Fisher Farm is a small family farm in beautiful Winterport, Maine. We specialize in growing the highest quality MOFGA Certified Organic vegetables. We are committed to the health and safety of our community.
Looking for an apprentice for 2024 growing season. We are flexible about start and end dates but prefer someone who is willing to commit to the entire season April/May through October/November.
Our 27 acre farm is located in a rural area in the town of Winterport. The farm is mostly open fields with some surrounding woods. We are about half an hour drive from the bigger cities of Bangor and Belfast. About 1 hour to Acadia National Park. A car is essential for getting around.
Our primary focus is growing certified organic vegetables on about 4 acres of cultivated fields. We have a seedling operation in a heated greenhouse in the spring and grow vegetables in 3 unheated high tunnels. A flock of about 100 laying hens rotate through the fields in a mobile chicken coop as an integral part of the rotation. We use a tractor for primary tillage but almost all planting, weeding, harvesting, washing and packing is done with appropriate hand tools.
All our seedlings and vegetables have been certified organic since 1996. We no longer certify the flock of chickens because they get some non-certified feed and I tend to adopt non-certified birds.
The primary skills to be learned include techniques for efficiently planting, cultivating, harvesting, washing and packing a wide variety of vegetables. Record keeping, communicating with other crew members, interacting with our CSA members, and attending farmers Market are part of the apprenticeship. Basic use and safe operation of the tractor will also be taught.
The most important requirements are good communication skills, a willingness to learn, and a strong work ethic. It is important that you are comfortable working in a group and also independently. A drivers license is also required.
Generally we work 7am-12pm as a group. The afternoons are for attending markets and more independent work. Expect to work 40 hours a week. Most work happens Monday-Friday with occasional weekend chore duty. The farm also has a small Airbnb cabin, and helping manage that is also part of our workday.
Most training happens on the job, working alongside me or a more experienced member of the team. Apprentices are also expected to be able to work independently once given ample instruction and appropriate tools. I have a large agricultural library which is available to apprentices and I also highly encourage attending all Farm Training events. We have a daily morning meeting monday-friday and schedule weekly instructional farm walks.
I am a full time farmer.
I generally work alongside apprentices Monday-Friday 7am-noon and project based in the afternoons. I also like to go hiking and backpacking off the farm so there will be times when the apprentice works alongside other members of the team.
Apprentices receive $15/hour and surplus produce. Our pay period is weekly. Small, rustic, on-farm housing can be available to the right candidate. We do have a two week trial period. End of season performance based bonus given to all workers who complete agreed-upon season.
If applicant is in need of housing, we do have a tiny private rustic cabin available. Apprentice is responsible for cooking their own meals. Living and working on the farm is a great experience. We have beautiful sky here and delicious food. However, our accomodations are more like camping than some may be used to. The bathroom is an outhouse and there is no WiFi or air conditioning. The cabin does have a cook stove and room temperature running water.
A farm visit is highly recommended. We have a two week trial period to make sure the arrangement is working with both parties.
We do not have an employee manual. I attempt to work side by side with employees as much as possible during the training period. I try to give a lot of positive feedback and encouragement to help everyone meet production goals. I encourage daily conversation and questions. I try to give feedback on the spot. Any feedback potentially sensitive would be given in a private setting. We have a daily morning meeting.
I have been farming since 1999. I graduated from UMaine with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture. I live with my 11 year old daughter, our two rescue dogs and 1 cat. I’m always trying to figure out ways to make our work easier and more efficient so I can spend more time hiking. I appreciate the apprentice model as that is how I began farming.
While I am definitely liberal leaning, I don’t think my political views should have any affect on my workers’ experience on the farm. While political conversations are fine when working out in the field, I expect everyone to treat each other with respect. In any public setting (eg farmers market), I expect conversation to be centered around food and farming with customers.
Side by side working is at the core of educating apprentices and building lifelong relationships. We are welcoming to workers of all backgrounds and indeed have learned a lot from the varied workers we’ve had in the past. Our goal is to leave this land better than when we found it and we aim to train the next generation of land stewards the fundamentals of environmental sustainability. We strive for a safe and fair work environment where everyone feels valued.