The Benson Place is seeking an apprentice for the 2017 season. We are a 34 acre certified organic low-bush blueberry farm located in the remote and beautiful hills of Heath, MA. We manage the blueberry fields largely by hand and we focus on plant nutrient density to maximize crop health and boost immunity towards plant diseases and insects. In order to further support the blueberry crop as well as the health of the ecosystem, we are designing and implementing a several acre pollinator habitat targeted towards native bees.
In addition to the blueberries, which are the mainstay of the farm, we run a diverse, integrated homestead with a herd of goats, a large minimally-hand tilled vegetable garden, meat chickens and rabbits as well as mushrooms. We are in the process of expanding our goat herd, planning necessary infrastructure, and further developing our cheese recipes with the plan to begin small-scale commercial cheese production in 2018-2019. This also involves designing and laying the groundwork for a 6-acre chestnut (primarily) silvopasture.
Apprentices will participate in and gain skills in the following areas:
· Blueberries- nutrient dense management of crop health, controlled field burning, integrated ecosystem management, pollinator habitat design and implementation
· Vegetable Gardening- nutrient –dense management, no-till strategies for crops and cover crops, seed starting, harvest, processing, storage and mushroom propagation.
· Goats- milking and cheesemaking (feta, chevre and several hard cheeses) , herd health management, landscape management through grazing/ browsing, harvesting and processing goats for meat, and assisting with goat births
· Other- chicken and rabbit raising and processing, fruit tree and shrub management
· Permaculture Design- study the basics of farm-scale permaculture design as well as have an opportunity to participate in a design project in the fall, at the end of the apprenticeship
The apprenticeship entails about 50 hours of work per week with a stipend of $200/ week in addition to meals and separate lodging. Additional $250 educational stipend and one week vacation. The apprenticeship begins between March 18-April 1 with an end date of November 18th (33-35 weeks). We are looking for someone with enthusiasm to work and learn that can live and work closely with our family of four for the season.
Please call for more info and/or send a letter of interest and resume to:
Meredith Wecker or Andrew Kurowski