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: 14 years of growing and improving the same property. 1+ acres in outdoor beds. Nine 120 ft caterpillar tunnels, 2 heated greenhouse with automatic sidewalls, propagation greenhouse, extensive irrigation with drip tape and sprinklers from well and creek pump for southern summers. Low till/occasional use of BCS and tractors. Jang seeder + waterwheel transplanter. organic/ecological practices, 50 varieties of vegetables, cover crops, whole farm compost from pig hoopbarn bedding. 4 sow + 1 boar breeding herd. Year round production of about 50 hogs with pasture based rotation + Dec-March deep bedding indoor hoop barn system. 1 acre pasture based gestation, indoor hoop barn deep bedding farrow system and composting. 200 bird laying flock in a mobile wagon coop. Pastured beef raised in partnership with family friend/farmland owner. Farmers’ markets, farm pickup of pre-ordered veggies, pork and beef CSA, small direct wholesale accounts

CRAFT Member Farm? Yes

Internship Starts: May 2024
Internship Ends: Dec 22/Multi-year
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: open until filled, working interview preferred
Minimum Length of Stay: 8 month + full time positions. Summer Positions are available

Internship Details:

Does working on a farm crew on a small, ecologically focused, direct market, commercial vegetable and pastured pig operation sound exciting?  We want to hear from you!  We work quickly and efficiently to grow tons of nutritious produce.  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 hoophouse tomato patch, a pasture where the hogs were moved just at the right time.  

Educational Opportunities: Training of Farm Systems-We are 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 Desired: Experience strongly preferred. But if you do not have the farm work experience listed below we are still happy to hear from you. Please describe any similar work, volunteer, or life experience that may contribute to an ability to work in challenging outdoor environments. Experienced Vegetable Grower Experience Requirements: 24+ months farm experience. 2-3 full seasons minimum working on commercial farms. Must have at least 12 months experience harvesting efficiently on a vegetable farm. Leadership roles, wash/pack experience, multiple years on the same farm and/or year round agricultural employment is strongly favored. Assistant Vegetable Grower Experience Requirements: 8-23 months experience on for profit farms with farmer recommendation. Including 6+ months experience harvesting efficiently on a vegetable farm business. Preference to those who have worked 2 seasons on same vegetable farm business. Experience exceptions may be made for candidates with transferable skills who demonstrate harvest aptitude at on farm working interview. Adaptability and Flexibility There is lots of crossover and overlap on a small farm. Every employee will be involved in some aspects of harvest, Saturday Farmers’ Market, wash shed and vegetable pack. Must be able to adapt to an ever changing environment. Crew members will join the farmers: Marie and William, and David, our part time Tractor Operator and Livestock Grower. Goal and Responsibilities: Farm great vegetables with a small team, keeping food safety and animal health at the forefront. Strong part of harvest team. Meets harvest speed expectations, communication, and record keeping. Work independently or with a team washing, bagging, organizing, and handling vegetables in the wash and storage area. Pack orders and custom veggie & meat boxes. Assist at farmers markets and train & build to lead a farmers market. Work closely with farmers on a wide variety of vegetable production including Bed prep-fertilizer, moving tarps, forking etc, Transplanting, Irrigation, Trellis, Cultivating, Pest Management. Basic Livestock Tasks: Learn and perform basic livestock chores with infrequent (monthly or more) chore duties. Breeding sow herd, meat hogs, 200 hen laying flock, 2 sheep, a livestock guardian animal. Notice small details, communicate about animal health, perform chores independently, quickly and efficiently. Daily interaction + direction of owners’ working farm dog(s). Paid farm, dog, & horse sitting on occasional, scheduled trips. Assume other duties as assigned. Position Requirements Market, experience with farmers’ market or sales Assist at farmers markets and then build to lead a farmers market. Preference goes to candidates who have experience at a larger farmers’ market grossing at least $2000 in vegetable sales. Vegetable experience with efficient vegetable production systems, protocols, & wash/pack experience. Efficient and fast harvesting with an eye for quality, details, and teamwork. Ability to improve harvest/handling speed and quality without prompting. Vegetable growing and harvest at required speed and quality. Harvest Speed Standards, depending on condition of vegetable crop 40-60 bunches of greens/ hour 30-60 bunches of herbs/ hour Bagging & Packing Standards Bagging greens 85-100+ bags/hour for crops like arugula. 100-140+ bags/hour for lettuce mix. Clean driving record for past 5 years, a valid drivers’ license. Preferred: large vehicle driving experience- This position requires extensive use of several trucks, a loaded 2 axle market trailer on highways, cargo van. Training is available for the right candidate. Able to bend, crouch, squat, stand, and kneel for long periods of time. Able to lift 30-40 lbs consistently, 50 lbs frequently. From ground to chest and ground to shoulders. Ability to see small shapes and textures and different shades of colors of plants and ability to see animals and objects at a distance across a field or hoophouse. Ability to use hands for fast fine motor movements with plants, tools, twine, scissors, rubber bands, etc. Be able to hear customers, team members, livestock in a busy farmers’ market, harvest, or livestock care setting. Communication. Communication is key on a small farm. 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. Keeps others informed of progress without prompting. Work well within the crew on group tasks with a team effort (communicates) & also works well independently Recognizes gaps in knowledge, skills, experience and seeks feedback and assistance when appropriate Maintains necessary written information including harvest record sheets, farm veggie task list. Text communication is a preferred tool across our 2 properties and to ensure records and instructions are transferred. Observation skills. Problem solving skills in an individual & group setting. Ability to wrap up and clean-up projects completely, thoroughly, and transition to the next project efficiently. Efficient time management and ready to work til the job is done. Respect and compassion for animals. Comfortable around both ends of all animals or willingness to learn ease around animals and to care for livestock health. Able to restrain and carry screaming, thrashing 20-40 pound piglets if needed for vaccinations, but must be willing to learn and show improvement of appropriate low stress animal skills which include approach, movement, and handling of animals Good Judgment and a Farming Mindset-We want people to clearly learn our farm systems and be confident operating in those systems.

Meals: No

Stipend: Compensation $8-10/hour DOE for Assistant Veg Growers. $12-13.50/ hour DOE for Experienced Veg Growers Sick leave: Eligible 8 weeks after start date. 1 day paid sick leave accrued every 2 months. Housing- private housing available (heat/AC, wifi, laundry). Food- up to 1 dozen eggs/week when available. Free vegetables, extras from fridge or field. Employee price for meat: All sausages-$5/lb (50% off), Pork chop $8/lb, Ground beef $8/lb, other meat items + extra eggs are 30% off Annual Paid Vacation: Eligible for 1 day scheduled peak season vacation 6 months after start date, 1 day scheduled peak season vacation 8 months after start date, and 5 days scheduled slow season vacation time 12 months after start date. Unused Vacation & Sick days are paid at end of calendar year. Eligible for participation in SIMPLE IRA with 1:1 employer matching up to 3% of salary in 3rd year of employment. Vacation Days are to be submitted/scheduled with farm calendar confirmation. A qualified candidate will realize the routine and highly structured demands of a farm. Events like weddings & births are all possibilities for breaks or part of scheduled time off from March-October, otherwise vacation days are scheduled with the farm’s planting and harvest calendar in mind. Scheduled peak season vacation days are to be scheduled with calendar confirmation for 3 or 4 days off in March-October that are planned 2-6 months in advance (1-2 peak season days used + regular 2 days off.) This may be Sunday-Wednesday. Scheduled slow season vacation days are to be scheduled with calendar confirmation during the slower season. (November-end of March.) Health Insurance. We are not insurance or tax experts. But we have learned that almost all of our employees fall in an income bracket that qualifies them for a free or nearly free silver plan on the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Signing up for health insurance is the personal responsibility of the employee and is not a guarantee.

Housing: Yes, housing is available

Preferred method of Contact: email