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An Acting Teacher and a professional Costume Designer turned sustenance farmers, have a one acre farm in coastal, Blue Hill, Maine.
Using organic methods growing for Farmers Markets, Co-ops, health food stores, restaurants, and ever-growing cadre of loyal customers. Producing lacto-fermented sauerkraut, pickles, hot sauce, kimchi as well as garlic scape pesto, fruits and berries, eggs, jams and jellies and a variety of fresh produce.
Late April-October is ideal, we will consider someone from May to September as well
Backstage farm is five miles from the coastal village of Blue Hill, a small coastal town with vibrant farming and artistic communities. We are 40 minutes from Acadia National Park and Bangor. Many artists and artisans live and work in the area and there are many organic farms nearby with apprentices with whom to forge friendships. Our small farm is surrounded on three sides by the Farmland Forever land trust organic fields that is used for hay
We grow a vast variety of organic, vegetables, fruits and berries. In addition to our outdoor gardens, we have three high tunnels, multiple low tunnels, a flock of forty free-range egg-laying chickens. We forage for edible mushrooms in the woods around us. We are famous for our line of Moxie’s value-added, lacto-fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, ets. We are a part of the famous Blue Hill Farmers Market and we sell to many health food stores, Coops, restaurants and to an ever-growing cadre of our loyal customers. We donate food to our community resources and we participate in Senior Farm share program.
We are Certified Naturally Grown (www.CNGfarming.org)
Certified Naturally Grown farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicide, or GMOs, just like certified organic farmers. The main difference between CNG and organic is our certification model, which relies on peer inspections, transparency, and direct relationships We are well known in our community as everyone who purchases our products knows about our responsible practices.
The Apprentice will learn how to homestead a small, biodynamic farm, how to raise a small flock of fowl, grow and preserve root crops, make jams and jellies, fermented foods, i.e. sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, hot sauce, other value-added foods and learn preserving for sustenance. They will learn how to start seeds, transplant, plant, take care of and monitor crops, harvest, process and sell. They will prepare the soil for different crops, Learn how to manage compost consisting of food particles, seaweed, horse and cow manure, plant matter and chicken litter, how to harvest and prepare crops for Farmers Markets, retail stores and restaurants, how to price, sell and interact with the public.
We hope that our apprentice will have some kind of transportation in order to enjoy the beauty of the area on her/his days off.
We expect our apprentice to perform routine farm work, that involves bending, stooping, walking, lifting up to 50 lbs, standing while washing and processing food. We expect an eight hour work day with one and a half days off.
We are both experienced teachers working with diverse population of young people here and abroad. We will teach by example, giving apprentice responsibility to work alone, work along with us, we will do research together and discuss our farming decisions.
Elena is a full time farmer during the growing season and designs costumes for the New Surry Theatre productions during the off- season. Bill has farmed organically since 1969 and has shared his time as an Acting teacher and Consultant of the New Surry Theatre’s (NST) Performing Arts School since 1972 (www.newsurrytheatre.org)
Our apprentice will work side by side with us and we will share two meals a day. Our apprentice will be invited to join us at farmers gatherings in the local Grange and other community events.
In addition to two meals a day with us, plus farm produce for their third meal and a private place to stay, we offer a stipend of $75 per week.
Our apprentice will have their own private quarters with a sleeping loft, kitchenette, electric appliances, outdoor cook stove, refrigerator, hot water outdoor shower and a composting toilet.
We would prefer to meet with our prospective apprentice but if not possible we would gladly speak via phone, Skype or FaceTime.. We would expect a trial period of one week so everyone would know that they are happy with the situation.
Do you have a written Farm Employees manual? What is your process for evaluating work and giving feedback? What is your process for disciplinary action if necessary?
We do not have a manual and our process for evaluating work is that everyone gets along with each other. We are experienced teachers and welcome comments and questions. We always learn from the people we work with and have never found the need for “disciplinary action”.
Bill had tried farming previously, moving from New York City to New Hampshire in the 1960’s and loved the homesteading way of life but was too busy with his passion for directing and teaching theatre to stay in one place. He met Elena, a Costume Designer when he was invited to direct a play in Leningrad, USSR in the late eighties. Elena was invited to teach Costume Design at the University of Maine as a J1 Professor. They married and moved to Blue Hill where they purchased their small farm sited in that magical strip along Route 15, near the Blue Hill and Penobscot border, which has produced and continues to produce so much of our region’s local foods. They became serious farmers as their desire to live off the land became stronger. They continue on that path as they grow as farmers and producers of healthy lacto-fermented products that the community has embraced as well as in their love of theatre and helping others. Their philosophy is to respect everyone’s individuality, respect and care for the land; to work hard and to find peace in their lives.
Are you interested in participating as a mentor and/or host farmer in MOFGA’s Journeyperson program for advanced training in organic farming?
Value-added production and fermenting. Operating a very small farm for profit and self sustenance