Hi! We are John and Adelaide Marshall and owners of Ferniehurst Farm. We are proud of what we do and of the quality of the cherries that we produce.
The following provides information for the picking season on our farm and the conditions you can expect as a backpacker. The weather dictates when we can start picking which can be anywhere between the end of December to middle of January. The picking season usually ends about the middle or third week of January.
• We are unable to predict the cherry season as it develops and are unable to guarantee any work at all until at least the end of December. Therefore we can’t offer jobs to anyone until then. We usually only need a few pickers during late December, with more pickers required in January.
• Picking depends on various factors, mainly weather conditions and ripeness of fruit. We start early (6am or earlier) and will pick all day if the temperature remains reasonable. If it gets too hot we have to stop picking by early afternoon as the fruit gets too hot and spoils as it is picked. We sometimes are able to resume picking in the early evening until dark. Rainy conditions can also affect picking. This means that we do not necessarily pick full days every day. Our picking time frame is around 10 days only, depending on weather conditions.
• Our cherry varieties ripen at different times, so there may be days in between that there will be no picking. There may also be the odd opportunity to help sell cherries at Salamanca market and other markets on weekends. We’ll be checking out your sales techniques!!
• A small number of backpackers that are self-sufficient are welcome to camp on our property at their own risk and responsibility. We provide an authentic ‘farmyard’ camping experience and put in a port-a-loo and a very basic solar camp shower. There will be a small camping fee charged for the use of these facilities. It is also the responsibility of those who use the port-a-loo to keep it clean, we will provide the cleaning supplies. For a $4.00 fee you can also have the use of a large size washing machine and detergent. Campers are expected to have their own tents, sleeping bags, food and cooking equipment. We can provide cool storage of food and WiFi. (for WIFI you will need to come up the hill to the farmhouse) Own transport is recommended.
• Pickers are paid by piece rate, which means per kilogram of cherries picked. We have had beginner pickers that have earned as little as $30 to$50 per day, depending on how good they are; whereas a good fast picker with a few days experience can earn up to $150 to $200 per day. Quality of fruit picked is constantly monitored. There is some skill attached to cherry picking, we cannot afford to keep pickers who do not meet our standards and we reserve the right to ask them to leave. This includes pickers who pick the wrong fruit that is not ripe to try and fill their bins quickly. You only get paid whilst picking quality, ripe fruit and you do not get paid if we have to stop picking due to the weather or other circumstances, such as ripeness of fruit.
• From years of experience we’ve always had a great relationship with our backpackers as they are on site, usually able to start picking early and are happy to stop picking if and when necessary, and then continue in the evening for a while. We retain the right to ask backpackers to leave if they do not respect our environment or our basic rules. We are a 40 minute drive from Hobart and less than 30 minutes from a number of beaches. There is an IGA supermarket in Richmond (15 minute drive) and the larger Coles and WW supermarkets in Sorell (25 minute drive).
We are a family farm and can only offer employment as per the conditions above. The backpackers we usually get are those that travel and do a bit of work on the side for the experience.
If you are visiting on a Working Visa you will want to be looking for more reliable, full-time employment and we suggest you apply to one of the larger cherry industries such as:
Reid Fruits – https://www.reidfruits.com/cherry-picking
Use the following contact form for anything you would like to know and we will get back to you as soon as possible.