We’ve been picking apples in Sassafras for a week now so thought it might be time to jot down some things we learned along the way…
1. Apples are Cold.
Apples prefer colder climates which is why they thrive in the Tasmanian weather. The thing about picking fruit in cold climates is that the fruit is ice cold, especially when you start at 7:30am. Having feeling in your hands is over rated anyway.
2. Apples are Fucking Delicious.
To be honest I usually choose berries or pears over apples at the fruit and vege shop. I think apples have let me down too many times with quality so I just dont really bother anymore. Working on an orchard has reignited my love of apples. We have been picking Pink Ladys and straight off the tree they are crisp and crunchy and sweet like lollies.
3. The Work is Back Breaking.
Apples grow on trees. Trees are tall. Ladders are needed to pick apples. Carrying a ladder all day sucks. You also pick apples into a container strapped to you which gets very heavy after a while. From the others we spoke to its still not as bad as strawberries though.
4. You Dont Get Paid That Much.
Between two people you pick into a large bin which generally takes an hour. For this you get paid $43. Thats $21.50 each an hour. That is the bench mark we set for ourselves and we worked our asses off to hit that each day. There were alot of other travellers there who were lucky to do half that each day.
5. Its Still Pretty Rewarding.
Chris has never done any kind of manual labor before and it has been quite a few years since I have done any physically demanding work. We are both enjoying the satisfaction of putting your feet up each day after a hard days work. Its a great feeling and not one you get from a day spent in an office or a cafe.
6. Its Endurance Over Technique.
Anyone can pick fast. Not everyone can pick fast all day long. Thats what I reckon anyway. Apple picking is a tedious task which is definitely 80% mental. Youre also not going to pick to much at all if you arent very fit.
7. The Sun in Tasmania Can Burn You.
Dont let the fresh, chilled air trick you, we are still sitting under a hole in the ozone layer. My face currently looks not that different from the pink ladys we are picking.
8. A Weather Dependent Livelihood is Tough.
It seems that way anyway. Farmers rely on rain for their crops no surprises there. One thing I learned though with apples is that too much rain will affect the bees being able to pollinate, and lead ultimately to less yield. Pretty tricky business.
9. Apples Bruise Very Easily.
This is a very annoying quality when you are trying to pick something.
10. Its a Good Thing this Work is Seasonal.
Weve been doing this for a week now and we have one week to go. Another week is probably all we can handle…