Appendix S : Prices Obtained in London for Dessert Grapes Cultivated Under Glass
The text is taken from my copy of FIELDS, FACTORIES AND WORKSHOPS: or Industry Combined
with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work, Thomas Nelson & Sons, London, Edinburgh, Dublin and New York, 1912.
The Fruit and Market-Gardener gives every week the prices realized by horticultural and intensive gardening produce, as well as by flowers, at the great market of Covent Garden. The prices obtained for dessert grapes- Colmar and Hamburg- are very instructive. I took two years- 1907-1908- which differ from ordinary years by the winters having been foggy, which made the garden produce somewhat late.
In the first days of January the Colmar grapes arriving from the Belgium hothouses were still sold at relatively low prices- from 6d. to 10d. the pound. But the prices slowly rose in January and February; the Hamburg grapes were late that year, and therefore in the middle of March and later on in April the Colmars fetched from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.
The English grapes, coming from Worthing and so on, are certainly preferred to those that come from Belgium or the Channel Islands. By the end of April, 1907, and at the beginning of May, they were even sold at 2s. and 4s. the pound. The best and largest grapes for the dinners are evidently fetching fancy prices.
But at last the Hamburg grapes, which were late in 1907 and 1908, began to arrive from Belgium, the Channel Islands, and England, and the prices suddenly fell. By the end of May the Belgian Hamburgs fetched only from 10d. to 1s. 4d. the pound, and the prices were still falling. In June and July the gardeners could only get from 5d. to 7d., and during the months of September, October, and November, 1908, the best Guernsey grapes were quoted at 6d. the pound. Very beautiful ones fetched only 4d. the pound.
It was only in the first days of November that the prices went up to 10d. and 1s. 1d. But already, in the second half of December, the new crop of Colmars began to pour in from Belgium, and the prices fell to 9d., and even to 6d. per pound about Christmas.
We thus see that, notwithstanding a great demand for the best hothouse grapes, with big grains and quite fresh cut, these grapes are sold in the autumn almost at the same prices as grapes grown under the beautiful sun of the south.
As to the quantities of grapes imported to this country, the figures are also most instructive. The average for the three years 1905-1907 was 81,700,000 lbs., representing a value of £2,224,500.
From : Anarchy Archives
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