United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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TRADE OUTLOOK.

The Argentine Republic, which has more than doubled its population
during the last twenty-five years, is playing an important role on the world's
market, both as seller and consumer. Buenos Ayres, its capital, the popu-
lation of which will soon attain a million, one of the principal ports of the
world, is about to become the commercial center not only of the Republic
itself, but of a vast territory tributary thereto, and its importance will rapidly
grow as soon as the railway over the Andes is opened to traffic. The country
has, no doubt, a great future, and it is quite natural that the great commer-
cial nations of the world leave nothing undone to keep up close commercial
relations with this State.

ARGENTINE PRODUCTS IN SWITZERLAND.

During 1895, Switzerland imported ^656,059 worth of products from ihe
Argentine Republic, the principal articles being: Wheat, 1,918 metric tons
(of 2,204 pounds each); flour, 79 tons; corn, 9,347 tons; wool, 453 tons.
Besides this, Switzerland imported direct sheep, leather, horsehair, leaf
tobacco, and oats. Direct purchases from the Argentine markets save com-
missions, which are often onerous, and must consequently be highly recom-
mended.

EUGENE GERMAIN,

Zurich, September 77, i8g6. Consul.



NONALCOHOLIC LIQUORS IN SWITZERLAND.

Two concerns, one in this city and the other in Berne, have opened
factories for the manufacture and sale of unfermented, nonalcoholic fruit
and grape wines. Both houses are now in the market with this year's prod-
uct, offering it in large as well as in small quantities to the public. Persons
taking an interest in the production of this nonintoxicating liquor have re-
quested an opinion from the manager of the Swiss agricultural experimental
station, located at Waedensweil, in this canton. In order to reach every-



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CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE. 1 93

body, Professor Mueller-Thurgau, the superintendent of the station, has
addressed a communication to the public through the press, a translation of
which follows:

In view of the fact that a great numher of people, outside of the ranks of total abstinence
and temperance societies, are desirous of obtaining a beverage free from alcohol in place of
alcoholic wines, and my opinion having been asked for on the subject, I now beg leave to
state, for the benefit of whom it may concern, that it has been established beyond any doubt
that fermented cider and wines can be replaced by fruit and grape juices entirely free of alco-
hol and of good palatable and keeping qualities.

This experimental station has made it a study to discover a process by which fruit and
grape juices could be produced without the aid of fermentation, would keep any desired
length of time, taste well, contain no alcohol whatever, and replace fermented wines and
ciders. There are, of course, several methods to obtain this result, but one only has proven
practical in our tests. It is well known that fermentation of fruits and grapes is caused by
certain microbes (mocroscopic fungus) which exist already in the fruit before the crushing
process and rapidly increases thereafter. It is also well known that by fermentation the sugar
is decomposed and one of the products of its decomposition is alcohol. If, therefore, the
microbes are killed in time, the fermentation is prevented, the sugar will not decompose, and
no alcohol will be produced.

The sterilization of fruit and grape juice, that is, the annihilation of the microbes which
cause fermentation, must, of course, be attended to before the latter have time to produce
alcohol, which, in warm weather, occurs a few hours after the juice is extracted. Further,
care must be taken that no other fermentation organisms contained in the air find their way
into the juice, and if the process has been carefully observed, no alcohol will form and such
juices will keep for years thereafter. In order to prevent the nonfermented wines from get-
ting a cooked flavor, the heating process must be moderate. Minute examinations have
shown that it suffices to heat the juice to a degree of 60° C. for fifteen minutes in order to
kill the microbes contained therein. In order to obviate failure, it would be well to push the
heating a few degrees higher and increase the time somewhat (say three minutes), not for-
getting, however, that the liquor itself must reach the above-indicated temperature. The
juice can be clarified, and is then ready for consumption.

It may be stated here that these nonfermented wines can not in any way be compared
with fermented wine or with any other nonalcoholic beverages. The nonfermented wines
contain a considerable quantity of nourishment. Not only do they contain more albumen,
but also a considerable quantity of saccharine (i liter of nonfermented grape juice, for instance,
contains 150 to 200 grams of sugar), and just the kind of sugar most beneficial to the human
body. These beverages are consequently not only table luxuries, but also a food product,
and their manufacture enables us to keep in their natural state the juices of fruits and grapes,
so important and useful to our health, and to have them at our disposition the year round.

EUGENE GERMAIN,
Zurich, October 14, i8g6. Consul,



CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE.

In the New York Sun of September 18, 1896, 1 find an interesting article
on California fruits in England, from which I copy the following:

ANOTHER YEAR OF DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GROWERS AND SHIPPERS.

The shipments of California fruits to London this year began about the middle of the
month of July, when a consignment of 4,000 boxes of pears and plums from Sacramento was
No. 197 4.

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194 CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE.

•transported over sea ia the American Line steamship 5/. Louis. English buyers had been
rendered cautious by their experiences in other years, and the prices obtained for the fruits in
the London market were unsatisfactory to the sellers. Complaint was made that some of the
boxes were damaged and that both the pears and the plums were too small to command good
prices. The average selling price of the pears, which were Bartletts, was from $1.32 to
^51.92 per box of 50 pounds and the plums were sold for $1.80 per crate. Making allow-
ance for freight, insurance, and cost of handling, the prices realized were lower than those
then prevalent here.

At the sale in London on the last day day of July, the pears brought ^1.38 to $1.80, while
the plums brought $2.28, an advance upon the price at the previous sale. Two weeks later,
a consignment of 10,000 half cases from California, consisting of peaches, pears, and plums,
arrived in London. They were of superior size and quality and in fine condition. Never-
theless, the selling price was very low. The peaches ranged from 84 cents to $1.56, the
plums from 72 cents to $1.94, William pears from 72 to 84 cents, and Hardys were disposed
of at $1.44. Large lots were taken by German and Russian buyers. It was said that prices
were depressed on account of the abundance of French and English fruits on the London
market.

The fourth consignment, which consisted of 4,280 half cases, was offered in London on
August 21. The prices were again jxwr, buyers declaring that the fruits were overripe.
Pears, 78 cents to ^1.32; peaches, $1.08 to $1.68; and plums, I1.26 to $1.40.

A week later 5,000 half cases arrived in London from California. Prices were even lower
than in the previous week, though the fruit was in good condition. Peaches, 72 cents to $1.24 ;
pears, 48 to 84 cents; plums, 48 cents to ^2.04 for very superior quality. There were again
great quantities of French and English fruits in the London market.

In the first week of the present month of September a consignment of 5,000 half cases
from California was put up at auction in London. The prices realized were better than at the
previous week's sale, owing to a scarcity on the market. Peaches, $1.00 to ^1.32 ; pears, 90
cents to ^1.32 ; plums, $1.74. All the fruits were excellent, excepting a lot of Cleigean pears,
which were small and hard and brought only 78 cents.

The reports of later sales are not at hand. The prices obtained at the several sales since the
first consignment was delivered in July have certainly been discouraging to the California fhiit
raisers, as also to the exporters. Last year's prices were poor, and this year's prices also have
been poor.

Much more money has been lost than made in the exportation of California fruits to Lon-
don. A number of determined capitalists, however, are engaged in the trade, and some of
them expect better times in it hereafter. They are deserving of success.

It is difficult to see how the risks and the expenses of the transportation of the more perish-
able fruits across the American continent and the Atlantic Ocean can be greatly reduced.
Within a few years, there has, indeed, been a reduction in the cost of carriage from Sacramento
to New York, but the companies have refused to further lower their freights. Upon steam-
ships of two of the Atlantic lines there are refrigerating compartments for the service of the
fruit exporters, but they have proved less profitable than had been expected.

There is always a demand in England for good and ripe and red American apples, the
crop of which this year in all the apple-growing States, including the State of New York, is
immense. There might also be profit for the peach growers of the East in sending more of
their crop abroad, as the peaches grown here can be taken to London in better condition than
those from California. The peach crop of this season is especially bountiful, and yet, for some
reason, the retail price to the consumer in this city is far too high for the encouragement of
the trade in peaches. There ought also to be a large market abroad for Eastern-grown pears.
The agricultural commissioner for this State has manifested an especial interest in the subject,
and he recently advised fruit growers to send exhibits to the International Horticultural Ex-
hibition which is to be held at Hamburg next year. In a report to the State Department at
Washington, the United States consul at Zurich speaks of the success that has attended the



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CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE. 1 95

introduction into France of American prunes, and gives his opinion that the trade can be
greatly enlarged in other foreign countries. The United States consul at the German city of
Chemnitz has striven energetically to enlarge the demand for American fruits, especially ap-
ples, in Germany, but he has not been sustained in a proper way. ♦ ♦ ♦

In the above, I notice that a number of determined capitalists are en-
gaged in the trade and some of them expect better times in it hereafter.

Let me say, right here, that I have an idea that these capitalists are not
fruit growers or dealers, and they have no money invested in fruit growing
or in fruit shipments, except so far as their interest in transportation is con-
cerned. They are either interested in the transportation business — and as
the freight charges on every pound of fruit shipped from California have to
be guarantied, they are running no risks whatsoever, even should the fruit
have to be dumj)ed upon its arrival at the other end of the line — or else they
are men handling the fruits on commission for the growers, and they, also, are
secured against any loss, for the grower, should the fruit not fetch charges and
commi^ions, has to foot the bill of losses.

Thirty years' experience in the trade of California fruits and products
has taught me that the manner in which fruit is being handled in the United
States, London, and other places can never prove anything but disastrous
to the producers. These fruits are being consigned to parties whose only
interest in them is the commission they earn.

Green fruits, being of a perishable nature, have to be disposed of on arrival
at public auction and nothing prevents buyers of such commodities from com-
bining and obtaining the fruits at their own figures. The consignee does not
lay awake at night to find ways and means to guard against such combines,
or, if the market is glutted with the same article on arrival of the fruit, to
seek another market more profitable. He simply issues his catalogues, dis-
tributes them among would-be buyers, auctions off the fruits at a certain date,
pays himself from the proceeds for advanced freight charges, commissions,
and other incidentals first, and, if anything is left, remits the balance. But
if, on the contrary, the fruit does not fetch the charges, which are enormous,
he is secured and his draft for the deficit must be met on presentation.

No merchant, manufacturer, or grower has ever made any money by con-
signing his goods, as I call it, on a wild-goose chase, to strangers, and the
longer he consigns, the nearer he will approach the poorhouse.

There are but two ways in which to dispose of products in Europe and
obtain fair and sure returns therefor, and if any other method is resorted to,
it will invariably prove disastrous. The first is to sell, if practicstble, the
products at home on a free-on-board basis and obtain the cash therefor on
the spot. The other, especially in California products, to which I particu-
larly refer, is for fruit growers to combine, appoint some men out of their
own number who are personally and financially interested in the products to
be shipped and send them to London, Hamburg, Paris, Berlin, and other
important ports, and establish them there as their permanent resident agents.
These men, as soon as they are advised by cable that shipments are on the
way and of the varieties coming, must canvass the local market and at the same



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196 CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE.

time send subagents to inland towns to place the fruits so that they can at
once be delivered or reshipped upon arrival ; that is, green fruits should be
handled in this manner. Dried fruits, which are of a less perishable nature,
should be carried in stock the year round, and the trade supplied from the
agencies in large as well as in small quantities at short notice. The agents,
being on the ground, will keep in constant touch with the trade, remain
posted on the supply and demand, and be able, at all times, to obtain full
market prices for their wares. They will gather information as to crop pros-
pects in other countries with which they have to compete and post their
consignors from time to time as to what they may expect for their ship-
ments.

They will also attend to collections and make prompt returns. There is
no doubt in my mind but that Europe will take, at remunerative prices, all
of our surplus stock of certain varieties of fruits, if it arrives in good con-
dition, and the sooner we fall into line and do business as I suggest, the more
quickly will we obtain a good permanent foothold abroad and receive fair
returns for our products, the production of which can be enormously in-
creased.

The Swiss industries have prospered — the industrials have become million-
aires because they have adopted the right course in distributing their prod-
ucts. They have established branches, manned by their own people, at
points all over the world, where the particular line of goods they manufac-
ture or are dealing in has found a ready market. They supply these branch
houses, are sure to be fairly dealt with, get returns for all the goods are sold
for, and in this manner, can keep their factories going the year round. Not
being posted at this end, they refuse to sell goods free on board shipping
points in the currency of this country; they sell only at delivered prices,
being continually kept posted by their branch houses, and in the currency
only of the country in which the goods are delivered. The goods are con-
signed en bloc to their branch houses and by them billed, delivered, bills
collected, and thus they obtain the full market values for their products on
the markets to which they ship.

This city is a large manufacturing center. It is wonderful to see the
substantial stone palaces and other modern improvements which have been
built these last twenty years. Zurich has a population of 149,000, among
whom, the tax lists show, are ninety-one millionaires. I can point out sev-
eral of^them having 1 10,000,000 to J 2 5, 000, 000. How were these large
fortunes made? Not by selling Swiss cheese or a few milch cows only, or
from the large amount of money spent annually by thousands of tourists
visiting this country, but by manufacturing goods and distributing them
properly in the world's markets. What Switzerland and other European
countries have done, the United States can also accomplish if similar means
are adopted.

The great trouble and drawbacks the California green and dried fruits,
honey, and other products have had to contend with, is that shipments were
never properly distributed. Wholesale consignments, train loads after train



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CALIFORNIA FRUITS IN EUROPE.



197



loads, were and are shipped East in season daily and dumped into Chicago,
New York, and a few other of the principal Eastern markets. The conse-
quence is that the markets have been and are being continually overstocked,
and consignments slaughtered for what they will bring, often not realizing
freight charges.

The supply and demand must always regulate a market, and it is, there-
fore, essential to increase the distributing points, scatter the shipments, and
thus avoid sending to a market more than it can properly take care of.
Hence, it is necessary for producers to organize, establish many distributing
points over the home country and pursue the same policy in Europe. Local
organizations working together, headed by a central State organization
established on a good system and manned by the necessary force, can con-
trol the proper distribution of shipments, which one individual or a single
local organization working independently can not do.

The United States can produce fruits enough to supply the world*s de-
mand if the stimulus of remunerative markets is provided. Its transportation
facilities are unsurpassed, freight charges are reasonable, and the equipment
of its railroads enables them to send shipments quickly to their destination.
I notice in a recent paper received from California that the Southern Pacific
Railroad has just issued a new through tariff on dried fruits from California
terminals through to European ports, of which the following is a copy.

Through tariff on fruits from San Francisco, Oakland., San Josiy Stockton, Sacramento^
Marysvillcy Los Angeles, and main- line intermediate points in California to the following-
named points ^ per 100 pounds.



To-



London

Liverpool....

Glasgow

Bordeaux....

Havre

Hamburg....

Bremen

Antwerp

Amsterdam..
Rotterdam..
Copenhagen
Stockholm ..




It is specified in the tariff that the rates are for each 100 pounds and in
United States gold coin. Shipments of dried fruits in boxes or sacks, when
shipped in mixed car loads, will take the car-load rate applicable to each.
The rates apply only via the ** Sunset '* route to New York. The Southern
Pacific will, on the rate quoted, arrange for the transportation by water from
New York to the point of destination. This is done to encourage European
shipments. I have no doubt but that the other transcontinental railroad
companies will follow suit and grant similar privileges.

These charges are reasonable when we consider that nearly the same
charges prevail for the same class of goods to eastern American markets.



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igS AMERICAN APPLES.

Further, I think these charges cover marine insurance to destination, my
opinion being based on the fact that all the Southern Pacific tariffs for ship-
ments from California over the "Sunset '* route via New Orleans and from
there by steamer to New York include marine insurance charges.

With such a transportation tariff and a good European market for most
of our California and Eastern dried fruits, if my suggestions are followed, I
am convinced that our people will, by making proper efforts, find it to their
advantage to push their surplus stock over here and sell it for what it is, and,
as it should be, under its own labels and brands as the product of the United
States, and not, as is now being done in some cases, as a European product.

EUGENE GERMAIN,

Zurich, October y^ i8g6. Consul.



AMERICAN FRUIT IN GERMANY.

Thinking it may be of interest to our fruit growers, I have the honor to
transmit herewith the translation of an extract from the Hamburgische Cor-
respondent of November i6, 1896, entitled "American fruit in Germany.*'

W. HENRY ROBERTSON,

Hamburg, November 6y i8g6. Consul,



[Translation.]
AMERICAN FRUIT IN GERMANY.

This autumn, the fruit crop in North America is so abundant that, up to date, over 600,000
barrels of fruit have already been shipped from the United States and Canada to Europe. At
the same time in the previous year, the shipments to Europe amounted to only 40,000 barrels.
Fresh fruit from America goes principally to England. Also, in Germany a large increase in
the importation of American fruit is noticeable, but here, the importations consist principally
of dried fruits, particularly evaporated and dried apples. Fresh apples, also, now arrive in
large quantities. Up to the end of September of this year, 5478,900 kilograms (12,053,580
pounds) of these had gone from the United States to Germany, against 2,897,700 kilograms
(6,374,940 pounds) and 1,583400 kilograms (3483480 pounds) in 1895 and 1894, respec-
tively. The importations from the United States are to-day already greater with us than those
from Austria- Hungary and Servia, which two countries have heretofore participated most in
supplying Germany with dried fruits.



AMERICAN APPLES.

The efforts of United States consuls to introduce American apples into
German markets have met with such success as even the most sanguine re-
gard as unexpected. Six hundred thousand barrels, against 40,000 barrels
for last year, have been laid down in Europe's docks. They are selling all



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AMERICAN APPLES. 1 99

over the Empire at fair prices — J3.50 to $6 per barrel. They are meeting
with such favor that the Empire*s fruit-producing centers are alarmed. It is
amusing to see efforts being made to sell the much inferior German apple at
higher prices than are being asked and obtained for ours. The housewives
here are having all they can do to get all they want. Car load after car load
has come into Saxony to be bought up as soon as opened. The demand
grows greater every day. If apples sent are all good and care is taken to
keep them from freezing, there is no reason why a big business should not
be done every fall — certainly, in every *'big apple year.'* Pomologists here
are putting their heads together to hold their own against the ** invaders.''
The director of the Horticultural College in Friedberg delivered an address
last week before a convention of fruit growers. While he confined himself
to existing conditions in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, his address has gone
all over Germany. Hesse alone has 7,000,000 fruit trees. Most of these
were planted during the last twenty years. This encouraging increase is due
to efforts made by the Upper Hessian Fruit-Growing Union. This organi-
zation supplements most satisfactorily all the good done by the schools. It
has helped to carry into effect all that was urged by teachers ; it has hired
and sent out experts to aid the farming population ; it has organized peri-
patetic fruit exhibitions, from which good results are recorded ; it has helped
sales by organized effort. The best and biggest factor, after all, in aiding
Hesse in fruit raising is the Friedberg Horticultural School, with its 6 acres
of young fruit trees and 4 acres of sample gardens and its 1,300 fruit trees.
On the country roads are 7,700 fruit trees, giving, besides fruit, shade to
1,840 kilometers (1,150 miles) of roads.

The State gives annually 47,000 marks (over Ji 1,000) for the encourage-
ment of fruit-tree planting. To this, must be added the work of ten thou-
sand members in horticultural societies who spend at least 20,000 marks
(J5,ooo) more. What prospects await intelligent work in this direction is
demonstrated by the recorded growth of fruit exports. There were sent out
in barrels of double centners (212 pounds) —



Year.



Z890..
1891..
1892..

1893..
X894..
X895..



Barrels.



Bottles.



347



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 29 of 82)