Apple Acres Farm
Apple Acres Farm is a 3 acre certified organic fruit farm in southwestern Maine. We also run a farm restaurant and a store that offers over 100 locally made products, and host on site events and gatherings such as weddings, tours, music festivals, pick-your-own opportunities, workshops, and more.
We are also currently engaged in building treehouses to rent out on the property. In all of our farming activities we are public facing, inviting folks to establish a connection to the land through both the fruit we grow, and the products and foods we sell.
The farm has been in the family for four generations, and transitioning to organic with the current iteration has been a challenging task that offers many learning opportunities each year. We are looking for apprentices who will join us in this experience of transition and trial and error, understanding that organic fruit farming in New England is a rare endeavor. We are looking for enthusiasm and work ethic over experience, and the position is best suited to someone who is interested in learning about a multi-revenue stream organic farm that is open to
May 1st-November 15th is ideal with some flexibility
We farm on our family land (3rd and 4th generation), and many family members live on the land or down the road. Our farm is 3 acres in production, and almost 100 acres in total (mostly woodland). Our setting feels very rural, but we are actually just a mile from a small town with grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. We are 45 minutes from large towns with lots of things to do (Portland Maine, North Conway New Hampshire), and within minutes of many rivers and mountains to enjoy.
We are a unique agri-entertainment farm. We raise three acres of certified organic mixed fruits, mostly apples, for pick-your-own. We also have a large farm store that sells over 100 locally made items, and a farm restaurant and bar. We host weddings, tours, and we are in the process of building several guest cottages. We are in the multi-year process of expanding our farm operations to increase the number of trees and fruit types, and to add a large garden which will provide veggies for the kitchen. We are also expanding to include raising poultry (guinea fowl) in 2021, as a way of managing increasing pest control.
Yes—we will have been operating with full organic practices for six years as of May 2022. We are one of the only certified organic pick your own orchards in New England.
Apprentices will do learn full management of the orchard from mowing, hand thinning, mulching, pest scouting and harvesting, to learning the business side of farming, and interacting with customers working in the farm stand selling fruit. Apprentices will also learn to safely use equipment, and will participate in any building projects learning to use tools. Please apply for more detail.
No requirements except the ability to lift 50 lbs, if Covid-19 is still an issue, we expect apprentices to follow all state mandates and highly recommend getting the vaccine.
We work six days per week, typically 8 hours, sometimes up to 10 hours per day in harvest season. Often the work is physically strenuous, more often it is repetitive, the fall season with customers coming to the farm can be high energy and chaotic with hundreds of people all at once. Apprentices are very often shown how to do a task, and then expected to perform it without direct supervision.
We almost always work with the apprentice initially to demonstrate. We get tasks done by managing lists and having morning meetings. When we can we like to work directly with each other, and will not ask you to do all of the boring tasks. We will also give you a binder of educational readings that we will discuss, and each apprentice gets to have a day off each month to work on an independent project.
No. In addition to running the farm we are the executive directors of a non-profit music festival and educational arts organization, apprentices will get some time during the summer to participate in running the festival. We also manage a separate business, an 1820s bed and breakfast in downtown Cornish, which is opening in 2022 and will focus on events in addition to lodging and dining. With the events at the inn, we hope to integrate into the agricultural and arts sector activities we are already involved in. Apprentices may have the opportunity to investigate this business separately from their farming apprenticeship, but their apprenticeship will not directly involve working at the inn
We meet with the apprentices daily, and typically work with them at least 50% of the time. During the fall harvest season we are working on site 75-100% of the time
$250/week plus weekly veggie CSA from sister farm, and housing. Many group meals, we also have our own garden you can grab produce from. If we are do decide to go forward with a guinea operation there will be a small amount of eggs. Bonuses at the end of the season TBD. Most apprentices are able to save the majority of their money.
Apprentices have their own apartment attached to the farmhouse where our in-laws live (we live separately down the road). The apartment has its own kitchen and bathroom, laundry facilities are shared in the house. The apartment has slow WIFI, but a good cell signal. Please note that this is an open floor plan loft with some privacy screens. It is not a good arrangement for those who desire totally private space.
There is no trial period or visit, but you certainly can visit us if you live nearby.
We have a written apprentice/farmer agreement that both parties sign. We give feedback as we are working, and can meet to discuss necessary changes as necessary. We evaluate the apprenticeship process on a monthly basis regardless of any issues coming up. Disciplinary action is dealt with a meeting outside of work hours, if an apprentice needs to leave or is let go, a two week move-out period is allowed.
The farm is run by a farming couple-Molly and Bill, and has been in Bill’s family for three generations. His sons also live on the farm and help out, though they mainly have other work. We see our farm as doorway for the outside world to come experience and appreciate farming and nature—we are very public facing in everything that we do. From our orchard, to our farm store and restaurant where we are also using local product, to the weddings and tours we host, and cabins we are building, we are always inviting people in. We have a lot of land, and our long term goal is to increase the agricultural output of the land so that it also feels like a farm to table homestead—we are hoping to grow more veggies and add poultry this summer and to eventually incorporate that into the restaurant. We also must add that organic fruit farming is a very uncommon and difficult project to take on in New England’s soil and climate. We are always learning, and always struggling, as the orchard was farmed conventionally for many years. We are looking for apprentices that want to join us on this journey, rather than ‘learn from a master’.
We are not religious, and we are very progressive. We do interact with and know many conservative and religious folks with no issue. We encourage folks to focus on what they have in common. We do consider Covid-19 and mask wearing to be a scientific fact, not a political issue, require mask wearing as needed based on Covid protocols in the state of Maine and highly encourage getting vaccinated.