Harvest Table Apprenticeship in Connecticut at Jones Family Farms – 2017
Jones Family Farms is a respected destination farm located in Shelton, Connecticut, just 80 miles east of Manhattan and 15 miles west of New Haven, CT. The Jones family has been farming in Shelton since the late 1850s. Currently, about 100,000 guests visit the farm each year, and there are 12 professional farm managers on staff. Presently the farm maintains 400 acres of land, including 15 acres in strawberries, 15 acres in blueberries, 25 acres in pumpkins, squash, and gourds, and 200 acres in Christmas trees, all harvested by pick-your-own guests. The farm also manages 50 acres of hay land, 50 acres of woodlots, and over 5 acres of grapes which are in production for the farm’s winery. Now in its ninth year, the Harvest Kitchen cooking studio hosts hands-on classes featuring seasonal, farm fresh produce and other local foods. The Kitchen also maintains an educational vegetable garden that provides produce for our classes.
The primary learning objective of our Harvest Table Apprenticeship in Connecticut is to offer hands-on experiences in modern sustainable agriculture, direct marketing, and following food from field to plate in our farm kitchen. Apprentices participate on a team that includes farm managers and a variety of seasonal staff. Our goal is to provide hands-on harvest, farm guest interactions, and farm kitchen experience useful to an aspiring market farmer, community dietitian, chef embracing farm cuisine, and/or farm and food educator.
Harvest Your Own: strawberry, blueberry, pumpkin and Christmas tree seasons: major responsibilities include harvest-your-own supervision, direct marketing operations (farm educator, sales), and farm maintenance tasks necessary for inviting guests onto our farm (cleaning, painting etc). Apprentices will gain an understanding of our diversified farming operations through hands-on field experiences (planting, weeding, harvesting).
In the Kitchen: gain an understanding of production kitchen management and record keeping as key members of our diversified farm kitchen team. Projects include preserving and cooking with our seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as baking goods for our Winery and Harvest-Your-Own guests; while also learning about commercial food sanitation practices. Apprentices also have the opportunity to share their experiences and learn alongside our guests while assisting with our cooking classes.
Desired Traits and Skills:
- We are looking for individuals with a sincere and strong interest in food and where it comes from. A college degree is preferred.
- Preference will be given to applicants with experience working in the field of agriculture, outdoor education, food preparation, nutrition or dietetics; however, applicants who have some background in food systems or experiential education are also encouraged to apply.
- Applicants should be self-motivated, reliable, responsible, flexible, and communicative – both verbal and written.
- Apprentices must be in good physical health, able to lift 50 pounds, be willing to do a variety of different tasks, and able to work in all weather conditions including cold, rain and extreme heat.
- Being a team player and having a positive attitude and sense of humor is critical. We are looking for someone who works well independently as well as with teams, and able to learn quickly while supporting Jones farming methods. We are committed to teaching and learning through doing and we want our apprentices to be equally on board.
Farm Environmental Facts:
- Physical work is strenuous and of long duration.
- May spend long periods of time standing, walking, bending or crouching.
- Prolonged outdoor exposure – possibly in hot, freezing or inclement weather.
- Awareness that visiting guests and their farm expectations shape our work environment and require a constant attention to politeness and cleanliness.
- Living on the farm is essential and the work hours vary based on the conditions of Mother Nature and the harvest realities.
- On-farm education will happen through structured lessons as well as through project-oriented instruction.
- Our on-farm education will be complemented by the apprentice’s participation in the Western Connecticut Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program, which requires traveling to other farms in the region.
- Field trips to other farms and educational events will be encouraged, based on apprentices’ interest area.
- Apprentices will have access to the farm library with opportunities for discussion with farm managers, and will be encouraged to research and learn on their own.
Dates: Could start as early as April, although a flexible start date can be accommodated for the right candidate (no later than May 15, 2017). Full-time commitment to the farm will be expected through December 21st, with 2 extended weekends off between our busy HYO seasons (typically in early September & early November). This apprenticeship opportunity has the potential to continue to a second, more focused year of farm experiences or possibly year-round farm employment.
Compensation: The work schedule varies depending on the season, with apprentices working 40 to 50 hours per week, including many weekend and holiday hours. Compensation includes a room in an on-farm house with modern amenities, a biweekly stipend, and produce when available. Jones Family Farms provides health insurance through Worker’s Compensation for on farm incidents, but personal health insurance must be provided by the applicant. Apprentices must provide their own transportation.
To Apply for the Harvest Table Apprenticeship in Connecticut: please visit our website for details and contact information: https://www.jonesfamilyfarms.com/farm/about-farm/harvest-table-apprenticeship