Price Of Prunes On A Size Basis

Explain the grading in price of prunes. For instance, if the base price

is, say, five and three-fourths cents, what size does this refer to, and

how is the price for other sizes calculated? Also, what is the meaning

of the phrase "four-size basis"?

Prunes, after being sold to the packer, are graded into different sizes,

according to the number required to make a pound, and paid for on that

basis. The four regular sizes are 60-70s, 70-80s, 80-90s, and 90-100s,

which means that from 60 to 70 prunes are required to make a pound, and

so on. The basis price is for prunes that weigh 80 to the pound. When

the basis price is 5 3/4 cents, 80-90s are worth 1/4 cent less than this

amount, or 5 1/2 cents. The next smaller size, 90-100s, are worth 1/2

cent less, or 5 cents, while prunes under this size are little but skin

and pit and bring much less to the grower. For each next larger size

there is a difference of 1/2 cent in favor of the grower, so that on the

5 3/4-cent basis 70-80s are worth 6 cents, and 60-70s 6 1/2 cents. This

advance continues for the larger sizes, 30-40s, 40-50s, etc., but these

quite often command a premium besides, which is fixed according to the

supplies available and the demand for the various sizes. The sizes for

which no premium or penalty is generally fixed are those from 60 to 100,

four sizes, so that this basis of making contracts and sales is called

the "four-size basis." The advantage that results in having this method

of selling prunes can be seen by the fact that on a 5 3/4-cent basis the

smallest of the four sizes will bring but 5 cents a pound, while 30-40s

would bring, without any premium, 8 1/2 cents, and with 1 cent premium,

9 1/2 cents. This size has this season brought as high as 10 and 11

cents a pound. It may be noted here that no prunes are actually sold at

just the basis price, as they are worth either less or more than this as

they are smaller or larger than 80 to the pound. No matter what the

basis price is, there is a difference of one-half cent between each size

and the sizes nearest to it.

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