have now.
ChairmanThis discussion will be led by Mr. Hutchins.
Mr. HutchinsI will not say much. We have had an excellent ad-dress and many valuable and interesting points have been brought out. I may say, however, that I have felt that I would like to go into the detective business and if possible learn where those fellows are that are, doing this dishonest work, but Mr. Smythe has given us a tip. But I am a little apprehensive, from what I hear, that if we should catch them and presume to give them their just deserts, it might in-crease our taxes to an alarming extent, and fill up our public hotels. But it is not the people around our sectionthey are farmers, and they assert that they put their apples up rightit can not be any of thoseit must be some of the growers around here. (Laughter.) If I should blame it on to Mr. Wilde, we might get into a scrapwe don’t want that, so I will not carry the matter any further.
But seriously, gentlemen, we want a law that will enable us to be honest, and then gain credit for it. Under the operations of this Sulzer law, we can not do that. If a consumer gets one barrel that is bad, he is afraid of the next fifty.
You will be interested I think, in what we are doing, and will bear with me for a few moments. And by the way, there is one feature of the fruit growers, we do not have any trade secrets, so in lieu of any advertising you may accuse me of doing, I will take the ground that I am giving away trade secrets.
We have an apple organization in our parts, and there are 100 members. The apples are turned over to the Fruit Growers Exchange, with no string tied to them, and the Exchange controls them just as much as the commission men control the fruit sent them. When a sale is made, 5% is deducted to cover the cost to the Association. We put a packer in every orchard, and he oversees the sorting, packing and putting this fruit into the barrel, and the fruit is put up under the provisions of the Sulzer law. You will be interested in knowing how that fruit turns out. There is a good deal of blight or scabnone of this must go into this Sulzer grade. There are grades of apples there where the growers are putting them up, and perhaps 90% of them will go into a growers’ grade, perhaps a commercial grade. The peculiar feature of that situation is that the buyers will go to these raisers outside of the exchange and will pay them as much, or perhaps more for the orchard run of apples than they will pay the exchange for these extra fancy grade. Of course they want to get a slice out of everything that goes outthat is at the bottom of the difficulty. But with any packing of these same apples, fifty per cent of them will go into that extra grade. That is what you may be up against when you undertake this method of packing. This year I am satisfied that it is not a paying proposition. They are not willing, as I said, to pay more for this brand of apples than for the common ones. For instance, a man came to us and wanted to get ten carloads, and offered us $2.25 a barrel for our prime apples. We asked $2.50. Then he went out among the growers and paid $2.25 a barrel for the orchard run, but was not willing to pay us $2.50 for this grade of fancy apples. We have to take $1.50 to $1.80 for what we call firsts, but they are not fancy. And taking the two grades together, we can dispose of the major part of our fruit at these prices, but it has not been a paying proposition this year. However, we are lining up a trade in the smaller placeswe have put a couple of men on the roadand the men in these smaller places are taking from one to five cars each, which they are turning over directly to the retailers and consumers, and I am satisfied that we have there a trade that will take our fruit in the future and be satisfied with it. The grade is all right. Here is the brand we put on our barrels : We have a stencil. We have a stamp to give the size in inches of apple; then a number that indicates the packer, and he is the person who is held responsible, and he is no more interested than the growerhe has a reputation to establish. As things are developing we are very much gratified with what we are doing, and we are pretty sure that in years to come we will have a market for our fruit through this outlet. The members are standing by and bringing in their fruit and turning it over. In one instance a man who was indifferent to this organization, would not take stock in it, would not at first contribute his fruit, but he has brought his fruit this year to the Exchange to sell. That to us is a very gratifying indication of what we are doing. When people outside will come and bring their fruit to us to sell, we are pleased. I may state that the way we have our labels is this, for instance:
FRUIT GROWERS EXCHANGE,
FENNVILLE, MICH. STANDARD GRADE.
Medium sizetwo and a half in. Jonathan.