« PreviousContinue »
polize the supply, so as to put almost their own price upon it.
Millers are frequently dealers in this way, and make large sums, not only by their trouble of grinding and cleansing the meal, but by watching the markets, and buying and selling, as opportunities for making large profits may arise.
THE CORN MILL.
Perhaps my young readers will understand better the process of grinding, by an examination of the engraving here given. We see here the part of the mill in which the grain is broken. It runs in from the wooden funnel, between the two stones: the upper one circulates with amazing rapidity. The stones, being furrowed or ground, bruise the corn as it flies towards the circumference. There it issues, and is afterwards cleansed from the chaff in other parts of the mill.
THE POTATO CROPS.
POTATOES are not grown in England, as in Ireland, as the staple food of the people; yet the quantity produced and consumed is very considerable, particularly within twenty miles of London, and on lands which have the convenience of water-carriage near at hand.
The early sorts, called shaws, &c. are cultivated with great advantage by the marketgardeners, who procure them as early as June and July, for the tables of the rich. The great winter crops are not, in general, taken up much before November. To preserve the bulk intended for winter store, they are put in clamps-that is, long pits, dug in the field, where the potatoes are interred, and after
wards covered carefully with straw, which is finally roofed over with earth, so as to be perfectly weather-proof.
Potato grounds, in Essex, are frequently ploughed up, when the roots are ready, by which means they are uncovered in a very speedy way for the pickers. But this method. cuts a great many, and perhaps leaves many more in the soil. A better method is to turn them out with a flat three-pronged fork, made on purpose; pickers following, with bags, or baskets, close behind.
These roots are commonly sorted in the field, and weighed there also, if intended for immediate sale. The sorts are three, namely, ware, middlings, and chats. In the first class are put the very best, as to size, shape, and quality. They must not be the very largest, which do not sell well; nor those of double
form, or covered with protuberances, which are also rejected; and not any that are cut, or green, or hollow. The middlings are those of which the size is less than that esteemed the best. The chats are the smallest, the damaged, the discoloured; in fact the refuse, designed for cows and hogs. These sell at about a third of the price of the best. The grower is obliged to give many pounds weight extra into every hundred weight, to compensate the buyer for the weight of soil and sack in the scales. The profit of green-grocers in London and the suburbs, who sell potatoes retail by the pound to families, is enormous. They purchase them at the markets for three or four pounds per ton, and sell them again at a penny or five farthings a pound; by which means their three or four pounds will bring them in not less than nine or ten guineas!