Organic Farm Team Member – Poplar Ridge Produce
Last Updated On: agosto 17th, 2023 at 09:32AM MST
Contact informationFarm Address:
53 Lehigh Rd
Craigsville, Virginia, 24430
Primary Contact: Brian Jones
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: Poplar Ridge Farms is located in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia approximately 3 hours south of DC between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Alleghany Mountains to the west. We are a family farming operation owned by partners Brian and Coleen Jones. We started farming here after college in 2004 on 18 acres and a dream and are now stewards of approximately 215 acres of mixed grassland and cropland and another 275 acres of mixed hardwood forests. It is this mixed eco-system of grass, soil, water and forests that are the primary foundation and the strengths of our operation. We are a diversified farm with produce, livestock, hay and grain being our primary enterprises. In 2023/24 we will be growing about 1.5 acres of organically raised, no-till vegetables to supply two local farmers markets, our on-farm market and an online customer base. We will also raise several acres of mechanically harvested snap beans, sweet corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes for both wholesale and retail markets. We run a flock of mixed Suffolk/Dorset ewes, a small herd of Hereford cows and calves, a larger herd of stocker cattle, pastured layers and broilers in season, and a few pigs every year. In addition, we will grow approximately 120 acres of corn, soybean and hay this year, some of which will supply a local non-GMO feed mill. We strongly feel that a successful farming model must be diversified and adaptable, and that the foundation of any farm lies in the soil and land management practices. To that end, our farming practices are rooted in regenerative agriculture. Our goal is to grow and raise our crops and livestock in such a way that constantly builds the health of our soil, the quality of our water and the sustainability of our farm. We firmly believe that healthy soil leads to a healthy, nutrient dense food supply. Since we established our market garden in 2018 we have grown our vegetables with no-till and organic practices as much as possible. Our crop land has been in continuous no-tillage production with cover crops since 2009 and most of our crop fertility comes from organic sources. Our livestock are managed with intensive rotational grazing systems to mimic the natural herbivore grazing cycles, and we strive to develop as much wildlife, bird and pollinator habitat as possible. We understand that true sustainability goes further than soil and water stewardship and must include economic and physical sustainability. In our produce and market garden business this means taking care of our bodies and minds so that we can still be doing this in 10 years! To achieve this goal, we have invested heavily in tools and technology to help us grow vegetables as efficiently as possible. For example, we utilize the PaperPot system extensively for transplanting. We use precision seeding tools such as the Jang system. We take advantage of a walk-behind BCS with attachments to make us as efficient as possible. We have two fully automated high-tunnels and multiple caterpillar tunnels to extend our growing season. We use the Qlipr system in our high tunnels to eliminate ladder work when trellising crops. We have an automated propagation house and germination chamber to help us grow the highest quality transplants. We utilize flame-weeding, occultation and cultivation practices to limit hand-weeding as much as possible. Finally, we have an efficient wash/pack house with walk-in cold storage.
CRAFT Member Farm? No
Internship Starts: immediate
Internship Ends: negotiable
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: September 15, 2023
Minimum Length of Stay: Through the end of December
If our farm sounds like a place you can see yourself working hard and having fun, then we would invite you to apply. We are currently looking for part or full-time team members whose primary responsibilities will be in the market garden. However, there are always opportunities for personal growth and development in other aspects of the farm as well if you have the desire or willingness to learn. We have an immediate opening for a full-time team member position for the fall and winter season, with the option to continue on for the 2024 season. Our team consists of a general farm manager, wash/pack manager, production manager, and additional helpers as needed at farmer’s markets. The team member position is hourly with a minimum of 30 hours of work per week. Our growing season essentially runs year-round thanks to our covered growing space and online store, although there is a definite seasonality to the workflow.
Team members will be expected to work closely with the farm managers to carry out the many varied tasks encountered in the market farm. Team members will be fully trained on each aspect of a specific task until they feel comfortable. Our philosophy is to work alongside our team members in a “Come-On” not “Go-On” approach. Specific duties include but are not limited to:
Seeding and Transplant Production:
- Assist with seeding transplants and micro-greens as needed
- Assist with propagation house management (watering, hardening off, etc) as needed
Bed Prep and Crop Establishment:
- Follow established bed prep protocols for the specific crop that is being established
- Develop proficiency with the transplanting and seeding equipment
- Assist with watering-in seedings and transplantings
- Assist with general field and tunnel irrigation management
- Assist with pruning and trellising of valuable high-tunnel crops
- Assist with timely weed and pest management practices
- Follow and implement weekly cultivation schedules
- Properly use cultivation tools and techniques for maximum efficiency
- Ensure that crops are harvested as quickly and efficiently as possible per harvest guidelines
- Ensure that the highest level of crop quality is maintained until post-harvest activities
- Assist as necessary in the wash/pack process
- Due to the physical nature of the job, preference will be given to candidates who have had some previous experience working outside (landscaping, mowing, farming, etc).
- To qualify for the team member position, the candidate must meet the following requirements:
- Is able to lift at least 50 lbs repeatedly
- Is able to work outside in all types of weather (heat, humidity, rain, wind, cold, etc)
- Is able to do repetitive, time-consuming and detailed work for hours at a time
- Has a strong work ethic
- Be able to problem solve and work efficiently
- Have good communication and listening skills
- The farm is located approximately 30 minutes from Staunton and Lexington Virginia, both are mid-sized cities with great restaurants and opportunities for social activities
- There are ample opportunities for outdoor recreational activities on your time off as well. Within a few miles of the farm are amazing hiking and biking trails as well as some of the best fly-fishing in the Southeast.
- Farm staff are encouraged to utilize second-quality produce for their own consumption
- Hourly wage for team members is $15 per hour.
- This position is for a minimum of 30 hours per week. Team members may be asked to assist with Saturday morning farmer’s markets, but not every week. Most days in the summer begin by 7:30 to beat the heat.
- On-Farm housing is available at a very reasonable monthly rate. The newly remodeled, 3-bedroom, turn of the century farmhouse is located within steps of the market garden, affording the opportunity to save on fuel costs. High speed fiberoptic wi-fi is included.
- Please email Brian at email@example.com and include in the subject line “2023 Team Member Position”
- Please completely fill out the application form and attach to your email. The application form is available for download on our website.
- Thanks for your interest, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Educational Opportunities: Advanced organic vegetable practices for modern market farming Livestock management practices, including rotational grazing, fencing, etc. Direct to consumer marketing strategies
Skills Desired: Preference given to those who have previous experience working outside in adverse conditions, but not a deal breaker.
Meals: No, but interns are encouraged to utilize second quality produce for their own consumption.
Stipend: Yes, hourly wage.
Housing: Housing is available.
Preferred method of Contact: email