When ripened fruit, yellow moons and celebrations of nature’s bounty punctuate the weeks, it can only mean one thing – harvest. But how many of us know how our food is gathered? This week, we’re looking at the mega-machinery behind our meals.
It’s likely that many of us associate early autumn with baskets full of colourful fruit and vegetables, as well as tins, cans and packets containing all manner of edible delights – a legacy, probably, of our childhoods, when we celebrated harvest festival in school halls and churches, year in, year out. Some of us may still mark the occasion today.
Then there’s Romantic poet John Keats’s much-loved “Ode to Autumn” of 1819, which opens with one of English literature’s most evocative and memorable descriptions of harvest time. His “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is about as deeply ingrained in the national consciousness as any line of poetry could possibly be.
Behind the scenes
But how many of us ever look beyond this “mellow” fruit and veg, to spare a thought for the farmers who harvest it in the first place? Who ever wonders how so much food is pulled out of the ground so efficiently, and in such a short space of time?
We do. In this article, we’re looking beyond plentiful produce, to the technology that makes it possible throughout much of the world. But before we get going, we should just clarify that what follows is not a show of support for industrial agriculture, or a rejection of small-scale efforts. Instead, it’s merely an informative run-down of the mighty machinery bringing fruit and veg to the masses.
Get ready for five extreme, extraordinary and exceedingly efficient inventions!
Agriculture's mega machines
1. The combine harvester
2. The carrot harvester
3. The strawberry harvester
4. The broccoli harvester
5. The grape harvester
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