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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Combined annual reports of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the years ending July 1, 1927 and July 1, 1928

Leverich, J. E.
How much does a strawberry cost?,   pp. 63-68 PDF (1.5 MB)

Page 63

courage the natural development of market gardening in the state
and not try to boost it up to any high point all at once. Let the
money that is offered be the inducement.
J. E. LEvERICH, Sparta
I N GIVING you my experiences on the cost of the production of
strawberries for market on a commercial scale, I expect there
will be a general disagreement with the facts and figures I am about
to present, which I might say are taken from my own personal ex-
periences and the conditions I have to face in growing strawberries.
I hope there will be some differences of opinion, for it is through
the open discussion that follows the relating of one's own personal
experiences that we growers are able to get the other fellow's views
and many times are helped much with our own problems.
I, for one, do not think enough has been said about the cost of
production. We growers are apt to kid ourselves into believing we
are making a big thing out of strawberries, while if we would only
take pencil and paper and do a little figuring, taking everything
into consideration, we might see it in an extremely different light.
Some of us would find we were getting small pay for our work.
The growing and harvesting of strawberries is quite parallel to
the production of dairy products, in that the wife and kids are a
great help in the occupation.
When butter fat goes up to a fair price, some feel we are raking
in profits galore, while in reality we are just beginning to get a
little pay for the services of the rest of the family who are the main
spoke in the wheel, but who are seldom considered, when considering
the cost of producing the product, and, in the case of ourselves-we
have been working fourteen hours per day and are being paid for
The same condition is true of the strawberry grower. The whole
family works during the strawberry season, but their pay usually
is limited to what berries they care to eat, when considering produc-
tion costs. This condition was forcibly brought home to me the first
summer after we were married. My wife, city bred, was anxious
to help me harvest the crop of strawberries. It was lots of fun
for her (the first year), but before the season was over, the fun
part of it had changed to hard work and, as it happened to be a
season of low prices, her ideas of easy money to be made in straw-
berry growing had been shattered and she begged me to plow up the
whole field. She pointed out to me how much she had saved for me
by her work and my not having to hire someone perhaps less effi-
cient in her place. I dare say that, had she seen fit to make me
come across in order to collect, she would have been forced to
garnishee the cream check, or draw on the savings she had laid
aside while teaching, if she had been in need of a winter coat or
new dress that year.

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