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Beans Picking / Packing

Australians grow a lot of fruits and vegetables and they need a lot of hands when the harvest season comes. Backpackers looking for extra income can apply for fruit picking and vegetable harvesting work. Among the vegetables you may encounter in the farm are beans.
Beans are not native to the Land Down Under but they do grow them there. They are specifically known as Vanilla bean pods.

You are most likely to find beans plantation in Mary Valley, Queensland and some parts of the Northern Territory. The harvest season usually starts in April and ends in November.
When harvesting the beans, make sure they are fully grown before picking them. How can you tell which beans are ready and which are not? Well, the tips of a fully grown bean are starting to turn yellow and that’s the time that you may need to harvest them.

Now when it comes to pay, you can either get your wages on “per piece” basis or by the hour. Although there are no set rules, you are more likely to get paid by the hour if you worked inside sorting or packing the harvested crops. Those who drive and operate vehicles such as harvesters and tractors are usually paid by the hour.
If you are out in the field harvesting the beans, the usual pay method is per piece. Basically, the more beans you harvest, the more pay you get. If you are new to the job, you may find the work hard and the pay quite low. Give it a few days to learn and familiarize yourself with the job and you will be able to harvest beans much quickly and earn more money.
When in doubt, better ask the farm owner or supervisor. It is better to clear things up before you start working rather than having problems later.

Harvesting beans is hard and tedious work especially if you are going to do it all day. Make sure you get plenty of night sleep and rest. You need to eat well during breakfast to keep you strong, at least until lunch time. Just in case, bring water and snacks with you. The Australian weather can get very hot and you must keep yourself hydrated while snacks such as nuts can replenish your energy.
It is also a good idea to bring some bug sprays with you. The insects could be quite nasty and you need the repellent to keep them at bay.
Bean harvesting is not only a hard work but could also be boring. To help pass the time, better bring an iPod or similar music player.

It is important to pace yourself for the long day’s work. This may take you a few days to develop it but you will get the hang of it.
No farms are alike. Some may offer accommodations while others do not. If you do not live at the farm you will need to look for own accommodations probably, a hostel. Living offsite also means you need to have some sort of transportation going there especially if it is quite far.