Fruit Production Assistant/Intern
Bardenhagen Berries/Homestead Hill CSA
Employment type: Internship
Job Location: Lake Leelanau, MI
Application Deadline: April 24, 2019
Fruit Production Assistant/Intern
Bardenhagen Berries is a 180-acre centennial family farm, located in the heart of Leelanau County. It is well known in the community for producing high quality fruit, particularly strawberries and fresh market sweet cherries. With approximately twelve acres of bearing strawberries, thirty acres of cherries (sweet and Balaton), and two+ acres of vegetables and cutflowers (marketed through our Homestead Hill CSA since 2015), the farm represents an opportunity to learn about both diverse production methods and marketing strategies. Depending on the season, around half of what we grow is marketed and consumed locally through direct sales at farmers markets, our roadside farmstand, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and local wholesale accounts. Other markets include commercial wholesale (fresh market and processing). A 3600 square foot hoophouse is managed primarily to produce tomatoes and cucumbers during summer and an array of salad greens in spring and fall. The farm utilizes integrated pest management for fruit, and organic growing practices for vegetables and cut flowers. The farm is verified by the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and is compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In 2018 a 128-panel solar array was installed to offset 100% electricity of the used on the farm. A team of family, local labor, interns, and migrant seasonal workers are key to the success of the farm.
A team of four to six people are needed to support to production and harvest of crops (primarily strawberries and cherries but may also occasionally include vegetables and flowers). Examples of activities include moving harvest ladders and containers (lugs, pails, etc.), stacking fruit on pallets, assisting with cherry shaking crew, loading and unloading vehicles, communicating with harvest crew; sorting fruit, and delivering produce to wholesale customers. There are also a multitude of other miscellaneous jobs (e.g. pruning, planting, weeding, mowing, mulching, washing, box folding, recordkeeping, etc.). Fruit Farm Assistants/Interns may occasionally help with CSA operations (see below). Depending on previous experience and skills, Assistants/Interns may also participate in driving tractors, and/or operating machinery (with proper training only). When: A commitment for strawberry and cherry harvest (mid-June to early August) is required. Depending on experience, and ability to work independently, additional employment opportunities are available starting as soon as April and as late as October. During the approximate 6-7 week harvest season, the standard schedule is approximately 7-12 am, and 1-5 pm, Monday-Friday, with Saturdays usually being a ½ day. Outside of harvest, work schedule is generally 8-12 am and 1-5 pm. Employment can be negotiated as either part-time or full-time.
- Willingness to adhere to all worker safety and food safety guidelines.
- Dependable availability during harvest season, on either full-time or part-time basis.
- Previous experience working on a farm is helpful, but not required.
- Good physical health; able to lift 30 lbs and work an eight to ten-hour day.
- Ability to work independently, as well as part of a team.
- Detail oriented & pride in the quality of one’s work.
- Ability to clearly communicate & follow verbal and written instructions. Ability to speak Spanish is a plus.
- Driver’s License valid in State of Michigan.
- Previous experience driving tractors and/or operating farm machinery is helpful, but not required.
Negotiable based on previous experience ($10-$14/hr). Possible end of season bonus, based on performance and completion of agreed upon length of internship. Depending on season, free produce is available from the farm for your personal use. Possible on-farm housing available.