In the season when each kind of fruit is plentiful and at its best a generous supply should be canned for the season when both fruit and fresh vegetables are scarce. A great deal of the fruit should be canned with little or no sugar, which it may be as nearly as possible in the condition of fresh fruit. This is the best condition for cooking purposes. A supply of glass jars does cost something, but that item of expense should be charged to future years, as with proper care the breaking of a jar need be a rare occurrence. If there be an abundance of grapes and small, juicy fruits, plenty of juice should be canned or bottled for refreshing drinks throughout the year. Remember that the fruit and juice are not luxuries, but an addition to the dietary that will mean better health for the members of the family and greater economy in the cost of the table.
If the supply of fruit is greater than the family needs, it may be made a source of income by sending the fresh fruit to the market, if there is one near enough, or by preserving, canning, and making jelly for sale. To make such an enterprise a success the fruit and work must be first class. There is magic in the word ‘Homemade,” when the product appeals to the eye and the palate; but many careless and incompetent people have found to their sorrow that this word has not magic enough to float inferior good- on the market. As a rule large canning and preserving establishments are clean and have the best appliances, and they employ chemists and skilled labor. The home product must be very good to compete with the attractive goods that are sent out from such establishments. Yet for first-class home¬made products there is a market in all large cities. All first-class grocers have customers who purchase such goods.
To secure a market get the names of several first-class grocers in some of the large towns. Write to them asking if they would be willing to try a sample of your goods. If the answer is favorable, send samples of the articles you wish to sell. In the box with the fruit enclose a list of the articles sent and the price. Write your name and address clearly. Mail a note and a duplicate list at the time you send the box.
Fixing the price of the goods is important. Make it high enough to cover all expenses and give you a fair return for your labor. The expenses will be the fruit, sugar, fuel, jars, glasses, boxes, packing material, wear and tear of utensils, etc., transportation, and commission. The commission will probably be 20 per cent of the selling price. It may be that a merchant will find that your prices are too high or too low for his trade, or he may wish to purchase the goods outright.
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