Posted by: maboulette | November 9, 2011

WASHINGTON ORCHARDS DESPERATE FOR APPLE PICKERS


Rocky Ridge Apple Orchards

By SHANNON DININNY – Associated Press 

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Apple growers say they could have had one of their best years ever if a shortage of workers hadn’t forced them to leave some fruit on trees.

Growers in Washington state, which produces about half of the nation’s apples, say the labor shortage was made worse by a late start to their harvest. The growing season got off to a slow start because of a cold, wet spring, and some migrant workers didn’t stick around to wait for it.

But farmers say an immigration crackdown by the federal government and states such as Arizona and Alabama scared off many more workers. They have tried to replace them with domestic workers with little success and inmates at a much greater cost. Many growers have resorted to posting “pickers wanted” signs outside their orchards and asking neighbors to send prospective workers their way.

Jeff Pheasant and his sister Darla Grubb are the fourth generation in their family to grow apples near Soap Lake, about 120 miles east of Seattle. They said their harvest was a week behind because the fruit wasn’t ripe, then another week behind because they had no workers to pick it.

Pheasant Orchards usually has 65 workers at the peak of harvest. Only 50 pickers arrived this year, and many were inexperienced, Pheasant said.

“You have to have people,” Grubb said. “They’re the reason we have fruits and vegetables. We couldn’t do this without our workers.”

About 15 billion apples are picked in Washington each year, all by hand. Orchards line the hillsides and valleys east of the Cascade Range from the Canadian border in the north to the Columbia River in the south. 

Read More

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I guess Perry could send all the illegals from Austin there ………

    • I don’t think Perry is handling any Texas business right now – too busy running for President. I actually thought Perry was much smart than he seems to be – surprise, surprise!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: