The humble apple is one of the most widely grown fruit trees in the world. There are more than 7500 different types of apples although only a few hundred of these are commonly eaten. Most of these have been bred selectively to produce a fruit with pleasant eating qualities or for suitability in different cooking applications. However, some modern varieties of apples have been genetically modified to resist disease and pests. Today, most apples bought from a store are harvested from a large apple farm.
How are apples harvested?
Interestingly the harvesting of apples hasn’t changed much in two thousand years. In most cases they are still picked by hand with the help of a three point ladder if the tree is higher than reaching distance. Seasoned fruit pickers can pick thousands of apples an hour. Many apple farms hire teams of migrant workers to pick the fruit. This is typically due to the fact that migrant workers can be paid the minimum wage and are willing to work in the sometimes harsh conditions.
Currently, there is a race to create a reliable apple picking robot. The biggest challenge in doing this is the ability to create a robot smart enough to detect the ripe fruit. It also has to be capable of picking the fruit from the apple tree without bruising it. The opponents of this technology are worried that it will put many people out of work.