Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kiwifruit Harvest.

The answer is now YES. Yesterday 29th May turned out to be the day for us. Cold as, first thing ( 4 degrees C )followed by a clear blue sky.(13 degrees C ).
 (this is my favourite photo I took yesterday. Isn't she a character? )

     As I have written about this event every year since 2006 you may be getting tired of hearing a similar story. For the sake of a few new readers and the fact that for us it is a big deal, I will tell you some of what happened.( a whole year's work culminating in one day )
     Everyone( who included 40 pickers; a supervisor; 4 tractor drivers; I fork lift driver and ourselves and some truckies who come and go ) were all ready to start at 8.30 am. The only one who could start was  the fork lift driver unloading the empty bins from the first truck. Why? Well the packhouse rep and one of the management staff who talked us into paying for a 3rd dry matter sample to be picked  for testing  had NOT requested an "early start sample. " So we had to wait. Personally I wouldn't have waited, but was over ruled. It wasn't the sample takers fault.   That 40 minutes standing around waiting could have been crucial to finishing in day light at the end of the day. As it happened the pickers only took 2 breaks and worked like crazy and the pick was completed in record time. Some of these workers have been starved for work because of all the wet weather. When they don't work they don't get paid and that is hard for them.
Here are some other happy pickers. ( I only had time to get out with the camera
 at the end of the afternoon when they were picking near the load out / office area.)
All people on site including the tractor drivers wore high visibility vests for safety.
 My flash went off and made driver Travis very visible. Note in the photos of the pickers, the heavy weight of fruit they carry when their bags are full. That's why the tractors pull in one behind the other so the pickers don't have to walk too far.

 This is where I spent most of the day in my outdoor office.( R was there some of the time too. )
 My essential equipment.

 Along with these lead weights cause of the wind. These are the bin cards one per full bin of fruit, stapled onto the outside of the bins. I was filling in the pick date on them.

 There are always a few incidents. About 10 am one of the tractors got a flat back tyre. 
 Could Phil blow it up again with his nifty pump? No, it was coming out faster than it was going in. 

So as happens almost every year my tractor was put to work while this happened. (Sonny was very careful with it. It is used to one careful female driver.)
 They called in the big boys who fortunately had a Hiab hoist. The ground was very soft and the tractor very low but he did get a jack under it and change the tyre.
During the course of the day trucks come with empties and go away to the pack house with the full bins.  9 trips. We had 4 different drivers and trucks.

The last 3 loads happened after the picking was finished. Here are full bins stacked waiting. Note the blue sky that was with us all day.
     Another thing that was different this year. The forklift driver had to lift the empty bins onto the bin trailers. That took extra time so he was by far the most essential, busiest and most competent forkie.
 Another new job Zespri sprung on us was getting us to bury a temperature data logger and it's documentation in every 20th bin of fruit.  R and I shared that job.
 It was a very successful day. Probably the coldest picking day we have experienced but the sun was shining ,the job got done well and it was the 2nd largest number of bins we have every picked for a season. We are so grateful to all those people who work to get our fruit picked. The pickers were all colours. All sizes. All ages. All shapes. Male and female.

 The tractor driver gets off and levels down the bins wearing gloves to protect the fruit of course.
 I decided you didn't need to see all the different coloured trucks, so just one.
 Our 31st crop of kiwifruit in now waiting out it's curing time( a couple of days )  at the pack house and we hope it will pack out with not too many rejects.
 Thanks to all who helped. Thanks to all who willed Mother Nature to send us some fine weather.


Jennifer said...

Wow, that's a lot of fruit! So glad to hear it all went off well, with no problems.

Joolz said...

So glad you had a bumper crop and thanks for the tour of your harvest day - very interesting. Here's to many more good seasons for you!

Cheers - Joolz

Isabelle said...

Hurray! Now can you sit around with your feet up....?

Chookyblue...... said...

harvest time is so stressful with weather close to the finish yet so far no matter what crop it please you have a good crop.........