Picking and working methods
First of all: Cut your fingernails short. You should not pick fruit with long finger nails!
- Carefully grasp the fruit with your entire hand - not just with your fingertips.
- Pick the fruit by lifting and twisting it at the same time
- If the fruit is long-stemmed, place one finger on the top of the stem to prevent it from breaking.
Use the same system when picking fruit from trees
- Start picking fruit from the lower branches of the tree, working from the outside inwards.
- Then pick fruits from the middle of the tree, working from the outside inwards.
- Finally, pick the fruits from the upper branches of the tree, working from below upwards. In this way, there will be no fruit left on the tree and if you drop a fruit on the ground, it will not damage other fruits on its way down.
- Do not stand on tiptoe too often or the stem will break easily.
- Do not climb fruit trees.
- Do not break off the tree top.
- If necessary, use ladder.
- Every now and then, it is necessary to pick fruit in bad weather. Do not stay at home in bad weather or the fruit will become overripe.
- Handle fruit with care when it rains as wet fruit is easily bruised.
- Do not pick fruit when it is freezing outside.
Fruit picking bags
- Cross straps in the back - this is less tiring.
- The bag height is correct when the elbow can rest on the rim of the bag.
- If the bag height is incorrect, you will be prone to drop the fruit down the bag.
- Place the fruit carefully in the bag.
- The picking bag should be kept within the plastic/steel frame and it should be fastened with strings so the full bag does not become untied until you empty it.
Emptying of picking bags
- Carefully place the untied bag in the end of the box with the least fruit
- Carefully let the bag slide out of the frame.
- Never place the frame at the edge of the box.
Emptying of picking box
- Empty the box in the part of the container with the least fruit.
- If the container is empty, empty the box in one of the corners.
- Avoid piling the fruit in one end of the container.
- Hold the picking box in a horizontal position to the fruit in the container.
- Loosen the strings and carefully tilt the box.
- It is important that you fold the bag correctly before you close the bottom of the box and continue picking fruit. Otherwise, you will not be able to empty the box again without damaging the fruit.
- Adjust the conveyor belt speed to the picking capacity/speed.
- The speed should allow the picker to place each fruit carefully on the conveyor belt.
- Pick fruit from the lower branches of the trees first and place it on the first conveyor belt to avoid that the machine collides with branches filled with fruit.
- Inspect the picking machine daily and check if the brushes are worn out and leave bruises on the fruit.
Take care of your back
- Keep your back straight when you lift or put down an object.
- Bend your knees. Your leg muscles are stronger than your back.
- Lean your back slightly to the rear when carrying an object.
How to ease and make the picking work more comfortable
- Always start out with an empty bag at the bottom of the tree and do not bend with a filled bag in your arms.
- Only fill the bag half way - in standing position.
- Wear knee protectors.
- If the container is too far away, roll it closer to you.
- Place the container where it can easily be picked up with a loader.
Fruit damage caused by incorrect picking method
The damages can be divided into three categories: the ones that appear right away, the ones that show shortly after the fruit has been bruised and the ones that become visible after storage.
Damages that appear immediately:
Too much damaged fruit reduces the quality and hence the price.
Fruit with broken stem, especially pears, are like a nail. They poke holes in other fruit which will decay, and then the decay-causing organisms in the fruit will infect other fruit.
The stem of long-stemmed fruit breaks easily.
The stem breaks if the fruit is torn off the tree.
Broken off stem
Fruit without stem appears "healthy" but can only be sold to the industry.
If stemless fruit is stored, it will rot and infect other fruit.
Damages that show shortly after the fruit has been bruised:
When fruit is bruised, the mark will not appear right away. Fruit is marred by bruises and turns brown under the skin. Bruised fruit is sold to the industry.
Sensitive and wet fruit can become bruised simply by grabbing it too hard.
Fruit may get bruised if it is too closely packed together in the container/box. Do not overfill the container/box.
If the container/box is too far away, you will be tempted to carry fruit in your arms. However, you will easily drop the fruit and it will get bruised and bruise the other fruit in the container/box.
Always place the container /box as close as possible to you.
Long nails may poke holes in the fruit skin causing the fruit to rot during storage.
Bruised apples in the container
Do not under any circumstances put windfalls in the container.
Do not put bruised fruit from the tree in the container either.
Picking bruises that do not appear until after storage:
If stemless fruit rots during storage, it will infect other intact fruit.