Schoodic Hollow Farm

We are at the dead end of a beautiful road that backs up to miles of wilderness–there is a vast trail system. It is also possible to ride the rail trail by bike into Ellsworth in a couple hours, or by car on roads in 20 minutes. Bar Harbor is about 50 minutes away with all that the island offers. We are situated on 17 acres of mixed land, about 1 ½ acres of open and cultivated land, diversely populated with numerous fruit, nut and medicinal trees, annual and perennial plants, and pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs and a cat.

It is great if an apprentice can come in mid-spring and stay through at least early November, to take part in the full season of growing. That is preferred, to get the full flavor of three seasons of farming.

We are at the end of a beautiful road that backs up to miles of wilderness– there is a vast trail system. It is also possible to ride the rail trail by bike into Ellsworth in a couple hours, or by car on roads in 20 minutes. Bar Harbor is about 50 minutes away with all that the island offers. We are situated on 17 acres of mixed land, about one and a half acres of open and cultivated land, diversely populated with numerous fruit, nut and medicinal trees, annual and perennial plants, and a pig, chickens, three farm dogs (two are our farm neighbors) and a cat.

We used to raise heirloom guinea hogs, but now just have one large pet pig. We keep a flock of laying hens and have two beautiful friendly (loud) roosters, a cat and a pack of dogs (okay, really just three, but it feels like a pack). Cayenne is a farm Collie (English Shepherds) and they serve as the embassadogs of the farm, greeting everyone with love, including numerous Airbnb guests at our three sites. We built a wood fired oven and a wood fired wok in our outdoor kitchen, and we generally boil sap in February.

We really use no mechanization on the farm proper, though we split wood with a splitter and transport firewood in an ATV trailer. All farmwork is done by brain and brawn (as we get older, we try to work smarter, not harder). We keep bees, but really more for them than for us. We grow some of almost all types of local vegetables for sale at one farmers market and our farmstand that is at the end of the road, make some value added products (lip balms, salves, hot sauce) and process for ourselves gallons of salsa, sauce, jams, jellies etcetera.

Tons of swimming options and, oh yes, bugs! That may be our only hazard…we have such a healthy stream nearby that the endemic Maine black flies are very healthy indeed, from June through early July. Other healthy bug populations keep us on our toes too!

We are fully organic in all of our operations, but because we come in under the threshold of $5000, we do not do the paperwork of certification. We strive for the best ecological balance we can, and use only organic fertilizer and pest management.

If you want to help out with animal chores, you can, but we usually take care of that. There will be plenty of planting (in pots and in ground) broadforking and forking/hoeing, some cultivation, and though we try to keep almost everything under mulch cover to cut down on weeding, there will always be some of that! Harvesting will be a big part of the job, as summer crops come in, they need to be harvested often and then prepped for market.

We grow a lot of cut flowers too, so cutting and bunching is a big (delightful) job twice a week along with veg harvest. Jeff is our carpenter extraordinaire and I think we have built about every building one could need on a farm, with a new barn in the last six years, and now a glorious outdoor kitchen with wood fired oven and wok……lots of food prep and preservation, yum! We always have mulching, pruning and woods work as backup.

No particular skills necessary, but one of our recent apprentices was a massage therapist, if you are too, huge bonus! We even bought a table so we could pay her to massage us.
Curiosity and an ability to work hard and be innovative is all we ask.

We generally ask 20 hours a week for room and board, if you do anything over that we would pay a stipend. If you are completely green with no farm experience, I ask for 25 hours the first two weeks as we assess speed and skill.
Some of the labor is heavy, but definitely not all. We are very flexible with hours, but hope that most of Friday is kept open for market prep. Sometimes I would be working with you, sometimes you would be working on your own, it can be quite flexible depending on time of day you like to work (if you are an early bird, get the worm!). If you have the task list and you like early mornings, you can get started then- I tend to work the afternoons, generally, except for flower harvests, which need to be done early a.m. I think it’s a decent mix of working alongside and independence.

We pay $15 hour for Airbnb cleaning, which can be on an erratic schedule, and we would angle toward an apprentice who is willing to help out with that. Sometimes I would be working with you, sometimes one of us, sometimes you would be working on your own, it can be quite flexible.

We often work alongside to offer instruction and work with you until you have achieved comfort with the job at hand, and then sometimes we have to scurry off to another job, but it’s all dependent on what is going on that day. We have a lot of farming books that can be accessed at any time, and between myself and Garen (our other fellow farmer, who also sometimes has paid work if you are a real go-getter), we have over 60 years of experience, so all questions will be answered or an answer will be found! You are welcome to make it to all Farm Training Projects you can, we have hosted them here also. We try to do a weekly check in with a walkabout to look at jobs and what is going on that week.

I am. And also run three airbnbs on the property. Kids are mostly grown, 18 and 21, hopefully the 18 year old will be working on the farm a bit with us too this year!

2-4 hours per day flexibly. We have had many different levels of connection with apprentices over the years. I tend to be an afternoon worker and once they become comfortable with the work, many apprentices like to work the mornings, so apprentices can choose when they would like to work, dependent on what is going on. Obviously big jobs (for example: prepping for, planting, harvesting garlic) are done en masse, and then smaller parts can be broken up and done together or solo (cleaning and braiding garlic)

My personal teaching style is hands on working together, weaving in stories, fertilization ideas, mulching techniques, interesting lore–creating connections, and then also offering book learning options that connect also.

We have a cute cozy apprentice cabin that is perfect for one person, it could fit two folx if you really like each other. We provide pretty much all of your food, some right here from the farm, also bulk items and basics–if you have super special dietary needs, or want coffee or alcohol, that’s generally on you.
The pay for airbnb cleaning is by the hour first starting out and then by the unit (better money for you as you get faster…any tips left are yours!)
We give a bonus if you can stay all the way through garlic planting and buttoning up in early November.
We like to say that we each have two weeks to decide if the arrangement works for us, so there is no pressure. Obviously if things got funky later in the season, everything could change, but that generally hasn’t happened for us.

The cabin is cozy and functional, has a gravity feed water system, a small fridge and stove and all basic amenities, including an outhouse:) It is tiny so heats up nicely with a small heater in the shoulder seasons. You would generally cook for yourself, but we would have farm dinners sometimes and often have food to share for lunches. You are welcome to cook for everybody anytime or bake in the big oven when needed. 🙂

We have two teenagers, who are hilarious, occasionally engaged with but not often any sort of impediment to work at hand–sometimes quite handy! We have no judgments of your habits, but ask for no smoking in buildings or around our kids.

We do not require it, especially if they live far away, but it is a very excellent way to get a feel for the farm. Again, two week trial period works both ways…

We do not have a technical manual. We like to have contact info for family in case of emergency, but otherwise have a loose arrangement for work evaluation (on the spot or soon after, both directions) Have never had to use disciplinary action and hope never to have to–once had to ask someone to leave, but that is once in 15 years…

I, Becka, am one of three farmers on this land, and though i was the first of the three of us, i consider myself a steward of this Penobscot land and hope to see it go back to the Penobscot tribe when I am done–I have farmed for over half my life, some with/for other people, and 18 years on this land, which had been used and abused by more recent “owners”

We have used permaculture (and tons and TONS of compost, leaves, manure, wood chips and any other organic material we have been able to find) to feed the soil and bring it back after being topsoiled (top 6-12” removed for sale) in the 1970’s. i do plan on working with Native folx to create a plan to revert ownership/farmership of this land to Native youth/farmers. I am active in social, racial and environmental justice movements. My sister Tracy, who is my farming partner, has farmed for 25 years also, some for larger commercial farmers, and she generally does markets and keeps a lot of the day to day stuff on track. Our brother from another mother (We’ve known him since we were teens) Garen and his lovely farmer/musician/teacher/librarian wife, Jean live in our cabin nearby. Garen is a consummate greens grower and our online marketing guru.

We are fairly radical, if you consider being for women’s rights, Black, Indigenous and all other folx of colors’ rights, Earth rights, etc. We are not crazy hardline though, in the sense that we drive vehicles, eat our own meat, and buy some food in stores. We just try hard. Willing to talk/ discuss/ accept other people where they are.

I am deeply committed to teaching and sharing environmental and agricultural knowledge, racial and gender equity and inclusion, environmental protection, safety and fairness.

Kaden O’Neill | Former apprentice reference |[email protected]| 626-221-6018

Alex Percy | Former apprentice reference | [email protected] | 207-275-8789

Flo Reed, Long-time friend | Personal reference | [email protected] | 207-266-6864

Schoodic Hollow

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