YOGESHWAR ORCHARDS, MANALI, HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA.

The art of apple grading.

Hired hands concentrate effort and skills to grading a rolling mountain of apples at the Yogeshwar Orchards in Manali, India barely a few weeks before the commencement of the Kullu Dusshera in 2015. With the cash crop blossoming in thousands during harvest each year in the valley, it has traditionally taken a great deal of human involvement to pluck, clean and get the pomaceous ready for an increasingly quality conscious market – requiring many orchards to enroll extra help at seasonal pay.

But now this long set practice of manual grading may gradually disappear as technology seeps deeper into the region’s apple industry in the form of a customizable apple grading machine, that is economical for many households to acquire, demands less space to set-up, reduces manpower significantly and virtually does all the hard work with the additional benefit of not accidentally damaging the fruit as per the manufacture’s claim. Yogeshwar Orchards, a family owned establishment, had just recently purchased the grader and was awaiting the services of a technician to put it into operation.

Come Autumn, Manali with its satellite hamlets abounds with lesser witnessed scenes such as this one, letting visitors explore cultivators and countryside with short one day treks or longer, and if lucky go back home with a gift of freshly plucked apples.