Would you love to learn about market gardening and organic growing in a hands-on way? Would you like to work alongside the farm owner, being supported and mentored along the way? Would you like to work on independent projects once you learn the necessary skills?
Where and what we are:
Laughing Apple Farm is located in a scenic and quiet spot on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. We have been farming here for 24 years and have developed efficient organic methods for producing a diversity of food year-around on a small scale.
Our farm was originally homesteaded in the 1880s and consists of about 120 acres of forest surrounding 40 acres of farmed land. We have a beautiful location – our property is on the western side of Ganges harbour and there are walking trails through the woods and to a beach, and a small lake where you can swim in the summer. On Salt Spring Island there is a dynamic community and our farm stand provides many opportunities to interact with interesting and like-minded people.
We grow tree fruit, berries, and veggies using organic and low-till methods. We grow crops in six greenhouses to extend the growing season as well as crops in large outside beds. We also grow hay (about 20 acres) and propagate and sell nursery plants from a large ornamental garden. In the fall we process most of our apple crop into apple juice with a commercial-scale apple press. We sell our produce primarily at our farm stand, and also to local stores and restaurants. Our bees produce a few hundred pounds of honey every year.
Our goal is to make delicious, beautiful, and nutritious produce and we are continually working to improve our knowledge and methods so that we grow better food and be better stewards of our land. We think providing food for people who live nearby generates community connection and is a worthy and fulfilling occupation for a lifetime.
Why would you want to do an apprenticeship at Laughing Apple Farm:
Dates of position: April/May to Nov 30th, the apprenticeship runs eight months, with an option to stay for more time, and learn to prune in the winter.
Remuneration: $900/month + housing + utiliities + food staples + produce + garden space. Housing is in a clean, comfortable furnished room in a two-bedroom cottage. The cottage has one bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, living room, fireplace, washer and dryer; electricity, water, telephone (local calls) and Wifi are included. We provide some basic dry food staples, produce from the farm, and gardening space for growing vegetables for your own personal use. The cottage is in very good condition and we ask that you have no pets. We provide WCB coverage for you as well.
Attributes we are looking for:
We are looking for mentally and physically healthy, strong (can lift 50 lbs), enthusiastic people with integrity and great work ethics. The ideal candidate can work in any weather, think for themselves and work independently, but be willing to take instruction or correction with patience and be able to work with others….and can have a sense of humor through it all! We are looking for people who learn quickly, ask questions when the job isn't clear, and are attentive to detail.
Our property is a non-smoking environment and we ask that you do not take recreational drugs on our property.
What will your days be like here:
We expect that you will work 40 hours most weeks. Throughout the whole season we have a farm stand to open at 9 a.m. and stock, as well as other customer orders to fill. Everyday there are chickens to feed, coops to clean, and eggs to collect. There are seed trays to check and water by hand. You will be expected to share all these responsibilities with us and we hope that you will be able to take sole responsibility for some of those tasks as the season progresses. Sunday is usually a day off for everyone. Typically most days, you will work with someone else, preparing beds, planting, seeding, especially in the first several months. During the busy summer season there will be harvesting most days. We try to have a weekly meeting where problems can be resolved, crops discussed, plans shared for the upcoming week, questions answered, so that everyone is aware of the goals for the week. In the quieter times of year this meeting will be a tutorial on various farming topics of interest.
We begin the year in January seeding the early crops as well as the first succession plantings of our greens. We grow greens (lettuces, mustard greens, spinach, arugula, chard and kale) throughout the year. We have heated greenhouse space where we grow the seedlings until they can be planted in unheated greenhouse space or in outside beds. Most of the first three months is spent seeding, transplanting and harvesting greens. As the outside beds begin to dry out we start bed preparation (we use broad forks to turn the rows) for the early crops like peas and leeks. By April we are harvesting asparagus and rhubarb. In May we are harvesting peas and broad beans and planting out the broccoli crop.
As spring turns into summer, we focus on irrigation systems, nets for the berries and cherries, planting the greenhouse crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons and basil) and the outside crops (beans, squash, corn).
In the height of the summer, we focus on harvesting the larger crops (berries, carrots, potatoes, garlic, corn, tree fruit) and maintaining the beds (weeding, mulch). We harvest the garlic in the first few weeks of July (preparing the garlic for drying is a multi-person job over several days). Sometime in late June or early July we spend a week haying in addition to everything else. Throughout June, July and August we are harvesting and weeding the veggies crops we grow as well as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and continuing the succession plantings of greens.
In the last part of August, the first apples begin to ripen so we begin harvesting apples. This continues through October and into November. Usually our first apple pressing can be in early September and we have 4-6 pressings through the pressing season into mid November, depending on the amount of the crop. They can be week-long events and the hours are long on those days.
We plant garlic in October and do bed cleanup and mulching in preparation for the winter months and continue seeding greens for the greenhouses and heated spaces for our winter greens crops.
Who we are:
Brian is a retired University research physicist who is still active in the field of ice particle research (he has a lab on the property and still builds instruments and does experiments). He fixes everything on the farm and there is opportunity for someone to help with these projects and learn everything from carpentry to welding. We usually have several repair projects on the go! Brian is involved in projects on the farm such as haying, bee-keeping, planting garlic, apple pressing, new bed preparation, moving chicken enclosures. Brian grew up on a raw milk dairy farm near Seattle.
Mary was a researcher in the field of climate science before she gave it all up and started farming full time. She also is an abstract painter and shows her work on the island. Mary is the person you will interact with on a daily basis. Mary manages the farm stand and is in charge of the planting, transplanting, and harvesting, and is the general all around go-to person. Mary has been growing food on Salt Spring Island on a full time basis since 2005.
How to Apply:
Please submit a resume to: Mary Laucks at email@example.com and a cover page of why you would like this position - answering at least the following questions:
Please provide at least three references, preferably from employers. If we think you are a good fit, we will arrange to speak in person online. Also, if possible, we can arrange a visit.
Please indicate you saw this posting at FoodWork.ca.
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Current status: Open/apply now. Date posted: Apr 6 2022 ID: 63581