Summer is a busy season for you if you own a fruit orchard. It is the season when different produce is ripe for harvesting, such as cherries, strawberries, and blueberries. Your orchard needs to be ready to meet the increased demands of the season. This can mean improved logistics, an increase in manpower, or better farm management techniques. Here’s how to maintain your orchard in the harvest season to have better overall organisation and meet the growing demands.
1. Consider getting a sorting machine.
Having a sorting machine for harvest time can be very helpful. If you have picked lots of fruits of varying sizes and quality—as is often the case with fruits such as strawberries and apples—then this machine can be a lifesaver. It can sort your fruits based on size. This way, you can separate the best products and sell them at a higher price, while making use of efficient time management. You will need fewer farmhands, which can result in cost savings. There is also less chance of your fruits getting damaged during the picking and sorting processes when done manually. If you splurge, you will be able to get a high-tech sorting machine that has the ability to perform sorts based on colour, size, and weight.
2. Make sure that you have enough storage space.
Running out of storage space during the harvest season can be disastrous. If you run out of space or containers, this will cut into your profits, as your fruits may spoil or get damaged. You need to order large plastic bins or storage boxes ahead of time. If you are reusing crates or barrels from last year, make sure that you have cleaned them out well, sanitised them, and given them enough time to dry. Make sure that you have enough dark, cool rooms to store the harvest and enough free space to hang them up if necessary. If you are going to turn them into processed products, such as preserves, make sure that you have the utensils necessary, enough kitchen and refrigerator space, and mason jars.
3. Make sure that you have all the right cleaning supplies.
Harvesting and processing require extensive cleaning. Make sure that you have all the necessary equipment for this. You will need to inspect and clean all the farm equipment that will be used for picking, sorting, and pruning. The storage containers will also need to be cleaned and sanitised in preparation. Any leftovers or bacterial growth will lead to your produce rotting quickly. Part of this process is checking and replacing equipment parts that will be used to prevent delays in the harvest.
4. Prepare to host tourists.
If you are going to open up your orchard to fruit-pickers and tourists, you need to be equipped to handle the crowd. Make sure that you have enough helping hands and entertainment for visitors, as well as necessities such as baskets or bags.
Summer is only the beginning of a long harvest season that stretches into fall. Being prepared early on in the season will make sure that you stay ahead of the game all year long.