Witte Flower Farm Apprentice

Contact information
Farm Address:
3941 Vitae Springs Rd S
Salem, Oregon, 97306

Primary Contact: Matt Gordon
Primary Phone:
    Number: 5415883550
    Email: training@roguefarmcorps.org

Website: https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/apprenticeship

Website: https://www.witteflowerfarm.com/

Internship information
General Farm Description: Witte Flower Farm is a cut flower farm and design studio located on 25-acres in South Salem. The farm has beautiful views of a pond, our neighbor’s vineyard and the Cascades. We grow cut flowers on 3 acres with the remaining acres in pasture. Our crops include a wide variety of flowering shrubs, perennials, bulbs and annuals – with flower crops blooming from March through October. We have four high tunnels, low tunnels, a barn, walk in coolers and a workshop area. This year we are building a propagation greenhouse as well. The farm connects to walking/riding trails along the ridge line. We are just 4 miles from town, a few minutes from the Willamette River, 45 minutes from Portland and an hour from the ocean. It is a beautiful spot, and we love sharing our farm with others. The Farm has a diversified sales approach that includes wholesale flowers delivered to our local grocery and the Portland Flower Market (we have a booth); direct sales to the public and bulk orders direct to floral designers for weddings and events, as well as on farm workshops. We provide subscription floral arrangements to local restaurants, businesses and homes, as well as floral design for events. We host a large dahlia tuber sale in the spring and a large bulb sale in the fall with local and shipped products. This year we are adding a “U-Pick” section for flowers as well. We grow many heirloom varieties of blooms and dry volumes of seed heads and flowers for winter sales. Although not certified organic, we use organic practices and a no-till biodynamic approach to build healthy soil and ecosystems. We are pollinator certified. Our farm crew consists of two owners, a farm manager and 2 apprentices. Apprentices are involved in all aspects of farming, and they will receive mentorship in sourcing seed, growing, harvesting techniques, and developing wholesale and retail sales. Interns will also receive hands on instruction in floral design (if interested) and assist us with workshops on floral design and flower farming. We supplement our farm income with agritourism, including offering two glamping sites on the farm for guests. Apprentices will help us with hosting and sharing our farming activities with guests in the summer. The farm is moving towards a deeper mix of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees to provide more diversity, food sources and habitat, as well as adding beautiful landscaping to the property. Apprentices will help in design and planting of these species.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: 3/1/23 - 4/15/23
Internship Ends: 10/1/23 - 11/30/23
Number of Internship Available: 2
Application Deadline: Rolling applications until early to mid-March
Minimum Length of Stay: 500 training hours (~3-4 months minimum)

Internship Details:

An Apprenticeship at Witte Flower Farm is part of Rogue Farm Corps’ beginning farmer training program. Hands-on field training at the host farm is augmented by a series of classes, farm tours, discussions, and networking events organized by Rogue Farm Corps.

Apprentices join other beginning farmers for an Educational Event Series facilitated by Rogue Farm Corps.

The full event series includes:
15-20 classes focused on foundational sustainable agriculture concepts, skills, and knowledge and the food system.
10-13 farm tours which showcase practical skills and individual farmers’ stories, as well as provide insight into diverse production and marketing systems.
3-5 discussion circles with topics including Farm and Food Advocacy, Food Justice / Food Sovereignty, and Next Steps for Beginning Farmers.

RFC strives to make all educational events inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and identities. Classes, tours, and discussions are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers.

Educational Opportunities: Apprentices receive training on all aspects of cut flower farming: seed sourcing, propagation, planting, cultivation, irrigation (overhead and drip), harvesting, processing, floral design, wholesale and retail sales, agritourism including glamping guests and workshops. Building a greenhouse, upkeep of hoophouses, fencing, honeybee hives care (if interested), and general farm maintenance. We are part of an informal group of flower farmers in the Willamette Valley. Interns will be able to visit farms and attend farm get togethers to learn more about flower farming through the season. A large library of books is available to interns as well on several online training courses specific to flowers.

Skills Desired: A kind person who has a passion for growing flowers, an interest in learning no-till and biodynamic farm practices and habitat creation, as well as a strong desire to share this world with the public through on farm workshops and activities. We love our farm, and we want to share it with happy people who will collaborate to make this a wonderful place to live and work. You need a strong work ethic, a creative approach to solving all manner of challenges and a love of working outdoors. It helps to have a strong body that can manage bending and kneeling, good stamina, and the ability to lift 50 lbs. occasionally.

Meals: Apprentices share our veggie garden and there is additional space to grow crops if interested. We often share meals.

Stipend: $14/hour for the first 90 days, step increases up to $16 based on quality and quantity of production work.

Housing: On-farm housing: furnished tiny houses (living quarters heated) with all utilities included. Interns share an outdoor screened full kitchen/dining area for cooking and a shared shower and bathroom. Clothes washing is available at a laundromat 4 miles from the farm. The farm also has a swimming pool.

Preferred method of Contact: email