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 with 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. 

2022 Remaining Openings:
One or more PT/FT Harvest Season Help through November (weekdays only)
(with long-term employment potential for the right person)

Team Positions at NSO:

1. FT Vegetable Garden Manager

  • Planning, planting, greenhouse management, cultural practices, harvesting, handling, and retail marketing of 20+ vegetable crops in a large garden area using non-certified organic practices to supply our on-site farm store. Operation of hand and small power tools, tractors, front end loader, seeders, water wheel planter, mulch layer, compost spreader and other equipment. Install and manage both drip and overhead irrigation. Pest management including ID, planning, and spraying (OMRI-certified products). Manage a team for various tasks including harvesting and cleaning of produce. Training/refreshers available where needed in all tasks and equipment usage.
  • Successful candidate must be a self-starter, personable with good communication skills, and able to work independently. In addition to working in vegetable production, there will occasionally be work in the fruit production and marketing areas of the farm. 
  • Some gardening experience is necessary. More significant experience and education a plus. March/April start until the end of November, with winter work possible. Average 40 hours per week. 
  • Wage commensurate with experience & education. Reviews and possible merit raises at 1 month and 3 months

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. 
  • New Hires start at $12/hr with reviews and possible merit raises at 1 month and 3 months.

3. FT/PT Well-Rounded Farm Staff to help with fruit and vegetable production, harvest, and marketing, from May until Thanksgiving (also PT CSA packing help on Monday &/or Thursday mornings):

  • 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 
  • New Hires start at $12/hr with reviews and possible merit raises at 1 month and 3 months.

4. PT Marketing-Focused Staff:

  • Openings available at the Farm Store, Phoenixville Farmers' Market, and West Chester Growers' Market on Saturdays, Emmaus Farmers' Market on Sundays, and the Oakmont Farmers' Market on Wednesday afternoon/evenings.
  • 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.
  • $12/hr

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. For most on-farm staff: 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). Some roles on our team may exist for those who are not as fit.

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. Pay and raises are based on: incoming experience, 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. 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, please fill in an Employment Application AND email us a resume with your education and work experiences.

We will reply if we feel you might be a good fit for the opening(s) available.