National Apple Museum
Biglerville, PA 17307
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Early History
of the
Apple Industry
in Adams County

 A is for apple


 culling Packing apples prepares them for shipping. Until the 1920s apple-packing was done in the orchard. Today this is done in huge packing houses. Most modern apple-packing is automated to organize the apples according to size and quality. Water chutes are used to move the apples within the warehouse. Sorters remove imperfect apples, called culls.

When the apple industry was just starting in the Yakima Valley, bushel-baskets and barrels were the accepted methods of shipping used by the established fruit industry on the East Coast. But baskets and barrels are not easily stacked into railroad cars. In the 1890s, growers from the Northwest developed a rectangular pine box with a one-bushel capacity. These boxes were more easily constructed than baskets or barrels, and they were easily stacked in railroad cars.

 packing apples Wooden fruit boxes-an innovation of Northwest growers-gave maximum protection to the produce packed inside, the pine used to make them was readily available in the Pacific Northwest, and the shape of the package lent itself to colorful advertising labels. But, with changing technology, the availability of cheaper materials, and a shrinking workforce during World War II, these boxes were eventually replaced by the cardboard cartons you see today. By the end of the 1950s the wooden apple box had disappeared.

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The Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society
and The National Apple Museum
154 West Hanover Street - P.O. Box 656
Biglerville, PA 17307-9442 - Telephone: 717-677-4556

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