The Farm at Sunnyside is a certified organic vegetable farm located in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains in Rappahannock County, VA. We take a unique approach to our farming in that we have a full-time conservationist and have been working to incorporate our conservation and farming programs as much as possible. Projects from this past year have included planting flowers in our vegetable fields to attract pollinators, creating permanent green spaces between our cultivated beds to cut down on soil erosion and provide a living space for beneficial insects, using clover as a green mulch to cut down on our use of plastic mulch, planting native grasses in unused fields, and collecting seeds from native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees for planting in the spring. We have 15 acres of ground devoted to a diverse array of vegetables, cover crops, and permanent perennial herb beds, as well as 10 acres of fruit orchards including pears, apples, figs, and paw paws. We also have several honeybee hives on the property, a small herd of goats that we are planning to use to help with invasive species management, and have been experimenting with mushroom logs. We primarily market our produce through a local farmers market, and also supply nearby shops and restaurants. We are looking to do a second weekly farmer’s market this coming year.
Employment would start sometime between mid-March and mid-April and go until the end of November. Full-time Seasonal Workers will be expected to work 40 hours with two days off every week. The schedule is generally from 8:30 to 5:30 with an hour off midday for lunch. Schedules for market days may differ depending on the market hours and location. Other days may be requested for vacation or special occasions. Seasonal workers can use as many vacation days as months of contract (if you are here for 6 months, you get 6 vacation days off.)
Starting wage with no previous farm experience is $12.00 per hour. We have on-site housing available for farm workers. First year workers will have a private bedroom in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with shared living, dining and kitchen spaces. Pets are possibly negotiable. There is internet and laundry. Cell reception tends to be a little spotty depending on your provider. Employee housing is located right across from the main farm center where you will report for work every morning.
Rappahannock County is a beautiful, rural county with rolling hills inhabited by an interesting mix of artists, farmers, DC area commuters and small business owners who serve both locals and the many tourists who pass through when they visit the Shenandoah National Park. It is about 1.5 hours from Washington, DC and 1 hour from Charlottesville. There are no stoplights, no commercial chain stores and spotty cell coverage in the county. There are some interesting small local businesses (two breweries, an apothecary, a Latin market, a wood-fired pizza kitchen, and a mom and pop grocers). The towns of Front Royal, Warrenton and Culpeper have more commercial shopping centers and are all about ½ hour away. We highly suggest bringing a car for getting off the farm and running errands.
Seasonal workers will help with most aspects of vegetable production including seeding, planting, weeding, covering, staking, mulching, harvesting and marketing produce. These can be difficult and tedious jobs done in all weather conditions. We try to switch up jobs as much as possible to break up the monotony and add some variety to the day. Seasonal workers will also have the opportunity to assist with conservation projects as time permits including assisting with honeybees, bird bandings, native grass plantings, native seed collection, and goat care and their role in land management.
A typical work day will start with a brief morning meeting to outline the day's goals. We meet again after lunch to revisit what has been completed and share what we want to accomplish before the end of the day. These meetings usually present brief educational opportunities to talk about why we're doing what we're doing and to answer any relevant questions. It’s also a good time for employees to report any issues with equipment or observations from the fields (irrigation leaks, pest issues, etc.)
Potential farm workers who would enjoy working at the Farm at Sunnyside in 2023 are likely to:
-Be enthused about growing food and working outdoors in both ideal and less than stellar conditions.
-Be comfortable living with your coworkers in shared housing and comfortable living in a rural setting.
-Have previously worked in team settings (restaurants, trail crews, farms, sports) and enjoyed the dynamics therein.
-Be interested in sustainable agriculture and possess a willingness to learn about this farm’s particular take on it. It’s not just about what we do, but why we do it this way.
-Be able to follow specific instructions for a wide variety of tasks.
-Be able to maintain a positive attitude, and adapt to constantly changing environments. Flexibility is key. Farming is very weather dependent and a quick temperature change or large rain event can drastically change what our priorities and goals may be for a given week.
-Have some agricultural experience (even just having a garden) and have decided they want to take the next step.
-Willing to work weekend markets and able to interact with customers in a polite and respectful manner.
-Interest in learning about and participating in conservation efforts on the farm
If you're interested in working here and want to learn more, send a resume and brief introduction about yourself and why you want to work here to the email address listed below. After reviewing applications I will set up a day and time for an interview if you seem like a good potential fit for the farm. Ideally, we would have you come out to the farm to interview, but if that isn’t plausible, we can set up a phone interview. Please visit our Facebook or Instagram page for more information and photos from the farm. You can also check out our website. www.thefarmatsunnyside.com If you have further questions or to apply, please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org