Pickers are expected to show up for work by 5am or first light. Picking is controlled by the days temperature and once it gets too hot, picking will end for the day. This is usually around noon. Cherries are picked into black totes (20lbs), which is the equivalent of 2 pails. Pickers must be careful to place the fruit into buckets and not drop it from heights as this will cause bruising. You are also expected to pick the tree clean and not leave any fruit behind or you will be asked to go back and pick any remaining fruit. We expect the picking season to last approximately 25 days, with a tentative starting date of July 7th, although if the weather is hot and the fruit ripens fast, this start date could be a week earlier.
Packing house employees are expected to be at work on time (at your station and ready to start). Sorting is less physically demanding than picking, but is longer hours. You should wear comfortable shoes as you will be standing in one spot for long periods of time. Your supervisor will show you what is expected of you and with team work, the cherries will arrive in the box, clean and sorted. The sorting work season lasts about a month. Whatever fruit is picked in a day has to be sorted, packed and chilled all in the same day.
Duarte Orchards has a camping area available for our picking and packing staff. All workers are required to have their own tent and we recommend a foamy mattress. Facilities are basic but include flush toilets, hot showers and washrooms, and a kitchen complete with electric stoves, fridges, microwave, sinks, prep area, and a cooking utensil inventory that changes from year to year (we recommend that you bring your own). We also have available a clothes washer machine and drying line. The camp is located within walking distance of our packing facility, and all of our cherry blocks.