When is the harvest and what crops do you pick?
On our orchard the main harvest is likely to start with peaches in mid January followed by pears. Pear picking continues to the end of February, with the peach harvest finishing around mid March. We usually start our crop of apples just after the end of the peaches to finish the harvest in early April.How is the fruit picked on the orchard?
Most fruit pickers work from steel ladders and do not use picking machines. Fruit is picked into a bag which is slung over your shoulders in a harness fashion and then emptied into a bin which is wooden or plastic. A wooden bin holds about 470 kg of peaches. Plastic bins are about 10% smaller in size.Do I need to climb a ladder?
Sure do. Most picking is done from steel 3 metre ladders although lower fruit is picked from ground level. You need to be fairly healthy as there is a fair bit of carrying, lifting and walking. If you cannot carry a 3 metre ladder that weighs around 17kg and position it around a tree then this is not the job for you. Don't forget that you are also carrying a fruit picking bag strapped over your shoulders. The bag can weigh around 25kg when full of fruit!Where do most of the fruit pickers come from?
Our fruit pickers come from all over Australia and countries that have working visa arrangements with Australia. This means that we have many different nationalities working together.
Providing you meet the qualifications for working in Australia we will consider your application for work.What training is given to new fruit pickers?
Before starting work you will be required to undertake a health & safety induction session which includes instruction in the correct technique of picking fruit including how to safely use a ladder. By following our instructions you are likely to be more successful (and financial) and you will find that your body will stand up to the rigors of the work far better.
If you are new to fruit picking you may find it fairly difficult to begin with, but within a couple of days you will find that your bin tallies are increasing as you develop better technique.If I am colour blind can I still pick fruit?
People who are colour blind find it very difficult, if not impossible, to correctly colour pick peaches. Surprisingly, colour blindness can affect 1 in 20 men and 1 in 200 women. If you are in this category, then our work is unlikely to be suitable for you. You can take a simple colour blindness test by clicking here.
How much can I earn?
Almost all of the fruit picking on our orchard is paid on piece work rates and fruit pickers are not guaranteed a minimum amount per hour.
Put simply this means the more you pick the more you earn. Pickers who adopt our suggested techniques tend to be more successful.
Piecework fruit picking pay rates are provided for in the Horticulture Award 2010 and are set in agreement with the Australian Workers' Union before each harvest to reflect a fair wage for work of this nature.
The piece work rates for the 2012 harvest can be seen here.