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 12 acres. 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.
Please note: North Star Orchard is a smoke-free and drug-free environment, and dogs live on the property.
Looks like we're well-staffed for this year. However, we do have openings from time to time, so please let us know if you are interested in working here and we'll contact you if something opens up. Additionally, we'll start hiring staff for 2016 in late fall, so you can either check this page then for 2016 openings, or apply now and we'll contact you as soon as we start the fall interview process if we think you'd be a good fit!
1. Most helpers start out as Seasonal or Part-time Helpers. Becoming a Year-'round helper (with winter work) and/or a returning helper for subsequent years are possibilities for the right people.
2. Regular on-farm work hours are M-F from 7AM to 3:30PM (8-4:30 in late fall through early spring). Work schedules may vary somewhat depending on position and whether or not a helper works at a weekend farmers' market, etc.
3. All helpers may be 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. Full-time helpers should be willing to help at a weekend farmers' market in fall.
3. Helpers understand that vacation time is preferred between December and July. Time off in August through November is granted on a limited basis (emergencies excepted).
4. Many helpers are 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, Planting Manager, Greenhouse Manager, Harvest Crew Leader, Cider Making Assistant, Farmers' Market Manager, Landscape Maintenance, Seed Saving Helper, etc.
5. Applicants will choose one or more categories of interest when applying, which will help us determine an applicant's desired focus. Categories include:
6. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, or educational background.
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.
5. Not smoke or chew tobacco on the farm premises.
1. Most 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 working more than 20 hours a week 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. Please note that at this time all housing is already spoken for in 2015.
On-farm positions for 2015: 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. If you'd be interested in helping at a farmers' market only, please email us with a letter of introduction.