Join us at Golden Ears Farm, Chase, BC, to see what happens on an organic farm over the course of a full season cycle.
We grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. We attend farmers' markets in Chase and Kamloops, run a CSA Food Box, and sometimes host events such as seminars and concerts.
We are deeply involved with the farm/food community, so there are lots of opportunities to attend farm tours & potlucks and get involved at an organizational level with local food groups.
Start Date: March 15-April 1st, 2019 (part-time hours to begin with)
End Date: October 31, 2019 (part-time hours as the season tapers off)
Full-Time Farm Position:
Working with us mainly involves propagation, (trans)planting, weeding, harvesting, selling organic vegetables and fruit, as well as learning-through-doing while working alongside the farm manager, casual employees and berry pickers. Care of our laying hens is also part of the day-to-day goings-on here. Once confident, the employee is expected to be able to complete jobs without constant supervision. Time will be made regularly for focused learning on topics such as: crop planning, soil basics, weed ID, greenhouse management, and planting schedules.
There will also be plenty of opportunities to help out with the parts of our farm you're most interested in -- food preservation, slaughter and butchering, selling at local farmers’ markets, learning about composting, helping with our growing CSA program, construction and carpentry. There will be some shared meals, however most meals will be the employee's own responsibility -- with free access to the 'farmer' corner in our cooler to choose fresh fruit & veg for your meals. Private on-farm accommodation is available with shared laundry and shower. We have a beautiful multi-purpose studio, sauna, fire-pit, and extensive library, which the employee is welcome to use.
We ask that the employee commit to 35 to 40 hours per week with 1.5 - 2 days off a week from mid-March to mid-or late October. Part-time hours are the norm for the beginning and end of the season. A visit beforehand definitely seems like a good idea for all of us, if it's possible! A wage of $15/hour will be paid, with the possibility of earning additional income through fruit picking.
Our Ideal Farm Worker:
We're looking for someone who:
* is interested in learning the basics of farming
* enjoys working in all weather conditions
* is hard-working, physically fit (able to engage in tasks that involve bending, squatting and lifting up to 50lbs, sometime for hours at a time), enthusiastic about sustainable organic farming, self-sufficiency, and highly motivated to help out!
* can take direction and is self-motivated to complete a task
* our skill set wish list includes the following (although willingness to learn these things is just fine, as well): experience operating tractors and power tools/chain saws; equipment maintenance; tree pruning/care; irrigation; construction and fencing.
Email a short cover letter and resume to Tristan Cavers (firstname.lastname@example.org) that includes:
- Why you would like to work at Golden Ears Farm
- Other farming experience you have
- What areas of farming you have specific interest in learning
Applications should be submitted by March 1st, 2019 for consideration and interviews will take place on a rolling basis until a suitable candidate is hired.
It's been a long, cold spring and last night was hopefully the last night with a hard frost. We can roll up the remay for good (well, the ones we've been using for frost protection -- still need them for the flea beetles). Pictured above is Clem, who snuck in there while we were rearranging our greenhouse space. She looks pretty cozy tucked in there.
Morten and Anand are keeping things flowing nicely here. We've got tons of plants started that will be able to be transplanted this week, we can catch up on direct seeding, our second greenhouse was lengthened and covered, our hens have been moved to an even more spacious new pasture, the bins have been sanitized, packing shed thoroughly cleaned out and organized, and our first market was fantastic! Today, our new asparagus crowns arrive from our friends at Tasty Acres on 30th in Salmon Arm and we're excited to get them planted to double our crop for next year. Here's our early spring photo album...
It's incredible to think that it's already been three weeks since Emily started! She is settling in nicely, helped us with the farm purge weekend, and has furthered Avé's baking and painting pursuits. It's been great having Emily here -- being from Vernon, she is already familiar with quite a few people in our social world and was even a CSA member of the farm where Tristan's sister is at; such a small world! Her grounded and easy-going nature means she is able to roll with what farming (and the weather) has to offer, not always a linear process.
Not only did she form almost 2,000 soil blocks for our early corn transplants, she has pruned and tied the raspberry patch, dug up the over-wintered parsnips, took the plastic off the greenhouse, finished dismantling our tomato zone, started weeding the new strawberry patch and garlic, designed our summer CSA poster, and is working on new egg signs for market. Amazing contributions so far.
In addition to her work on the farm, she is finishing off her Industrial Design program at Emily Carr (including a soil biology practicum here) and heading out to rock climbing spots with her partner, Duncan, any chance she can.
It feels great to be getting things going on the farm this season, although it has been a slow start due to the long, cold winter that we had. The low temperatures and wet weather has delayed moving our greenhouse to a new location. We've actually decided to split it back into two separate cold tunnels and we'll rotate our laying hens through them in the winter months.
We welcomed two heifers onto the farm on April 7. They perk up when we call to them, "cowwweeeee!", and appreciate the apples and carrots we bring to them. We're looking forward to start rotational grazing with them -- as soon as the pasture is ready!
That same weekend, we undertook a huge farm cleanup with the help of 10 people. It was incredible to see equipment moved to where it needed to be, freezers moved to a space that is more energy efficient for them, and a large trailer load of items taken to the dump.
A friend also took a camper off the farm to salvage the fridge and heater for his van. After some pondering, though, he has decided to refinish the camper for his family to use. We're so happy it's found a new home.
With a bit of a break from the rain, we're weeding the garlic before mulching and hopefully we can get seeding in the field soon!
Hello from the farm crew! It's Chelsea writing to you this week after a brief lapse in our blog updates. With summer upon us, things are busier and more bountiful than ever at the farm. As the heat starts building from 6 am onward, our window for certain tasks gets smaller and smaller, and with double harvest days (market & CSA), our weeks are full to the brim. Fortunately, we've managed to find some time in between to go on off-farm adventures like the 2016 Wild Salmon Caravan which happened this year at the Adams Lake Band Community Hall. It was an amazing celebration of Secwepemc culture and the sacredness of the wild salmon that they and many other First Nations people have relied upon for generations. We were lucky to experience the songs, stories and dances created to honour the salmon and to remind us of why we must work hard to protect them. Like the fish, we also rely on the cold Shuswap waters of the Thompson river to bring nutrients and life to the valley and to keep us from melting on 30 degree days like today. The photo above is the view of Little Shuswap Lake from the Chase bridge just before it turns into the river.
Colour is currently bursting from every corner of the farm and our harvests get more exciting by the week. The top photo is a shot of our first CSA share -- radish, beets, strawberries, Freckles romaine lettuce, snow peas and kale galore! Having new items to put in the share is always exciting as we send our veggies out into the world. This week we pulled our first carrots, purple kohlrabi and golden beets, all of whose colours draw marvel at the market -- especially when paired with our new home made market signs.
Witness the heavens above shining down on our freshly dug carrots!
Beauty is not only found in the vegetables, however! The flowers all over the place have been helping our newly settled bees thrive (see Hollyhox below!). After just two weeks, they had already started a honey flow, and most recently broke off into a new swarm! This occurs when the colony reaches a certain size and splits off to start a new hive, which requires a quick catch and a new home from the beekeepers who want to grow their flock. Props to Tristan who assisted Michelle in guiding the swarm from the buzzing apple tree branch to their new home. We're so happy to have these incredible creatures here and to witness the hard work they do for us and for nature.
That's all for this week! I'll leave you with a couple of my favourite photos of the farm crew this season- cats and babies included :)
Where to begin? In addition to the strawberries peaking this week, we've had to mobilize in a major way to deal with both Tristan's and my absence from the farm this week (unplanned, unintentional, and definitely not for great reasons). The interns have really stepped up and have been running things very well. Much gratitude for their eagerness to help out in this time of need, as well as for the offer of support from so many others. With the events of this week, we came to the conclusion that the farm needs to be simplified. In so doing, we are selling our pigs and some laying hens, in case you know of anyone who is looking for a boar, a sow, and weaners.
Before things took a sideways turn this week, here is what we were all working on.
Tuesday was a busy morning! We had 8 pickers in the strawberry patch. A small dot in the back left is Yaniv direct seeding lettuce, mustard greens, and hakurei (that we missed last week because it was too wet). Out of the frame is Tristan on the tractor, preparing the field for our new strawberries -- 6,000 of them that were transplanted Wednesday morning!
We also got the rest of our tomatoes in the ground and are hoping that the paper mulch will reduce our weeding time down the road. How nice that David could have a bit of a break with Clem. It was such a hot day!!
Here's a better shot of the pea trellis system that went in this year. Picking them will be a dream. And there should be snow peas at market this week -- yippee!
This is from last week, when the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes went into the greenhouse. This little guy was so lucky that he didn't get hit with the shovel!
This week has been so intense, the blog is delayed and the party we had last Saturday already seems so far gone. It was a wonderful evening with friends and family who gathered to celebrate Tristan's and Brian's birthdays. The potluck spread was phenomenal and Tristan's pulled pork sandwiches were scrumptious. He brined the pork for a week and then smoked it for several hours -- yum! Crannóg Ale's collaborative brew with Parallel 49, Suspect Device, was the perfect pairing. Unfortunately, we were all having such a great time, no photos were taken!
The day after the party, Maggie started to farrow. She started out quite large, so we were all wondering how many piglets she was carrying. As it turns out, she was carrying 19 of them!?! Two of them were still born and then 4 didn't make it through the first night. That was to be expected and meant that she would be able to feed the remaining piglets. The week has seen several more disappear or die, leaving us with eight piglets. Although Maggie had no health issues related to her farrowing, and Peggy is now doing fine after hers, our first experience with farrowing has been a little too stressful for my liking.
Once things had settled down with Maggie, a carload of us went up to Spotted Moose Farm in Celista. After being on the farm for only two months, there is so much happening there! They've got turkeys, chickens, guinea fowl, two peacocks, Indian Runner ducks, and pigeons. Not only that, they've got Nubian goats and black mulefoot pigs. They've also just fenced 2 acres for a veg garden -- be prepared to see them at the Celista market with their delicious food!
The main task this week has been weeding. Carrots have been hand weeded, along with baby lettuce, spinach, and new mustards/radishes/hakurei. The last few items were done in the nick of time -- re-covering the beds with remay as the rain blew in.
The photo above shows the pea trellising system we're going to try this year. Unfortunately, my battery was dying, so I couldn't see what I was taking a picture of. The crew got to try out our post hold digger and use some of our fencing posts as anchors. We still need to drop twine to the plants, however this should make picking much better this year!
Yes, this means our strawberries have started! The veg crew did the first sweep of the patch yesterday and we'll have a few pints coming to market on Saturday. With a bit of sun, our strawberry patch is ready to explode with ripe berries.
Patricia and Yaniv arrived last week and it already feels like they've been here since the beginning of the season. They've been thrown into onion weeding, harvesting, seeding, and transplanting -- all within a few days -- and they are dealing so well with the fast pace of this part of the season.
Patricia is originally from Joliette, Québec, and has been spending most of the last three years WWOOF'ing around the world. She is presently looking forward to settling into one place for several months. We appreciate her quiet cheerfulness and eagerness to contribute. Actually, we're so fortunate that everyone in the crew is willing to chip in in such a variety of ways!
Yaniv has recently obtained his Canadian residency status (hooray). He also holds citizenship in Israel and the U.S. Yaniv's cool-under-fire presence and being fine with messy situations made a huge difference in being able to help Peggy on Saturday. Patricia and Yaniv have such a romantic "how did you meet?" story. They were both working on a horse ranch in Costa Rica and were paired up to care for the horses. Their relationship deepened as they explored the splendid landscapes of Costa Rica with their equine charges. So sweet. Since then, they have travelled through Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia together, in addition to working on a farm in Ashcroft (hence their coming back to BC for an adventure in organic mixed farming!).
On Monday, we were treated to live music on the farm: Chicken-Like Birds and No Mothers delighted us with their tunes in the studio. A trio of toddlers were wriggling away to the music and several of the adults could be seen tapping their toes. Thanks to Anne for organizing this. Both duos will be playing at Wine-Oh's in Calgary on Thursday (8 PM) if you know of anyone who might be interested -- spread the word!
Chelsea has some fantastic photos of the pigs! The one of Tristan running out of the boar's pen is pretty darn funny. Looks like Tristan has a healthy lead on the boar, though, so there's nothing to worry about.
Peggy farrowed on Friday with 12 surviving piglets -- she ran into some complications on Saturday and it was all hands on deck to help her out. We were fortunate to have so many people around to contribute (both an unexpected visit from an old pig farmer and a requested one from a friend who could show us how to do stitches). Yaniv observed the stitching process and was able to convey to Tristan how it's done after the initial ones burst. At the end of Saturday, the whole crew created a squeeze and Tristan was able to put in 4 stitches, which are ready to come out tomorrow. Peggy is doing so much better and is great with the piglets. We're sad that she won't be able to have anymore litters, however are thankful that she is still here to care for her piglets.
In terms of other farm work, with four additional hands, we're just flying through the to-do list. The crew has completed an immense amount of weeding, transplanted the celeriac and first batch of Salanova lettuce, constructed a couple of pallet platforms for camping, sanitized the strawberry picking buckets (we've found a few fully ripe ones!), and seeded in the field and in trays for future transplanting.
We're gearing up for a great weekend of celebration -- hope to see you out here on Saturday for the Pints, Pulled Pork, Potluck Party to celebrate two birthdays and raise funds for solar power on Golden Ears Farm & Crannóg Ales/Left Fields Farm! 4:30 right here on the farm: https://www.facebook.com/events/1590612947915640/
It has been a rapid transition to weed season -- we're still trying to get transplants into the ground and potting up loads of seedlings, and the weeds are glowing green in the fields! We are making headway in the onions, however, and aiming to get the weeds while they're still a manageable size.
The corn transplants are doing really well and we are so pleased with this. Stories abound about how sensitive corn is to transplanting, yet every germinated seed that was put into the ground has settled in nicely...can't wait for sweet corn this year!
We're still setting beds, seeding, potting up, and watering (an interesting game of strategics with the ongoing heat lately). As you can see in these photos, we're all in high gear to get it all done. And David and Chelsea seeded the last bit of potatoes on their own -- exciting! It's fantastic to have Sieglinde's back in the mix. They are my absolute favourite and the crew can try out the German Butter potatoes that I keep raving about.
We're a little in shock about how early the strawberries are this year. They've been in blossom for a while, however Tristan snapped this shot on Monday during our farm walkaround -- berries forming. It's looking like we'll have strawberries at the end of May this year...egad!
Our last two interns arrived this afternoon, having driven all the way from Montréal. We are looking forward to getting to know Patricia and Yaniv...after they've had time to settle in and acclimatize following so much driving. Stay tuned for their 'official' introduction next week!
Hello from Golden Ears! This week's update is coming to you from the dirty fingernails of the newest interns -- we have a good excuse for our filth, though! This week has been all about transplanting our vegetable babies into their new homes in the field; this involves a lot of time spent on our knees with hands in the dirt, lovingly placing each onion, kolhrabi and little lettuce head into the ground so that it can grow up to reach its full tasty potential! Yesterday alone, we planted over 600 corn in the field, with over 2,000 seedlings, total, going into the ground since last week (finishing transplanting the hundreds of onions was thoroughly celebrated with cold growlers of beer). Though this job is tough on the knees and lower back, we combat it with spontaneous yoga in the field and the huge feeling of satisfaction one gets from seeing the vegetables neatly lined up in their fresh, earthy bed.
Watching the different varieties of produce start to mature into their true forms has also been a treat for me. Pictured above is the beautiful Freckles Romaine Lettuce that looks like it has been spattered with crimson paint. I'm also excited about the purple bunching onions that are keeping their vibrant bulbs hidden for the time being. I'm quickly realizing that I could probably grow vegetables forever and still be surprised at the things nature can produce.
Hey, is that Tristan pushing Avé through the fields?!
Nope! But it is another one of his marvellous creations. Behold, our home-made flame weeder, complete with seatbelts and a master stroller pusher (Papa Cavers).
This baby has been helping us combat the weeds that threaten to overrun the newly-planted seeds and bring us to our downfall. Besides being an insanely cool tool for organic farmers, the flame weeder majorly helps to prevent the weeds from even popping up, while leaving the seeds below completely unharmed. Thanks to Tristan for being so inventive in our on-going battle against the weeds!
The last baby corn about to go into the field....
I leave you this week with a photo I took during last week's harvest for market (pre-vegetable mandala that is pictured at the top). One of the best things about working on this farm is the constant interaction you have with the animals here, whether it is listening to the Curlews flying over you in the field, being inspected by the resident farm cats wanting to be cuddled, or encountering Osprey epically catching their prey close by. I'm grateful everyday to live and work in a place that allows the wildlife in the area to thrive. They are as much a part of the local diversity as the humans that live here, and with organic farming practices, you can encourage them to continue gracing the landscape without polluting or destroying their habitat -- just one of the many reasons to fall in love with growing food organically!
Thanks to everyone who supported us at the market last week. We'll see you bright and early Saturday morning with a fresh harvest in tow!
Photo credit: Martín Bustamante