Our Apprenticeship Program
CURRENTLY ACCEPTING JOB APPLICATIONS FOR 2017!
We're in our nineteenth year of operating this farm and offer the following apprenticeship positions! WIth our appreticeship, we expect hard work, with little monetary reward, but a great satsifaction in working outdoors and livinig off the land. You will learn by working alongside us, listening, observing and asking questions.
NOTE: We provide $25 per week food allowance. We expect that the food allowance will be used for personal items and supplies for your breakfast and dinner that aren't available on the farm (In the core season there is plenty of food from the farm so your $25 goes far, but early spring you will need to budget the $25 carefully because you will be purchasing more from the grocery store.!)
This is a hands-on-learning experience with you working alongside us for a portion of the day. Our normal work day is currently Monday through Friday, beginning at 7:30 AM and ending around 5:30 PM. You will have 1 - 1/2 hour lunch break. We typically work between 45 and 50 hours per week. About half your time will be spent working independently so we expect a person who is self motivated.
We understand that there is a tremendous amount to be learned about running your own homestead, so our apprenticeship is all about us sharing our farming knowledge with you, while you in return help us with every day chores, farm upkeep such as mowing and weed eating, and growing/raising food for our CSA. We are transitioning from being a strictly production oriented farm into agri-tourism, so good social skills are required for interacting with guests.
We ask for only those in good physical shape to apply, as you will find yourself helping with morning chores such as milking the cow, hoeing in hot weather for long hours at a time, harvesting early in the morning in the rain or shine, bending over hand transplanting veggie starts to the field, fencing, and so many jobs too numerous to mention. We expect your help with whatever job is highest priority at the moment, so your schedule will be flexible, because sometimes something unexpected, like a broken fence, may come up that needs addressing immediately.
Please apply for our apprenticeship by downloading this application and join us on our journey, as we transition from production to offering farm stays on this beautiful farm in the Appalachian Mountains.
What You Learn
Our apprenticeship will give you a first-hand knowledge of what it takes to run your own farm with our focus on homesteading, but also you will gain a clear understanding of what is required to run a commercial farm. Work is hard, with little monetary rewards, but a great satisfaction from working with the earth. You can expect long hours as our normal work week is Monday through Friday.
By the end of the season you should have a good grasp of these skills:
- Greenhouse work: propagation, growing transplants, and growing crops suited for greenhouse and hoop house environments.
- Field Work: seeding, planting, cultivating, putting row cover on, taking row cover off, irrigation systems, using farm equipment such as tractors and their implements.
- You will gain an in depth knowledge with various crops because we grow about 200 different cultivars and are always looking at refining our production by adding or removing a cultivar. Our primary sales is through a 15 member CSA.
- Operating Equipment: Driving tractors, hooking up implements, running tillers, bush-hogging.
- Dairy Operation: milking, making cheese, tending to cows.
- Other livestock (pigs, chickens, horse): fencing, care, marketing the meat .
- Manure and compost management so that should you start your homestead, it is feasible not to purchase fertilizers as are needed with a commercial farm, but with a goal for a "closed loop" system.
- Food Preservation: fermenting or freezing.
- Harvesting and packing CSA Shares: How crops are harvested (over 40 different crops), cleaned and packaged.
- Learn the business aspect of farming by participating in CSA sales, making deliveries to the CSA, and recordkeeping.
We provide housing for our apprentices in a self contained travel trailer with a kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. You will experience tiny house living! The travel trailer is located in a private setting, at the site where we are building a cabin, but you will have privacy during the evenings for the much needed rest from farming. All utilities, with the exception of phone service, is included with your accomodation. You will need a cellphone and internet access may be limited. Sorry but we do not have reception for TV shows!
As far as meals are concerned, we eat lunch as a group once per week, which will be a pot-luck style. Food form the farm is available for your meals, but many times the farm crew will be eating seconds. Farm fresh food includes vegetables, milk, pork and beef.
Our Dream Apprentice
Would be a creative one who is willing to work 40 - 50 hours per week on the farm, have a sincere interest in homesteading, enjoy working outdoors, positive and willing to share ideas. We are looking for an applicant in good physical condition who is accustomed to working outside and doing hard physical work. Some gardening, or other work experience (carpentry, etc.), is helpful but not necessary. About half your time will be spent working independently so we hope to find a person who is self motivated. We also prefer individuals with good communication skills, and who are personable and enjoy talking with others.
About the farm
We are in our 19th year of commercial production and transiting towards a blend of production and agri-tourism. We are located in a VERY REMOTE area with about twenty minutes from the town of Hot Springs and an hour drive to either Asheville or Waynesville. We have 5 greenhouses in production, 1 acre of field crops in production, 5 acres of rotational pasture for the dairy cows, a 1 acre pasture for pigs. We will be offering accommodations for farm-stays on the farm in a barn apartment and at a camper site. This will be our first year transitioning from being strictly a production oriented farm into agri-tourism. While the farm has beautiful hiking trails, when you are not working, you might find yourself hiking along the Appalachian Trail or rafting down our amazing rivers. We feel that we live in paradise!
Keep In Mind
We have one riding horse which you are welcome to ride, however, he is not a dead headed trail horses and you would probably need to be considered an "experienced rider" to feel comfortable on them. Lastly, we do ask for a commitment to work for the period of time agreed upon; however, if your circumstances were to change, we ask that you give us advance notice so that we can find a replacement.
Apply now for one of these Apprenticeship positions
We require that you complete our Job Application. Once we receive your completed application, either via postal service or electronically, we will be in touch with you to schedule a time to further discuss with you our apprenticeship!