Farm Apprentice with Market Garden Focus

ShireFolk Farm Palmyra, Virginia
Job Type Internship

*** Posting will remain until job is filled.  If you are seeing this, the opportunity is still available***

General Description: ShireFolk Farm is a family-owned and operated farm in Central Virginia that offers pastured proteins and naturally grown produce and mushrooms to several Richmond and Charlottesville-area markets, as well as select stores and restaurants. We raise chickens, ducks, turkeys and lamb, (starting with hogs this year, too!) on pasture for meat, we have an egg laying flock of 300+, and we have about ½ acre of garden in permanent raised beds, as well as high tunnel production space for greens and tomatoes.  We are looking for help beginning on 3/15/19, up until 12/1/19.  Please check out our Instagram to get a feel for our farm.

Minimum Length of Stay:
Apprentices - 4 months

**Interested in volunteering?  We ask for a 3 week minimum stay, working approximately 20 hrs/week in exchange for room and board.  The application process is the same, but we prefer that volunteer applicants contact us by through the WWOOF website.  

Vegetables, eggs and meats grown on-farm are available as we produce them.  We also trade for other products at farmers markets, and supplement with bulk food buying in town. One communal meal will be prepared daily (typically lunch), with ingredients and facilities available for the other two meals. These meals will be cooked by interns themselves.  We do enjoy lots of potluck dinners, and many meals will be communal.  We are mostly dairy free and entirely gluten free. We cannot accommodate a vegan diet.

Skills Desired:
Some previous farm skill is helpful, though not required.  Experience playing or working on a team, and especially to a timeline, is more helpful still. Mandatory skills include, a positive attitude, willingness and ability to work outdoors all day under adverse conditions (heat, rain, wind, etc.), creativity is incredibly underrated in all professions and is often required in farming, communication skills must be strong, need to be able to lift 50 lbs., clean up after yourself, take direction, and work independently as well as on a team.  We value playful individuals who can make light of hard tasks, work all day, and enjoy the camaraderie of farm life in the evenings. Cooking skills a major plus, but if you don’t have them coming in, you’ll definitely have them when you leave. We are a non-smoking farm, and we have a toddler. Patience with young children is a plus.
Please email a resume, three references, and a letter stating motivation for your interest and how you are qualified for the above stated skills.

$600 per month is paid semi-monthly, plus great food and glamping.  A profit share of the garden profits will be developed as the season advances.

Private glamping tents (check out Bell Tents online to get a picture) are available in the woods in our back 30.  We are currently installing an outdoor shower and composting toilet to complete the Ewok village

Internship Details:
For the first time this year, we are offering 2 paid internships with a focus on the garden.  We are currently tweaking and perfecting our poultry systems, and we do need animal systems help at processing days and some other times as well, but your job as an intern will be focused on vegetable production.  We have calculated the amounts that we need to produce and sell of certain vegetables to pay for the internship, and we will start there. We are narrowing our vegetable focus this year to greens (salad and large leaf greens such as kale and chard) and roots (beets, carrots, turnips, radishes).  We will grow other, more classic vegetables for ourselves (potatoes, onions, squash, etc.) but we need to pare down the retail offerings this year to get the garden to a more profitable and manageable state. We will work 5 days/week (typically Tues-Sat but we may change this around a bit or stagger days off) and we want everyone to schedule a week or long weekend off for themselves once or twice during the season.  We will schedule these early-on so we can all plan ahead. Get thee to the beach!

Included in the internship are required processing days, which means that we need help turning all of our birds in the field into birds in the freezer.  This is non-negotiable. Typically it will be 2 days every 3 weeks, but can be more depending on seasons, rotations, etc. To be clear, there will be plenty of opportunity to learn about the animal systems - it is just not the main responsibility of the internship.  Egg washing will also be required as a team activity. If we ask you to help us process more than 4 days/month (2 days every 3 weeks), we will pay you for that time, starting at $10/hr and increasing up to $15/hr as you become more experienced.
We will take field trips to other area farms to see what they’re getting up to, we’ll have lots of potlucks with other local farmers and neighbors, we’ll take trips to the river to cool off after the hot days in July.  We’ll work hard, have tons of fun, and learn lots.

You can expect to learn:
Logan and Emilie have backgrounds in Natural Resources Management, Permaculture Education, Economics, Forestry, and whitewater rafting.  We are very intentional about teaching our interns and wwoofers, striving always for you to understand the “why” of what you’re doing.

  • How to manage permanent raised-bed gardens
  • Crop planning
  • Weed control methods
  • How to operate a BCS tractor
  • Body mechanics for the garden
  • A basic understanding of Permaculture
  • Tree planting
  • High tunnel management, including vertical tomato trellising and pruning
  • Oyster mushroom care and cultivation
  • How to operate a farmer’s market stand
  • Harvesting and post-harvest handling
  • How to live outdoors (an underrated skill)
  • All about how nerdy the Tweardys are
  • How to process chickens, turkeys, ducks
  • How to properly use, move, store and charge portable electronetting in animal systems
  • A bit about rotational grazing
  • Serious farm to table culinary skills
  • Knots and tarps
  • Grant-funded projects
  • So many other things...

Important Personal Gear
Slip on, waterproof boots (we like xtratuf, but mucks are another standard), sun hat, camelback (water bottle at the very least), leatherman or similar, rain gear (mandatory), clothing that can get dirty/bloody/wrecked.  Long sleeve, thin sun shirts (fancy spf shirts are cool, but thrift store western shirts work, too), headlamp, sleeping gear (pillow, blanket or sleeping bag, whatever makes you comfy).

Apprentices and volunteers are subject to a 2-week trial period and review.   We reserve the right to dismiss workers at will. (This has not happened before)
We are liberal-minded folks, building a diverse network of friends in the area.  We are GLBTQ friendly. We embrace diversity of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability.  Extremely conservative folks might feel at odds with our culture and lifestyle. We believe in openness and tolerance, and hateful rhetoric of any kind is neither tolerated nor welcome here.

What our past volunteers say:
"Emilie and Logan are ideal WWOOF hosts. If you want an in-depth look at what it takes to run a pastured poultry operation, this is this place for you. During my month at Shirefolk, I was able to participate in every step of the broiler raising process—from chicks in the brooder, to processing day, to selling the birds at market. Emilie and Logan go out of their way to make sure you are learning and having valuable experiences every day. The icing on this farm cake is that they are funny, interesting, intelligent, good people. You will have a hard time not becoming friends with them and their family."

"Being fresh to farming, Shirefolk farm was the best possible place to start! My goals as a WWOOFer were to learn as much as possible and be as helpful as possible to the farm. I felt like both of these goals were accomplished during my time at Shirefolk. Education was very important to both Emilie and Logan and even though I wasn't staying very long, they made sure to expose me to as much as possible in the few weeks I was with them. I admire them not only as organic farmers doing their part but also has outstanding humans and friends! It was amazing to be able to watch their decision-making processes and help with the journey of food from their fields to market. Their farm is beautiful and I couldn't have asked for more in a first farming experience! Would highly recommend spending time at this warm, lovely place."

"Now that I am at the end of my half a year long WWOOFing trip, I've got to say this place is the best. Emilie and Logan were by far the most courteous, hard working, appreciative, down to earth, and (most importantly) educational hosts that I've had the pleasure of working with. They go the extra mile all day long to teach you, and that's because they've wwoofed around themselves and know how bad it can be when hosts just work you with no education involved. They even made the effort to introduce me to the other local farmers, so I would be able to see and learn about more types of farming (such as sheep herding, super fun!) I would recommend this farm to anyone, as they have a very diverse farm that is only going to grow and incorporate more systems, but right now their focus is on intensive chicken grazing, so it is a fantastic place to learn about that. I also learned a great deal about gardening as well as beekeeping. This place looks intense, I know, but it is easier than it looks and more than worth it. Can't recommend it enough"


Please email a resume, three references, and answer to the following questions to: 

How old are you? Do you have transportation?
Are you interested in volunteering?  Or apprenticing?
What is your availability? How long are you interested in staying and do you have any time that you can’t work?
Are you travelling with any pets?
What interests you in ShireFolk?
What specifically would you like to learn while you’re here?
How would you describe your communication style?
Our housing is an outdoor “glamping” setup.  Are you comfortable living outdoors?
How do you feel about helping us process poultry?
Do you have any special dietary needs?
What’s your general experience level in the kitchen?

This will sound obscure but we’ve found it to actually be extremely relevant - do you have any experience in competitive sports? If not, totally fine, but have you worked in any job, on any team, or had any experiences where it was necessary to hustle?  We have tons of fun here, and we don’t run ourselves into the ground or anything, but there is a sense of urgency when we’re working. Mouth breathers need not apply! We are often on a timeline, particularly on harvest days before markets, and on processing days with the poultry. What experience do you have that lends itself to the hustle?

Bonus points for:
What’s your favorite book?
What are 5 words others use to describe you?
What are you nerdy about?
Thanks for your time and interest!

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Uploaded by ShireFolk Farm
Uploaded by ShireFolk Farm