Contact informationFarm Address:
Tangier, Indiana , 47952
Primary Contact: Ken Steffen
Secondary Contact: Patsy Steffen
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: WHO WE ARE: STEFFEN FARMS (Quiet Springs Farm & Pearson’s Melon Farm) We are a vegetable production and marketing operation, growing 20-30 acres of produce per year and marketing most of it through our own 2 markets, one in Indiana and one in Illinois. Our 5 major crops are watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes (field and greenhouse), sweet corn and nearly 100 different varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds. We also grow a significant amount of cucumbers, zucchini, onions, green beans, potatoes, cabbage, peppers and sweet potatoes along with a few other minor crops. We cover every step of the process, from planting seeds in the greenhouse or in the ground, to handing the produce to our customers. We generally employ 4-6 field workers and 2-3 marketing clerks per season. We currently utilize sustainable farming practices, but also have many years of experience implementing compliant organic practices. WHERE ARE WE LOCATED: 75 miles west of Indianapolis, near Tangier, Indiana in the northwest corner of Parke County with fields on the sandy hills bordering the Wabash River The tiny of community of Tangier, is regionally famous for its buried beef sandwiches, served during the annual, 10-day, Covered Bridge Festival, and hosts an annual, one-day, local music festival. Parke County, Indiana is a mix of hardwood forests on striking cliffs and hills surrounding streams and patches of productive farm land. It is home to Turkey Run and Shades State Parks, the Racoon Lake State Recreation area, the Lake Waveland local conservation area and nearly 30 covered bridges. It is also home to a thriving Amish community with numerous produce farms and cottage industries as well as a large produce auction. During the less busy times, we try to carve out opportunities for interns, as a group, to enjoy the local canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping and music, etc.
CRAFT Member Farm? No
Internship Starts: WHEN WE NEED HELP: June through October. While April and May are busy (it is helpful to catch part of May, as that is when we finish seeding), we usually cover this work with our regular help. July, August and September are crazy busy, with June and October being “just” busy. We often have opportunities for additional work with the remodeling of buildings and equipment repair and fabrication in November. We try to accommodate individual schedule needs, starting and ending dates can vary somewhat. Interns generally work 5 to 6 days per week, 6 to 8 hours per day.
Internship Ends: see above
Number of Internship Available: 2-3
Application Deadline: April 23
Minimum Length of Stay: 3 months
WHAT KINDS OF WORK EXPERIENCES ARE INVOLVED: We strive to give interns a broad, comprehensive experience, from start to finish and everything in between. Tasks include: Seeding, watering, fertilizing and transplanting in the field of over 25,000 vegetable transplants; managing irrigation in the field and high tunnel; cultivating and hoeing weeds; trellising tomatoes in the field and greenhouse; harvesting, grading and packing produce; hauling produce to markets; stocking, rotating and pricing produce; selling produce; delivering produce to charitable organizations; operating and maintaining equipment; possible involvement in internet marketing.
Educational Opportunities: ADDITIONAL TRAINING: Interns work alongside the owners, in the fields and at the markets, daily. As former teachers, it is our natural inclination, to help the people we work with in understanding the “why” behind the practices. During June and October, weekly discussions, demonstrations or workshops on the following topics (and other areas of intern interest) are generally followed by a company cookout. Topics will likely include: Soils and Fertilization; Greenhouses and Other Protected Structures, Watering and Irrigation, Mulching and Weed Control, Insect Management, Disease Management, Marketing, and Organic Production. The co-owner/operator of Steffen Farms has taught and conducted research at Penn State University on plant biology, vegetable production and sustainable farming systems.
Skills Desired: JOB REQUIREMENTS: While farming/gardening experience is very helpful, we are also looking for nice people who are energetic, goal-oriented, intellectually alert and not afraid of hard work. We need people who are physically and mentally tough enough to handle 30 pound watermelons on hot days in the field and at the market, but they also have to be careful enough to handle fully ripe tomatoes.
Meals: Yes, see above.
Stipend: STIPEND/COMPENSATION: Room (the former Pearson family, farm house) & basic board (simple staple items plus our produce) provided; $8/hr. plus completion bonus.
Housing: Yes, see above.
Preferred method of Contact: email