A Day in the Field
The Geen family and staff are committed to making a summer of cherry picking both memorable and rewarding. The job is physically demanding requiring long hours, and often long stretches of days. However, our high rate of employees who return year after year is a testament to the financial and personal achievement one can expect once achieved the distinguished title of a 'Coral Beach Cherry Picker'.
What do you bring?
- Your camping gear and guitar
- A good attitude and above average physical fitness
- Ability to work well under pressure and a passion to succeed
- A desire to bring a world class product to a worldwide market
What do we provide?
- Six to eight weeks of summer employment
- A safe and respective work environment
- Industry leading compensation and living conditions
- An opportunity to help bring a world class product to a worldwide market
On your day of arrival to the Okanagan, you can arrange to be picked up and transported to the office, in either Kelowna or Vernon. Simply send a message via Facebook messenger or call the office and ask for Human Resources. Please ensure you are allowing at least 2 days notice so we can schedule our pick ups in a timely manner. On our way to the office, we will stop so you can pick up some groceries. We will bring you to our head office in Lake Country where you will register and sign off on our policies and safety procedures and get your employee identification card. Once registration is completed you will be taken to your camp where you can set up your tent.
A team leader will meet you after the picking day is complete and show you how to pick cherries and cover off ladder safety and ladder placement training. You will then be ready to pick the next day!
The fee for the season of camping is $250. Upon arrival you will be assigned to one of our 3 camps. You may choose any open campsite at the camp to set up your tent for the season. Because picking starts early each morning, we ask pickers staying in our Camp observe a quiet time from 9:00 pm onward each evening. Out of respect for all of our picking staff we will not accept unruly behavior in our camp.
Start Times and Bussing
We start picking early to minimize the exposure of our staff and the picked fruit to the hottest part of the day. Start times will be slightly later as the days get shorter, however at the beginning of the season picking starts at 5am.
We always try to keep our crews working at the orchard their camp is located on or closest to, but at times throughout the season, we will need to bus our staff to our other orchard sites, depending on fruit maturity, volume, and crew numbers.
Start times, picking locations, and any relevant bussing information for the next day are always posted in your camp the afternoon before. This information is also updated daily during harvest on our picking start times hotline.
Every morning, Crew Managers and Team Leads meet to go over the plan for the day before joining the pickers. Team leaders will meet their teams at their camp or after being bussed to the offsite picking location. Team Leaders will distribute picker tags and hold a morning meeting to discuss the plan for the day as well as a Safety tool box meeting. Support staff such as tractor drivers, QCs, and swampers will also report to the work site at this time. Picking begins at the scheduled picking start time.
The picking work day will usually end between 11am-1pm, but variables such as picking volume and weather can result in last minute changes to the length of the work day. You are paid by the pound and therefore your daily pay usually increases with experience.
Picking is rewarding and physically demanding labour that requires safe & strategic ladder placements amongst the trees in order to succeed. At Coral Beach Farms pickers are allotted to a specific number of trees to pick at a time by their team lead. This number is determined based on picker speed and experience as well as fruit volume. Some pickers enjoy partner picking, where you each pick one side of the set of trees you are assigned. It can be an efficient method if you pick at a similar speed.
As pickers complete their totes, they are responsible for affixing their tags (ensuring they will be paid for the totes), and placing them below the trees of the tractor row, which will be located in a row immediately neighbouring the one they are picking.
At Coral Beach Farms, we break our crews into teams of 20-30 pickers, each managed by a team lead.
The main roles of the Team Lead include ensuring safe & effective picking technique, enforcing quality standards, directing pickers to new sets of trees and rows in order to complete the block in an efficient manner (under the direction of the crew manager),
supporting new pickers in improving their quality of work and speed, and providing information, motivation and support to their team.
Fruit Pick Up
Just as crucial to a successful picking day are the support staff who get the fruit from the field to the packing house. Tractor drivers will slowly navigate the tractor rows that have been established by the Crew Manager, where the full totes await pickup. Swampers follow on foot behind the tractor, picking up the full totes and carefully placing them in the bins being towed by the tractor.
Tractor drivers bring their bins to the loading area, where they are either forklifted into a receiving cooler or into a trailer for transport to the closest packing facility.
Tractor drivers also help to supply empty totes to the picking teams - they are critical team members responsible for a safe and efficient picking day.
See cherry picking in action and a slice of life in our Camp! Take a look at our fruit picking video on our you tube channel.
Get to know your Coral Beach Farms family before you arrive – join us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates: what to bring if you are camping, share stories, car sharing and get tips from the old hands!
Just don't take our word....
I haven't stopped raving about Coral Beach since I came back to England! It's a hectic 7 weeks but the location, the people I met and the experience made it all so worthwhile. I was able to use my languages on the Front Desk and explore a part of Canada I had never been to before. As far as a working holiday goes, I'd say Coral Beach is right up there!
Jess Parsons, UK