Our Fruit Industry – Nathan Carver

Nathan Carver Grapes

Nathan Carver Grapes

Our Fruit Industry

By Nathan E. Carver

Friday, March 29, 1907

Nathan E. Carver, of the Carver-Quayle-Nourse Land Company, was interviewed by the Duluth Evening Herald paper on the fruit industry near Bayfield for this article.  The following article was brought to the attention of the fledgling agrarian community on and appeared shortly afterward in the Bayfield County Press.

“Fruit growing is getting to be quite in industry in the district tributary of Bayfield. Probably there are some people in Duluth will find it hard to believe, but it’s a fact that large crops of remarkably fine apples can be raised down there, a little way back from the lake. We have earlier springs, and the frosts are later in the fall, than is the case with the region surrounding Duluth and Superior. None of the orchards are very old, but they are all in fine shape and producing the goods.

The farmers have only been coming into Bayfield County in any considerable numbers during the last two or three years. I have been established in business there for four years, and in that time there has been a very great development. The land is fertile, and maybe had at a price which seems surprisingly low to outside investors. Men who come from a farming country where land sells for $125 an acre are astonished when they can find land up in this country in a wild state, for $5-$10 an acre, which is just as fertile as higher priced lands in older communities.

The Bayfield district is also a great place for grass, which makes it a fine stock raising and dairy country. It’ll be only a matter of time until dairy and stock raising become important industries there. Excellent grass is to be found growing in the wild state all over the county, particularly along the old logging roads.

That the vicinity of Bayfield is becoming known as the best fruit region in the country there is no doubt. Some of the best-known fruit growers in the state are evidencing their faith in this vicinity by moving to this region and engaging in the fruit business. Among the latest arrivals in the Harbor City, here for the purpose of obtaining land for the fruit raising business, our Carl Vollenweider, of  LaCrescent; William Hickel of La Crosse and Albert Engler of Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Mr. Vollenweider, who has engaged in the fruit growing industry since coming to this country when he was 18 years of all, he says: “I have the utmost confidence in the Bayfield Peninsula as a fruit growing region and believe it will someday be the foremost fruit raising region in the country. The facilities it offers for the growing of fruit are excellent. Fruit grown here is of the heartiest quality and the trees need but little attention to yield an excellent crop. As soon as I can dispose of my interest in the central parts of the state, I will bring my family up here with me and engage in the fruit business and have the utmost confidence that I will meet with success.”

On August 30, 1907 the Bayfield County Press headlines read,  Buy up Fruit Plants; Experienced Men Invest in Real Estate near Harbor City; Speak Highly of Soil; in A Few Years Fruit Raising Will Be Leading Industry of Bayfield Peninsula. The following excerpts included in this edition state, “W. S. Powell, of Grand Rapids, Register of Deeds of Wood County, Wisconsin, was in the city this week and purchased 100 acres of fruit land two miles north of the city, from the Carver-Quayle-Nourse Land Company. Mr. Powell expects to start the work this fall of setting out fruit trees and will be here soon with two or three men to start clearing about 12 acres of his newly acquired real estate”.

An excerpt read, “E. E. Powell, secretary and treasurer of the Sparta Green Separator Company, also bought 160 acres near Salmo from the city this week and purchased 100 acres of fruit land 2 miles north of the city, from the Carver-Quayle-Nourse Land Company and will open it as soon as possible. He is as much satisfied with the conditions of the Peninsula for fruit growing as his brother who are both practical fruit growers.  The third piece declares, “Men interested in fruit growing who have visited A. Lumquist’s orchard (sic for August Turnquist?) West of town are loud in praise. 

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.