The Farm at Sunnyside sits on a 400 acre parcel in Rappahannock County, VA in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park. In 2017, we will grow about 12 acres of vegetables, maintain some fruit crops, implement an extensive cover crop rotation and continue our on-farm compost making program. We sell through 2 farmer’s markets (Dupont Circle and Reston), an on-farm CSA and wholesale.
Ongoing conservation work, a dedication to sustainability on the farm and an interest in training new growers is what sets The Farm at Sunnyside apart from other farms. The farm managers meet with the crew everyday to explain how and why we are doing the work we are doing. The farm staff also shares crew dinner once a week to chat about farm or non-farm topics. We encourage employees to return for more than one season if we all like working together. Returning workers gain more skills and responsibilities and we also pay for them to attend winter conferences or trainings.
The farm managers use crop rotation, cover crops and compost to boost soil fertility and soil life and try to choose practices that minimize environmental impact. There are ongoing conservation projects both in the agricultural and non-agricultural areas to restore native habitats and promote species diversity. The farm is in conservation easement. It is the intention of the owner, farm managers and conservation manager to steward the land and employees to the best of our abilities.
About the Job
For 2017, The Farm at Sunnyside is hiring 5 seasonal workers for periods sometime between March and December. (We have two returning seasonal workers – so looking for three more for 2017). These workers will join the team of two farm managers and two permanent farm staff and some part-time local staff. Workers will be involved in most aspects of farm work, including planting, weeding, harvesting, processing and marketing vegetables. These are back straining, sometimes tedious jobs, done in all kinds of weather. They do not require previous experience, but it takes more than a few weeks to learn to do each task well and with some speed.
Because we work outside, there will be fluctuations in the number of hours worked per day and per week based on the season and weather. The number of hours and employees is like a bell curve. We work less hours at the edges of the season with less workers, and work more in the middle with more workers. The season starts in March with greenhouse work and field preparations. We need more help starting in April and May: planting, mulching, weeding and harvesting for market. We usually work 8-10 hours per day with 1-1.5 hours off for lunch. The average full time employee works 45-50 hours per week in May and June, and 50-65 hours per week in July through October and 50 in November. We continue to harvest through October and November while preparing the farm for the winter slumber.
The crew of workers often works on big tasks together and people will be exposed to most jobs on the farm in some capacity. There will however be specific job responsibilities that certain crew members will take more responsibility for. Some examples of this include greenhouse management, irrigation, CSA, washing and packing and pest control.
Workers will get one day off per week minimum including a weekend day off regularly. Everyone may schedule a week off during the summer for a vacation, on a first-come, first-served basis. Employees who are hired for the full season may earn additional days off. We are most interested in people who can work through October.
Compensation includes on-farm housing, access to very tasty and healthy vegetables and eggs, hourly pay (starting at $7.75 per hour) and participation in the local CRAFT program (farm field trips).
About the Managers
Stacey Carlberg and Casey Gustowarow returned to The Farm at Sunnyside in 2015 after 4 years of managing Potomac Vegetable Farms in Loudoun County, VA. This year will be their 10th season on a farm.
Stacey studied Ecology at The Ohio State University and worked at several environmental non-profits in Washington State and Virginia before finding her way to farming. She moved to Virginia in 2006 to work at Waterpenny Farm. She likes working at this scale of farming, which enables her to hire and teach numerous employees each season – hoping they will have a formative year (or more) on the farm.
Casey studied environmental biology at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Casey came to farming after working in the field of marine conservation with the Peace Corps in the Phillippines. Traveling throughout SE Asia and visiting so many vibrant markets and eating delicious treats, Casey’s interest in food and how it is grown was reignited. He came to Sunnyside in 2008 and became intrigued not only in the farming happening here but also the conservation work on the property. Casey is very interested in building healthy soil and working at the scale of Sunnyside which allows the land to have an effective rotation integrated with cover crops.
Email Stacey Carlberg, Farm Manager for more information.
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