Sunday Summary #6 - November 2018
Since one week we are now in Te Puke (the self claimed World Kiwi Capital) and work diligently in the wonderfull wolrd of Kiwi Flower Picking. We didn’t expect to be back on the fields and help with the harvest like we did 8 years ago, when we were picking numerous fruits and veggies in Australia but that's the way it has come. The famous catch phrase by Roger Murtaugh from Leathal Weapon came more than a couple of times to mind: I’m too old for this shit! This time it's kiwi flowers. What do you do with a kiwi flower? Yeah, we did not know, either. You can not eat them anyway. ;) So here's the storie of bees and kiwi flowers:
The still closed flowers of the male plant are collected to extract the pollen with a combination of industrial machines and a lot of manual work to later pollinate the open female kiwi plants. The main work is still done by the bees, but the flowers do not naturally open all at the same time and some female flowers would never become kiwis. These early or late bloomers are then pollinated with the collected pollen. So it is - as with almost everything, a thing of profit maximization.
We pick now for the nicest farmer in town (Hendrik is in the second generation Kiwifarmer, his parents came from the Netherlands to New Zealand and since then the whole family is involved in business) by pice-rate which is a hustle lemme tell ya, but we are out in the vines every day to hunt down the little white buds and have become damn fast. We now earn around $ 170-300 per person per day and we hope we can perfect our picking technique bit by bit during the following days.
As if the hard manual labour is not enough, we signed up in a gym. Yes, you heard right: we're doing sports now! Okay, admittedly we came up with the idea only because we were looking for a place to shower off the Farm sweat. The gym is located just across the street of the property of the farmer, on which we are kindly aloud to camp in our Van free of charge. Some backpackers pay $ 5 (they just raised it to 8 Bucks!) at the gym to take a shower, but we went all in: We just pay NZ$ 25 a week, can have hot showers as often as we wish and got a personalized workout schedule which we try to tackle every other day. Yes, we can hardly believe it but after 8 hours of physical labouring we spend our knocking-off time at the muscle shack afterwards. But it's worth it. We are a lot fitter after only a week and our backs do not pinch anymore after work. We really have to work out more anyway, the last jogg we had in Jekaterinburg in Russia - alsmost 1 year ago. :D
So what does our day usually look like? We are currently waking up between 5:30 and 7 o'clock, setting up the bed / sofa for the day, making coffee and breakfast, which we then consume while driving to the Orchard of the day. Then we are working 8-10 hours (if it does not rain). Then take our onion bags full of kiwi flowers and bring them to the office where our harvest is weighed and cataloged. Every two days we spend about 1 to 2 hours in the gym working on the love handles. Then it's time to cook and eat, and as you can imagine, after such a day you feel a quite strong longing for the mattress. And now comes the downer of the whole story: with our current pace, there is absolutely no time to do some editorial work on the side. In addition, we have no power in the van yet, to charge our devices and without a laptop, even a weekly review seems almost impossible to get done. I am writing these lines in the local laundry, waiting for our socks to dry. This means that the Sunday Summary will probably be canceled during the harvest phase, ie for the next 2 weeks. If we find time on a rainy day, we still want to keep you up to date, though!
If you have not subscribed to our Facebook page, you can do it here. We do get in touch with people sporadically and post some news there aswell.
If there’s something cooking here on the website, we will contact you by newsletter, so if you have not registered you should do it now! ;)
Pic der Woche:
Downer Of the week:
We picked two days earlier this week for another, more "dubious" contractor. He acted quite casual, ie he gave us the contracts to sign only after two days of work and well, we’ve adapted our demeanour accordingly. Due to the very laissez-faire business practices, we did not think much of it, when we told him we can not pick the next day because our other job is starting now. We had not signed a contract so far and therefore assumed that we are still in a kind of "trial phase". However, he did not find that very funny and indirectly threatened us to keep our money, if we do not show up the next day. We think we defused the situation though and have been assured that we will receive our pay the next week, but we are curious to see if it actually happens (21th nov: It did!). Of course, NZ Labour Law is on our side, but you never know. As a rule of thumb folks: where lots of backpackers mingle, you’ll probably find a couple of dodgy guys, trying to leech off some kiddies from Overseas.
Where are we right now:
Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, Nordinsel Neuseeland
Highlight of the week:
A couple of days ago we each picked almost 29 kilos of Kiwi Flowers! This is our record at the moment and has earned us nearly $ 600 in one day! Too bad that the money is not intended for us, but for the taxman at home .. Nevertheless, we are thrilled that we got the hang of it so soon!