August 2012

Equipment and Insurance

Telescopic poles, hooks, insurance, weighing scales, fruit presses - suggestions from various Abundance groups.

These are only suggestions and better products or sellers may be available!

Wolfgarten fruit picker basket and telescopic pole

“We bought cheap telescopic pickers the first year, they were a false economy, heavy to use and barely lasted the season. This year we've invested in some Wolf telescopic handles, these take a variety of different heads including fruit pickers, pruning saw, bow saw and tree loppers. We've used them for pruning and they were good, definitely worth investing in.”

There’s also a hook attachment for shaking branches – extremely useful for quick harvesting into a tarpaulin held off the ground by 4 people.

  • 4 metre pole (code ZMV4) £26.98 + VAT
  • Basket (RGM) £10.82 + VAT
  • Hook (code RTM) £9.14 + VAT

Discounts possible for bulk purchases. Free delivery for orders over £35.

Neil 01274 563639;

Also sold at World of Wolf (and other places)

The 4 metre poles are too heavy for some people but 2 metre poles probably too short to be worth getting.

Example of picker


You can buy just the basket or hook and attach them securely to a wooden pole or dowelling using jubilee clips.

“Extendable paint roller - a very useful tool - we've found 2 of these by bins this year. They're lightweight, the telescopic handle makes for less embarrassment on buses, and the wire roller-holder at the end can be bent into an excellent hook for pulling down branches or hitting fruit.“ (Will only work for lighter branches]

Harvesting bags

“We ordered some really good quality harvesting bags from Vigo [£13.25 each] this year that have been really useful. We found that having the bags round your shoulder you could place fruit in the bag rather than bend down continually to place in a box and much easier to carry to picks than boxes. Also they were good for short term storage if we didn't have enough boxes.”

Find at Vigo Presses.

Pruning saw

Felco No 600 - Felco Folding Pruning Saw F600. A good quality small folding handsaw – from about £19 online. There’s also a pruning saw accessory for the Wolfgarten pole (above).


At least 5m x 5m, with eyelets so you can tie up with rope if short of people to hold each corner. Lightweight and compact is easier to carry and store.

“Large pieces of netting discarded from building sites / scaffolding are great for spreading under trees and can be lighter and more robust than tarps or bedsheets.”


The Consvervation Volunteers offer group insurance with Zurich costs about £230 a year. They will extend the height you can work from the ground to 7.5 metres at no extra charge.

TCV insurance

Fruit press

Kensal to Kilburn borrowed a 12 litre press and made 400 cups of juice in one day but decided to buy the 20 litre cross beam press from Vigo together with their scratter. Combined cost £580. We made 500 glasses the following year in one day but it was still a lot of work.

Vigo Presses

West Ealing started with two 12 litre presses but couldn’t keep up with demand so will hire a much bigger one to juice and bottle in advance. They will still use the smaller presses for demonstrations at events.

Another Abundance project: “We bought a 20l press, and this year are looking to buy a larger one. It's quite slow pressing with a 20l press and hand crusher, we also found that the pulp was still quite wet when we had finished, unlike with the bigger crushers and presses where it's almost dry when it comes out. We bought ours from Art of Brewing, which was cheaper than Vigo, the quality seemed ok."

Larger presses are obviously harder to transport and carry. The 6 litre one also works very well with children and for quick and easy demonstrations on a stall.

Instructions for using a press are also on this site


You need one of these alongside the press.

“We bought a really big scratter, sorry don't know the official size, but it cost about £250 - chopping blades on cogs, handle to turn them type. We don't need to cut up the apples at all, it just munches them up, and that is bliss, because last year there was a bottle neck at the scratter table, because we hadn't pre-prepared any apples (as I think some groups do). Even this big one is easily transportable. And kids love turning the handle. Pretty happy with this, though it needs very careful watching if any kids around. Or careless adults!”

Luggage scales

These are compact and useful for weighing fruit. Can be bought online or from travel departments and many other places from about £5.


“Essential if you want to bottle and store fruit juice and cordial. Ours came from Vigo but a cheaper version (about £50) is sometimes on sale in Lidl. It looks like a tea urn and offers a pretty simple way of sterilising the juice or cordial in bulk, 12 -14 bottles at a time. All you're really doing is heating the juice/cordial at about 80C for around 20 minutes. From our experience the pasteurised juice and cordial will keep for 3 months and more without any problems.”

Berry and currant pickers – one group bought 6 from Vigo but says they certainly don’t work with blackberries and aren’t sure what they would work with.

Apple Tablecloth

Search the John Lewis website for ‘apple tablecloth’ for PVC coated tablecloths by the metre.

August 2012

Thanks to all the groups that contributed suggestions. For comments, corrections, additions etc please add a comment.