Mrs Jones orchard
Cromwell, New Zealand
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cherry picking

For all employment enquiries, please read our job description and employment conditions, and then fill out our online application form


cherry picking Thanks for your interest in seasonal work on the orchard. This is a description of the work and conditions you are likely to encounter as an "as-and-when-required employee" at Suncrest Orchard.

Fruit thinning - this is the removal of small fruitlets off the trees to enable the remaining fruit to grow to the desired size for the required market. This job is done with scissors or by hand and the employee must be fit, able to climb to the top of a 9-foot ladder, able to carry the ladder about and place it in the appropriate position. You must be capable of working in the outdoors i.e. working in the sun or in cool conditions. Payment is by a mixture of hourly rate i.e. $15-50 plus 8% holiday pay, and contract rates i.e. so much per tree - the rate varies and is agreed upon before the work commences on each variety.

Picking -this is the harvesting of the fruit to the required standard, and again this is physical work. The employee must be able to lift, manoeuvre and climb to the top of a 9-foot ladder. You must also be able to carry the ladders between blocks. You will be assigned a tree to pick which you must harvest to the required standard then you will move, with your ladder, to your next assigned tree. The employee must be capable of working long hours and be able to work in the outdoors i.e. in the heat. Most pickers are paid on a contract rate. The rate varies but the minimum bucket rate (5kg) for cherries is $4-40 plus 8% holiday pay. You must be able to pick enough buckets to earn at least the minimum wage in order to retain your position. There is occasionally hourly-rated picking, but this is very limited and the pay rate is $15-50 per hour plus holiday pay.

Packing- This is the sorting of fruit into different grade standards. The job involves standing at a sorting table. The employee must be fit and have a good concentration span. The employee must be able to work long hours and work can be 7 days per week. Payment for the work is hourly-rated - $15-50 per hour plus holiday pay.

Some points to consider:

  • Work is determined by the weather. If it is raining, fruit cannot be harvested because it may be damaged. If it rains for a couple of days in a row during the cherry harvest, then the fruit may split and become unviable for harvesting. This doesn't happen often, but it can occur. . Work can also be interrupted by decreased demand for the orchard's produce, condition or maturity of the fruit, availability of packhouse space, mechanical breakdown and availability of transport.
  • Cherry picking and packing starts in mid to late December and continues through until early/ mid February, weather permitting. This is our peak season and prior to and after this period, we require fewer staff.
  • We require our staff to be available when the fruit is ready to pick and pack, not when it suits them to turn up.

We have accommodation available on the orchard in single sex bunkrooms. Each bunkroom sleeps 16 and has its own kitchen and TV. Bathroom and laundry facilities are also provided for our staff staying on-site. Because everybody is working hard and requires a decent sleep, the following rules apply to those who stay in our accommodation. If you break these rules you will be asked to find alternative accommodation.

  • No alcohol is allowed on the premises. There are plenty of pubs with courtesy coaches that would be pleased to accept your business should you wish to drink.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • No loud music or excessive noise after 10 o'clock at night. We have neighbours who value peace and quiet.

The accommodation was built nine years ago and has worked very well.

To stay in our accommodation, you will need to bring your own bedding (sleeping bag or sheets, pillowcase and blankets), a cup or glass, a plate, cutlery and something to cook with eg a pot or pan. You will also need to provide your own food and personal items.

We also have a range of off-site accommodation available as well.

We also have tents available for staff to hire and use at a nearby camping ground. A small bond is required in order to hire a tent, and this will be paid back to staff once the tent has been returned to the orchard in good condition. If you are interested in this option for your accommodation please make a note of this on your job application form.

All our accommodation is filled on a first-come-first-served basis and we do not have enough accommodation to house all of our employees.

If you wish to work for us, it is preferable that you have some form of transport as we are 5km from Cromwell. During our peak season, from mid-December until the start of February, we provide a free shuttle service to and from work if you are staying in Cromwell.

Pay is weekly and is paid by direct credit, so you require a New Zealand bank account. Also, you need an IRD number, and if you are from overseas, a current New Zealand work visa.

If you would like to apply for a position at Suncrest Orchard then please complete our online job application form

Michael Jones

Jones family orchard
Suncrest Orchard Ltd • PO Box 19 • Cromwell • NEW ZEALAND
Phone/Fax: +64 3 445 0275 • Employment Enquiries ph 027 2262 799 or 027 226 2791 • Email: