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North Star Orchard

Employment Opportunities

All on-farm positions are full for 2014. If you would be interested in joining us in 2015 or being 'on call' in case we have an opening later this year, please review the details below and fill in our Employment Application here.

About the Farm

We operate a mid-size vegetable CSA, a large fruit CSA, and sell everything else retail at producer-only farmers' markets. We grow non-certified organically-grown vegetables on 5 acres and IPM tree fruit (specializing on unique and heritage apple varieties) on about 15 acres. (See other sections of the website to learn more). The farm is owned and operated by Ike and Lisa Kerschner, who live and work on the property.

Our on-farm positions are not internships, but employment for a reasonable wage. There are certainly opportunities to learn while working, especially for motivated individuals who are willing to read industry-specific material, ask questions of the farm owners, and attend area grower-specific meetings. Many of our helpers have gone on to further education in sustainable topics/agriculture or to their own farming projects.

North Star Orchard is a smoke-free and drug-free environment, and dogs live on the property.

About the Positions Available

1. All helpers are required to work from time to time on any project on the farm, be it gardening, orcharding, grounds maintenance, fruit thinning, fruit/vegetable breeding projects, CSA & market prep, or helping with special building projects. All helpers should be willing to help at a weekend farmers' market in fall.

2. All helpers will be assigned one or more AoR “Areas of Responsibility” based upon their interests and skills. AoRs enable the helper to truly focus on and become responsible for specific tasks. Sample AoRs include: Washroom Leader, Irrigation Crew, Flame Weeder, Greenhouse Manager, Harvest Crew Leader, Cider Making Assistant, Farmers' Market Manager, Landscape Maintenance, Seed Saving Helper, etc. Some AoRs are individual tasks, but many involve the opportunity to manage other helpers on the given task.

3. Applicants will choose one or more categories of interest when applying, which will help us determine an applicant's desired focus. Categories include:

About our On-Farm Helpers

1. All helpers start out as Seasonal Helpers (April through November, FT hours preferred). Becoming a Year-'round helper (with winter work) and/or a returning helper for subsequent years are possibilities for the right people.

2. Regular work time is M-F from 7AM to 3:30PM (8-4:30 in late fall through early spring), for a 40-hour week. Those helping at a weekend market are given the option to have 1 weekday off. Helpers can work 55+ hours a week during August-November, if they wish to, by opting to help with more markets, CSA staffing, and/or cider-making activities.

3. Helpers understand that vacation time is preferred between December and July. Time off in August through November is granted on a very limited basis (emergencies excepted).

4. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, or educational background.

Requirements

On-farm applicants must:

1. Be highly motivated, efficient, and detail-oriented with strong work ethics and the ability to work well with both staff and customers.

2. Be physically fit: able to repeatedly lift 40-50 pounds, climb a short ladder on a frequent basis on orchard work days, squat and bend repeatedly on garden work days, and work in all weather conditions.

3. Have a license with a good driving record.

4. Supply their own work boots, clothing, gloves, and sunscreen.

Pay and Benefits

1. All Seasonal Helpers start at $10/hr. Pay raises are based on performance, taking on more responsibility, and staying on from year to year.

2. All helpers receive a ½ price discount on first-quality produce and free second-quality produce.

3. On-farm shared housing in a large house or two-person apartment at reasonable rent is a possibility. Rent includes heat, A/C, trash, water, and wifi (basically everything but your phone plan).

To Apply

On-farm positions for 2015 (or to apply to be 'on call' for 2014): If you are interested in an on-farm position, please fill in this Employment Application. In addition to filling in the Application, you must email us a letter of introduction and resume.

Farmers' Market Helpers: We sometimes need extra help at farmers' markets. Helpers must be: physically fit (able to lift fruit crates and stand for long periods of time), somewhat familiar with a wide range of produce, able to effectively multitask, and be a 'people person'. Market work can be very fun and somewhat challenging. The main goal of a farmers' market helper is customer service, so good people skills are a must. Helpers earn $10/hr and get ½ price discount on produce. If you'd be interested in helping at a market in 2014, please email us with a letter of introduction.

North Star Orchard • Ike & Lisa Kerschner
Email: Lisa@northstarorchard.com • Phone: (610)-593-0314
3226 Limestone Rd. • Cochranville, PA 19330
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