Contact informationFarm Address:
4178 Bluebird Dr.
Morganton, North Carolina, 28655
Primary Contact: Marie Williamson
Secondary Contact: William Lyons
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: Bluebird Farm Enterprise Description: 1+ acres in beds. We use tractor formed raised beds with a variety of mulches-biodegradable, hay and fabric. Nine 120 ft caterpillar tunnels: Homemade metal 16x120ft tunnels. 3 beds each. Used for hardy crops like spinach in winter, to improve quality on sensitive crops like strawberries, and filled with summer crops to prevent rain damage-cucumbers, eggplant,tomato, pepper… Heated Greenhouse: New in 2020. Used for greens in winter and tomatoes in early spring into summer. Probable second greenhouse for 2021 production Extensive irrigation with drip tape and sprinklers from well and creek pump. Mostly hand work with help for big projects from BCS and tractors Lots of harvesting Direct marketing-sharing the love of good healthy vegetables and home cooking with our customers. Bluebird Farm Livestock Enterprise Description: 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. 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: March 2021
Internship Ends: Multi-year
Number of Internship Available: 1
Application Deadline: January 31, 2021
Minimum Length of Stay: 1 year
Assistant Manager-please email for full description.
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 especially looking for an Assistant Livestock Manager. This position requires full participation in the garden and harvest as well, it is not livestock only. The farm does have positions for three assistant managers- Garden Assistant Manager, and Harvest + Wash Assistant Manager, and Livestock Assistant Manager. All 3 specializations are vegetable growing positions with plenty of overlap since Bluebird Farm is a small farm.
We are also hiring assistant growers with 2-3 years of farming experience. Or one full season with additional relevant work and/or educational experience. If you have this level of experience please look for our other posting for Assistant Growers.
Educational Opportunities: Training-We are very hands on training all 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, markets, and crew size.
Skills Desired: Position Requirements-the following apply to all three positions (contact us for position specific details): Extensive experience: 4+ full seasons (6+ month growing season) on a commercial farm. Multiple years on the same farm and/or year round agricultural employment is strongly favored. (if you have less experience please see our assistant grower positions). Vegetable experience. We are primarily a vegetable based market farm. All qualified candidates will have worked on a market garden of 1+ acres with farmers markets or CSA as the primary outlet for 4+ seasons. Vegetables are where we spend our time! Everyone works in the garden from the start of the day to lunch. Many afternoons even the assistant animal manager is primarily in the garden with only the short 1-2 hour chore window spent caring for the livestock. We are very focused on efficient and fast harvesting with an eye for details and teamwork. Commitment: Year round position. The candidate is excited to be fully immersed in the dedication, joys, and sorrows of farm production, employee management and marketing. But you won't have to do the business side of farming like accounting and quickbooks. You'll enjoy a stable work schedule and stable compensation. 1 year commitment with an intention for multi-year/long term if it’s a good fit. Clean driving record for past 5 years- This position requires extensive use of several trucks, a 2 axle market trailer, and cargo van. Able to bend, crouch, squat, and kneel for long periods of time. Able to lift 30 lbs consistently, 50 lbs frequently 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 pick up location changes, different trellis methods for different vegetables, detailed info on mobile hog water systems. Recognizes gaps in knowledge and experience and seeks feedback and assistance when appropriate Keep others informed of progress Maintains necessary written information-spray and fertilizer records, harvest records, pack lists, market inventory… Checks in on less experienced crew frequently and constructively Adaptability and flexibility. There is lots of crossover and overlap. Every employee will be involved in some aspects of: Harvest, Saturday Farmers’ Market, wash shed and vegetable pack Working weekends on the farm (everyone has 2 days off every week, but 1 crew member will have 2 out of their 5 workdays solo on a weekend) These weekends are full work days doing: Irrigation, basic livestock care, solo projects, solo harvest of fruiting crops that can’t go the whole weekend unharvested Good Judgement and a Farming Mindset-We want people to clearly learn our farm systems and be confident operating in those systems. We operate as a team of 6. When everyone is following the system and using the same terminology it allows a crew to be confident in their methods and task completion and communicate clearly about those tasks. When things are running smoothly and according to plan everyone has more energy and confidence to enjoy growing and sharing good food. Candidates will be working hard to Perform routine tasks carefully, efficiently, quickly and with pride in doing a good job on the simplest of things See the whole picture and anticipate future tasks Make quick but careful observations on plant and animal health and communicate about those observations Make strides to lead the crew on individual tasks Understand how all the pieces fit together from planting to harvest to washing to marketing Be comfortable with the elusive concept of “good enough” as a measurement of task completion (not too much detail, but not shoddy, fast, but with careful observation…) Keep food quality and food safety in mind at all times
Stipend: Compensation: Housing-provided. Comfortable, private housing. Assistant manager position starts at $400/week. 50 weeks = $20,000/year salary. 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.. Raises possible with increased responsibility and production with 2nd year commitment. Housing, utilities, and food valued at about $150/week in addition to stipend.
Preferred method of Contact: email