The apples going on the sorting tables were a mixture of good, bad, solid red, not so red, slightly damaged, badly damaged or not damaged at all. It was the sorters job to pick up an apple and make a practically split second decision based on the colour and any defect… if the apple goes on the Extra Fancy, Fancy, C grade or the Cull belt.
This was an important decision to make. It affected the financial return to the grower. Before a shipment was allowed to go, it was checked by Government Inspectors. If it didn’t pass inspection, the whole order had to be repacked which was a very costly procedure, so the sorters had to be very special people.
Once the apple was put on one of the belts the ‘Cull’ went directly to the cull bin but the ones on the other belts went onto the Grader, where they gently dropped individually into so called cups. These cups moved along the full length of the grader and at a predetermined spot, the bottom of the cup opened up, the apple gently rolled into a padded special container, ready for the packer.
These spots, where the cups opened up were carefully set by the grader foremen and maintenance person. This was important too, because 80 apples in one box had to weigh about the same as 120 in another box.
The packers job was to put these carefully selected apples into boxes. Each packer had a specially constructed buggy that supported her wrapping papers and her box, that she grabbed off the overhead moving hook. Once the box was in place, with one hand she grabbed a wrapping paper, with the other hand an apple, one quick twisting move and the apple is beautifully wrapped in the box. 80 or the required more moves and the box is full. Quick turn of the buggy, slide the box onto the moving rollers and the box is on it’s way to be labelled, stamped and lidded.
It was a beautiful, unforgettable experience to watch these packers make their moves.
submitted by John Kiss