Bluebird Farm

Contact information
Farm Address:
4178 Bluebird Dr.
Morganton, North Carolina, 28655

Primary Contact: Marie Williamson
Secondary Contact: William Lyons

Primary Phone:
    Number: 828-584-7359



Internship information
General Farm Description: -12 years of growing and improving the same property. 1+ acres in outdoor beds. Nine 120 ft caterpillar tunnels, 2 heated greenhouse with automatic sidewalls, extensive irrigation with drip tape and sprinklers from well and creek pump for southern summers. Occasional use of BCS and tractors. Jang seeder + waterwheel transplanter. -Organic/ecological practices, 50 varieties of vegetables, cover crops, whole farm compost from hoopbarn bedding. 5-8 sow + 1 boar breeding herd. 1 acre pasture based gestation, indoor hoop barn deep bedding farrow system. -Year round production of about 75 hogs a year in groups of 10-25. April-Nov 3 acre pasture based rotation, Dec-March deep bedding indoor hoop barn system. -300 bird laying flock in a mobile wagon coop. Livestock guardian dog and 3 sheep accompany the hens. -2 farmers’ markets, 100 member customizable CSA, pork and beef CSA, small direct wholesale accounts. Marketing healthy, delicious meat sharing passion for our production methods as well as enthusiasm for cooking and enjoying the food.

CRAFT Member Farm? Yes

Internship Starts: Jan 1st-March 1st, 2022, piglets due Feb 1st.
Internship Ends: Multi-year
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: January 31, 2022
Minimum Length of Stay: 1 year

Internship Details:

Does working in a tight crew on a small, ecologically focused, direct market, commercial vegetable and pastured pig operation sound exciting? We want to hear from you! At Bluebird Farm we strive for a balanced and smooth workflow. We use careful record keeping, keen observation, and constant communication to ensure that the right task is getting done at the right time with the right tools. Whether that is catching an insect outbreak early or noticing a parasite problem in a litter of piglets before it’s obvious. We work quickly and efficiently to grow tons of nutritious produce-planting, weeding, lots of harvesting, meticulous wash/pack, and fast paced farmers markets. While we work hard and fast towards goals on the big picture we love noticing and appreciating the small things-beneficial insect eggs here, healthy looking soil there, a perfectly irrigated tomato patch, a pasture where the hogs were moved just at the right time.

We are hiring 2 people to fill two positions for 2022- Vegetable Grower and Livestock Assistant Manager. Both positions are vegetable growing positions with plenty of overlap since Bluebird Farm is a small farm. These people will join Marie and William, Naomi, our returning Assistant Garden Manager, and Clare, our returning Assistant Harvest and Post Harvest Handling Manager.

You must love vegetables: The Assistant Livestock Manager will still spend the majority of hours working with vegetables! Our livestock operation is not large enough or structured to accommodate one person full time. Position is approx 15-22 hours/week with livestock. Rest is vegetable production or farmers’ market. As a diverse market farm we spend most of our time planting, harvesting, and handling vegetables. We spend another large chunk of time at farmers markets. We have carefully scaled our livestock operations to sell all the meat directly through our farmers markets and CSA. We don’t have the land base or desire to scale up to wholesale production and marketing.
The livestock manager will have to be especially conscious of daily food safety between livestock and vegetable tasks. Extra clothes, extra boots, gloves, hand washing.
Farm great vegetables and livestock with food safety and animal health at the forefront. Learn our livestock systems inside and out to manage livestock at Bluebird Farm. Raise and care for healthy livestock while communicating and prioritizing tasks with William and Marie and farm crew. During the livestock chore window (afternoons, 3 hours/day), the livestock manager will perform self directed care of breeding sows, hogs, 300 layer hens, 3 sheep, livestock guardian dog.

We are also hiring a Vegetable Grower with 2-3 years of farming experience. If you have this level of experience please look for our other posting.

Educational Opportunities: Training: We want people to clearly learn our farm systems and be confident operating in those systems. We are very hands-on in the training of new hires for dangerous tasks like boar management, tasks with high costs of mistakes like learning tractors and seeding, or jobs that involve annual and multi-year knowledge of our farm like pasture management or cover crops. We are also very hands on teaching the ways we have found to use our specific systems efficiently. Over the years we have developed specific workflows and techniques that best suit our equipment, land, crops, and crew size. Skills preferred but will train: Use calendars to anticipate and track farrowing, breeding, castrations, vaccination, butcher, pasture rotations, feed purchasing and filling, pasture expansion. Administer vaccinations, castrate piglets, snare sows if needed.

Skills Desired: Please see full job description. Must have livestock and vegetable production experience. We are primarily a vegetable based market farm. We are very focused on efficient and fast harvesting with an eye for quality, details, and teamwork. 4 full seasons (6-9 months+) of farming experience. Some combination, including overlap of duties: 2 full seasons (6-9+ months) working on a commercial livestock operation. 1 season must include hogs. 3 full seasons (6-9+ months) of commercial vegetable experience. Experience with other livestock like beef, sheep, broilers is greatly appreciated. However, in order to step into the responsibilities this position entails will require that the candidate already knows how to raise healthy meat hogs. We can teach and train for swine breeding operation. Experience with low stress handling. Understand feed and protein needs and basic animal nutrition for different classes and species of livestock. Ability to recognize early symptoms of an animal being off/lame/unwell before the animal is down eg: see the piglet that is not as vigorous as the littermates, identify which leg a pig may be favoring, or pick out the hen that is slightly depressed out of the flock of 300 in a brief 2 minute scan and experience to act quickly and appropriately with communication. Communication. Communication is key on a small farm. This position entails daily communication with Marie and William and with the larger crew. We communicate and focus on details around harvest counts, CSA or market packing details, different trellis methods for different vegetables, detailed info on animal health monitoring or mobile hog water systems. Vegetable growing and harvest at required speed and quality. -Harvest Speed Standards, depending on condition of vegetable crop 40-60 bunches of greens/ hour and 30-60 bunches of herbs/ hour -Clean driving record for past 5 years, and a valid drivers’ license, large vehicle driving experience- This position requires extensive use of several trucks, a loaded 2 axle market trailer on highways, cargo van, gooseneck livestock trailer loaded with animals on farm and on highways. -Proof of up to date Covid-19 vaccination. -Able to bend, crouch, squat, and kneel for long periods of time. Able to lift 30 lbs consistently, 50 lbs frequently. From ground to chest and ground to shoulders. Able to restrain and carry screaming, thrashing 20-40 pound piglets. Squat, bend, twist, stand, and kneel repeatedly and frequently for long periods of time. Commitment: Year round position, intention to stay for 1+ year. (from hiring- December 20th with an intention for multi-year/long term if it’s a good fit.)

Meals: No

Stipend: Assistant Livestock Manager, $400/week. 50 weeks = $20,000/year with no housing costs and farm food provided. Housing- private housing provided. Farm food: All you need in vegetables. Dozen eggs and 2 pounds ground sausage/beef per week. $800+ in meat, $300+ in eggs, and over $1000 in vegetable value in a year.Sick leave: Eligible 8 weeks after start date. 1 day paid sick leave accrued every 2 months. Vacation time: Eligible for 1 day scheduled vacation 6 months after start date, 1 day scheduled vacation 8 months after start date, and 5 days scheduled vacation time 12 months after start date.

Housing: Yes

Preferred method of Contact: email