Working At
M A Orchards

Seasonal Work at
M A Orchards

Growing Honey crisp apples organically requires a lot of hands on deck. During the last season we employed 300 people, this season we will need 400 employees to help with harvest. Over the years we have employed people from over 40 countries which is a great atmosphere to experience when you are out in the rows and talking to staff. We have 3 periods through the season where we require help, harvest, winter, and spring.

We provide internal training for tasks such as machinery and orchard equipment, as well as using external training when it is required. This training helps ensure we all have a safe and healthy environment to work in. Creating a positive working culture is important at M A Orchards, if you want to be part of it then we would love to have you!

Pruning

Winter

During winter is when the majority of our pruning occurs. This is where secateurs and loppers are used to prune off the excess extension growth from the previous season. It is a great way to still get outside during winter and we get some amazing sunrises during this time!

Experience with this task would be great but if you are keen then we are ready with all the training needed.

Machinery Operation

Spring/Summer

There are several machinery tasks that need to be completed during the growing season. Mowing is a key aspect of organic production and there are different mowers used to target different areas. They are used for the understory, rows, and the headlands. Machinery operators rotate working on the different mowers during this period which is a great way to pick up some new skills!

Spraying also occurs during the growing season, this task requires extreme care and efficiency while also abiding by all local and national regulations. Spraying operators will be required to have their GrowSafe Basic Certificate.

Training is provided for all machinery operation.

Thinning & Summer Pruning

Spring/Summer

The purpose of thinning the trees is to reduce excessive fruit numbers to allow the remaining fruit to size and colour to the required harvest specifications. Thinners will be assigned groups and will complete rows individually. The sunny summer days make working outside a real treat! Supervisors will also be assigned to groups to help make sure you understand the task and help correct any errors.

Some pruning is also done during summer to remove the vigorous growing shoots increase the light intensity in cropping zone and colour intensity.

Harvest

Summer End of February – End of March

Our harvest time is the most exciting time of year and all the orchards will be buzzing with great fruit and activity. We have up to 400 staff in total in a normal year.  Experience is great but we do training for all tasks.

Apple Picking

Summer Harvest Mid Feb – End of March

As our orchards are all one variety, which means we only have a short window to harvest. Teams will be assigned a supervisor and tractor driver at the start of harvest, with pickers working in groups of three within these teams.

This means you can really get to know the people working with you. The supervisors are there to help you understand the task and enjoy your time here at M A Orchards!

Supervising

Summer Harvest Mid Feb – End of March

Supervisors will work with teams to help encourage and monitor pickers to understand the task and monitor their productivity. The supervisors will work with the tractor drivers to ensure the pickers bins are being moved efficiently and quality control checkers who will inform them of the results from the assessments they conduct on the pickers and bins.

This role requires someone who can lead others with a positive attitude to help us complete a successful harvest.

Quality Control

Summer Harvest Mid Feb – End of March

This involves labelling the bins and scanning them into the electronic inventory system. You will also be doing picker and bin assessments to assess the quality of the fruit in the bins as well as the picking techniques.

Quality control checkers will work closely with the supervisors who will help the pickers correct anything picked up during the checkers assessments.

Tractor Driving

Summer Harvest Mid Feb – End of March

Harvest tractor drivers will also be assigned to a team with a supervisor and a quality control checker. The tractor driver will need to monitor the picking progress of each group, so they are able to remove the bins once they are full.

They will also need to monitor how fast the picking teams are to know how often they will need to move their bins for them, this helps ensure the productivity of the pickers when they are not having to walk too far to empty their picking bags. Tractor experience is not required as tractor training is completed at the start of harvest, however a Restricted driver’s licence is required to drive a tractor.

Forklift Driving

Summer Harvest Mid Feb – End of March

Forklift drivers will be loading the bins on trucks to be transported to the packhouse. They will need to ensure that the bins are stacked in the load out area according to block and date.

This task does require forklift experience with a current OSH certificate and F endorsement. If you are someone who likes to work in a fast-paced environment with the necessary skills to achieve the task we would love to have you!