Wandering Fields is a small scale certified organic family farm in the Little Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. We grow a diversity of crops for both local farmers markets and a cooperative CSA program (the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative). Organic flower and vegetable seed production is our other main focus and we grow contract seed crops for several companies, comprising over half of our field production. We have a young orchard entering its 4th season, raspberries and strawberries, a large basketry willow planting, and a native plant hedge for pollinator habitat, beauty, and medicinal use. We also lease a few neighboring fields which has allowed us to expand our seed production by providing isolation for a number of key seed crops.
SEASONAL FLOW & TRAINING SCHEDULE
In the first year of the apprenticeship, the student will gain confidence and familiarity through experience with the following farm tasks:
Understanding crop rotations and planning
Greenhouse management: propagation mix, seeding, watering, hardening off, etc.
Understanding basic field prep: plowing/discing/subsoiling/tillage, and experimental no-till
Poultry care and management
Direct seeding and transplanting
Irrigation systems and layout: drip tape layout and filter systems and rainbirds/handlines
Perennial crop management: fruit tree, willow, and shrub pruning, fertilizing, cultivation/weed management, insect/disease management, staking/trellising, and harvesting
Cultivation: manual, will be introduced to mechanical cultivation
Post harvest handling: wash/pack process
Selection and rogueing for desired traits in seed crops
Dry and wet seed crop harvesting
Seed crop extraction: wind‐rowing, mechanical and manual threshing, winnowing, crushing and fermenting, drying.
Marketing (farmers’ market, CSA, wholesale, seed contracting)
Basic field observation, disease, insect, and gopher “management”
Understanding application of foliar sprays (insect control, fertility, etc.)
Basic tool use and management
Winter following year one:
Seed conditioning prior to shipping
Winter crop harvest/curing/storage
Review crop rotations and planning
Farm organization (tools, irrigation supplies, wash/pack, storage areas)
Review of systems needing improvement and discussion of potential solutions for implementation
Maintenance/repair of tools and equipment as needed
Review organic certification processes and accounting
Soil test analysis and calculation of application rates
Year two (to be determined on an individual basis):
Increased responsibility for carrying out tasks, both independently and as a group
Potential for leadership role on the farm; training more inexperienced crew members, explaining and demonstrating tasks and directing labor for maximum efficiency
Independent projects can be pursued within our farm structure, specific to apprentice’s interests and passions
All of the year one tasks listed above apply here as well; the main difference being that by the second year, following one full year of on farm experience, an apprentice has a firmer grasp of our farm’s standard operating procedures, work flow, cropping systems and the seasonal cycles governing our production.
Farming is physically demanding and rewarding. We are seeking folks with the following attributes: a good attitude, the ability to communicate clearly, a sense of order, cleanliness and efficiency, and authentic interest in farming as a trade.
Apprenticeship applicants are expected to have one or two years farm experience. We are looking for individuals who are willing to commit for a full farming season. The ideal outcome is that both host farmer and apprentice are interested in committing to a second season of working together with increased stipend or pay.
Apprentices will have a spacious canvas wall tent as their own personal space. There will be access to the following shared spaces: an indoor kitchen, bathroom, shower, sauna, and outhouse. Details of room and board/stipend arrangement to be discussed upon interview.