Monday, October 10, 2011

Tomato Picking!

Okay this is one of those things that I kind of skipped over in the craziness of the summer. But the week before school started, Robert & Garrett and I made a quick trip to Lancaster County, PA My best friend's parents plant and harvest tomatoes commercially for a PA tomato packing/processing company. Well the tomatoes were ready and I loaded up the boys and took off so they could see the large equipment that is used for picking tomatoes. Robert was just tall enough that he was actually allowed to ride the tomato picker and try picking himself.
Robert sorting good tomatoes from bad tomatoes on the tomatoe picker

Garrett and Abby played on the back of the pick-up with ME!

Robert with the tomato picker

The tractor on the left is pulling the tomato picker while the tractor on the right is catching the tomatoes as the fall into the dump wagon that it is pulling.
 After the 1st tractor trailer was filled, he was looking a little green. There are many moving parts on the picker itself plus there are extra wagons and tracotrs moving around. Well, needless to say all of the stuff moving gave him a taste of motion sickness. But I just wanted to share what the tomatoe picker looked like and how it moved through the fields. Unfortunaely, with the flooding rains that followed a ew weeks later, I don't know if the farmers were able to get all of the tomaotes harvested or not this year, but it certainly wasn't looking real good.

For those that are curious how this works, there is a large cutting head to the far side of the tomato picker that cuts off the plant and a conveyor belt carries the plant and all up into the picker. At the back of the picker the plants are shook and the tomatoes move to a different conveyor belt moving to the other side of the picker and the plants are dropped out the back. The tomatoes are then moved to yet another wide belt, where they move in front of the sorters. These are the people riding the tomato picker and they are sorting out the good and the bad tomatoes. The bad ones get dropped back into the field while the good ones continue to ride the conveyor belt and are dropped onto the conveyor belt that goes up the shot to the dump wagon that is being pulled thruogh the field beside the picker. Here is a short video clip that you can see some of the action, but there really wasn't a good safe place to be able to see everything that was happening.
Thanks for letting us come visit!!!!!

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