The pears are still piling up on us; I thought I’d give you a quick description of what we actually do:
1. The pears are picked from the trees in the orchards by pickers. Those are payed per bin and usually make more than the packers, though they work harder (but outside! – also meaning they can’t work in rain). They are being told about which pears should be picked, how big and how ripe they should be. The treetops of the trees growing in line and being very thin can be reached by ladders and the pickers carry big bags to put the pears in – heavy!
2. Optionally the pears are stored in the cool room for a while after they have been transported to the packing house.
3. Packers pack the pears onto the conveyer belt. Not too bad as a job as it is quite outside as well and you can talk to the others.. or race to flood the packing line and get a break.. :)
4. Graders grade the pears: Too green? Too many brown marks? Stem punches? Into the juice bin!
5. The machine sorts the pears by size and they land in different bins. Sometimes they also get stickered.
6. Packers pack the pears in boxes that can be taken out of slides from the ceiling (others have to work above and put them there).
6a. (opional) Sometimes the pears have to be stickered by hand. Who the hell decided fruit need stickers?? I would certainly want to write that person a lot of angry letters! Putting stickers on up to fifty fruit in a box and the boxes come every 20 seconds or so.. have fun! xP
7. Stackers take the boxes from the lanes and stack them onto palettes.
8. The palettes are taken outside by the forklift and put onto the truck.. bye-bye! See you in Europe! :)