Fruit can be harvested using a variety of methods. Some are more labor-intensive than others, and require special attention to harvesting equipment, storing, and transportation.
The harvesting operation depends on the type of fruit being harvested, as well as its marketing data. It is also important to consider how the product will be packaged and shipped.
Hand-picking is a method of harvesting fruit that requires a person to use their hands to pluck the fruits. This method is faster than using tools and can be used for a variety of fruits including figs, peaches and tangerines.
When using hand picking, a person typically grasps the grapevine and pulls the cluster of grapes out from the stem, separating them. This technique is commonly used for berries, grapes, and other small fruits.
During the harvesting process, a high standard of field hygiene should be maintained. This ensures that the harvested products do not become damaged or spoiled.
In addition to fruits, a variety of other foods can be harvested by hand. For example, vegetables such as lettuce, salad onions and baby leaf crops can be harvested manually.
Originally developed in the 1950s to reduce labor cost, harvesters have become a popular method for picking fruit. Some harvesters contain catch frames to collect fruits and reduce tree damage.
Newer mechanical harvesters can be less operator-dependent and are gentler on the grapes, reducing bruises and other fruit damage. They can also optically sort the grapes to remove material other than grapes (MOG) and inferior berries.
In addition, these harvesters often have de-stemmers for winemakers who want to use stems in their wines. They are also usually about 10-20OC cooler than hand picked fruit, limiting the rate of juice browning and oxidation which affects the color and flavor of the finished wine.
The future of mechanical harvesting has huge opportunities, especially for fruit. As more vineyard managers plant vineyards with mechanical harvesting in mind, they will be able to produce more wine. However, there are some risks and challenges to mechanization that may limit its acceptance in the near future.
Harvesting by machine
In some cases, harvesting fruit by machine is necessary because of a lack of labor. In California, where grapes are a major share of the production of many farms, mechanical harvesters have been developed and are used for a wide variety of types of grapevines.
These self-propelled units straddle the trellised grapevine rows and have rotating arms that dislodge the fruit. They also have blasts of air to remove dirt from the grapevines and chaff.
The harvester is designed to agitate the bushes without damaging them, and it picks fruit with a minimal bruise rate. In addition, it can be operated over a wide range of berry bushes.
There are also mechanical berry pickers for processing raspberries and blueberries, which largely rely on the same type of machine. These machines are relatively tall and straddle the berry bushes like the wine grape harvester. The berries are then picked and conveyed into boxes. These machines are more expensive than the other types of harvesters, but they do a much better job of picking and handling berries.
Harvesting by hand
Hand harvesting is one of the most common methods of fruit harvesting. This method allows people to determine the maturity of crops as accurately as possible, and also reduces mechanical injury to produce.
Picking fruits by hand can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but it is the only way to ensure that the fruit is harvested at the perfect maturity level for optimal quality. This method is especially important for crops that have a wide range of maturity and need to be harvested several times during the season.
To minimize the risk of injury, it is important to review picking procedures regularly and to minimize finger pressure when removing fruits from the trees or plants. In addition, it is helpful to minimize the distance that pickers walk to carry fruit to bins or boxes in order to reduce bruising.