||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2014)|
Types of fruit
Although this is ultimately a method of purchasing apples, it is often a social activity as well. Apple picking is often a very popular dating ritual in the American Midwest. Apple orchards catering to a family outing will provide additional activities beyond the picking of apples. Many have petting zoos, restaurants and country shops that sell related products such as home-made jams and jellies. This aspect of the activity is especially popular in the Northeastern United States & Southern Ontario and Southern Québec in Canada.
The apples that fall off the trees are often used to make apple cider. Apple cider is a juice made grinding the apples, then pressing out the juice.
Most of the fruit picking is done by migrant workers. Migrant workers are frequently used as they can be paid relatively low wages and usually do the job quite well. In California, Mexican migrants are most frequently doing the work. There has been much controversy about replacing workers with automation. It puts many out of work.
In Australia and New Zealand a lot of Fruit Picking work is done by backpackers on a Working Holiday Visa. The Australian government encourages people on this visa to do this sort of work for a minimum of 3 months so they can add another year to their visa. This benefit is not for all parts of Australia, you must undertake work in selected post codes to be eligible for the extra year.
As labor costs are still quite expensive in fruit picking, robots are being designed that can replace humans for this kind of work. The research is still in full progress, especially as the robots need to be carefully designed so that they do not bruise the fruit while picking. One solution is the use of suction grippers, used on automated fruit picking machines manufactured, for example, by ACRO. Citrus fruit robot pickers have thus far been the focus of research and development, but cherry pickers are also being researched. Vision Robotics, in particular, has made several robots that are already capable of taking over the work.