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North Star Orchard

Employment Opportunities

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 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.

We have the following openings for 2015:

1. TWO helpers are needed in summer (mid-May through mid-July to help with orchard fruit thinning and other activities. PT/FT hours available. If you are interested in summer work, please skip ahead below to the "Requirements", "Pay and Benefits", and "To Apply" sections.

2. TWO or THREE helpers are needed from the first week of August through mid-November to help with CSA Fruit Share packing. This is a PT position on Mondays and/or Thursday mornings, from roughly 7:30AM until 11:30 AM (some flexibility with hours on those two days is possible). Work indoors with a group of others to pack the Fruit Share and prepare it for delivery. This is a fun activity, yet one which requires a good attention to detail. If you are interested in this position, please skip ahead below to the "Requirements", "Pay and Benefits", and "To Apply" sections. (Note; not all Requirements apply to this position.)

3. ONE opening is available for a full-season (spring through fall) farm helper, PT/FT. We are particularly interested in someone who has a strong interest in helping with farmers' markets, the CSA, and other sales & communications types of activities, or one who is looking for a well-rounded farming experience (helping out with a little bit of everything!). Continue reading if you are interested in this position.

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. Most 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, Irrigation Crew, 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), to total a 40-hour week. Those helping at a weekend or evening market are given the option to have 1 weekday off. Helpers may work up to 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 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.

5. Not smoke or chew tobacco on the farm premises.

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 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.

To Apply

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.

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