But they also illustrate the changing nature – both human and mechanical – of crop picking over the past century.
For centuries, farmers and gangmasters have relied on overseas workers for the harvest gathering. Migration from Ireland was once essential to meet the demands of the land that the local workforce alone could not accommodate.
Besides, the seasonal nature of the work and the backbreaking effort involved has not always appealed to British workers from non-agricultural backgrounds.
As recently as the early 20th century, whole families on their holidays from the cities were sometimes roped in, while before the Gangs Act of 1867, children were a cheap source of labour for the masters.
In recent times, produce has been picked and packed mostly by Eastern European hands, on a scale far more industrial than we can see here.
But this year there is a new challenge. With many migrant fruit pickers unable to travel to Britain, a campaign is afoot to persuade workers displaced from pubs, shops and bars to “pick for Britain”.
The need is so acute that the Government is reportedly taking inspiration for its campaign from the Women’s Land Army that worked the fields during the Second World War – though the new force is unlikely to be as gender-specific.
Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.
James Mitchinson, Editor