Whiffletree Farm raises pastured chickens, turkeys, eggs, pork, and beef–very much inspired and modeled after Joel Salatin’s PolyfaceFarm. 100% grassfed beef. Everything on fresh pasture. No drugs, chemicals, or GMO feeds, etc. They process all their own poultry. They raise around 8,000 chickens, 2,000 laying hens, 150 pigs, 700 turkeys, and graze around 15 beef steers. Additionally, they have made Whiffletree a hub of excellently-raised, locally-raised, Weston Price-friendly products beyond what they raise by sourcing from ther friends (lamb, organic veggies, raw honey, raw milk, etc.)! They sell to local restaurants, from their Farm Store, in collaboration with other farms, and in their northern Virginia to Charlottesville buying clubs.
Internship Starts: Rolling–They have three 4-month internship sessions.
Internship Ends: Rolling–The have three 4-month internship sessions.
Number of Interns: 4
App Deadline: Rolling–Applications are due 2 months prior to the given internship session.
Minimum Length of Stay: 4 months
Meals: Apprentices have free access to the farm’s meat and eggs and make their own food.
Skills Desired: No farming experience is required. Candidates must have an excellent attitude and great work ethic. Cheerful, tidy, profesional, completely of integrity, very willing to receive criticism and desiring to do the work excellently and quickly.
Educational Opportunities: It is their goal that you would become well versed in all the pertinent farm and business practices of raising all their animals. Interns have exposure to all the animal work on a daily basis. There is no reason an intern would not know this well by the end of his or her session. Towards learning the business side of the enterprise they have 2 hours of lessons each week where Jesse Straight, the farmer, leads interns through a curriculum he developed that covers all the business side of the operation (marketing, customer service, record keeping, sourcing, etc.). Additionally, in that they source from a diverse group of farming friends who are raising what they do not, interns have exposure to many knowledgeable people and farms. The goal would be for you to leave knowing the farm and business model to set you up well to start your own business.
Stipend: $150/month. Room. And $400 in Whiffletree Farm food/month.
Housing: Their male internship apartment is a finished space in the back of their historic Carriage Museum. Shared single sex apartment with 1-2 other interns. It is insulated, dry, has windows, shower, washer and drier, kitchen with stove, fridge, sink, and dishwasher. You would prepare your own food. They are working on an on-the-farm female internship apartment, however in the meantime female internship housing might be off-farm. In this case, female apprentices would have their own bedroom, with shared kitchen, with Jesse’s kind and hospitable parents. They would cover this rent as well as the travel expenses to and from the farm.
Preferred method Of Contact: phone or email
WORK DESCRIPTION: They work hard. 55 hours/week is normal. 6:00am-5:30pm Monday through Saturday with 45 minute breaks for breakfast and lunch, and one weekday off. Just minimal chores on Sunday (usually 2-3 hours). So this means interns are working 5.5 days/week. Friday nights we work late to load chickens for slaughter. Saturday morning we start at 5 AM in order to do the chores before processing our chickens. On rare occasions, they have to work late as need arises.
The work mostly entails moving, feeding, and watering the animals, cleaning eggs, processing chickens (every Saturday May to December) building and maintaining infrastructure, making deliveries, helping customers in the Farm Store, record keeping, and getting resources (feed, bedding, etc.)–though you would have to be willing to do anything.
EXPECTATIONS: As a boss Jesse has high standards, though he is kind and reasonable. You would be expected to work hard and fast and do the job right; keep a hop in your step and pay close attention. You have to be willing to receive criticism and really desire to be an excellent worker. Most interns will be extremely tired the first couple weeks as they get used to the shock of how hard they work. You must be very professional and courteous. Their interns live in very close contact with our family and must represent our business well to all the people with which we work. These are high standards, but they believe it is the happiest and most satisfying way to live your life, and will bring you the truest success in your life no matter what career you choose.
STRAIGHT FAMILY DESCRIPTION: We are kind, hard working, have very high standards for excellent work and excellent behavior, and are Catholic. We have 5 children under the age of 8.
INTERNSHIP SESSIONS: Spring: Jan 1 – May 1. Apply ASAP.
Summer: May 1 – Sept 1. Apply by March 1.
Fall: Sept 1 – Jan 1. Apply by July 1.
If you are interested but those dates do not quite work for you, let them know and they will consider your situation.
1. You follow up with them by email or phone call. firstname.lastname@example.org com or 703 989-3137.
2. They send you the Questionaire and you respond.
3. You and they schedule an on-farm work trial.
FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES: Those who have completed the internship program with exceptional excellence could be invited to apply for the apprenticeship program (year long program with greater responsibility, compensation and opportunities for education).