prepared by C.B. Raymond and Ivan R. Bierly, Cornell Extension Bulletin, 1945
Beans are picked by hand. Payment is usually at a given rate per pound or basket. A worker’s earnings depend on the quantity of beans picked.
In a given field, the quantity of beans a worker picks depends mostly on two things:
- How you do the work.
- How steadily you work.
Skill in doing the work is acquired through practice of good methods. The things that a skilled picker does to make every move count are the following:
First, pick the beans on the side of the plant towards you. Then, tip the plant towards you to remove the beans on the other side.
Pick with a steady, alternate movement of the hands. First, one hand grasps some beans; as that hand removes those beans, the other hand grasps more beans.
Remove the beans with an upward pull.
Do not grasp the leaves or stems, because that means trash in the container and damage to the plants. Keep the container within easy reach. This saves time and energy.
Fill your hands before putting the beans into the container. But empty your hands before picking beans that are not easily reached.
Loosely tied knee pads are a protection when working on hard or stony ground. They can be made by the picker.
Sometimes it may be best for two persons to carry the full baskets or bags.
Practice is necessary to become a skillful picker. Unless one works steadily, these suggestions are worthless. Remember Aesops’s story of the race between the turtle and the hare. Steady does it.