Young: A pickers paradise | Photos | Video

Every year thousands of locals, backpackers, and travellers descend on our farms to harvest our iconic cherries, and as the afternoon shadows begin to lengthen on a season of hard work, Stephen Wales reached out to the pickers of Fairfields Orchards - a family owned establishment about fourteen minutes south of Young - to see what really draws these seasonal soldiers to our town.

“So I met a guy in Chile.” picker Paul Hernandez of France informed me cheerfully.

“His brother is the teacher in the secondary school in Young. That guy told us that there is a big cherry season, a lot of backpackers coming from all around the world to do cherry picking and packing.

“So, here we are.”

For others like Marcus Schmid of Germany, Young’s cherry picking is a welcome job on an extended working holiday around the country.

“I’ve met a friend, actually.” he said.

“We decided to work together on a construction site, and since then we’ve been travelling around Australia and cherry picking, it makes for a lot of fun.”

A local by comparison, store manager for Fairfields Orchard Polly Bryant has travelled down from Sydney to help out with the farm that originally belonged to her grandparents.

My friend and I have been travelling around Australia and cherry picking, it makes for a lot of fun

Marcus Schmid

With farming in her blood and a cherry blossom romance in her heart, she tells me how she met the love of her life while working at the orchard.

“For me I guess you could say it was quite lucky that we have all these tourists here, and he was travelling round with his friend - he’s french - and ... that’s how we met.” She continues, offering a cheerful perspective on the influx of workers over course of the harvest season. 

“This year’s been amazing. We’ve had some really lovely people come from all over the world, and I quite like that diversity we get; … Not a lot of country towns get to experience that - I think it’s very rare - and I think it does Young a lot of good to have that culture here, and meet new people.

“There’s nothing ever wrong with meeting new people.”

Stephen Wales is a Cherry Picker and Digital Media Graduate from Wollongong, NSW, who has spent the last few weeks living on site at Farfields Orchards in an attempt to afford a decent camera.