Make your own Apple Picker
by Sandy Swegel
My beautiful orange apple picker came to a sad end last year under the wheels of a pick-up truck that smooshed it beyond recognition. We sadly have very few apples this year because of late frosts so more than ever I need a picker to reach the apples that are there. My orange apple picker was very pretty, but its tiny basket area was a little frustrating. I could only pick a few apples before maneuvering the entire 12 foot pole down through the tree, take out 5 apples and wind it back up the tree. The other problem was that sometimes the apples didn't want to leave the tree and tugging threw other good apples to the ground, bruising them. So I started thinking about hacking my apple picker.
Well, in a digital world in which “apple” no longer means fruit from a tree, you can't just google “hack my apple picker.” A search for diy fruit pickers turns up lots of makeshift basket contraptions with water bottles which while clever and free, didn't change the small basket problem. I finally thought to look at what the commercial pickers do (besides bringing in big “cherry picker equipment” or precarious ladders.) Somehow I couldn't imagine teams of migrant worker with little orange baskets.
The answer is razor blades! Rather than having a picker with wire fingers, razor blades at the end of your catching device slice the stems quickly.
So here are two possibilities for getting a better apple picker: A DIY instructable with razor blades inside narrow pvc pipe. And the picker the pros use. The DIY picker doesn't include a bag....you have to catch the apples...so maybe you can think of a way to add a bag. Look at the professional picker with its big sack as a model.
Apple picker: http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-FRUIT-PICKER/
Clip-n-pick fruit picker: http://frostproof.com/clip-n-pick-telescoping-fruit-picker-complete/
Photo Credit: http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/History/orchard.htm