Pork Hill Farm
The farm is located in the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire. We are a short drive from the White Mountains and an hour from cities like Portland and Portsmouth. The farm is surrounded by hundreds of acres of conservation land, pristine woods, with lots of lakes and rivers nearby. We are located in a valley called Water Village – it’s quiet but people wave when you walk down the road. We are lucky to have a neighbor revitalizing a Grange Hall with concerts and community events in our neighborhood. We’ve seen some great shows and concerts here and hope to see the return of live music in 2021. The towns around us are lively in the summer with touristy stuff and great ice cream. The woods around the farm are great for hiking and exploring. It’s not hard to find solitude. Sometimes it seems more like a wildlife sanctuary with moose, deer, turkeys, porcupines, foxes, and even a mountain lion being spotted around the farm. The Ossipee Mountains have waterfalls, foraging, hiking, and swimming, and cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing in Winter.
The ideal timeframe for apprentices is late April – mid November. We do accept applicants with a college timeframe and we’ve had apprentices start in August and stay into November. The minimum timeframe would be May – August. We don’t have a maximum as we’ve had apprentices work with us over the course of a few years. We have year round opportunities as we grow into the winter months.
We are a certified organic vegetable, herb and flower farm specializing in high quality greens and seasonal produce. We distribute produce to a CSA, local restaurants, summer camps, grocery stores, and florists. We raise our own seedlings and use high tunnels to expand our greens production into the Winter. Most of our fieldwork is done by hand, but we have a tractor to do heavy lifting. We keep laying hens for eggs for ourselves and we keep bees for fun and pollination. On our 5 acre farm, we use about 2 acres for crop production while 3 acres are in cover crop and pollinator habitat.
We are a certified organic vegetable, herb and flower farm specializing in high quality greens and seasonal produce. We distribute produce to a 50 member CSA, local restaurants, summer camps, grocery stores, and florists. We raise our own seedlings and have high tunnels to expand our greens production into the Winter. Most of our fieldwork is done by hand, but we have a tractor to do heavy lifting. We keep laying hens for eggs for ourselves and we keep bees for fun and pollination. Our farm is composed of 3 fields along a quarter mile of public road.
We are certified organic.
We have a great opportunity for someone interested in learning how a small organic farm functions: from seed to transplant, maintaining crops, composting, fertilizing, turning fields, the organic certification process, harvesting, marketing, and developing a local foods business. Our work is diversified and shifts with the season in a pleasant way. The work we accomplish together in the early part of the year is strikingly different from midsummer and autumn.
When apprentices arrive at the farm in April or May, our greenhouse will be full of seedlings and we’ll be hustling to get those plants in the ground. Our major tasks are prepping fields with compost and soil amendments, and planting, but there will also be greenhouse work taking care of seedlings. We’ll set up irrigation, build raised beds and install black plastic to reduce weeding. We’ll set up temporary electric fencing.
Come summertime, we’ll need to control weeds and grassed areas by mowing and hand weeding. We’ll maintain perimeters and fence lines by mowing. Our work will be harvesting, planting, weeding and maintenance of crops in the ground and enjoying the bountiful harvests.
September will bring a shift towards planting and seeding our fall crops and harvesting the remaining summer crops. Full season apprentices will take a week vacation to reenergize for this harvest season when fruiting field crops reach the end of their life cycle with the first frosts. We also get a vacation, and apprentices run the farm while we are away, which is a great learning experience.
The end of our normal season (October – November) is the first preparation for next year. We’ve planted crops to over-winter in the high tunnels, we rip out and mow plants killed by the frost, we use floating row covers to protect crops from frost and remove irrigation, and black plastic, and take down and store fencing while continuing to harvest crops for sale and storage.
We are doing more winter growing and there is an opportunity to work later into the next year – or through the winter into a new season for the right candidate.
We require a valid drivers license and a clean driving record. A good attitude and enjoyment of the challenges of hard work is essential to a positive experience.
We work a regular 5-day schedule of around 10 hour days. These days are long, but varied. We have rotating chores so one week a month apprentices are responsible for care of chickens and greenhouses. Physical labor is a constant but aerobic and a fun challenge.
We expect a positive attitude. A good sense of humor is important. We expect a willingness to work hard, at a brisk pace under challenging conditions, in all types of weather. We expect apprentices to commit to a time period and follow through with the commitment. We expect a positive contribution to the farm and friendliness. We expect mistakes, and the willingness to do things again. We expect apprentices will enjoy the experience and have fun.
Apprentices will learn by working alongside the farmers. We offer regular feedback and training based on the aptitudes of the apprentice. We will participate in a CRAFT group (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training). We have partnered with other farms in Maine and NH to schedule regular visits to each other’s farms over the growing season. Visits will provide an overview of the farms operation and/or a detailed presentation on a particular aspect of the operation. This enables apprentices to check out what other farmers are doing and enhances learning opportunities. Apprentices can begin to develop their own farming community. We will also have opportunities to attend MOFGA, NOFA-NH, and Cooperative Extension workshops.
We are full time farmers.
We generally work in the field alongside apprentices although not necessarily at the same time or on the same task. We work together the most in the early part of the season (April-July) and less as the season progresses. Apprentices work independently, when possible, after training in particular tasks.
Farm workers at Pork Hill Farm are paid an hourly wage starting at minimum wage and increasing with experience and skill acquisition. We are happy to start experienced farm workers at higher rates. Room and produce from the farm are provided to apprentices. Full season apprentices receive a week of paid vacation.
Yes, On-farm and Off-farm
The farm has a couple housing options:
1) A beautiful, lakefront condo that is a commutable distance. This situation will accommodate 2 – 3 apprentices. Lake access, tennis court, deck overlooking a huge lawn sloping down to the water! This housing is available for long season apprentices and is available only in the Spring and Fall.
2) Two private yurts on the farm are furnished with kitchenettes, an outdoor screened living room, hot shower, etc. These yurts have wide-pine wood floors and were built by Two Girls Farm in Acworth, NH. They are lovely! No commute, quiet woods, owls, and stars.
These options allow apprentices a great deal of independence from the farmers and the farm, although they are within close proximity. Drug use and smoking are not permitted in either housing situation. Pets are not allowed. Additional housing rules pertain to each situation and can be discussed in an interview.
No. We have hired apprentices without a farm visit and have had good experiences. A farm visit is recommended though. We do not do any trial periods.
We do not have a manual. We do have a work agreement that we review in the first week of employment that spells out the farm experience and expectations that we discuss in interviews. We provide informal feedback regularly and meet with apprentices if formal feedback is required. We have a meeting to discuss disciplinary action and all sign off on a way forward.
We are a married couple that manages to find separate work within our work together on the farm. Before starting our farm we worked for other farmers as apprentices. We have experience with urban farming and community gardening. We love where we live and try to enjoy it as much as possible – hiking, swimming, walking; downhill and cross-country skiing in Winter, water-skiing in Summer. We studied liberal arts and have bachelors degrees. This will be the thirteenth season for the farm and we are excited to have made it this far. We enjoy partnering with other farms to build the market for local, organic produce, local meats, dairy, etc..
We enjoy cooking and discovering new recipes and new ways of preparing our produce and other foods. We live in a place where we can enjoy a variety of products from neighborhood farms.
We are politically inclined but have friends and acquaintances from across the political spectrum. We have had many people working with us over the years and a lot of different perspectives and personalities. We try to focus while working on the work of the farm. We believe tolerance for differences is essential to teamwork.
Education & Relationships: We founded and participate in the Foothill Farm Alliance CRAFT group along with 4 other farms in our area. We connect our apprentices with opportunities to stay and learn in the area.
Equity and Inclusivity: Over the years we’ve counted ourselves lucky to host apprentices from all over the country from diverse backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations.
Environmental Sustainability: We are Certified Organic by NHDAMF and partner regularly with NRCS for sustainability projects.
Safe and Fair: We are careful to follow all applicable laws regarding farm employees. As a former apprentice and farm worker, we appreciate the differences between working for oneself and being an employee.