Fall is harvest time
After working long and hard in the spring and summer, this is where it all comes together as the crop is picked and put into cold storage.Later they are graded sized and boxed to be shipped to market.
Harvesting the apples in the fall
In the fall we continue the summer’s work of mowing, watering the orchard, trapping gophers and getting ready for the pickers to pick the fruit. When the apples are mature enough and red enough then we can start picking. Once the apples are mature they need to picked and put in the cold storage as soon as possible
This is the last spray of the year, it it usually used for cleanup and to spray on a color enhancing spray so the apples will get redder, red apples sell, green do not. If the weather has been right and you have done a good job the rest of the year you may not need the last spray.
The apples are picked and put into a bin, which is a large wooden box that is 4ft x 4ft x 2ft that holds approximately 800 pounds of apples. The picker uses a picking bag made especially for apple picking as he walks around the picking the apples, .he must also use a ladder.
Picking ladders are needed to the high apples
He or she climbs the ladder get up in the tree on the 10 ft step ladder to get to the apples he can’t reach from the ground. When his bag is full he or she puts them in the bin, and keeps doing that until the bin is full. When the bin is full he will get paid at the end of the day for the number of bins he picked, or when that section of orchard is completed. The pickers all know what they are going to get for each bin they pick. The price is set when that section is started.
A good picker working alone can pick from 6 to 10 bins a day. I once saw a 16 yr old Mexican girl pick 8 bins before lunch time, she was fast and she picked good apples, by that I mean they weren’t bruised or damaged as she put them in the bin.
picture of picking ladder from sales ad by Tallman Ladders. Hood River Oregon
We use good equipment to protect our crop
We use a specially made bag to pick the apples in.
The picking bag is specially made to pick apples and keep them from bruising. It is a large canvas bag with the bottom end open for pouring out the apples gently. The bag is on a frame the goes around your shoulders with straps to carry the weight evenly; there is a rope for closing the bag so the apples will stay in it until you are ready to put them in the bin. When you get the bag full go to your bin and lean over and release the ropes and the apples will flow out of the bag and into the bin.. When the bin is full it is taken to the loading yard where it is put on a truck and taken to the cold storage for cooling, prior to being packed and shipped to the consumers. Once the apples are cool they are run through the packing line, there they are washed and waxed and sorted by size and color. Then they are put into different types of boxes depending on the size and color, the extra fancy is almost 100% red color, then fancy grade has to be between 60 and 80% red, less than that and they are utility grade. The left over’s are the culls and they are sold as apple sauce or to the juice plant to make apple juice.
Then we start the work all over again so we can have a crop for the coming, year. the work is long and sometimes hard but it is worth it, you get a lot personal satisfaction out of growing a crop of apples.. Like I said it’s “THE BEST JOB I EVER HAD,”
Picking bag from Wells and Wade sales ad