1. Observe experienced pickers
We know that you’d rather be picking more fruit than watching people pick fruit. However, at the beginning of the season, it’s definitely worth spending a bit of time observing the experienced pickers of your group and copy their technique!
2. Be systematic
Approaching each tree/bush/vine in a non-logical way really slows down your picking performance. You’ll spend too much time trying to figure out where you have been rather than, well, picking! Pick a system of picking and stick to it for every tree. For example, pick the left side, middle then the right side.
3. Pick top to bottom
If you’re picking fruit off trees, then it’s a rookie mistake to pick from the bottom of the tree first. You’ll then have to climb the ladder with a heavy bag making the whole job a lot harder than it needs to be!
4. Pick with two hands!
It sounds obvious but you won’t believe the number of people that start off picking with just one hand! Get stuck into it with two hands so you’ll go twice faster!
5. Use your ladder properly
Again, for fruit picking off trees, you will need to use a ladder all day every day for the whole season! At first, you will really need to think where to position the ladder properly so you can reach the most apples without risky stretching, as well as keeping the ladder out of the way of other pickers. Once you have worked out a system, placing your ladder will become second nature to you.
6. Keep an eye on the weather forecast
For some fruit picking jobs, like kiwifruit picking, one drop of rain means the end of the workday. Keep an eye on the weather forecast every evening so if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow afternoon you can go all out at work in the morning and still make a decent day’s wage. (Make sure you check out our guide to Working in New Zealand: What Are Your Rights?to make sure you are being paid a fair wage).
7. Practice makes perfect
It’s cliche but true! When you see more experienced pickers filling bins at unfathomable speeds, you think they must be cheating. But like all jobs, you get better the more you do it. It takes about a month to start filling bins at a good speed to make some decent wages, but by following the tips on this list mixed with some determination, you’ll be picking like a pro in no time!