Thursday, October 16, 2014

How to Pick Apples Like a Pro

In case any of my readers are looking for a seasonal second job or a good way to incorporate a strenuous exercise regimen into crisp autumn days, this is a tutorial on how to pick apples like a pro (and live through it).   
Step 1: Come prepared.
  • Consider the weather.  You may need to wear a jacket or raincoat.  Layer appropriately; you're sure to warm up while picking.
  • Wear a hat or scarf to keep your hair from becoming entangled in branches.  If you have very short hair, you may still want to wear a hat to protect your head from falling apples.
  • Fingernails must be very short with no sharp edges to avoid creating unpleasant markings on the apples.  If the weather is chilly, wear gloves.  
  • Rubber boots are ideal for dewy mornings or wet weather.  Otherwise, tennis shoes are great.
Step 2: Pick gently and quickly.
  • Some trees may need to be completely cleaned out; others will be picked for size and/or color.
  • Treat the apples gently.  Bruised apples don't sell; they have to be juiced. Use both hands; if two or more apples are bunched together they may fall if you pick just one.
  • Due to federal regulation, once an apple touches the ground it is off-limits. 
  • Fill your sack and empty it carefully, lowering it into the bin and opening the bottom.  Picking sacks carry about a bushel of apples (40-50 lbs) but are designed to distribute the weight comfortably. 
  • Remove any leaves from the bin.
  • Don't take photos (at least for too long) while working.  It will slow you down considerably.
Step 3: Beware of falling apples, mice, mosquitoes and gunshots
  • You're bound to have an apple fall on your head every once in a while.  It's not so bad.
  • Last year I posted here about the dangers of mice in apples.  You don't have to be meticulous, but at least give a cursory glance at the apples before picking.  Some mice choose to make their homes in apple trees and even apples, and customers don't find mice in their apples appealing.
  • Bring mosquito spray.  
  • When using a ladder, only fill your sack halfway.  Do not overreach.  
  • "Shot while picking apples" may not be the epitaph you desire.  If the orchard's next door neighbor happens to own a gun shop and use his backyard for a shooting range whenever a customer comes, be ready to get out of there fast.  The orchard's owners were once picking when bullets started wizing past them.  They had a good talk with their neighbor, but they warned us of him just in case.
Step 4: Enjoy the Perks
  • If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, after a day of picking, I'm pretty well set to stay away from the doctor's office for a long time.  Apple pickers can eat as many apples as they wish.
  • If you can talk your family into picking with you, it can be a great family experience.
  • There's plenty of fresh air and invigorating exercise!
  • You get paid! 
  • And, if your employer is as nice as ours, there's also free apple cider and apples!
May the branches of the trees you pick always be low and may your picking sack always be full!

Some of the photos in this post are courtesy of my sister Charity.  Visit her blog here.

70 comments:

  1. Thanks for the list of do's and don'ts and thanks for the beautiful pictures! My mouth is watering for fresh, crisp apples and sweet apple cider :)

    Have a lovely day, Bethany!

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    1. Fresh apples are a highlight of autumn! Have an awesome day as well!

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  2. So fun! My husband, friends And I are going apple picking this weekend! This list definitely comes in handy! :-)

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  3. What a lovely apple picking post. I enjoyed the photos and the rules except for one...sometimes federal regulations make me want to scream, but oh well. Oh my, that's some kind of neighbor the orchard owner has, surely the gun shop owner knows to have his customers shoot only on his own land. Argh, unbelievable.

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    1. Ha, yes! I know how you feel about federal regulations because I feel the same way! There are just too many!

      The neighbor has his customers do the shooting on his own land, but unfortunately bullets do not know property lines.

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  4. what an awesome post! informative, humorous, and real working life, too. :)

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  5. Bethany, as much as I like the idea of picking apples, I think my apple-picking days are quite over! Especially if there's a ladder involved. But I really enjoyed reading this post. Learned a lot, and the photos are lovely. I better stick to cooking those apples!

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    1. That's an important job! Kudos to all apple pie bakers and apple sauce makers!

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  6. Replies
    1. You should see the Fireside apples...they are huge!

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  7. That's a good list! I would be in trouble for taking too many pictures.

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    1. Taking too many photos is a virtue common to us bloggers ;) I enjoy yours!

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  8. What a wonderful, fun and informative post, Bethany! I learned a lot of new things. And the photos are spectacular!

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  9. That was interesting. I've actually never picked my own apples before, but I think it'd be fun to try. I never knew mice made homes in apples, either. That would be a very unpleasant surprise... :)

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    1. You should try it sometime! I never knew mice made homes in apples either until I saw a whole brood last year!

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  10. Bethany wonderful post !!! Thank you .

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  11. Bethany it is a fantastic post. It would be fun picking apples. What a pity I don't have that possibility.

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    1. You find plenty of adventures and interesting places to see!

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  12. great tut Bethany. some good advise and pretty images.

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  13. I picked apples yesterday. Our trees are still loaded. My great nephews came over. I'd hold them up on my shoulders and let them pick the low-hanging fruit. They loved it.

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    1. Sounds like an awesome way to pick apples--with your great nephews! It's always good to make memories with family.

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  14. We are planning our trip to the orchard. Now we have an idea of what to do :) And will keep a sharp eye for mice, I can't believe they make their home in a tree! Love your pictures and gracias for the tips! I agree with everyone of them, but I don't know if I will follow the one of not taking to many pictures, will see :)

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    1. Haha...for the sake of family memories (and perhaps also for the sake of your fellow bloggers?), please do not take my advice on picture-taking! ;) Enjoy your trip to the orchard!

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  15. Thanks for the detailed post of Apple Picking.
    I haven't been Apple Picking in over a decade now.
    The directions you have provided are just as crisp as some of them fine apples.
    Peace :)

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  16. Yikes on the mice in apple trees bit! Maybe that explains all the 'bites' missing on our apples:)
    Blessings, Aimee
    PS: Beautiful apples!

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    1. I hope that's not the problem! There are plenty of bugs that could be guilty as well! God bless! :)

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  17. This sounds like fun!!! I've never picked apples before, but I hope I get a chance too!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips Bethany! :D It looks like you had an enjoyable job. :) I've only picked apples once, because some friends had an annual day in their orchard for our homeschool group to come pick.
    By the way, as nasty as mice can be, the shot you got was pretty cute!

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    1. Picking with a homeschool group sounds like great fun! Thanks, that's one of the shots my sister captured! :)

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  19. Well, I'd be more than happy to pick like a pro....and eat a couple of apples while doing the job.

    I can only imagine how the falling apple would hurt for just a while...but worth it.
    In Colorado, during the summer months, we kids would go out to the cherry orchards around the farms and pick 'em to make extra money...long hours, but the more you pick the more money made since they paid us by the pound. Not to mention all the free cherries eaten. :o)

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    1. Mmm! Cherry picking sounds like a tasty job! Enjoyed your memories! You sound like a good candidate for apple picking!

      After the first few apples fell I sort of started getting used to it... In the future if anyone complains about me being hard headed for one reason or another, I can just tell them it evolved out of necessity.

      At least regulators haven't figured out how dangerous it is yet; otherwise we might have to wear hard hats!

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  20. And the workplace is pretty, too! I didn't know that about an apple touching the ground. I'm sure it's good exercise and nice to be out in the fresh air. The gunshots don't sound too good though! We've gone to the orchards just to pick a bag or two of apples for ourselves. Always fun.

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    1. Agreed--our workplace has definitely "gone green!" Glad you had an opportunity to pick!

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  21. Great pointers.

    I would give my eye tooth for that apple bin.

    Slowly my project is moving.

    Have a great weekend.

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    1. It's amazing what an abundant harvest the orchard is having this year! It is not often that there are two great years in a row.

      You have a great weekend too!

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  22. What a wonderful post, Bethany! I really enjoyed it...and learned some things, too. My blogging friend, Teresa, took me to a farm on the way home from finding Lost Lake, and we were able to purchase some honeycrisp apples and fresh cider.....so yummy and so lovely to be out and about in the fresh autumn air.
    Blessings to you and yours xx

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    1. Glad you were able to stop at the orchard! If I remember correctly, "our" orchard's owners have mentioned Honeycrisp as one of their more popular varieties! Blessings to you as well!

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  23. Awesome post, dear Bethany! Thanks so much for sharing. I love apples, they are healthy and you can do so many things with them. I love the Autumn, the colours of the leaves, the fresh, crisp air and the abundance of root vegetables that are at such good prices at this time...and, of course, apples! :)

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    1. Autumn is a beautiful season! I would find it completely delightful were it not the harbinger of winter!

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  24. Now I have to bake an apple pie.
    Have a good weekend, sweetie.
    Debbie
    xo

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    1. Mmm! Sounds good--wish I could have a slice! Have a good weekend as well.

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  25. oh this is so cool. i have to say that i've never picked an apple in my life (*gasp* i know). but i have had my experience with pears and apricots during summers. picking beautiful apples in the crisp fall weather sounds so romantic. i'd love to do this sometime and i also love your logical and humorous advice and professional pictures. they look like they could be the picture for October on a calendar! well done, i love it when bloggers share slices of their lives like this :)
    -Abigail

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    1. Thank you Abigail for your very kind comment! Pears and apricots sound delicious! We have a couple pear trees, but our apricot tree has never produced fruit.

      I'd never thought of apple-picking as romantic, but I enjoy your choice of words; puts an interesting perspective on it! I think nearly all pastoral labor and idyllic scenery can be very nicely romanticized in literature. When one is sweaty and tired after a long day, it can be harder to appreciate; however, there's plenty of time to ponder life, the world, and everything in it while working!

      Sometimes we pick by a little creek, and it's delightful to listen to the water trickle by in a cool, refreshing stream.

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  26. Hi,
    I like this post about apples! I hope you look at my blog and become a follower by email!!! I would be so excited and happy and it would mean alot to me. :) Here's my blog: creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com
    Love Ashley

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the link to your blog.

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  27. Nice post! While you can eat as many apples as you want, on my second day of picking I eat a lot less than on the first day!!

    I come from a part of the world that (at least when I was a kid) grew apples!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Haha...yes! After a while a person does tire of eating apples, though the many different varieties keep it interesting!

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  28. I so enjoyed this post and your witty writing style. I'd love to do this one day. Sounds like fun. Well, minus the bullets.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, good idea to leave out the bullets! ;)

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  29. Such a fun post and beautiful pictures. I am always really careful not to get a bruised apple because that saying "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch" is true. I could eat an apple every day, I love them.

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    1. Your carefulness would make you an excellent apple picker!

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  30. You look so determine in that one shot. That was a lot of apples you picked. I think I'll stick to picking mine out at the store. And ick to finding a mouse in the trees.

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    1. Think of us apple pickers when you choose yours at the store--we're determined to pick the best for you ;).

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  31. This is a great post ... I didn't realize so much went into apple picking :)

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    1. Thanks Faith! Neither did I till I tried it. :)

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  32. Lovely post!! Thank you so much for sharing, such great apple picking tips and tricks that are very handy, (I would love to do that someday) the photos are just wonderful I find quite cute the one with the little mouse he looks so adorable in his tiny house :) and those apples look so delicious. Hope you have a lovely day.

    Blessings,

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    1. Thanks Laura! Hope you get to try it one of these days! You have a lovely day as well!

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  33. Great reading and viewing! You got the sore muscles, and we got the enjoyment.

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  34. All great photos! I wouldn't be happy at all to come across that mouse. I had no idea they would nest in trees, but apple would be a yummy choice! I also didn't know that federal regulations say apples on the ground are off limits. This is a very informative post!

    Lindy

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    1. Thanks Lindy! The first mouse was quite surprising for me!

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