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Harvesting bags


Photo: Harvesting bag

Photo: Harvesting bag

For years I’ve used carrier bags when out foraging. They are convenient and slip into a pocket – so if you unexpectedly come across some hedgerow treasure you have a bag for your bounty.

However, it’s difficult to keep the neck of a plastic supermarket carrier bag open so picking has to be one handed. Earlier this year I treated myself to this smart harvesting bag. The long strap means that it can be worn across the body, leaving two hands for picking. The opening at the top is rigid and less fruit falls to the ground than when fumbling with a soft bag. I gave it a test drive when I was picking our Morello cherries and it was superb.

The nifty design means that it can fold flat. Too big for a pocket but small enough to fit in the glove compartment of the car or in my cycling rucksack. The construction of the bag is a rubber mesh so that fruit can be washed in the bag.

I’ve also used my bag for weeding in a tightly packed border where there isn’t space for a trug. 

I bought my bag from Harrod Horticultural – taking advantage of their sale in the Spring. I’ve also spotted a similar harvesting bag on the Westfalia site but it is more expensive.

I’m strongly tempted by this natty fruit picker. So much fruit is out of reach on our trees – we can pick from other trees locally but we do want our fruit to be organic.  Comparing prices, Westfalia comes out on top for best price and has a sturdier linen bag (£19.00 for the picking bag and handle). But the reach is just half of the Harrod Horticultural one which is a staggering 5 meters. Has anyone out there used a pole ‘fruit picker’ sucessfully or is it just better to climb a ladder?

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kooky girl

    Thanks so much for the warning – what an awful story.

    In my decorating days I used ladders a lot and was never particularly comfortable using them. Luckily I never had an accident but there were scary moments with ladders slipping.

    Hi Catrin

    Thanks for that. I’m definitely going to give one a go this year but will try the homemade route first.

    Hi Jan

    Brilliant! Now where can I find a wire coat hanger?

    Hi Magic Cochin

    The bag is fab. I’m sure that you could make your own out of knitted rubber – rubber ‘string” must be available somewhere. The rigid top is key.

    Hi Brian

    I’ve checked out the link – they have some great stuff. Thanks.

    Hi Lara

    I’m going to make a homemade bag for starters. I already have a telescopic pole for pruning trees so I’m going to use that.

    If we are going to turn the soft fruit into jam or chutney it wouldn’t matter if we damaged the fruit!

    Yes I reckon a five meter pole would be very hard to handle!

    Hi Claire

    Thanks for the weight tip – excellent point!

    Hi Dantom

    Yes I’ve seen yellow plums in the hedgerows around here too!

    Hi Pamela

    Oh how wonderful to have your very own mango trees. So envious of your grandmother. The wire basket sounds interesting – worth checking this one out I think!

  2. Pamela

    my grandmother had a long pole – possibly bamboo – with a wire basket on the end used for picking mangoes from the huge trees which were growing at the top of a steep embankment in her garden. So I’m guessing that only one side of the tree ever got harvested. I have no idea how heavy it was and it certainly wasn’t my grandmother who wielded the pole although I do remember her giving orders and pointing out the mangoes she wanted picking!

  3. dantom

    I could do with one of those……I have just found a tree laden with plump juicy yellow wild plums that are begging to be put in a jar of Vodka Mmmmm an added christmas bonus..x

  4. Claire

    We got a fruit picker for about £10 from either lidl or aldi last year. It’s been very handy! It is a bit heavy and hard to control, but our tree is very tall and the best apples always seem to be at the top! I’d recommend finding out the weight before buying online though.

  5. I can remember picking apples as a child with a fruit-picking pole – it was homemade, a broomstick sort of thing with two prongs of coathanger (bent double, so there weren’t pointy ends) and a cloth bag. You put the prongs on either side of the stem and twisted. I’m not sure how much it would damage soft fruit. 5m of pole would be very hard to handle, I would think. I’ve worked with a 5m ruler for surveying work, and that’s quite a challenge to control, though the fruit pole would presumably weigh a good deal less.

  6. Brian Wood

    There is a firm called Vigo who supply all sorts of fruit picking equipment, (the price for the bag is the same)including a picker that removes the need for a ladder. They also are excelent for juice making equipment.

  7. Magic Cochin

    Just about to say the fruit picker would make a fab pressie for someone I know – then I read Jan’s comment – brilliant!

    The harvesting bag looks brilliant… maybe I can make one of those too? The fact that yours can be used for washing the fruit is so useful.

    Nerdy fact (hi Danny!) : Anglo Saxon women wore bags attached to their belts, which were very similar to this – a metal of bone ring holding open a cloth or leather pouch.


  8. Years ago my dad made a fruit picker from a long cane, with a wire coathanger shaped into a loop with one of my mother’s stockings as a catching bag. It worked brilliantly and was very cheap!

  9. Catrin

    We have an apple picker similar to the one in your link and it’s worth its weight in gold – we have two tall apple trees with a thick bed of nettles beneath and the thought of trying to get a ladder underneath makes me cringe already!

    Ours gets quite a grip on the fruit so I don’t think it would be much use for soft fruit, it might well get squashed on the way down.

  10. Kooky Girl

    Please, if you do use a ladder be mega-careful. Have someone hold the ladder for you and do not over-reach in any circumstances. My neighbour was pruning his neighbour’s tree about three years ago, the weight of the branch he was felling dragged him over his neighbour’s wall. Unfortunately, he landed badly damaging the top of his spine and as a result is now quadraplegic. It literally happened in a split second – they were about to go to the cinema ! I know many things can cause such an accident, a ladder is just one of them…

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