Ah, summertime… the peak of our year… the fruit of our labors are ripe for the harvest. There are many different things going on around here in the summer and the fields and facilities are teeming with people who are picking, sorting, grading, packing, palletizing, forklifting, transporting, cooling, selling, inspecting and shipping our fruit. Not to mention our growers and field managers who are busy checking field health (bugs, soil nutrients, tree health, water conditions), determining when each variety is at its best point for harvest, directing each part of the harvest process, and testing new varieties to see where we can improve in the future.
Did you know? Each piece of fruit goes through at least 18 people from the time the grower decides it is ripe until it is loaded on the truck to your store. And about 15 of those interactions occur in less than 12 hours.
The Grower determines when the fruit is ripe & communicates how he wants it
harvested to a Field Crew boss who communicates the logistics to the field crew & supervises as it is harvested by a member of a field crew & loaded onto a bin trailer, pulled by a tractor, whose driver takes it to the loading yard where a forklift operator unloads the trailer & loads it onto the truck. Then the Truck driver drives it to the packing shed where forklift operator #2 unloads the truck and takes the fruit to the pre-cool & eventually to the pack line where an employee unloads the pick totes from each bin onto the pack line. It travels down the line and another employee removes leaves before fruit is washed and moved to the fruit sizer. The fruit sizer technician sets pack line destinations where the fruit is hand-graded and packed by another employee. At the end of the pack line the fruit is hand palletized by another employee. The pallet is strapped together for stability by another employee, and then tagged for traceability by yet another employee. Forklift operator #3 takes the pallet to cold storage to await transport. A member of our sales team writes up the order from our inventory and when the truck arrives for transport, a shipping team member locates the pallets for shipment and forklift operator #4 removes each pallet from cold storage and loads them onto the awaiting truck.
On a side note: this list does not include the irrigators, field managers, field laborers not involved in harvesting, PCAs, mechanics for the equipment, box machine operators, inspectors, facility managers, additional forklift operators, cleaning crews, etc.