Surely a Fruit Country

Harvey Nourse Berry Patch at Pikes Creek BHA 2008.016.094

Harvey Nourse Berry Patch at Pikes Creek
BHA 2008.016.094

Surely a Fruit Country

W.H. Holmes- Editor-Journalist

Bayfield Progress – August 19, 1909

Harvey Nourse who has a fine fruit farm two or three miles out near the State Fish Hatchery, reports to the Press, his returns this year from his three-acre patch of strawberries are as follows:

“Our three-acre field of strawberries this year yielded about 1250 crates.  The yield was cut short somewhat on account of the extreme dry weather before picking but especially on account of the extraordinary rainstorm of July 20th and 21st.  At least two hundred crates of berries were destroyed by this rain and one hundred and fifty that were picked after the rain we were forced to sell at about half the price we had been selling for.  Perhaps the best way to judge what the fields have done would be in stating what two pickings of the field brought us.  We have receipts in this office to show from two pickings of the three-acre field, after deducting freight and commission, brought $1019.00.    

A part of our old field, which we picked from this year, gave us better than expected results than the new, of about an acre and half, six hundred crates of berries. These berries were extra fine, and strange to say, this field was not affected in the least by the dry weather which we experienced at the beginning of the picking season, and the soil is quite sandy, and we believe what we might term, a dry soil.  We attribute our success in the crop we harvested this year to the way we hand the field the previous year.  There was rarely a week missed during the dry weather of a year ago, without seeing the field cultivated, with a Planet, Jr. fine tooth strawberry cultivator.  In this way we established the best mulch which gave us a good stand of plants.  In the fall the field was mulched with straw and was not cultivated again.  Just before picking time we cut what weeds there were with a scythe.  It is our belief that a strawberry field should never be cultivated in the spring and will hold the moisture much better if not disturbed. 

We shipped our berries by refrigerator car to Duluth and Minneapolis.  We had a letter from a Duluth house to which we shipped the finest berries that ever came into the Duluth marker and were shipped to them by us.  The price received for these berries in Duluth and Minneapolis as $2.00-$2.25 per crate, which, after deducting freight and commission gave us about $1.65 net.


Making Bayfield a Large Fruit and Produce Center

Bayfield County Press – Friday, December 13, 1907

From present plans and arrangements, the farming community adjacent to the city will be considerably enlarged this coming spring and summer. Carl Vollenweider, formerly of LaCrescent, Minnesota, and a man who has had experience in the fruit raising business for the last 40 years, and who purchased a large tract of land north of the city some months ago, which includes the old goat farm on the Sand River Road, will lay out for cultivation about 1000 cherry trees. Mr. Vollenweider already has a large fruit orchard under cultivation besides having raised a large amount of vegetables on his farm the past summer.

Included in the tract of land owned by Mr. Vollenweider is the large marsh about two and 1/2 miles north of this city. Mr. Vollenweider’s plan is to drain this marsh and use the land for the purpose of raising celery and head lettuce. The draining of the marsh will be a stupendous task, but Mr. Vollenweider is very confident that the plan is entirely feasible and will set to work sometime in the near future preparing for the task of carrying this water off the land, which when once the water has been taken off, will make one of the finest places for vegetable farming in this vicinity. There are in the neighborhood of 100 acres in this large swamp and the soil is in an excellent one for farming purposes.

William Knight, who also owns large tracts of land adjoining the city, has plans to transform the now uncultivated lands into very fine fruit and vegetable farms. Mr. Knight has had much experience in raising fruit and there is no doubt that his plans will be carried out to their fullest extent. Mr. Knight has already two tracts under cultivation with a large number of fruit trees planted there on, and the land he will open up the coming spring adjoins that of his present farm. Early in the spring he will put from fifteen to 20 men at work and will clear of about 1200 acres of land, the soil of which is very adaptable to fruit growing. On some of this land Mr. Knight will set out 1000 fruit trees and expects to have one of the finest fruit orchards around here in a few years.

The trip into the country over many of the roads running into the farming community near Bayfield shows many changes that have taken place in the past two years. What has heretofore been barren wasteland, or old cut over slashing, has been transformed into some of the finest farmlands in northern Wisconsin. Today the visitor to the woods will behold new farms and farmhouses on every site where a few years ago nothing but timber was in evidence, and on the greater number of these farms most of the farmer’s attention has been given to the cultivation of fruit. The homegrown fruit this fall has proven as popular and a far better quality than any that has been shipped in from the outside. The future, indeed, looks bright for the Bayfield peninsula becoming one of the largest from centers in the state.

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