When picking fruit,
you will be required to pick a targeted number of trays of berries per hour. A
bonus is also set allowing workers the opportunity to earn extra. The target
and bonus will depend on the quality of the crop, the weather and time of the
Crops can be delayed by weather conditions which may result
in reduced working hours. This generally only happens for a
short period of time and most workers can gain this time back as the season advances or choose to take holiday payment.
Strawberry picking is hard work. You will be required to pick a targeted number of trays of berries per hour. A bonus is also set allowing you the opportunity to earn extra. The target and bonus will depend on the quality of the crop, the weather and time of the season.
The best quality strawberries are picked into small plastic containers called punnets. These are termed First Class strawberries, and are sold to the major supermarkets. First Class strawberries are a good shape with a nice, even, red colouring.
The lower quality and misshapen strawberries are picked into small plastic trays. These are called Second Class strawberries, and are sold for jam, preserve and purée making.
Diseased and pest-damaged strawberries cannot be sold, but must still be picked in order to ‘clean’ the plants properly. These are termed waste strawberries, and must be discarded into the furrows between the strawberry beds. Cleaning the plants prepares them for the next pick of berries to mature and ripen, and is essential in order to keep the plants healthy.
If all of the ripe First Class, Second Class and waste strawberries are picked, and plants cleaned properly, the next pick of berries will have less Second Class and waste, thus enabling you to make more money by picking more First Class strawberries.
Asparagus is one of the earliest vegetables harvested, this takes place from April-June depending on weather conditions.
Asparagus is grown in the ground; each asparagus plant produces several spears through its harvesting cycle. Each spear can grow as fast as 2cm per hour in hot and sunny weather conditions. This makes asparagus highly reactive to temperatures and requires different picking patterns; when it is hot, asparagus is picked twice a day.
Asparagus picking is a hard job, you will be cutting it with a knife, close to the ground, bending towards it each time you pick, in order to collect a bundle of spears.
When picking you follow a machine with a group of people, your team members. Your success will depend on you and your teams productivity.
Blueberries are fruits grown in pots. Blueberry bushes are between 1-2 metres high. Each plant produces fruit that is not always easily accessible to pick.
You will be picking blueberries at a height of approximately 30cm – 2 metres and placing them in small trays attached to you. You will be picking the fruit from the outside to the inside of the plant by gently removing the blueberries and putting them in a tray. As blueberries can be easy to miss, to make sure the fruit is picked, two people pick each row, one each side.