Bennington Banner Newspaper Archives Oct 2 1965, Page 5

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Bennington Banner (Newspaper) - October 2, 1965, Bennington, Vermont A migrant worke r Gat hers drops. Full bins come from the Orchard via Banner saturday october 2, 1965-5 Southern excellent Vermont crop but Orchards too few plight pickers a als this is somewhat higher than he 110,000 bushels he had last year. To pick these Mayer this year currently has Only some 22 pickers compared to the 80 or 90 he has usually had. As of wednesday Meyer reported Only some 26,240 bushels have been picked whereas for this time of year 60 to 70 thousand bushels should be picked. Of the difference a growing number of apples Are now lying on the ground rotting instead of still hanging in the tree waiting for the picker s hand. When asked Meyer gave this reporter no estimate of the Quantity he has lost to drop Page to Date but said a just come up to the Orchard and Iti show you the ground underneath some of the Trees a you la see what i not helping any was the period of four or Ive Days last week of mid Sun Mer like temperatures which seeded up natures process of drying up the Apple stems so that the fruit or it is off. To Stem the mounting drop Page Meyer said that sunday he will have a plane spaying certain chemicals on his As yet unpacked Trees which will retard this ripening process. In past years Meyer said he has generally had 25 or 30 local pickers and the balance of the 80 or 90 pickers made up of migrant workers from the South. The present 22 pickers Are divided about equally Between migrants and local pickers. Meyer said there Are some 20 migrants in All at the Orchard but of these Only la Are picking while the others Are working at other jobs or Are part of the migrant Crews management staff. Meyer Laid the shortage of the migrant pickers to the . Department of labors controversial decision to bar the importation of foreign workers by . Or chartists and growers of other fruits and vegetables for the Harvest of their crops. While Meyer normally has used Domestic migrant and not foreign help the effect of this decision he indicated was to keep the native migrant help in areas to the South because of the shortage of help normally imported from the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands. As for local pickers Meyer said the state department of employment Security had been making a major Effort to recruit pickers but without great Success. Meyer said he understood that teams of Des representatives had even gone out on door to door solicitations in the search for workers. Meyer noted that at one Point he had had several High school students picking but he reported that he had lost them apparently because some local residents had expressed concern about the students working Side by Side with the negro migrant workers. A for a world that is supposed to eventually be integrated a he noted a this kind of thing hardly encourages he also reported that through a Contact with the Windsor state prison he had been Able to get two Par Olio 3 to join him As pickers. He Sal. That one of those had been Able to earn $140 in Only five Days of picking Meyer Jaid that pickers Are paid on a piece rate basis i h $4 the going rate for each 20-Bushel bin of apples. As an incentive to remain the whole season Meyer said a Bonus cd co cents a bin is paid at the end of the season to those who have remained. Pickers he said generally average Between 5 and 6 bins a Day. Now being picked at Meyers Orchard Are Mcintosh apples which form about half of his total crop. Of the other half approximately 25,000 bushels Are Northern spy apples and the balance is divided among red and Golden delicious Cortland and a few greening apples. All these Ripen at a later Date. While there is no question but that Meyer is behind in his picking he said thursday it was too Early to assess what his losses May amount to. This will depend on weather conditions and the availability of pickers in the coming weeks. Meyer said his Best Hope now for getting More pickers is to obtain some additional migrant workers from the Hudson Valley Orchard area in new York state where the Harvest is just about Over with. Further North Paul w. Bohne Iii manager of the Harwood Hill Orchard reported that while he has had a High turnover of pickers he has been getting the Orchards approximately 6,000 bushels off the Trees and to Market. Unlike Meyers Orchard where the bulk of the crop is sold through wholesale distribution or to commercial Pac King plants the Bohne family Sells its apples primarily through its own retail outlet right on . 7. In addition some of their apples go to various local stores for retail Sale. Bohne foresaw the labor Market for pickers getting smaller and smaller and attributed this to the existence of various welfare legislation and to other sociological factors to meet this problem he noted that More and More Orchards including the�?T, arc shifting Over to the raising of Apple Trees. These he indicated Are easier and therefore less As with Many Apple growers in Northern Vermont and Over in new Hampshire a shortage of pickers this year is creating serious problems for Southern Vermont Orchards of Pownal and Bennington one of the largest such operations in the state. But at least one other much smaller Orchard in this area while having employment problems is apparently getting its crop in without serious difficulty. To begin with it s a a Vintage year for apes according to Erwin w. Me it a proprietor of Southern Vermont Orchards both in respect to Quality and color As Well As Quantity. For Quantity Meyer estimates he has a crop of 125 Ojo Bush stapling the filled Carton. Hand 8 or Ting of Ripe Mcintosh apples proceeds. Costly to pick than the Normal sized Trees and because of their size Are in othe ways More economical to raise. Various Orchard equipment for the Dwarf Trees such As sprayers and tractors he indicated can be smaller and therefore less costly. Savings in overhead made Here Bohne indicated would mean that higher rates of pay to attract hard to find pickers could be afforded. Bohne depends entirely on local pickers and employs be migrants. He said he has a j f or or five regular pickers working every Day and three or four regular coming in after school and on weekends. For his other pickers a which have gone As High As 14 working at one time a he has however experienced problems with High turnover and other hiring problems. Heady for picking but who will do it conveyor carries sorted and washed apples to by Bob Hagerman photos by Emil Grimm

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