Thursday, June 28, 2007

What I Like About Fruit...

Yesterday was nothing more than a management disaster. I may be a virtual WonderWoman, and after all, I can manage an entire field with a five year old at my feet and a baby on my hip, but I simply can not instruct twenty five staff on appropriate picking technique AND direct the public as to where they may go on the farm. And driving through the electric fence into the horse pasture IS NOT ONE OF THOSE PLACES.

Instructing on proper picking technique sounds like a pretty ridiculous part of my job. I know it does. The first few years I worked here, my instructions consisted of muttering "The fruit is in the field. Go put it in your basket."

I've learned over the years, though, that picking fruit is not an easy job, and I suppose that's why people aren't lining up to become professional fruit pickers. Our staff consists mostly of unemployed people looking for pocket cash while they wait for a new job, or small children who can't find another source for their cigarette money.

Yesterday I instructed a child on how to pick, how to pick fruit that wasn't already mush on the vine. I want pieces of fruit that are attractive, that are generally red in color, and that aren't coated with a thick mass of mold. Green, mishapen fruit is not acceptable. I can't convince some of these kids that green berries are not yummy berries, that if you don't want to mow down on it yourself, then neither does the rest of the world. After going through three of his baskets and tossing out most of the fruit in it, I figured he would have understood.

And hour later I approached him, and beaming from ear to ear he presented me with six basets of fruit that, combined, created a whole of two and a half baskets. The rest of the fruit, if you could call it that, was no more something you would want in your mouth than you would want it shoved up your left nostril.

I suppose that this is where the difficulty in managing a fruit farm comes in. I could have wrung this teeny, tiny little child's neck. I could have squeezed his itty-bitty little head until his eyeballs popped out of their sockets because HOW HARD IS IT to discern between something edible and something not edible? Don't you do that every day? Don'e you come across the trash can and automatically KNOW, without a doubt, that YOU DO NOT WANT TO CONSUME ITS CONTENTS?

And then, when I heave a sigh and leave he field, the ripe fruit that normal people would want to eat is left sitting on the vine. And sometimes I may shed a little tear and sometimes not, and the happy little pieces of produce have escaped unscathed.

I'm sure they're singing something annoying and demeaning as I leave the field. Fruit is vindictive like that.

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Anonymous Jummy said...

Can you please confirm that it's mostly the young kids that have issues with this concept of picking edible fruit? If so, that'll support my hypothesis that kids just don't care! They don't pay enough attention to things and don't have this desire to do a good job, give something their best shot, or try their hardest. Instead, they are after a quick profit, screw whoever gets let down in the end.

It drives me nuts!

10:40 a.m.  
Blogger David said...

I worked for a few weeks picking green beans at a farm. We got paid by the bushel. I'd normally finish the day with two bushels. I'd be jeered by a few other pickers who ended up with 5-6 bushels. (bear in mind a bushel of beans is a LOT). The owners though, would tend to thank me for mine, which were normally 90%+ saleable produce. I'd hear them mutter about the 6 bushels of produce which were wasted by another picker, who pulled anything that even remotely looked like a bean, and put it in the basket. This was grade 11. Kids don't care, they're after the quick profit, with no thought about whether they'd be fired for being crappy workers.

11:47 a.m.  

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