By noon, the first shift of pear picking was wrapping up Thursday on Shadowbrook Farms in Hopland.

"We start before daybreak, then stop in the middle of the day when it gets hot," said Kurt Ashurst, whose family has owned pear orchards in Hopland for 60 years.

After his crews go home to get a bite to eat and maybe some sleep, picking will start up again in the evening when it's cooler.

Ashurst said the pickers enjoy the split shifts and it may be one of the reasons why he's had the same core group of workers for 20 years, which helps in today's tight labor market.

"Labor is a big issue this year, even worse than last year," he said, explaining that when harvesting began a week or so ago he only had 36 pickers, about half of what he wanted, because many were still picking in the Sacramento Valley. When that harvest ended last week, he got a full crew.

For more, see: Pear harvest in full swing