Rainshadow Organics is located in Central Oregon. We are on the dry side of the Cascade mountains in a high desert climate. We get very little rain here and enjoy hot dry days in the summer with cool nights and few bugs. We are located 45 minutes from Bend, Oregon and 20 minutes from Sisters. We are 10 miles from the small town of Terrebonne and the incredible rock climbing mecca, Smith Rocks. There is no public transportation, but we do drive to Bend for farmers’ markets and wholesale deliveries about once a week. It is best to have a car if you are living at our farm.
Our farm is family owned and operated and we have been here since the early 1970’s. Three generations still live on the farm. The farm is roughly 200 acres. 27 acres are under cultivation, usually about 12 in row crops and 15 in grain or cover crops. We have a 7 acre pig pasture, 60 acre cow pasture, 2 acre chicken pasture, and the rest in native habitat where we cultivate organic pollinator species. In 2017 we opened a commercial kitchen and farm store on the property which allows us to process and preserve farm goods.
We are a certified organic, full-diet farm with dozens of varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, beef, honey, and grains. We have a dairy cow that provides daily milk. All of the crops we grow are distributed within 50 miles of the farm through a CSA program, to local restaurants and grocery stores, via our farm store, and farmers’ markets. We host farm-to-table dinners, wood-fired pizza gatherings, farm tours, and other events at the farm during the summer. We also have people working in the commercial kitchen daily to make pickles, krauts, tomato sauce, dairy products, fresh bread, jams, and other items.
We raise heirloom vegetables and heritage breeds that are adapted to our harsh high desert climate, but we also have a passive four-season greenhouse for winter and early starts and twelve larger season-extending hoop houses. We are certified organic and use only sustainable practices, no chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Our soil fertility is built with our composted horse manure. We also employ our chickens and an army of worms who supply castings for worm tea that we inject into our irrigation system. We foster an intricate ecosystem with companion planting, nutrient cycles, flowers, bees, riparian areas, crop rotation, and undisturbed native desert. We also save seeds for our own use and sale. We pride ourselves on looping our nutrients and resources into our community and back to our land.
We do most of our vegetable farming by hand, but we do have a flame-weeder, finger-weeder, and some cultivation tools for our long beds in our large field. Our main 2-acre garden is almost all done by hand, biodynamic, and synergistic. We have both a flourmill and lumber mill on the property.
We partner with Chris Casad of Casad Family Farms, another local farmer in Madras, on wholesale orders, CSA recruitment, root vegetable storage, and vegetable washing facilities.
RESPONSIBILITIES & TRAINING SCHEDULE
We train Monday through Friday from 7-12, and then three hours in the afternoons. We rotate through weekly animal chores, including weekend duties, where the intern or staff member is in charge of all animal husbandry, irrigation, and generally keeping an eye on things. If you are on weekend duty you are expected to be at the farm. You will likely be on weekend duty 5 times through the course of the 6 month season. Otherwise, weekends are free. Breakfast needs to be eaten and cleaned up before work at 7am. In the morning time we train as a team, planting, prepping beds, weeding, harvesting, processing chickens, cleaning manure, training tomatoes, pest management, building irrigations systems, laying out drip lines, washing and packing produce, packing meat for market, harvesting lettuce mix, etc.…
One intern works in the commercial kitchen Monday-Friday and is responsible for making lunch for the crew, processing farm items, assisting customers in the store, and setting up and cleaning. You will be in the kitchen about one day a week. The farm store and kitchen is an important new element of the farm and potential interns must be willing and excited to cook and participate in food preservation.
Afternoons are more flexible. We take a long lunch break—two to three hours —and start again around 4pm and work until 7, which is very nice on hot summer days. Interns often use their afternoon break to dip in the farm swimming pond or nearby river, run errands in town, or find a shady spot to rest. We take turns going to farmers’ market and working independently on projects.
You will also be doing and independent study project for your RFC requirements and we will work together to decide what that is. Afternoon breaks and weekends are a good time to work on this project. We will check in after the first two weeks and then again mid-way through the season. It is important to remember that off-farm RFC classes are not part of your farm time if you are counting your hours. We endeavor to be very respectful of your time, setting a predictable schedule and holding to it. Very rarely will you be asked for more. Very rarely will we do less.
Interns should be physically fit, but no previous experience is required. The season is mid-April through the first week of November. May and October are quite chilly. Interns need to be prepared for outdoor living. We expect a full-season commitment from everyone.
Interns will live on the farm in a communal setting. We will have 5 interns on the farm, plus two or three permanent staff who have worked at Rainshadow for the past two seasons. Each intern will have a tent on a wooden platform, provided. We have a shower house with washing machine and clothesline. We have a composting toilet. Internet is available at the commercial kitchen and cell service is good. We have an open-air communal kitchen with all the cutlery, pots and pans, spices, etc. We have a sink, oven, griddle, hot water pot, coffee pot, and refrigerator. Interns will clean the kitchen and shower house as part of weekly maintenance. Interns will also have access to a lounge area/guest space upstairs of the farm store. This area must be kept clean and is not available when guests are visiting.
Staple foods are provided like rice, oats, beans, sugar, salt, and fresh ground flour… and then all the vegetables you can eat. Farm meat is available daily. We trade for bread, cheese, fruit, etc. at the farmers’ market. All other food is up to you. Interns will cook and clean together. The culinary experience at a full-diet farm is an adventure and a challenge and has been a favorite element for many of our past interns.
We have a $400/month stipend not including the first two orientation weeks. You will be under workman's comp as well as being required to have your own health insurance. You are expected to make a non-refundable deposit to RFC to secure your spot at our farm and sign our farm contract/commitment. Your RFC fees are clear and it is important to know that you will not be coming out ahead after the season. You are going to break even and you are putting your time toward your learning. This is a mutually beneficial exchange where you give good value to Rainshadow and Rainshadow gives good value to you, which you can take into your future.
Responsible drinking and smoking is allowed. Farmer should be notified of all potential visitors. We are flexible and can make most things work. We also schedule any vacations or time off at the beginning of the season collectively to make sure the farm is covered. Each intern will receive 5 vacation days over the season.
You can also check out pictures on our website, facebook, and Instagram.
We look forward to hosting you.