This job requires a minimum of 3 months of prior experience working in an orchard performing manual and machine tasks associated with apple production and harvest activities. Applicants must be able to furnish verbal or written statement establishing relevant prior work experience. Workers must be able to perform all assigned tasks with accuracy and efficiency.
Harvest: Quality is essential. Fruit is spot picked for fresh market early in the season and strip picked thereafter, with additional intermittent spot picking later in the season as needed. Ladders ranging from 10 ft. to 16 ft. in length and weighing approximately 65 lbs. each are used. Care must be taken when picking fruit not to damage or bruise fruit. Properly filled fruit buckets weigh up to 40 lbs. Pickers are required to snap fruit off of tree using their thumb and palm of hand to avoid bruising. Each piece of fruit must be carefully placed in bucket to avoid bruising. Foreman or owner will give demonstrations of how the fruit must be picked; picking requirements will be explained to all workers prior to the seasons start. Workers must obey all safety rules when working around, applying or handling pesticides. All tasks may be done from the ground or on a ladder. Workers must be able to keep pace with the balance of the crew.
Thinning: Thinning is a manual process used to control the size and fruit quality of grown fruit. Employees will be given appropriate training by supervisors. Ability to pick up, use and safely handle a 10 to 16 foot orchard ladder weighing approximately 65 lbs. is necessary for performance of thinning tasks.
This process requires the employee to be able to appropriately remove the smallest fruit blossom, bud and/or identifiable fruit from within a cluster of other fruits. Workers will be expected to be able to identify and remove fruit that is misshapen, damaged and/or have other quality problems as directed by supervisors.
Pruning: Pruning numerous varieties of apple trees according to established company procedures based on the difference in the treatment of different varieties. Work will be performed on trees for long periods of time using a variety of pruning equipment including hand shears, hand loppers, hand saws and 10 to 16 foot ladders. Pruning and thinning may be done from the ground or ladder up to 16 feet in height. Workers may be required to selectively prune only trees of a certain size as instructed by the crew boss.
Workers are expected to have requisite pruning skills to be able to identify and remove stubs or broken branches, downward-growing branches, branches which rub against each other, shaded interior branches, dead wood and shoots/suckers with hand pruning saws and clippers, mechanized clippers and pole pruners. Occasionally workers may be required to use chain saws and other mechanized equipment in pruning activities.
Careful pruning requires knowledge of what to prune, how much to prune and fruit trees growth habits. The primary reason for pruning fruit trees is to improve fruit quality and thus increase crop marketability and value.
Work may also include mowing around trees using a handheld swingblade and operation and maintenance of tractors and other equipment.
Workers should be able to work on their feet in bent positions for long periods of time. Work requires repetitive movements and extensive walking. Allergies to ragweed, goldenrod, honey bees, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, or related chemicals may affect a workers ability to perform the job. Work required in fields when plants are wet with dew and rain, and may be required during light rain, snow, moderate winds, direct sun, high humidity and extreme temperatures. Temperatures may range from 10 to 100 F. Workers may be required to work during occasional showers not severe enough to stop field operations.