Employment

Farm Helpers, 2008-2015

Join the NSO Team!

We work as a team with a great bunch of experienced and newer/exploring farmers, and are always interested in talking possibilities with motivated sustainable farming and food-interested folks.

Positions at North Star are not internships, but employment for a reasonable wage. There are certainly opportunities to learn while working, especially for motivated individuals who are willing to read industry-specific material, ask questions of the farm owners, and attend area grower-specific meetings. Many of our staff have gone on to further education in sustainable topics/agriculture or to their own farming projects. Opportunities exist for long-term employment.

Please note: North Star Orchard is a smoke-free and drug-free environment, and we are not a certified organic farm. Please review our growing practices if you have strong feelings regarding organic production. 

2020 Openings:

1. FT Vegetable Apprentice

  • Opportunity to learn: planning, planting, greenhouse management, cultural practices, harvesting, handling, and retail marketing of 20+ vegetable crops using non-certified organic practices on 3 acres. Learn to operate many hand and small power tools. Learn to safely operate tractors of various sizes, as well as front end loader, seeders, water wheel planter, mulch layer, compost spreader and other equipment. Learn to install and manage both drip and overhead irrigation. Learn to manage a team for various tasks including harvesting.
  • Successful candidate must be a self-starter and able to follow direction and work independently once trained. In addition to work in vegetable production, the apprentice will occasionally work in the fruit production and marketing areas of the farm. 
  • No experience necessary, but strong interest or education required. March/April start until the end of November, with winter work possible. Average 40 hours per week. $10.50-$12 per hour to start, based on experience, plus produce discounts.

2. FT Orchard Apprentice

  • Opportunity to learn: pruning, planting, cultural practices, handling, and retail marketing of apples, pears, Asian pears, peaches, nectarines, Asian and European plums and grapes on 10 acres. Learn to operate many hand and small power tools. Learn to safely operate tractors of various sizes, as well as air blast sprayers, mowers, weed boom sprayers and more. Learn to manage drip irrigation system. Learn to manage a team for various tasks including thinning and harvesting. 
  • Successful candidate must be a self-starter and able to follow direction and work independently once trained. In addition to work in vegetable production, the apprentice will occasionally work in the fruit production and marketing areas of the farm. 
  • No experience necessary, but strong interest, education, or self-education is required. March/April start until the end of November, with winter work possible. Average 40 hours per week. $10.50-$12 per hour to start, based on experience, plus produce discounts.

3. FT/PT Well-Rounded Farm Staff to help with fruit and vegetable production, harvest, and marketing, from May until Thanksgiving:

  • Help with all phases of fruit & vegetable production, harvest, and marketing, from May until Thanksgiving. 
  • No experience necessary, although a genuine interest, education, or self-education is required
  • Gain skills to further your specific goals and interests
  • Opportunity exists to take on more responsibility and to be involved long-term 
  • $10.50 per hour plus produce discounts to start.

4. PT/FT Marketing-Focused Staff:

PT/FT in our on-farm store (Marketing Assistant): 

  • Staff our farm store 2 to 3 days per week (including most Saturdays, June until Thanksgiving). The successful candidate for this position will have previous retail experience and be motivated to help further the farm's goals to make the farm store a great part of the community via special events and classes, in addition to regular sales-related activities. Round out a FT schedule (if desired) with field work and/or in helping to operate/plan/pack/deliver the farm's CSA Fruit Share and other marketing efforts (planning, customer connections, farmers' market).
  • Must have great customer-relations/people skills! Be able to chat, answer questions, and be welcoming, while at the same time being able to focus on quality and sales-related issues. Must have a basic knowledge about using produce.
  • Opportunity exists to take on more responsibility and to be involved long-term
  • $10.50 to $11.50 per hour to start, based on experience, plus produce discounts to start.

PT work available at several weekly farmers' markets,

  • approximately 3 to 6 hours per market day, depending on location and schedule (most are on the weekend). 
  • No experience necessary, although a genuine interest, education, or self-education in food production and/or sustainability topics is required. Must be a people person and have basic knowledge about using produce.
  • $9 to $10 per hour, based on experience, plus produce discounts

ALL applicants should be able/willing to help with direct-marketing of the farm's products, either at a farmers' market stand or in our farm store. Good communication skills and interest/experience in customer service are key.

About our Staff:

1. Most helpers start out as Seasonal Full- or Part-time staff. Becoming a Year-'round staff member (with winter work) and/or a returning helper for subsequent years are possibilities for the right people. Most new staff start in spring; start date may be flexible depending on position and individual need, but usually is between April and mid-May, and continues until Thanksgiving (or beyond).

2. Regular on-farm work hours are M-F from 7AM to 3:30PM. Work schedules may vary somewhat depending on position and whether or not a staff member works at a weekend farmers' market or the farm store, etc.

3. All staff may be required to work from time to time on any project on the farm, be it gardening, orcharding, grounds maintenance, fruit thinning, fruit/vegetable breeding projects, CSA & market prep, or helping with special building projects. Full-time staff should be willing to help at a weekend farmers' market in fall.

Requirements for Farming Applicants:

1. Be highly motivated, efficient, and detail-oriented with strong work ethics and the ability to work well with both staff and customers.

2. Be physically fit: able to repeatedly lift 40-50 pounds, climb a short ladder on a frequent basis on orchard work days, squat and bend repeatedly on garden work days, and work in all weather conditions. (All employees, regardless of specific role, may have to help in various tasks all around the farm, depending on need)

3. Have a license with a good driving record.

4. Supply own work boots, clothing, gloves, and sunscreen.

5. Not smoke or chew tobacco on the farm premises.

Pay and Benefits:

1. See pay scale in descriptions above. Pay raises are based on performance, taking on more responsibility, and longevity.

2. All staff working more than 20 hours a week receive a 50% price discount on first-quality produce and free second-quality produce. Staff working under 20 hours a week receive a 20% discount on first-quality produce.

3. On-farm shared housing in a large house at reasonable rent is a possibility if there is space available. Rent includes heat, A/C, trash, water, and wifi.

4. Enjoy free classes from those offered to the public on the farm during the growing season (kitchen arts, creative arts, etc.)

5. 401(k) plan with matching employer contributions is available for staff who work a minimum of 1000 hours and are employed for at least a year.

To Apply:

If you are customer-service oriented, love real food, and are looking to join us as a farmer, please fill in an Employment Application AND email us a resume with your education and work experiences.