As Others See It
January 18, 1916
AS OTHERS SEE IT
STATEMENTS BY THE THREE LEADING ORCHARDISTS IN THE ATASCADERO SECTION
We came into this country in 1887 and took most of this ranch that you see planted as a government land claim, cleared the brush and timber-covered hills and planted the slopes to fruit trees. Without sufficient capital in the beginning it was a long fight to clear and plant the trees, but we believe the result you see more than warranted the labor and time expended, and we believe it amply shows what wonderful results can be produced when man tries to use the resources offered by nature in this region.
In order to make the orchards pay from the start we planted rows of logan berries between the trees. Our berries have produced at from three to four years of age on the average of twelve slides of fruit per vine or over 50 pounds of fruit to the vine; 6 quarts of fruit have been picked from two-year-old vines.
Black Ben apple trees are heavily loaded, and this is hardly an average year. Those trees have produced 12 packed boxes of 4-tier fruit per tree at eight years of age. The trees are set out 20 by 20 feet apart, or 108 to the acre. The seven year-old King David trees on the slope will produce from 6 to 6 boxes of packed fruit per tree.
We have had Salway peach trees that produced 600 pounds of fruit per tree when from eight to ten years old. Practically all of the peaches do well here and especially the Salway, Muir, Crawfords, and many others, and the most valuable point about a peach orchard is that it bears heavily at the third year.
Prunes do extra well here and especially the silver prune. We have trees five years old and small for their age, but heavily loaded and will have over 400 pounds of green fruit or about 200 pounds of dried fruit. This fruit is exceptionally fine and of a very light color when dry, and brings a much higher price than the ordinary dried French prunes. All of the common prunes and especially the Tragedy plum bear enormous crops.
Of all our fruits we believe the apples are the most profitable, and never knew of a country where, the fruit trees in general produced such large crops every year as right here in this section. We believe any person that can start with a well selected and planted area of fruit trees, vines and bushes; without the necessity of spending long years of hard labor to clear and plant their land, are taking a big step in the direction of independence and wealth, practically from the start.
San Luis Obispo Co., Cal.
We have lived here about 18 years. Our home is up in the foot-hills about five miles west of Paso Robles. We have 40 acres in bearing and hope to plant at least 20 acres more in the spring in apricots and Bartlett pears. They are one of our finest crops, bringing a large proportionate profit. This section is noted for its fine pears. Some trees yield $7.50 per tree.
We have some cherry trees, black Tartarians and Royal Anns, 16 feet high, three years from time of planting and full of cherries.
Our apples grown in this section have attracted much attention at the different Apple Annuals in regard to their high coloring, excellent flavor and firmness, of which we are justly proud. I have, during some seasons, picked from my largest trees as high as 24 boxes to the tree. Choice winter apples, properly packed, readily bring $1 per box.
We have 14 acres in French prunes which yield and pay well and from which we ship a carload of dried prunes each year. At present, owing to lack of a packing house and cannery, we are somewhat at the mercy of the middleman.
Apricots do splendidly here, and yield at the third year. An apricot tree in full bearing should produce from three to five dollars yearly and the dried apricots sell from ten to seventeen cents per pound, which means $300 to $350 per acre.
Any woman of intelligence can make herself independent and at the. same time enjoy perfect health and happiness of outdoor life in this beautiful country all the year round; with a few acres planted to orchard and berries well taken care of, providing some one who knows directs planting and selects the proper stock.
Everything in the home orchards here is grown without irrigation or fertilization. It is unnecessary; cultivation holds the moisture.
One of the most pleasant occupations for a woman is to have an apiary. Bees not only pollonize the fruit and supply the table with delicious honey, but are a means of much profit, owing to the present prices of honey.
I would not exchange the health and happiness on our ranch for any amount of wealth with life in a crowded city.
NELLIE M. FORINGTON.
Loma Bonita Ranch,
San Luis Obispo Co., Cal.
I have been a resident of this section for the past 26 years, but not until the past six or seven years did I learn what was best adapted to this soil and climate, and realize that we have here one of the most favorable spots in California. When I first began to plant almond trees, I was ridiculed, locally. The trouble has been that not only were the various attempts that were made to grow plantings that were not suited to this soil and climate almost always failures, but even of the growths that are suited to this climate and soil, there is a wide difference in the stock. Thus, the early attempts to grow olives were made with inferior stock, not at all suited to the climate, soil or market demands. It was so with almonds, and many years of lost. time and heartbreaking failure would have been avoided had the right stock "been planted in the first place. We know now that these are matters that can be, and are, exactly determinable in advance, but in earlier days the only known method was to plant a growth and then wait for years to find out whether it was the right one or not.
One of my almond orchards averages one ton of almonds to the acre, every year. The almonds cost me three cents per pound to grow and average fifteen cents in selling price, which means a net profit to me of from $240 up per acre, per year. The trees begin to bear the second year. The average that I have had per acre has been about a ton from trees in full bearing; netting me about $240 per acre, or ten per cent on $2,400.
An almond orchard properly planted and cared for, with the right stock of trees, on onc of these hills, should the fourth year return the entire cost of the land and planting.
Berries also do particularly well, as do cherries, apples, pears, figs, plums and all deciduous fruits and nuts. A Mrs. Page, just above me, sold $1,100 worth of berries from two acres in a single season. The trouble with the berries and like fruits is that we have no facilities ,for storage, canning or preserving, but must throw them on the market as soon as ripe. With proper facilities, in my judgment, this will be the richest and most profitable deciduous fruit and berry and nut section of California.
Thousands of acres of the Atascadero ranch which you have purchased are particularly adapted to the finest market growths of almonds, and hills in your property which look as though they would not grow anything will bring a return of from $200 up per acre per year, if planted in almonds. The Atascadero property is the finest body of land in this entire section.
You will find groves of almonds bearing quite heavily the third year here. Peaches and pears bear the third year, and heavily the fourth year. This is the most wonderful section of California for Bartlett pears and the finest grades of apples, and not being irrigated, they have the finest flavor and keep best.