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West Africa took, in 1895, i>9^S barrels, against 991 barrels in 1894;
East Africa took 859 barrels, against 203 barrels in the previous year. Bel-
gium is the next biggest buyer. Fruit goes to Heligoland, Holland, Eng-
land, Russia, Switzerland, France, and America. If properly, scientifically
worked, there is every reason to believe that we can supply a large part of
the world with the best fruits, raw and preserved. If intelligent efforts are

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made, our apples must keep a place in this market. Neither Germany's nor
Austria's best can compare with our Baldwins, Greenings, Kings, Spitzberg-
ers, etc. The putting up and packing count a great deal in selling fruit.
The barrels should be provided with a layer of straw at the bottom and top,
and, if possible, along the sides. Then, too, if it does not take too much
time and cost too much, each apple intended for export should be wrapped
in paper.

Chemnitz, November 21, i8q6. Consul.


I have the honor to submit the following report on the Italian fruit trade
of 1895-96, with prospects of the coming season, and beg to add that I am
indebted to Messrs. F. S. Ciampa & Sons, of Sorrento, for the information
contained therein. During the season of 1895-96, the quantity of green
fruit exported from Sorrento to the United States may be approximately esti-
mated as 150,000 boxes of oranges and 25,000 boxes of lemons.

The orange crop having turned out short, shipments to the United States
were in moderate quantity and met with a good sale at fair prices, notwith-
standing the fact that buyers on this side had to pay high rates.

The speculation in lemons resulted in a heavy loss to exporters from
Sorrento and other Italian markets. This was due to the enormous ship-
ments of Sicilian lemons, the majority unsound, which ruinously depreciated
the market. These shipments were promoted by the large advances many
firms in the United States made to Sicilian shippers in order to secure their

It is high time that this risky system of advancing money should cease,
because it encourages dishonesty and acts injuriously on sound commerce.
The exhaustive reports on this subject from our consuls at Messina and
Palermo abundantly point out the ruinous losses that have been incurred by
our countrymen through this system. Those who trade with other people's
money have little or no interest in shipping good fruit, but look rather to the
quantity, as the more they send, the more advances they receive.

With such methods of business, honest shippers of experience and relia-
bility employing their own capital have no chance for competition and are
bound to be sacrificed, as happened last season, when so much inferior fruit
was thrown on the market.

There is great damage also done to the trade by the irregularity of the
steamer service. Arrivals at New York ought to occur at regular intervals,
as do the departures from Italy; instead of which we have ''tramps" at
twenty- five days, other steamers at fifteen to twenty days, and the fastest
at ten to twelve days. In this manner, the last steamer often arrives about
the same time as the first and consequently the market is glutted by the

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large number of simultaneous arrivals. It would be of great advantage to
the trade if the number of fast steamers were increased, as they would be
preferred by the shippers and insure arrivals at regular intervals.

SEASON OF 1896-97.

The outlook for the new crop of Sorrento oranges promises well both
as regards keeping, quality, size, and color. The quantity may be estimated
at about two- thirds of an average crop. The "first cut" commenced on
the 15th of November and the opening prices are the same as last year, aver-
aging from 6 to 8 lire ($1.15 to I1.54) per box here. The first shipments
are now being made by the fast steamers to reach New York for the Christ-
mas trade.

The new crop of lemons exceeds that of last year and the quality is very
fine. No estimate can be given of prices, as the gathering begins in May.
The importation of American shooks, for making fruit boxes, from Bangor
and Calais has developed enormously. The quantity imported and forth-
coming both in Sicily, Sorrento, and Rodi may be taken as — lops, bottoms,
and sides, 4,500,000 boxes; complete boxes, 300,000; total, 4,800,000
boxes. It is certain that this enormous quantity can not be exhausted in
twelve months, owing to the strong competition of Trieste and Fiume in Aus-
tria, which causes holders of American shooks to sell at a loss.

The crop of walnuts this season, which promised to be large, has turned
out inferior to last year, but the quality is, as usual, very fine. Opening
prices were lower than last year, which facilitated exportation, but stocks
unsold are now very limited and prices have increased 25 per cent.

The crop of long filberts is inferior to last year, but the quality is excel-
lent at prices higher than before; exportation, in consequence, has been
moderate. Long filberts are not grown in Sicily. They are dearer than
the round variety and may be considered a specialty of this part of the


Commercial Agent,

Castellamare di Stabia, December /, i8g6.


I have the honor to send you herewith a clipping from the Corri^re di
Catania, with translation, in which is reprinted a circular letter of recent
date from a fruit-importing house in Hamburg, Germany, regarding the bad
practice of shipping enormous quantities of lemons which are entirely worth-
less for anything, and the effect upon prices even for good fruit shipped by
honest shippers.

I have thought this to be of interest, as of late there has been a great deal
said about this subject by the American fruit journals, and a pointed article

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appeared in the September number of Consular Reports from our consul at
Messina, wherein he goes to the bottom of the evil and gives warning to
American importers and bankers.

I am glad to say that this unprincipled shipping of bad fruit to the United
States does not exist here in the measure it does at Messina and Palermo.
There are fewer shippers here, and most of them I consider honorable and fair
minded. Inspection, however, is a necessity, not only for the protection of
the purchaser, but also to secure to the honest packer and shipper at least a
reasonably fair market and just prices. Not only the enormous quantities,
but chiefly the poor qualities shipped by unscrupulous parties have ruined
the lemon market not only in the United States, but in other countries also.


Under this title, the Corri^re di Catania of the 8th of October, 1896,
reprints a circular letter from the firm Ph. Astheimer & Son, of Hamburg,
Germany, from which I have made the following extracts, translated by me
from the Italian :

Importation of oranges and lemons from 1886.



From Italy.

Oranges. Lemons.








- 139,858




> 44, 994




* Boxes of 420 to 714 pieces=7o to xoo kilograms.

Oranges. — This trade with Italy, as can be seen from the above table, has, from year to
year, grown in importance, and particularly for oranges it will, without doubt, continue to in-
crease, at least so long as no commercial treaty with Spain has been concluded.

There would have been a further increase of 100,000 boxes of oranges during the past
season if the production in Sicily had not been short, and, in consequence, the larger ship-
ments had not already ceased in the second half of the month of March.

The orange trade in the season just past has had an activity extraordinarily favorable,
such as with us has not been the case in a long time. With the exception of the month of
January — when, as is known by experience and as regards all merchandise, there was a weak
demand and low prices — very satisfactory prices have been obtained during the entire season.
These, from April until the close of the season, reached a height which has been rarely
seen. The demand was caused partly by the fact that the arrivals during the winter were
extraordinarily light; the business could follow its regular course unmolested, without there
being any interruption whatever.

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The shipments which arrived here before Christmas found, as usual, a very favorable
market and brought very good prices. To this point we should like to call attention in par-
ticular, so that shippers will know how to regulate for the coming season, and not to let the
favorable occasion escape, especially this year, in which, thanks to the abundant rains, it is
to be foreseen that the shipments will commence sooner than usual.

The demand in the market is always greater for small oranges, and for these packages
one can always count upon good prices, especially in the second half of the season.

During recent years has been introduced, and with greatest practice in Catania, the packing
of oranges in half boxes. Even though this style of packing can be recommended toward
the end of the season, when fruit does not keep so well, we believe it unadvisable to com-
mence to make important shipments early, since the expenses to the exportere are higher,
while the prices in our market are not correspondingly higher. Only later, during the ad-
vanced season, is noted the demand for half boxes.

As regards forecasts for the coming season, we are of opinion that the importations will
increase, since the consumption of oranges increases from year to year. Should there come
into force a commercial treaty with Spain, of which at present there is no prospect, it is un-
derstood the orange trade of Spain will assume greater development, to the detriment of that
of Italy; but still, the exportation of the Spanish oranges would have the competition of the
Italian fruit, which, in these last years, has acquired the upper hand in Germany, owing to
the fact that the Italian oranges are in a great measure better and better keepers than the
Spanish. At any rate, as we have said above, at present there is no danger of a treaty with
Spain coming into force, and we are of the firm opinion that in the next season the orange
trade with Italy will follow its normal course entirely unmolested.

Several weeks ago, treaties were concluded with the Spanish Government, by which was
abolished the differential tariff of 50 per cent, which was a charge upon Spanish products on
their introduction into Germany, of course against an equal concession by that Government ;
but, none the less, the difference of import duty in favor of the Italian citrous fruit is always
very important While for the Spanish citrous fruit 12 marks pays for every 100 kilograms,
the import duty on the Italian is only 4 marks per 100 kilograms. With these conditions, the
trade in Spanish oranges with Germany is well-nigh impossible, and the few thousand boxes
which will be imported will serve only for further exportation to northern countries and

Lemons. — A season so unfortunate as the one just past has not been experienced for a
long time. The reasons for this are to be looked for, however, in the place of production
and the quality of the fruit, which leaves always much to be desired. The commerce had to
suffer because of the great quantity of fruit, " inferior and not in condition to keep, almost
worthless,'' which flooded not only our own, but all markets. It is clearly evident, also, that
the prices of the good qualities have been damaged in consequence.

We regret being compelled to observe how many exporters must be without conscience
to be capable of shipping lemons such as can not be put to any use, to the natural damage of
the honest, well-intending exporters. If efforts are not made in time to put down this abuse,
it will from year to year become more onerous, and the prospect for prices which leave a
profit will in consequence disappear more and more.

In the beginning of the season, statements came from all the comers of Sicily that the
production was bound to be very limited. Miracle ! the harvest was most abundant, and the ex-
portation for nearly all the markets had an expansion much greater than the preceding season ;
also, in Hambui^, about 5o,cxx> boxes more were imported. It is, therefore, not to be won-
dered at if the prices remained in a great part upon a very low level. While the consump-
tion of oranges is nearly unlimited, and every quantity, however large, easily finds its sale,
the consumption of lemons, on the contrary, as is known from experience, has a fixed limit,
and not even by means of the very lowest prices can it be forced.

It must be added that our market, during the course of the past season, showed itself
more favorable and firm than the others, and such low prices as for a long time were

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obtained — for example, in the American markets — were not known here at all. What will be
the development of the trade of the coming season one can not tell beforehand.

If certain shippers continue the practice of exporting as many lemons as possible, with-
out caring about the quality, bad results certainly can not be prevented.

HAB4BURG, October, i8gb.

I will add here, that as nearly as can be estimated now, the crops of the
coming season will be about thus: Oranges, one-third more, and lemons,
one-fifth more than last season.


Catania, October lo^ i8q6. Consul,


In answer to inquiries from a fruit grower of Pomona, California, Con-
sul Briihl, of Catania, Italy, under date of November 25, 1896, transmits the
following information as to the cost of cultivating and handling oranges and
lemons in his district :

(i) Cost of caring for orange and lemon groves: Including cultivation
and fertilizing with stable manure, about 2^2 paper lire, which, at present
rate of exchange, is equivalent to 46 cents (United States) per tree.

(2) Legal sizes of the boxes, as prescribed by the chamber of commerce:
(a) For oranges, three different sizes, according to the fruit packed, /. ^..•

Outside measurement.

160 oranecs (large) in aoo oranges (medium) in . 300 oranges (small) in
box. box. I box.


Length. 63

Width._ 36V:

Depth.^^ „ „.. 28






26 i















(Jf) For lemons — length, 70 centimeters (264^ inches); width, 36 centi-
meters (13^4 inches); depth, 27 centimeters (10J2 inches).

(3) Cost of picking and hauling to warehouses, according to the distance
of the groves from town, per box: Lemons, 80 centesimi to i lire (15 to
i8»2 cents), paper currency; oranges, 75 to 90 centesimi, paper (14 to 17 j4

(4) Average amount expended from the time the fruit is delivered at the
packing house to the time it is placed in the boxes, without counting cost
of boxes, paper, and nails: Lemons, 6 cents per box; oranges, 5 cents per

(5) Cost of box, including nails and paper, 65 cents.

(6) Cost of transportation from the warehouses in Catania to the steamer,
2 cents (10 centesimi) per box.

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Prominent among the products from the citrous fruits of this country are
essential oils, the very primitive manufacture of which was so well described
by Mr. Wallace S. Jones, our present consul-general at Rome, when he occu-
pied this post. Since that time, several machines have been patented for the
manufacture of the essence of Sergamot, but until very recently the same old,
uncleanly method of expressing the essence by hand in the hovel of the peas-
ant, where it could and would take up every impurity, has prevailed. A new
invention, I am glad to say, has been patented by Signore Serravallo, of this
city, and after being submitted to the most rigorous tests, Messrs. Sanderson
& Barrett, one of the largest manufacturing firms of essential oils in Sicily
have purchased fifty-four of the machines and located them in a new factory
especially built at Tremestieri, about 2 miles from the city. The construction
is most ingenious, the motion reproducing that of the human fingers. After
the lemon is cut and the pulp removed, the cells of the peel are gently, but
thoroughly, broken and the exuding essence, averaging about ten drops to
the rind of each lemon, collected upon sponges, which are kept thoroughly
cleansed. The contents of these are from time to time automatically
squeezed into basins placed beneath them.

Preparatory to shipment the essence is placed in large stand casks hold-
ing about 200 gallons, where it is allowed to settle. It is then drawn off,
passed through filtering paper, and finally packed in tin-lined copper jars,
generally of a net capacity of 25 pounds.

Messrs. Sanderson & Barrett, in taking this step toward cleanliness, have
set an example which I trust will speedily meet with many emulators, and I
hope that in a short time it can be said that the manufacture of all Sicilian
essential oils will be conducted in such a way as to leave nothing to be de-
sired from a sanitary point of view. With bergamot, it makes comparatively
little difference under what condition it is produced, as it is used only in the
manufacture of soap, colognes, and perfumes, but with lemon, orange, bitter
orange, and mandarin, which enter largely into our food consumption, it will
be a pleasure to the consumer to know that the extracts which give gusto to
his puddings and his sweetmeats have been expressed by the polished fingers
of mechanism and not by the hands of a Sicilian peasant family in a squalid
hovel where pigs and poultry claim equal domain with humanity.

No houses in Messina have ever been able to manufacture sufficient upon
the premises to supply the demand and have been compelled to buy from the
peasants, who know full well that a pound of turpentine is many times cheaper
than a pound of essence and never hesitate to adulterate their home product
to as great a degree as they dare, so that the merchants themselves are often
deceived. In order to guard against this in the future, Messrs. Sanderson &
Barrett built their factory with the expectation of being able to produce all
that they sell under their own supervision.

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To manufacture essence at a profit, the pulp must also be used for raw
and concentrated juice, and this requires great space for boilers, presses, etc.
The average consumption of this factory is 500,000 lemons daily, and it has
storage room for 1,200,000 of the fruit.

After the citrous pulp is brought from the essence machines, it is put
under huge pre^es until every drop of juice is expressed. The raw product
to make concentrated juice is then placed in vacuum pans or open caldrons
and boiled down until it evaporates from one-sixth to one-tenth of its origi-
nal volume, according to the degree of concentrated acidity required. It is
estimated that i pipe (130 gallons) will contain the raw juice of 13,000
lemons, while a pipe of concentrated juice will require the product of 130,-
000 lemons. While the juice of the lemon is generally used, that of berga-
mot orange, although not possessing the acidity of the lemon, also very
largely enters into the manufacture of this product.


The preparation of these articles is the subject of many letters received
at this consulate from California. The process is most simple. The fruit
is cut in two and placed in pipes in layers, coarse salt being put between
each layer to the quantity of 80 pounds to citrons and 60 pounds to lemons
in each pipe and then sea water is poured in until it is completely full. It
is allowed to stand for ten days and then emptied, the fruit washed and re-
packed by the same method, when it is ready for shipment. Some packers
allow the pipe to stand twenty days, simply renewing the water on the tenth
day, but this method is not considered with favor. I am frank to confess,
however, that this will never become a profitable industry among our lemon
growers. Even here, there is such a small margin that no one can eke out
an existence in handling salted fruits alone. To illustrate: At present,
lemons in brine ready for shipment are quoted at 19 lire free on board.
Deduct from this, 9 lire, the cost of the empty pipe, 2 lire shipping expenses
and storage, 4 lire for cutting, brining, and porterage, and there remains
but 4 lire, which represent the value of 3,000 lemons, it requiring that
number to fill a pipe. Now, as 4 lire at to-day*s exchange is only equal to
about 71^4 cents and lemons for brining are worth 3 lire per thousand,
further comment as to the comparative economy in preparation is needless..

Another important question is the freight. Any of the lines will take a
pipe of lemons in brine from Messina to the Atlantic ports for 8s. 6d. ($2.07).
Our railway companies would probably charge much more than that for a
pipe from California to Chicago or New York.

Perhaps the many correspondents who have written to me in regard to
this subject will look upon my views as pessimistic, but I simply give the
figures, and it is much better to realize the truth before rather than after a
costly experiment.


Messit^ A, Decem/f^r 2g, iSp6. Consul.

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I send herewith a translation of a publication by the chief of the royal
Italian experimental cellars and vineyards at Noto, Italy, recommending a
treatment for combatting the chlorosis (green sickness) or giallume (turning
yellow) of the grapevines. It may be possible that this remedy is already
known and practiced by our viticulturists, but I thought it would do no
harm to bring it to their notice.


Catania, November ig, 18 g6. Consul.



The director of the royal Italian experimental cellars and vineyards of Noto, Italy, pub-
lishes, under date of October 30, 1896, the following:

To cure the American vines, be they grafted or upon their own roots, of the chlorosis or
the yellow sickness, the viticulturists are advised to follow the treatment proposed by Dr.
Rasseguier, of France, which has also by us been found from experiment to be beneficial
and economical.

Here is, in short, how it is necessary to proceed: Twenty-four hours previous, prepare
the solution of sulphate of iron, in a receptacle of wood, iron, or earthenware, using 400 to
500 grams of the sulphate of iron for every liter of water. It is best to put the sulphate in
a bag or small basket, leaving it suspended in the water until completely dissolved. This
done, proceed with the application of the remedy. A laborer,^ who may be a boy or even a
woman, provided with a bucket, with handle, containing the liquid, follows the pruners, wet-
ting by means of a brush dipped into the solution all the surfaces of the cuts, and, where
possible, the entire stump. Every time the brush is being dipped into the bucket, it is neces-
sary to carefully stir the liquid, so that the iron salts, which has a tendency to settle, be
uniformly distributed.

Conditions required for the success of the aire are :

It is necessary —

(i) That the treatment be made in time. In Sicily, the season most opportune, accord-
ing to our experience, is during the first fifteen days of November. The treatments made
much later give results for the most part incomplete or inappreciable.

(2) That the stage of the disease be not excessively advanced, in which case the vines

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 30 of 82)