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too late for our New England climate, except in the most sheltered situations, and uncertain even there.
It was not until these varieties appeared that our people took much interest in the cultivation of this fruit, and even then but here and there a vine could be found on our northern farms. Later the Diana was added to the list, and others of lesser note ; but the honor of giving a grape to the country that was to be extensively cultivated and highly prized from the extreme East to the extreme West, was reserved for one of our own citizens; and when Mr. Bull sent out his Concord grape, he conferred a great boon upon the country. This variety was a seedling from a seedling of the wild grape, Vilis Labrusca.
In 1862, according to John B. Moore, there were five vineyards in Middlesex County, from one-half to one acre each ; viz., one in Acton, one in Dracut, and three in Concord. Two of these vineyards had been planted only one year, and the other three were bearing fruit.
Said Mr. E. W. Bull in 1865, “ The cultivation of the grape in the open air is to-day an assured fact. More than thirty acres are planted in Middlesex County alone, not counting the small holdings; "and in 1866 the same gentleman said that more than one hundred acres of grapes were grown in Massachusetts, and that he assumed that the growing of the grape in the open air was demonstrated, and that the vineyard was established in Massachusetts.
The following table will illustrate the growth of the grape industry in Massachusetts during the twenty years from 1865 to 1885, inclusive :
$1 65 267,617 $31,624
$0 13 $67,259
$1 13 1,420,56 $58,372
$0 011 $117,022
* Premium, 1.57.
† Premium, 1.12.
In 1875 there were 224,352 vines, and in 1885, 356,976. These latter were owned by 18,112 persons, in 337 cities and towns, and their average value was ninety-seven cents per vine. In the decade from 1875 to 1885, ordinary grapes decreased 23.13 per cent and best 64.69 per cent in value, while ordinary grapes increased 161.40 per cent and best 439.82 per cent in quantity.
The following table, compiled from the census of 1885, will show in which counties this industry is most largely carried on:
Billerica, in Middlesex County, produced 1,734 hushels of ordinary and 101,640 pounds of best ; Concord, in the same county, 312 bushels of ordinary and 150,119 pounds of best; Harvard, in Worcester County, 256 bushels of ordinary and 127,877 pounds of best; Ashby, in Middlesex
County, 38 bushels of ordinary and 87,460 pounds of best ; and Fitchburg, in Worcester County, 179 bushels of ordinary and 72,866 pounds of best.
In order to ascertain the condition of the grape industry at the present time, and the outlook for this year's crop, a special circular was prepared and sent to parties in some forty of the towns in which this industry is most largely carried on, as indicated by the census of 1885.
From the returns received it is estimated that there are not less than 275 acres at the present time devoted to grape culture in vineyards, and that the Concord, Moore's Early and Worden are the varieties most generally grown. In some sections grapes are also grown in houses, but it is believed not to any great extent for market.
The following reports will indicate the acreage of and prospect for this year's crop in what might be called the grape centres of the Commonwealth :
Amherst. Six acres in vineyards, one-half young; Concord, Moore's Early and Worden most largely grown; crop promises to be more than an average in quantity and quality ; estimated yield, three and one-half tons; crop usually marketed in Worcester ; grape culture in vineyards not increasing very much.
Ashby. — Forty acres in vineyards; Concord, Moore's Early, Niagara and Worden most largely grown; crop promises to be an average one in quantity and quality ; estimated yield, seventy-five tons; crop usually marketed in Boston, and five cents per pound 'net the price received last year; grape culture in vineyards not increasing ; little trouble from disease or insects so far this season. Grapes grown in two houses in town; one containing twentyseven hundred square feet, hot-water heater; varieties grown, Black and Muscat Hamburg, Alicant, Gros Colman ; other house one thousand square feet; no heat; varieties grown, Hamburg and Alicant.
Berlin. - Five acres in vineyards; mostly Concord; crop promises to be more than an average ; estimated yield, six and onehalf tons; marketed in Boston, Worcester and neighboring towns; average price per pound received last year, seven cents; grape culture in vineyards not increasing in this town.
Billerica. - Twenty-six acres in vineyards; varieties, mostly Concord, Moore's Early and Niagara; this year's crop does not
promise to be an average one; estimated yield, not over two tons; crop usually marketed in Boston and Lowell. Growers are discouraged by repeated failures, and many acres have been pulled up and more are about to be. One extensive grower says that by the liberal use of air-slaked lime his crop is saved, and is the best he ever had; half the number of boxes, but the largest clusters.
Concord. — Ninety acres in vineyards; Concord and Moore's Early the chief varieties grown; this year's crop promises to be below an average in quantity and quality; market, Boston ; price received last year, from one to twelve cents per pound; grape culture in vineyards not increasing in this town; rot is the chief draw back, and it has increased greatly in the last two years.
Fitchburg. - Perhaps ten acres in vineyards; Concords most largely grown, some Delaware and Worden ; promise of about three-fourths of a perfect crop, with little rot or other disease, and the prospect now of a good quality if conditions remain favorable; estimated yiell, twenty to twenty-five tons; market mostly Boston, and average price received per pound last year six cents ; grape culture in vineyards not increasing.
Harvard. — Between thirty and fifty acres in vineyards ; Concords most largely grown; crop rotting badly, having begun about August 12. Before that, gave promise of more than an average crop; estimated yield, perhaps thirty tons; market usually Boston ; grape culture in vineyards not increasing.
Littleton, Four to five acres in vineyards ; Concord and Moore's Early the principal varieties grown; this year's crop does not, promise to be an average one; estimated yield, three to four tons ; market, Boston ; grape culture in vineyards not increasing in this town.
Marlborough. – Between three and four acres in vineyards; almost wholly Concord ; this year's crop promises to be an average one in quantity and quality ; estimated yield, about seven tons ; crop usually marketed in Boston, Worcester and local ; culture in vineyards not increasing to speak of. One man raises such fine grapes that he receives several cents more per pound than the rest.
Middleborough. — Four acres in vineyards ; Concord ; this year's crop does not promise to be an average one in quantity and quality; marketed mostly at home and in adjoining towns; chief draw back low prices. None grown in houses for sale. Last
year's prices are no criterion, as it was an unusually wet season, and grapes did not ripen.
Sherborn. - About ten acres in vineyards ; Concord; crop does not promise to be an average one; market, Boston ; grape culture decreasing in this town; little money made on them the past ten years.
Shrewsbury. - Ten acres in vineyards; Moore's Early, Concord, Worden ; crop promises to be an average one in quantity and quality ; estimated yield, seven tons ; crop marketed in Worcester; average price per pound received last year, seven cents ; grape culture in vineyards is increasing in this town.
Westborough. — Possibly four or five acres in vineyards; mostly Concord; crop will hardly be an average one; estimated yield, eight to ten tons; some of crop goes to Boston, but most is marketed in town; grape culture in vineyards not increasing. There are three or four small houses, most of which are heated by hot water..
A warm, dry soil is best suited to the grape; and a south slope, with shelter of wood or belts of trees on the northeast and west to prevent the winds from blowing away the hot air created by the heat of the sun, is always desirable.
With careful management, grapes can be profitably grown in favorable localities in Massachusetts, and a ripened crop be depended upon four years out of five.
The profit depends largely upon the care and economy exercised by growers in all the details of the work. The production is so abundant that there is little or no profit to the ordinary grower, but to the painstaking cultivator a superior article still furnishes a fair remuneration.
It is not the purpose of this article to create a boom in grape culture, or to encourage farmers to rush into the business, but to show that in favorable localities the grape crop may
be made a source of profit. There is liability to overproduction, but it is safe to assume that a first-class article will always find a market.
All crops are liable to injury from insects, diseases and unfavorable atmospheric conditions, and the grape crop is no exception.
The chief drawbacks to the cultivation of this excellent fruit are low prices, caused by competition from points far