November has rolled around and so begins our Victorian and NSW berry farmers busy season! The long winter of cutting back, watering and feeding our berry plants has drawn to a close and harvesting is about to begin. Harvest is without a doubt one of the longest, most time consuming and expensive operations in berry farming.
Berries are not an easy fruit to harvest. They are fragile in nature and can be damaged easily if not picked properly, causing loss of produce. Before they are able to begin harvesting, berry pickers are taught how and what berries to pick, and need to follow strict hygiene guidelines.
Berries need to be harvested in the cool of the morning, are ready to harvest when they have begun to loosen on the stem that holds the berry to the plant. By this stage, most berries would have taken on their colour and become firm enough to pull off the plant without damaging the berry itself. The fruit cannot be picked when wet, nor can berry pickers be out when the weather gets too hot. When packing the fruit, the pickers need to ensure no bugs or mud is present.
During harvesting, it is important to pick and store the fruit in refrigeration as quickly as possible. The berries are packaged, labelled and dispatched to stores as soon as possible to ensure they have the longest possible shelf life when they get to the retailers shelves. As they are quite delicate, the berries are carefully handled in refrigerated transport right to the retail store.
We hope this article has given you some insight into how we harvest our fruit. This month Y.V.Fresh has begun harvesting our Krimson Kiss and Erika Raspberries so make sure you look out for them at your favourite berry retailer.