Employee obtains a cardboard box from the end of the row and then places the box in a small single wheeled metal cart. The employee then proceeds down an assigned row picking the strawberries and placing them in the box and packing them until the crate is full. The strawberries are placed in plastic baskets or containers. The strawberry boxes weigh between 10-13 lbs. when full.
When the employee has filled and packed the cardboard box, the employee then proceeds to carry the box “crate” (most employees carry the full crate on their hip but some employees carry it up on the shoulder. The completed crate is taken to the end of the row and stacked on other completed crates and employee self-punches for the crate harvested. Once this is done the employee proceeds to obtain another empty box and repeats the process.
Physical Requirements: Standing and Walking: 100% of the workday is spent on one’s feet. Worker rarely stands in one place except when punching and to get another empty box. Surface is fairly even and dry (drip irrigation is used) unless it has recently rained. The furrows are approximately a foot wide at the bottom.
Lifting & Carrying: The only items lifted or carried are the box full of strawberries and the picking cart. The boxes would weight no less than 10 lbs. and no more than 13 lbs. The small metal picking cart is carried between rows and weighs approximately 3 lbs.
Stooping & Bending (from the waist): This activity would be constant. When picking, worker must walk along the assigned row in a bent-from-the-waist position although they can opt for squatting, kneeling, etc. This activity would comprise approximately 75% of the workday. Employee straightens up each time they complete a full crate of strawberries to carry it to the end of the row. This can be anywhere from 5-10 times per hour depending on the production and picking speed. Employee would be in a vertical position when going to and from the checker while getting crate inspected and punched.
Handling (hand, finger & wrist movement): Employee would constantly handle berries using both hands to pick. Considerable dexterity is necessary if employee is to maintain a rapid pace during the day.
Reaching & Stretching: Employee would constantly be using a reaching motion when picking. Reaching motion would always be down towards the ground. As the employee is standing in the furrow and picking off the mound (bed) on either side. The berries are found approximately one foot or lower from the bottom of the furrow.
Pushing: This motion would be required to move the cart, with box down the row. Total weight, assuming a full box of berries would not exceed 15 lbs.
Pulling: Only when using the hoe for weeding. Kneeling, crouching: Worker would have the option of kneeling or crouching while picking rather than bending at the waist.
Environmental Conditions: Harvesting is always conducted outdoors, generally in good weather. Because of the season, the weather is usually warm and dry, but the temperature can be fairly cool in the mornings and rise to fairly high levels at midday (e.g. 50°F in the a.m. and 65° to 75°F in the afternoon).
Hours: Hours vary but generally a full day is from 6-10 hours per day. The strawberry season varies by region.
Tools, Equipment Needed: Worker normally uses no tools other than the small, single-wheeled cart upon which the cartons are placed. When cutting runners, a small knife with a curved blade is used. When hoeing, a long handled hoe is used. When planting, a small hand trowel is used.
The Crew Leader will lay out the objectives and direction of the strawberry harvester. The harvester will then be responsible to the Crew Leader in reaching those goals and following the policies and procedures of the Company.