Maasrot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two
Our mishnah continues to deal with the issue of when workers may eat of their employers produce without tithing.
1) One who brought his workers into the field, when he is not obligated to provide for them, they may eat and be exempt from tithes.
2) If, however, he is obligated to provide for them they may eat of the figs one at a time, but not from the basket, nor from the large basket, nor from the storage yard.
Section one: These workers were brought out to the field but not to work with the figs, so again, the Torah does not mandate that they be allowed to eat the figs. If the employer is not obligated to feed them, then the figs that they eat are a present and since they are still out in the field, the workers may eat them without tithing them.
Section two: If he is giving the workers figs as part of his obligation to feed them, then they in principle must tithe the figs before eating. However, since these figs have not yet been put into a basket, the workers may eat from them one at a time, because their processing has not yet been completed. Once they have been put into any storage place, be it a type of basket or be it a storage yard, they can no longer be eaten until they have been tithed.