Apprenticeship


Internships in general are about learning by doing. The same is true of our internship. Interns do all the work we do, and in the process of all that work, you can expect to learn about greenhouse operation, variety selection, soil preparation and care, planting techniques, fertilizer application methods, cover cropping, weed control, pest management, irrigation methods, harvest skills and methods, marketing skills and equipment needs, care and use.

We give instructions as we go and try to explain the hows and why along the way. We also do weekly field walks to practice the very important farmerly skill of observation. On these walks, we discuss how the crops are growing and get a sense of the work plan for the coming week. Occasionally, we will have evening classes on topics such as soils and fertility, basic botany, management of weeds, insects, and diseases, and possibly other subjects at intern suggestion.

Ideally, interns start April 1-15 and stay on until the end of October. There is a possibility for staying on over the winter and apprenticing for a second year.

We work a total of 5 days a week. Sundays are off and interns get either Wednesday afternoon or all day Saturday off. The day starts at 7 or 7:30 and ends at 5:30pm, with two hours for lunch. Because we have two small children, we try to stick to this schedule as it gives which ever of us is working in the afternoon time to see the girls for dinner and before their 7 o’clock bedtime. Weekdays we will prepare lunch and eat it all together.

A typical week looks something like this; Mondays and Thursdays are fieldwork days. Tuesdays and Fridays are harvest days. Wednesday is a long day of harvesting and going to market. Saturday starts early packing the van for market and ends around 12:30 when the market ends and the van is reloaded to return home. Sunday is a rest day!

The season is long and the relentless steady pace can be exhausting. We offer interns a paid week off in July or August and encourage people to take that week. It is important to get away for a break and avoid burnout.

Seasonal Overview

Here is a brief month-to-month breakdown of what to expect over the course of the season at Full Sun Farm:

April

  • greenhouse seeding, thinning, pricking out, watering
  • field work: mowing, discing, and turning under winter cover crops spreading soil amendments, spading and bed making on fields needed for May plantings
  • direct seeding and transplanting of main spring crops (brassicas and onions) and early squash and cukes (covered), cultivating with G, hand weeding, thinning direct seeded crops
  • planting greenhouse tomatoes in high tunnel, cover with hoops and remay
  • 1st Saturday market April 18, Fridays become harvest days

May

  • greenhouse seeding of sunflower and lettuce successions, thinning and watering continue
  • field work: mow, disc and turn under winter cover crop, spread soil amendments, spading and bed making on fields for June plantings
  • direct seeding of carrot, beets, lettuce mix, bean successions and transplanting mania of main summer vegetables: peppers, tomatoes, basil, more squash and cukes, eggplant, flowers, corn
  • thinning, cultivation with G and hand weeding as necessary
  • irrigate as necessary
  • begin to tie up and sucker tomatoes in greenhouse
  • 1st Wednesday market May 2, Tues and Wed mornings become harvest days
  • CSA boxes start mid- May
  • Strawberry harvest begins early to mid May
  • Harvest: mostly greens, green onions and STRAWBERRIES
  • Last frost day May 15

June

  • greenhouse seeding of fall crops (broc, cab, kales etc), more lettuce and sunflowers
  • field work: preparation of fields for fall crops(mowing, discing, spading)
  • laying landscape fabric for winter squash and melons,
  • direct seeding of beets, carrots, lettuce mix, beans, winter squash, pumpkins
  • thinning, cultivation with G and hand weeding as necessary
  • transplant melons, lettuce, corn, cukes, last summer squash
  • continue to tie up and sucker tomatoes in greenhouse
  • greenhouse tomato harvest starts end of June,
  • stake and tie up peppers and tomatoes in field
  • harvest garlic and over wintering onions, end of June
  • harvest days get busy, beets, summer squash, peas, greens, broc  etc etc
  • Summer Solstice: turn under most of the spring beds and sow to summer cover crop/buckwheat
  • blueberries begin to get ripe
  • Solstice party for CSA members

July

  • greenhouse seeding of lettuce, sunflowers, over wintering flowers, hoop house cukes
  • direct seeding of last beet and carrot beds, lettuce mix, beans,
  • cultivating with G, hand weeding and thinning
  • transplant fall crops, mid july
  • harvest spring planted onions, start digging potatoes
  • apprentice week vacations during this month or next

August

  • greenhouse seeding of last lettuces and sunflowers, over wintering onions
  • direct seeding of turnips, daikon, spinach
  • harvest melons mid august
  • cultivating with G, hand weeding and thinning
  • pepper harvest begins, summer squash harvesting ends!
  • Alex and Vanessa week vacation, apprentices run the farm

September

  • last sowings made in field, arugula, radishes, turnips, lettuce mix
  • last transplants made lettuce, sunflowers, broc raab etc.
  • plant strawberries and overwintering flowers for next spring
  • Sept 15 sow all empty fields to winter cover crop
  • harvest winter squash
  • cultivating with G, hand weeding and thinning of direct sown crops

October

  • first frost date Oct 15
  • frost protection for some crops
  • plant garlic, overwintering onions, potato onions
  • CSA ends last week of Oct
  • Wednesday market ends last week of Oct

Living Arrangements

We have a small two bedroom, one bath cabin with a kitchen and living room, and a large front porch over-looking the fields. It is newly built and comfortable. It is up to the interns to figure out a fair cooking, cleaning, and grocery buying system.

The farm itself is about 30-45 minutes from town. We live out in the country and the setting is quiet and peaceful. After a while, it can also feel isolated to some people. There is sporadic cell phone service, verizon being your best bet. While there is, of course, socializing with the other interns and with us, broader activities are a drive into town.

Compensation

Intern Compensation at Full Sun Farm:

  • On –Farm Housing, including utilities
  • Vegetables etc from the farm and week day lunches
  • Monthly Stipend, starting at $500, with a $25 raise each month, paid on the 1st and the 15th of the month.
    • 1st month $500
    • 2nd month $525
    • 3rd month $550
    • 4th mouth $575
    • 5th month $600
    • 6th month $625
    • 7th month $650
  • 1 week paid vacation, preferably taken sometime in July or August
  • 15% of market sales split between all interns during Alex and Vanessa’ vacation week
  • Season end bonus, (floods, drought, pest and disease disasters permitting)
  • Case of beer on record breaking market days

We do take out taxes.

Keys to Success

Key traits of a successful apprentice:

The work that we do is often hard. Farming is not for everyone. Apprentices should enjoy physical work and being outside all day. It is not necessary to have previous experience in farming, but a real interest in having farming some where in your future helps sustain interns through the hot days of August to the glorious days of autumn.

The skills/traits we consider most important in an apprentice and that help make for a successful (i.e. you learned a lot and had a good time) internship experience are:

  • a positive & pleasant disposition
  • hardworking
  • highly reliable and responsible
  • very communicative
  • able to follow directions
  • in good physical condition
  • cooperative
  • receptive to feedback and adjustments for work processes
  • ability to enjoy being outside doing physical work
  • lively sense of humor
  • interest in farming and/or gardening in the future
  • have reliable transportation
  • self sufficient and self motivated