Second Spring Farms

Contact information
Farm Address:
38205 John Wolford Road
Purcellville, Virginia , 20132

Primary Contact: David Giusti
Primary Phone:
    Number: 703-915-2173


Internship information
General Farm Description: Second Spring Farm is a 5-acre vegetable farm in Wheatland, VA, 45 miles northwest of Washington, DC and 10 miles from the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the Blue Ridge mountains. Within the neighboring 400 acres there are five quite different sustainable farming operations, a dozen farmers (some retired), and a couple dozen farm workers (mostly in their 20s), making for a dynamic farming community. We are going into our 9th growing season and have developed a stable, profitable farm business based around a mix of CSA and wholesale sales, efficient tractor-work, and dedicated workers who are a part of the social life of the Wheatland farm neighborhood. We have two to six people working on the farm depending on the time of year. Each season’s vegetable sales provide the sole income for the farm and farmer; while there are many things to enjoy about the farm life and we attempt to have a positive effect on the wider world, this economic reality underlies our daily efforts to pack out the freshest, most delicious, and most beautiful vegetables for our 200 CSA shares each week. Although the farmer may make the decisions, it is the workers who make things happen. The crew is a vital part of all aspects of the life of the farm, from the basic tasks of seeding, transplanting, mulching, weeding, thinning, and picking, to the more-involved work of irrigating, spraying, packing, and delivering. There is potential to grow into some specialized work, such as operating tractors, or to take on certain areas of responsibility as interest and ability allow. Spring requires less help and is focused on general fieldwork to get plants in the ground; in summer we take on more help to keep up with the relentless picking schedule and general upkeep of fall crops yet to come in. Once selling begins at the end of May, our lives are structured around the busy Monday/Thursday picking days and Tuesday/Friday packing for our 200-member CSA.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: April/May for full-season work, or anytime during the season
Internship Ends: October/November for full-season work, or anytime during the season
Number of Internship Available: 5
Application Deadline: Position open until filled
Minimum Length of Stay: 6 weeks

Internship Details:

We are hiring 3 people to be part of the core of the farm crew: sharp, curious people with vegetable farm experience (or aptitude) who are interested in a more in-depth look at an efficient small-scale vegetable farm, and who we can rely on to sweat the details and get stuff done. If this sounds like you, this position would be a good fit if you have excelled at being a part of a farm crew and are now looking for the “next level” farm job with more involvement in all aspects of farm operations, or if you have enjoyed doing similar outdoor, physical, and/or detail-oriented work and are confident in your ability to rise to the challenge of a full farm season. Our approach to production and planning is more similar to that of a larger farm, but since we are a smaller farm, you would understand and be a part of all sides of these systems from seeding to selling. This is not a position of management, but it is a position of responsibility. Starting pay is $10-12/hr, with rustic housing provided.

Of course, many people who work on farms like ours have never done such a thing before. We enjoy teaching people about the farm and work, and do hire people with less vegetable farm experience for full-time work (starting at $8-9/hr). If you think you might enjoy spending a summer on a farm within a community of other farmers, we would like to talk with you. The farm season is late April through late November; we accept applications for any part of this season.

Because the busy CSA picking and packing days require more people than other days, it works well to have a mix of full-time and part-time people. We are also looking to hire 2-3 part-timers to work 2-3 days/wk for any period mid-April through November, with the most help needed Mondays and Thursdays at the height of the season July to mid-September. No farm experience necessary. Pay $8.00-$10.00/hr depending on experience and length of stay.

In general, hours are flexible and can somewhat depend on what you are looking for. We recognize that people have a life outside of the farm, and hope that work at Second Spring Farm can support rather than impede that life. For example, there is some flexibility in daily and weekly schedules, and days off can be arranged ahead of time. In the past we have had a mix of part-time, full-time, full-season and part-season workers: we are interested in having good people on the farm on any schedule. If this farm sounds like a good fit to you, we look forward to hearing from you.

And a final note: this is farm work. It can be tough, exhausting, boring, early, hot, rainy, and dark, but with the right outlook can also be invigorating, joyful, exciting, fun, beautiful, and above all satisfying and rewarding. Willingness to do good work regardless is a must.

Educational Opportunities: Not a formal internship; you learn by doing and asking. A person with vegetable experience will understand how this particular farm works, and how it is designed to grow crops efficiently and provide a good life for both the workers and the farmer. I farm because it brings me joy, but I would have stopped years ago if it didn't support my life financially. Similarly, I hope that people enjoy their time here and that this farm can be a good, supportive place to work -- and one that funds the life you have at the moment. I see farming as a set of infinite challenges, variables, and constraints, and I enjoy creating systems that take those details into account to produce a reliable crop of high-quality vegetables. I like designing, building, and operating equipment; I like spreadsheets and recordkeeping. Wholesale and CSA selling keeps the focus on growing rather than marketing and creates a predictable environment for crop planning, and a regular rhythm for the farm weeks. Second Spring Farm is the result of how I think about farming, and I outline my perspective because I think the person who stands to learn the most from working here is one who is interested by these same aspects of farming.

Skills Desired: Prior vegetable farm experience is highly desirable; still, we are glad to hire people without experience especially if quick of mind and hand. The ideal candidate has some experience with vegetable farming or gardening and is diligent, precise, and speedy in accomplishing the various tasks that appear over the course of a season. More important than physical ability, however, are the intellectual qualities of interest, attention to detail, and an appreciation of good work. We seek intelligent, thoughtful people who want to understand the bigger picture of the operation, and who want to understand their work in the context of the whole farm.

Meals: Vegetables from the farm free, of course; meals on your own, mostly picnics together under the tree. On Thursdays there is an all-farm neighborhood lunch potluck.

Stipend: $8-12/hour to start, depending on experience, ability, and length of stay ($10-12/hr for full-time work). Housing included depending on position.

Housing: Rustic housing provided for full-time work, with community kitchen, at our neighbor Potomac Vegetable Farms.

Preferred method of Contact: Email