Before our very first picking session in 2012, we gathered together as many boxes and baskets as we could muster, and a tarpaulin. We also made some apple-pickers from improvised materials to add to the 2 good-quality pickers that one of the volunteers had lent. Thus armed we were ready to start our project.
Picking sessions begin with picking up any fallen fruit and keeping it in separate containers – provided fallen fruit is sound, it can still make good juice, but it needs to be used quickly and also needs more care with washing, that’s why we keep it separate. Next we move on to picking from the tree.
Sometimes, if the tree is easy to get into and the apples are very ripe, one person can climb up and shake the branches, while others hold a tarpaulin underneath to catch the fruit – nice and quick! Otherwise, pickers (or hands) are used to take the apples off one at a time, which is slow, but guarantees apples in good condition.
After picking, the fruit is checked and weighed before being taken for juicing or making preserves.
(above – picking apples and plums at Marton 2013)