Fruit picking and other farm work

How to start

If you’re in an area with lots of farms, market gardens or nurseries, the easiest way is to phone or visit in person and ask what’s available. Some seasons are busier than others; summer and early autumn are normally the best time for casual work, with fruit and vegetable harvests which need to be picked and packed. There is a shortage of workers for the 2017 harvest, so you might find yourself welcomed with open arms!

How much pay?

Some jobs will pay by the hour, and you will be entitled to the national minimum wage if you’re 16 or above. For most picking and harvesting work, however, farmers normally pay you “piece rate”, i.e. according to how much you pick. You will therefore need to work hard to make it pay.

Things to remember

  • You will generally be working outside, in all sorts of weather, so you need to be quite hardy and wear suitable clothes
  • You will generally need to put in quite a bit of physical work, so need to be reasonably fit.Some jobs are physically harder than others, and some jobs (such as strawberry-picking) are not good if you have a bad back; be sensible.
  • At busy times, hours can be long, but this does give you the opportunity to earn quite a lot of money in quite a short space of time.

Future career?

Agriculture and horticulture offer a wide range of jobs; you don’t need to be a farmer to enjoy farming. Have a look at the various possibilities on this page.

Have a look at our other ideas for part-time jobs:

Ideas for part-time jobs