While fruit picking in Victoria is an achievable and accessible job for people of varying skill levels, if you’re a novice, it is important to have a few tips ready before stepping onto the field. Because most fruit picking jobs don’t work by hours worked but by produce picked, it’s vital that you have some knowledge and industry tips behind you to make sure you’re getting the most out of your work.
Different fruit requires different picking techniques. Some fruit you pick holding the fruit, others holding the stem. No matter the fruit you’re working with, it’s important always to use two hands and work gently. This will see you picking fruit at twice the speed with nothing to waste!
While it’s recommended (for safety reasons) that you start picking from top to bottom, it’s also important to work systematically. By working from left to right each way, you won’t have to worry about remembering where you have and haven’t picked and can focus on making your way across the tree and picking as much as possible.
Lean On Experienced Pickers
When you first start picking for the season, the last thing you might want to do is hang back and watch your other more experienced pickers work. But this tactic can help to teach you the techniques and methods to pick the best and biggest volume of fruit possible.
Once you are picking, try to pick near an experienced picker and tell them you want to get better. By spending the first few weeks watching a professional team member, you can learn their techniques and work independently for the rest of the season with no unnecessarily damaged fruit and a bigger pay check.
Safety and Work Wear
Safety is paramount when fruit picking on a Victorian fruit farm. You want to wear clothes that provide enough protection from the sun but still offer enough ventilation. Most fruit pickers will wear comfortable, sturdy boots or shoes, long sleeves to protect their arms from scratches, and a hat. Even in the shade of the tall fruit trees, you should also regularly reapply sunscreen and bring plenty of water with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Ladder Safety & Your Picking Bag
While some farms have employed automatic fruit picking machines that remove the need for ladders, not all farms are like this. This is why it’s important that you learn how to use a ladder well. Most farms will provide you with a few days of training before you start picking, which will go over this. By learning the safest way to use a ladder, you’ll be able to become a quick picker.
One of the most important tips to remember when using a ladder is to never climb with a full picking bag. Instead, you should always start at the top of the fruit tree while your bag is empty and work your way down, filling as you go.
It’s also crucial that you’re only emptying your picking bag when it’s full. Those who go and empty a half-filled bag will find time slipping away from them more quickly and less fruit picked at the end of the day.
Find the Perfect Fruit Picking Job at PickGV
Fruit picking can be gratifying work. If you’re prepared to work hard and fill your picking bag each day, you can make great money while seeing the parts of the countryside outside of regular tourist tours.
If you’re interested in taking on a fruit picking job this harvest season or want to learn more about fruit picking roles across the Goulburn Valley region, make sure to visit our website today.