Harvest Work - Pears
Pears were my first attempt at fruit picking, and it was the hardest work I've ever done in my life! Because I
had nothing to compare it with, though, I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, assuming that every
kind of fruit picking was going to be just as bad. I found out later that pears are one of the hardest
fruits to pick due to their weight and the height and stabbiness of some of the older trees. Plus pears
almost always pays on contract, so you'll have to work hard and fast to make any money.
On a pear farm, you'll probably be working with a team of others and have a 'ganger'
supervising you and driving the tractor. It's up to the ganger to move your bin as you move down the
row to keep it close so you aren't lugging your 15 kilo bag of pears too far to fill it. The standard
wage is $25 per bin, and sometimes an extra $1 may be given for pears they want you to treat more
delicately. If you're size picking you should get at least $1 extra per bin which is hardly worth the extra effort.
You're meant to treat all of the types of pears with care, but some bruise more easily and must be
picked with a different, slower technique so the stem stays on. Nobody treats any of the pears with
care though, only when the ganger or big boss are around. If you did, you'd go too slow and wouldn't make
any money at all.
Some people can pick 5 or 6 bins a day fairly easily, but most of us non superhumans
have to work really hard just to get 4 bins. I was picking 3 bins for almost two weeks which is only
$75/day for 10 hours of work. Very crap. So don't feel bad about rolling the pears around the bottom
of the bin or ripping off stems or throwing your ladder full force into the tree. They're paying shite
wages and if they want us to treat the pears like eggs, then they should pay by the hour dammit!