Late Apple Harvest Still Needs Workers

Late Apple Harvest Still Needs Workers
Late Apple Harvest Still Needs Workers

(Updated 11:45 a.m.) – It’s getting late in the season for apples, but many orchards still have open orders with WorkSource for apple pickers.

Craig Carroll, North Central WorkSource, says not all growers list their openings through WorkSource, so the actual need if higher than the numbers they list.

“We have 27 orders right. We just filled two in Omak this morning with a total of 440 openings. This means that the 27 growers that still have open orders with us need 440 more apple pickers.,” Carroll said.

These numbers cover Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Adams and Grant counties. Right now they’re picking Fuji, Pink Lady and Cameo apples. Some growers are still harvesting Red Delicious though its late in the season.

Carroll says most growers need experienced pickers to gather the remaining harvest.

“We are getting very late in the season and many growers are finishing harvest,” Carroll said. He continued, “Some pickers are staying when they finish one farm to help out other growers, but many are leaving as it has been very cold, especially in Okanogan County the last few nights.”

Workers are paid hourly starting with minimum wage. That daily pay can increase based on how many bins of apples they pick a day. The bin value ranges based on what type of all they pick.

Housing in these regions are all very limited, so that’s another can of worms. 

The Math

According to WorkSource, employers are paying $8.67-$9.50 per hour.

Growers are paying $26 per bin for Fujis. That high number may seem like a money maker, but Fujis require more work reducing the number of bins you can fill.

“Fuji apples require that you clip the stems with little clippers. This slows people down considerably, so the average drops two to three bins a day. A good picker might pick six to seven bins a day,” Carroll added.

If a picker worked eight hours a day at minimum wage and picked two bins, they could make $121.36 before tax.

Growers are also paying $25.50 per bin for Pink Ladies* and $20 for Cameos. The average picking per day is about five bins. Carroll says a good picker would pick about eight bins a day.

If a picker worked eight hours a day at minimum wage and picked five bins, they could make $196.86 for Pink Ladies and $169.36 for Cameos before tax.

Apply: More information about these jobs can be found online at WorkSource’s website. You can call Worksource in Okanogan County at 509-826-7310 or 509- 826-7335 TTY, Wenatchee WorkSource Affiliate at 509-665-6605 or WorkSource Central Basin at 509-766-2559 before traveling to the area.

* The price for Pink Ladies was averaged down from $25.67.