The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Keith's Farm in Orange County, NY

Farm Employment/Apprenticeship Offerings

Crew Member

Employees are involved in all aspects of transforming seeds and plants into marketable vegetables. This includes soil preparation, seeding in greenhouse or field, transplanting, thinning, weeding, watering, protecting, mulching, harvesting, packing and selling the well over 100 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and fruits we grow. Our produce is sold at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan two days a week. Usually, employees spend one day each week at this thriving market in the heart of New York City.

Contact Person: 
Keith Stewart
Farm Mailing Address:
PO Box 297, Westtown, NY 10998
Contact Phone:

845-856-4955

Contact Email:

keithsfarm@frontiernet.net

Farm Website: Region:

Out of State

Application Deadline:

April 2016

Start Date:

April 2016

End Date:

November 2016

Employment/Apprenticeship Duration:

Growing Season

Apprentice Involved with

  • Vegetable Production
  • Herbs
  • Farmers Market
Room and Board:

Room and Board

What Educational opportunities do apprentices have?

Beyond maintaining profitability, our aim is to prepare those, who have the desire, to pursue careers in local and sustainable farming. Learning is mostly hands-on and employees are expected to take responsibility for many tasks and projects (greenhouse and high tunnel management, irrigation, record keeping, etc.). Reading material is available for those who are interested and there is plenty of discussion of organic methods and philosophy, with emphasis on soil health and management, cover crops, crop rotation, irrigation, and fertility.

Skill or experiences

"Skills Desired: Preference given to applicants with some prior farm work experience (with references) and interest in pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture. Other physical and outdoor work experience is a plus. Farm work requires stamina and some physical strength. Crew members should be able to lift 50 lbs. without undue stress. Speed and efficiency are also critical to our success. Applicants should be able to work cooperatively with others and function well in a team environment. The application process starts by emailing us (Keith and Joshua) your resume and references, along with a cover letter telling us about yourself and why you want to work on an organic farm and our farm in particular. An in-person interview on the farm is required. "

Best Method for apprentices to apply?

  • Email
Farm Mission and Overview : 
General Description: We are located in Western Orange County, NY, on a former 88.5-acre dairy farm. It is a beautiful place, with varied terrain and topography, set well back off the road and buffered by woods on three sides. In 2007 an agricultural conservation easement was placed on the farm, ruling out future development. We are in our 30th year of growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit on 17 acres. The balance of the land is either wooded or fallow or used for Christmas trees. We make extensive use of cover crops and compost and have a small flock of chickens. We have been certified organic by NOFA-NY for 28 years. The farm is rich in animal and bird life. It has a creek and three ponds and is a short distance from the Appalachian Trail and the Delaware River and 65 miles from New York City where we sell our produce at a highly regarded farmers' market. We have a long history of working with interns. More than 200 people have lived and worked on our farm over the past 27 years—most staying for the whole season, some for two or three seasons. Many stay in touch long after the season is over and return to visit. To get a better sense of what the farm is like, read the book, ""It's a Long Road to a Tomato"", by Keith Stewart or look at http://www.valleytable.com/vt-article/generation-next-redux-0 See photos of our farm on the book publisher's website: http://www.longroadtoatomato.theexperimentpublishing.com/gallery.html Also check out ""Storey's Guide to Growing Organic Vegetables and Herbs for Market"" (released Feb. 2013) by Keith Stewart.
Is there a deadline for accepting applications?: 
No
Weekly/Seasonal Schedule: 
"The work week: Before we begin our farmers markets in late May, each person puts in 45 hours per week (five 9-hour days). After the markets begin, the work at the farm drops to about 38 hours per week, per person, plus one day at the market. Most of these hours are put in during a five-day work week, though between a half hour and one hour is needed of 4 to 5 people each Sunday, to unload the truck and clean up after our Saturday market. Those who work at the Saturday market take Monday off. For the right people, a season on the farm could lead to long-term employment and increased compensation."
Please Describe Compensation : 
Stipend: First year employees will receive $375 per week in April and May; then $475 per week for remainder of season. Housing: Good housing provided, with shared bathrooms (3), kitchens (2), and private bedrooms, as part of stipend (includes heat, hot water, utilities, telephone, and internet service). Meals: Prepared meals are not provided but employees can eat whatever is grown on the farm.
Preferred experience level : 
no experience required
Languages spoke other than english: 
None

 

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