FAQ

Fruit Picker FAQ

1. Can I bring a friend to a pick?

Only paid subscribers are covered by our insurance. Our insurance company says anyone attending a pick should be a paid subscriber so that they are properly covered. And really, registration is easy and not that expensive – it sure helps us out when people subscribe.

2. Can I bring my kids to a pick?

Yes you can.

We love exposing kids to the fruit picking experience. There are just a few things you need to be aware of:

A pick may be 1-2 hours long. Picking and lugging fruit are heavy work. You never know the condition of the yard you’re entering – is it fenced? are there pets? are there flower beds? etc.

Ripening fruit often attracts wasps.

Good picking access around trees is often limited, especially if there are other pickers attending. Ladders and picking tools are fascinating to kids and they often want to use this equipment.

Be mindful of other pickers so kids aren’t interfering with their ability to pick.

And, if someone else brought a ladder or picking equipment, don’t let your kids climb their ladder. A good bet is to touch base with the fruit owner and other pickers.

3. Do Pickers need to clean the yard during a pick?

You certainly don’t need to clean the whole yard, but it’s a really, really good idea to clean up in and around where you’ll be picking fruit. It’s actually for your benefit, really! If you rake up debris and old apples that have already fallen, you’ll have a clean surface below for the newly fallen (and perfectly good) apples.

Many volunteers clean up and then lay a tarp or sheet down to catch the good apples that inevitably fall during a pick. It’s also common courtesy to pick up any debris or leaves that may have fallen during a pick. Place compost material in a bag, box or pile neatly to one side or in a fruit owner provided compost bin. If you have access to another compost bin and can take the compost with you – even better.

Fruit owners should not expect fruit pickers to clean eaves troughs or parts of the yard that are not directly related to the fruit pick. The goal is to build good relationships and keep everyone happy so that fruit will get posted and picked every year.

4. How do I sign up to pick fruit?

Signing up to pick fruit is easy with Fruit Connect. There’s no need to download anything, you just need to have access to the internet – you can use any device. Here’s the step by step instructions:

Step1

Head to Fruit Connect – http://fruitconnect.fruitsharesteinbach.ca/ and hit Sign Up.

sign up to Fruit Connect

Step 2

Subscribe for Unlimited Access so you can get details about picks – like the exact address. This is going to cost you $10.75 for the year.

subscribe for unlimited access


Step 3

Turn on notifications. Trust me, you’ll want to check this box so you get email notices when new fruit is available for picking. No need to check the website everyday – this notification will keep you in the loop. Just a heads up – when you get the notice, read it right away so you can get in on the action!

get notifications

You’re officially subscribed, now go ahead and browse the pick listings shown on Fruit Connect.

Step 4

Browse and choose your favourite pick(s).

choose a pick

Click on your preferred fruit and location to get more details. Click the blue ATTEND button.

That’s it – you are a fruit picker! Go get some fruit!

hit Attend

5. I don't have a car, can I get a ride to a pick?

Sorry, we aren’t able to offer transportation to picks. Your best bet is to email fellow pickers to see if you can get a ride with them. All attendees are listed in the pick details.

6. What do I do after a pick?

There are two things we ask you to do after a harvest…

1) Share the Bounty: Please share one third of the harvested fruit with a community organization that accepts fruit or a friend or neighbour that is unable to pick fruit themselves.

2) Provide Feedback: Let us know how you’re pick went. Login to the pick information on Fruit Connect and answer two simple questions. Your best guess as to the weight of the fruit is all that’s needed. This helps us to keep track of how much fruit has been harvested throughout the season and where it was shared.



If you want to tell us more or have some great photos of your pick, contact us at fruitsharesteinbach@gmail.com.

7. What do we do with dropped fruit or compost?

Ideally, ask the fruit owner how they would prefer to deal with compost material. Otherwise, we recommend placing compost material or any unusable fruit (eg. fruit already on the ground when you arrive or damaged fruit) in a bag, box or pile neatly to one side or in a fruit owner provided compost bin. If you have access to another compost bin and can take the compost with you – even better.

Always keep the fruit owner in the loop to let them know your plans.

8. What happens at a pick?

The day before the pick…

Fruit owners receive an email reminding them of the upcoming pick and providing information about who is attending. Fruit owners are encouraged to email all attendees to confirm details. Fruit pickers and fruit owners should have clear expectations about the type, quality and ripeness of the fruit, who will pick when (if there are multiple pickers on different dates), who will bring what equipment and how much of the fruit will be picked (will all the fruit be picked, only one hours worth of fruit or only one box worth of fruit?).

The day of the pick…

Arrival at the Pick

Fruit pickers arrive at the pick location at the agreed upon time with all necessary equipment (ladders, gloves, rakes, container, etc.).

As a common courtesy, fruit pickers knock on the door to let the fruit owner know they’ve arrived. If the fruit owner is not home, fruit pickers may enter the property as long as the fruit owner indicated they may pick even if not home on the pick listing.

Fruit pickers assess the yard and the condition of the fruit. If the yard is safe for picking and the fruit is ripe, picking may begin. If fruit pickers have any hesitation about their safety or concerns about the quality of the fruit they may leave the site. They should let the fruit owner know their concerns either while at the site or via a follow-up email.

Picking Begins

Before picking begins, any existing dropped fruit should be removed. Dropped fruit should be placed in a specified compost bin (if made available by the fruit owner), gathered in garbage bags and neatly stored off to the side or taken away to an offsite compost site (if fruit pickers have access to one). Due to possible contamination, it is not recommended that dropped fruit be used by fruit pickers. Dropped fruit should never be donated to community groups or used for cider pressing.

Once the area is cleared, pickers harvest the fruit. This may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on the type and amount of fruit and the number of pickers. Fruit pickers must show care and respect for fruit owners’ properties and fruit plants while at the same time being safe and avoiding unnecessary risks. This may mean that some parts of a fruit tree may not get picked (e.g. if the fruit hangs over a delicate structure or the fruit is higher than can be safely reached with a ladder, etc.).

When finished, pickers clear the area and leave it as neat and tidy as they found it. Pickers are responsible for splitting and sharing the fruit 3 ways (1/3 each to the fruit owner, the pickers and a community group unless otherwise noted in the confirmation). After the Pick Pickers are responsible for returning to the Fruit Connect site to let Fruit Share know how much fruit was harvested and where it was donated.

9. What happens if it is raining?

It’s up to you, the fruit owner and fellow pickers. Email each other and discuss.

Email addresses of fruit owners and attendees are towards the bottom of the pick information.

If it’s a light rain, you may choose to go ahead with the pick. If there this thunder and lightening, please don’t go. We want you to be safe, sometimes that means rescheduling.

10. What if I can't make it to a pick at the last minute?

It happens, just be sure to let the fruit owner and other pickers know what’s happening. If it’s the day of the pick email the attendees and fruit owner. Email addresses are always available at the bottom of the pick information.

email addresses

If you know you won’t be able to attend a few days before the pick, you can login and un-attend a pick. This will let the fruit owner know what’s happening.

unattend a pick

11. What if I don't have a ladder or pick equipment?

Here are some options for you to consider:

1) Borrow a ladder from a friend.

2) Borrow a fruit picker (some with extension poles) from us. Email fruitsharesteinbach@gmail.com to arrange pick up and drop off of a picker.

3) Check with your fellow pickers and the fruit owner to see if they have additional equipment for you to borrow.

Remember, picks with tall trees work best if everyone is well equipped.

12. What if I'm the only one attending a pick?

It’s not unusual for some harvests to only have one person sign up – sometimes there’s just so much fruit available.

If you feel uncomfortable attending a pick on your own, bring a friend for company or let the fruit owner know you can’t attend. We want you to feel safe.

If you’re concerned about how much time a pick may take or how much fruit there is to harvest, email the fruit owner and discuss it with them. You may decide to pick for a limited time or only a certain amount of fruit. Whatever you choose, please email the fruit owner and let them know what’s going on.

13. What if the fruit is under-ripe, over-ripe, or just inedible? Do I have to pick it?

No. You don’t need to pick inedible fruit.

Out of consideration, please let the homeowner know that you aren’t able to pick their fruit and why. 

If it is under-ripe suggest a future date when you can go back to pick the fruit.

14. What is a Flexible Pick?

A flexible pick is selected by fruit owners when they want to give fruit pickers a 1-7 day period to pick fruit rather than setting one specific date and time. In order for flexible picks to work, fruit pickers and fruit owner must email everyone involved to confirm who’s picking when, how much and how fruit gets shared.

For example:

Picker 1 picks half the apple tree on Tuesday at 10 am, Picker 2 picks the other half on Wednesday at 7 pm.

The fruit owner and both pickers have agreed that each picker will leave a bag of apples for the fruit owner and share 1/3 of their take home apples with a community group of their choice.

While it does require more coordination and communication by everyone involved, we hope that greater flexibility means more fruit gets rescued. Here’s what fruit owners see when they create a flexible pick.

flexible pick fruit owner

Here’s what a flexible pick looks like in the pick list.

flexible pick listing


15. What should I bring to a pick?

Unless the fruit owner has specifically indicated they have picking equipment for you to use, you are expected to bring everything you need to pick the fruit safely and effectively.

For a fruit tree you’ll need:

1 ladder or fruit picker per volunteer
1-2 tarps (These are great for catching any fruit that will accidentally drop while you’re picking.)
Boxes or bags for any compost or waste material
Buckets, bags or containers for fruit, including some for fruit you’ll share with a community group
1 rake for clean up
Gloves if you like ’em

For a rhubarb or grapes you’ll need:

1 sharp knife, scissors or garden snips per volunteer
Pails/boxes for the compost and the fruit
It’s up to you to arrive with the proper picking equipment. Contact friends, family or other pickers attending the pick to make arrangements for picking equipment and transporting it.



Fruit Owner FAQ

1. Can I list veggies or herbs?

Absolutely! We’re pretty sure our fruit pickers would be thrilled! Follow the same process for creating a successful pick, just choose OTHER for the type of fruit and fill in the blank.

other than fruit

2. Do I have to be present at the pick?

Nope, it’s totally up to you.
When you create a pick, you can check if you wish to be at home or if pickers can pick even if you’re not at home.
fruit owner participation
We encourage fruit pickers to always knock on your door when they arrive as a common courtesy. If you don’t wish to participate just say hello and point the pickers in the right direction.


3. Do I have to help pick the fruit?

Not if you don’t want to. The choice is totally up to you.

It’s nice to welcome the pickers and visit with them for a while if you can, but there’s no obligation for you to be there or to help pick the fruit.

4. How do I list my fruit to get picked?

You’ve come to the right place! List your fruit on Fruit Connect to let potential pickers know it’s available.

Log in to Fruit Connect, Subscribe for Unlimited Access ($10.75) and Create a Pick.
For detailed instructions, read How to Create a Successful Pick.

5. I've picked my fruit but can't use it all, now what do I do with it?

You’ve done the hardest part, nice work!

The fun part is sharing it with others. Here are some options:
Drop your fruit off at one of the organizations in Steinbach that accept fruit donations.

Create a listing on Fruit Connect stating that the fruit has already been harvested and just needs to be picked up.

If you haven’t done so, ask the recipients to share a portion with a community group. Use your social media to let your network know you have fruit.

6. What can I do to increase the chance of my fruit getting picked?

Here’s what we’ve seen works best:

1. Post picks in a timely manner. Judge the ripeness of your fruit and try to post picks a week in advance of the optimal pick time.

2. Provide honest, detailed descriptions. The more information you can provide about your fruit the better. For example, even if you don’t know the variety tell potential pickers as much as you can about the color, size, ripeness, flavor, quality, use (juicing, eating or baking), etc. of your fruit and how much fruit is available and how easy or difficult it is to get at (eg. fruit is at the top of a tree higher than the garage).

3. Communicate with pickers. Email attendees and start a group conversation with all pickers, even if they’re coming on different days. The more rapport you build with pickers, the more successful the pick will be.

4. Choose pick times convenient for pickers. Most pickers have day jobs, so think about scheduling picks early weekday evenings or on the weekends. Or consider setting up a flexible pick where pickers can contact you to arrange a convenient picking time.

5. Promote your pick & Fruit Connect. Use your social media or your connections to let people know you’ve posted your fruit on Fruit Connect. The more people who are talking about it, the more potential pickers will see your posting.

These ideas will help, but sometimes there’s just too much fruit and not enough pickers, especially when it comes to crab apples.

While you’re busy promoting your own fruit to be harvested, we’ll continue to promote Fruit Connect and rescuing local fruit. Together we can work together to get more fruit harvested, shared and enjoyed!

7. What happens on the day of a pick?

The day before the pick…

Fruit owners receive an email reminding them of the upcoming pick and providing information about who is attending.
Fruit owners are encouraged to email all attendees to confirm details. Fruit pickers and fruit owners should have clear expectations about the type, quality and ripeness of the fruit, who will pick when (if there are multiple pickers on different dates), who will bring what equipment and how much of the fruit will be picked (will all the fruit be picked, only one hours worth of fruit or only one box worth of fruit?).

The day of the pick…

Arrival at the Pick

Fruit pickers arrive at the pick location at the agreed upon time with all necessary equipment (ladders, gloves, rakes, container, etc.).

As a common courtesy, fruit pickers knock on the door to let the fruit owner know they’ve arrived. If the fruit owner is not home, fruit pickers may enter the property as long as the fruit owner indicated they may pick even if not home on the pick listing.

Fruit pickers assess the yard and the condition of the fruit. If the yard is safe for picking and the fruit is ripe, picking may begin. If fruit pickers have any hesitation about their safety or concerns about the quality of the fruit they may leave the site. They should let the fruit owner know their concerns either while at the site or via a follow-up email.

Picking Begins

Before picking begins, any existing dropped fruit should be removed. Dropped fruit should be placed in a specified compost bin (if made available by the fruit owner), gathered in garbage bags and neatly stored off to the side or taken away to an offsite compost site (if fruit pickers have access to one). Due to possible contamination, it is not recommended that dropped fruit be used by fruit pickers. Dropped fruit should never be donated to community groups or used for cider pressing.

Once the area is cleared, pickers harvest the fruit. This may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on the type and amount of fruit and the number of pickers. Fruit pickers must show care and respect for fruit owners’ properties and fruit plants while at the same time being safe and avoiding unnecessary risks. This may mean that some parts of a fruit tree may not get picked (e.g. if the fruit hangs over a delicate structure or the fruit is higher than can be safely reached with a ladder, etc.).

When finished, pickers clear the area and leave it as neat and tidy as they found it.
Pickers are responsible for splitting and sharing the fruit 3 ways (1/3 each to the fruit owner, the pickers and a community group unless otherwise noted in the confirmation).

After the Pick

Pickers are responsible for returning to the Fruit Connect site to let Fruit Share know how much fruit was harvested and where it was donated.


8. What happens if its raining?

It’s up to you, the fruit owner and fellow pickers. Email each other and discuss. Email addresses of fruit owners and attendees are towards the bottom of the pick information.
If it’s a light rain, you may choose to go ahead with the pick.
If there this thunder and lightening, please don’t go.
We want you to be safe, sometimes that means rescheduling.

9. What if I need to cancel or change a pick?

We get it, things happen. Simply log in to Fruit Connect and make necessary changes to your pick information.

If your pick has any pickers signed up, we highly encourage you to email them and let them what’s going. The system will send them a notice that there has been a change, but getting a personal email from you is so much better and helps build better relationships.

Details for Changing or Cancelling a Pick

1. Log in to your account in Fruit Connect. Sign up to Fruit Connect.

sign up to Fruit Connect

2. Click My Account at the top right.

click on my account

3. Find the pick you’d like to change under Picks You Are Hosting and click on it.

find pick and click on it

4. In the left column click on Edit to change information or click Cancel to delete it.

change or cancel a pick

5. Make whatever changes you need then hit Update at the bottom of the form.

make changes

6. If you hit Cancel, you’ll be prompted to confirm. Once you agree to cancel, the pick info is gone forever.

cancel forever

7. If there are attendees, be courteous and email them to let them know what’s happening. Their email addresses are listed towards the bottom, simply scroll down.

email users

10. What if no one signs up for my pick?

Aw, shucks, sometimes, there are just not enough fruit pickers to harvest all the fruit.
Here are some ideas for what else you can do:

Put a call out on your social media. You never know who in your network might be interested in fruit.

Host a picking party. Picking fruit is more fun when there are several people doing it together. Serve some iced tea and a tray of cookies and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Encourage the group to pick an extra bag for a senior down the street who may be unable to participate. It’s a great way to build positive relationships with your neighbours.

Hire a neighbourhood teenager to harvest your fruit for you. If you don’t know who to call, ask your community centre for a list of neighbourhood babysitters or dog walkers. These keen, young individuals might consider adding fruit picking to their repertoire of services.

Post a notice at your local garden club, church or community centre advertising delicious, free fruit available for picking.

Put a classified ad in your community paper or online at sites like Kijiji or your Community Buy and Sell.

Ask vendors at your local Farmers’ Market if they would be interested in picking your fruit. Those that sell homemade preserves or fresh produce might be pleased to make good use of your crop.

Ask a local community group to pick your fruit. Call groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Scouts Canada, Brownies, school groups, etc. Suggest that they donate the fruit to a local food charity or use the fruit for their own purposes.

Call a neighbourhood development organization, community garden club or another food group that offers food preserving workshops. These groups may appreciate free supplies.

Call a local Hutterite Colony to see if they would be interested in picking your fruit. A listing of Hutterite Colonies in the prairies can be found at www.hutterites.org under the Hutterite Directory.

11. What is a Flexible Pick?

A flexible pick is selected by fruit owners when they want to give fruit pickers a 1-7 day period to pick fruit rather than setting one specific date and time.

In order for flexible picks to work, fruit pickers and fruit owner must email everyone involved to confirm who’s picking when, how much and how fruit gets shared. For example Picker 1 picks half the apple tree on Tuesday at 10 am, Picker 2 picks the other half on Wednesday at 7 pm. The fruit owner and both pickers have agreed that each picker will leave a bag of apples for the fruit owner and share 1/3 of their take home apples with a community group of their choice.

While it does require more coordination and communication by everyone involved, we hope that greater flexibility means more fruit gets rescued.

Here’s what fruit owners see when they create a flexible pick.

flexible pick fruit owner

Here’s what a flexible pick looks like in the pick list.

flexible pick listing

12. What should I do after a pick?

After the harvest, here’s what we suggest…

Touch base with the pickers. Let them know you appreciate their help to manage your fruit.
Tidy up. There may be some compost material that fruit pickers put aside – depending on what you all agreed upon before the pick. It’s not always possible for pickers to take compost material with them.

Share your story with us. Send us photos or let us know how things went at fruitsharesteinbach@gmail.com.

Enjoy your share of fruit. If you kept some of the fruit, check out some of the fruity recipes and preserves we’ve collected over the years.
Thanks for sharing your fruit!

13. When is the best time to list my fruit?

Ideally you want to list your fruit a 4 to 6 days before it’s ready to pick. This will give pickers enough time to make time in their schedule to pick fruit but is close enough for you to judge the ripeness of the fruit.

The majority of fruit pickers work day shifts. If you are setting a specific date and time, we’ve found weekends or early evenings on weekdays to work best.

Of course you can also create a flexible pick that lets pickers contact you about what date and time work best for them.

Avoid listing your fruit too far in advance of the actual harvest. Pickers often overlook these listings and are afraid the fruit owner doesn’t have a good idea of whether or not the fruit is actually ripe.

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