Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/210

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

is foredoomed to failure. If they can not break through the law they will get behind the law. The first duty of the legislator is to take account of the natural forces with which he must contend, and the classical economists have made a survey and estimate of these forces which, based as it is on the facts of human nature and the experience of nations, it would be willful folly to overlook.

 
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THE FRUIT INDUSTRY IN CALIFORNIA.
By CHARLES HOWARD SHINN.

IT seems to me that an account of the present condition of the fruit industry in California would be of economic value, provided that it were entirely free from the advertising element. By the "advertising element" I mean that very natural and almost irrepressible desire of a resident of any portion of this magnificent country to attract others to his particular district. There ought to be some way of presenting statistical and other facts relating to one department of horticulture in a given American State, in exactly the same spirit that an expert upon cotton manufacture would arrange the statistics of the mills of Massachusetts.

A considerable area of California lands is planted to orchards and vineyards. Some of these, as with other human enterprises, are profitable, and some are unprofitable; but all are producing fruit, most of which finds its way in some shape to markets outside the State. The range of these fruit products is very great, and many American producers, as well as those of Europe and other parts of the world, feel the competition of this food supply. An immense number of consumers, as well as this army of rival producers, must wish to obtain statistics of the California industry under consideration. The following article is an attempt to present the facts of a great fruit-growing industry so plainly that all its departments can be understood by the reader.

First, let us examine the best available statistics of the area planted, and the kinds of fruit used. These are much more complete now than when the officers of the last national census attempted to collect them from county officials, because competent agents of the State Board of Horticulture, themselves fruit-growers, spent the greater part of last year in making a "house-to-house canvass." They asked every man who owned an orchard to write down the number of acres he had in fruit trees, and classified the result, in many cases, by actual inspection of the orchard. The mass of details is of course too ponderous to be printed here, but the results can be analyzed so as to justify presentation in a series of tables. There are several ways of pos-