Hutchins Farm is seeking motivated, enthusiastic candidates for one fruit apprentice position for the 2018 season.
Hutchins Farm is looking for candidates for a newly created position to help manage our 8 acres of certified organic apples and one acre of certified organic blueberries. We are seeking a motivated, reliable individual to learn about and help with the management of our orchards and blueberry plantings under a certified organic regimen. The owners and managers of Hutchins Farm have many decades of agricultural experience combined. Through intensive hands-on learning and formal educational opportunities, the Hutchins Farm apprenticeship will provide apprentices with a broad understanding of the principles and techniques of diversified organic fruit and vegetable production.
Responsibilities will include:
Apples: The apprentice will participate in four seasons of orchard work, including winter pruning, spring spraying and planting, summer mowing and spraying, and fall harvest. Additional activities will include: scouting for pests and diseases, possible manual fruit thinning, tree removal, irrigation installation, sorting apples, and other jobs that may arise.
Blueberries: The blueberry season also includes a late winter pruning, early spring sprays, a harvest period (usually coincides with the month of July), and a number of other associated jobs like setting up irrigation, periodic mowing and weeding, and deploying and removing bird netting. One of the primary responsibilities of the Fruit Apprentice will be to manage the harvest labor in the blueberries, which will involve training employees, working alongside them at times, maintaining quality control, directing employees where to pick, communicating with market manager about anticipated supply issues, transferring blueberries to sales containers, and keeping records of yields for each picker
Helping Develop a Management Plan: The Fruit Apprentice will be responsible for collaborating with the farm manager to develop a management plan for the orchards and blueberries. This will include developing a spray schedule based on weather observations and scouting, mapping the existing orchard by variety, and keeping records of things like spray applications, labor hours associated with apple and blueberry production, yields, and other relevant information.
Combination with other roles at Hutchins Farm: The time commitment of perennial fruit management is quite variable, requiring a lot of work in the early part of the season for pruning and spraying, and (hopefully) a lot of work late in the season for harvest. In the mid-season the Fruit Apprentice will move into other roles in the farm operation. This could mean that the he or she would periodically join the field crew to assist with the routine tasks in row crop production, or could play a more specialized role, such as machinery operation, marketing, or greenhouse management. The exact details of this arrangement will be developed during the course of the season, and will depend on the experience and interests of the candidate and the requirements of the farm business.
The Fruit Apprentice will be provided with guidance and instruction from the other managers at Hutchins Farm. However, the position will also require self-directed learning through a variety of resources, including reference literature on the farm, and conversations with other local producers. The Apprentice will share in the responsibility to synthesize relevant information in order to develop efficient practices that will allow the orchard to be run both responsibly and profitably.
The Fruit Apprentice will be trained to operate our John Deere 5400N orchard tractor, blast sprayer, and mowers, and other tractor-drawn implements, and to safely use a chainsaw for limbing and tree removal. He or she may also receive other training depending on experience and involvement with the vegetable program.
Paid time to attend bi-weekly EMass CRAFT farm visits.
Periodic formal education sessions from the Farm Manager and other managers covering the principles of organic vegetable production, guided by the particular interests of the apprentices, including: soil science and fertility, variety selection, crop rotation and field planning, marketing and pricing, organic certification, disease and pest management, and other topics.
Strong interest in organic perennial fruit and vegetable production.
The position will require a considerable amount of independent work and decision-making, so candidates must be reliable, responsible and have the ability to communicate well with the other managers at Hutchins Farm both to receive instruction and critiques, and to provide relevant information to the other managers about the perennial fruit operation.
Positive, enthusiastic and inquisitive attitude, and an excellent work ethic
Ability to follow directions and to take constructive criticism
Must have valid drivers’ license
Must be able to lift at least 50lbs repeatedly
Preference will be given to candidates who have some background in organic agriculture and/or experience operating machinery.
The Perennial Fruit Apprentice position is seasonal, running from February 1, 2018 through November 15, 2018. Provided that the Fruit Apprentice excels in their role, we would consider offering him or her a management position for the 2018 season onward with additional independence and compensation.
Apprentices work five days a week including at least one weekend day during the season. A typical day is from 7am-4pm.
Candidates must be able to commit to the full season in order to qualify. Compensation will be $11/hr, with a $0.50 per hour worked year-end bonus contingent on completion of contract, plus vegetables from the farm. Housing is not available.
Please send a cover letter, resume and two references to the Farm Manager, Brian Cramer, at email@example.com