Fruit and vegetable pickers harvest fruit, vegetables, nuts and berries at farms, market gardens and orchards, and prepare produce for distribution.
Personal requirements for a Fruit and Vegetable Picker
- Enjoy practical work
- Free from skin conditions and allergies to agricultural chemicals
- Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
- Able to work at heights
- Able to work quickly and consistently for long periods of time
- Willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions
- Able to travel from property to property to pick fruit and vegetables
- Able to undertake manual and sometimes heavy work
- Reliable and motivated.
Duties & Tasks of a Fruit and Vegetable Picker
Fruit and vegetable pickers may perform the following tasks:
- Select fruit and vegetables for picking according to size and ripeness, and discard rotting and over-ripened produce
- Operate farm machinery to harvest nuts, fruit and vegetables
- Load picked fruit and vegetables into containers, taking care to avoid damage
- Drive tractors or other vehicles to deliver fruit and vegetables to the packing shed
- Sort and pack produce
- Drive forklifts to load boxes of produce onto trucks.
Working conditions for a Fruit and Vegetable Picker
Fruit and vegetable pickers work in diverse environments ranging from high-tech, large-scale operations to small family farms. They may work from ladders or mechanical hoists when they are picking tree crops, or they may have to stoop to pick field and vine crops. Gloves may be worn to protect hands from thorny branches. Weather conditions can be hot, dusty, humid or rainy, but work usually continues in these conditions to ensure the harvest is completed on time. Harvesting work is seasonal and pickers may travel long distances after picking one crop to get to their next job. Some employers provide accommodation but pickers usually need to find their own.