| Definition of Apprenticeship: An apprenticeship is an opportunity to experience a career by working within a successful business that is similar to your own interests. It’s a time to observe, listen, actively experience, ask questions, and most importantly to learn. Apprenticeships are hard work with long hours and little pay, but offer the invaluable benefit of observing and taking part in the inner workings of a company from an inside perspective. The experience and knowledge gained from an apprenticeship provides you with valuable tools needed to take that next step towards pursuing your goal.
What to Expect: As an apprentice you can expect many things. You can count on hard work with long days in the field. You can count on blazing hot days in the sun with a hoe in your hand. You can count on cool rainy days harvesting or weeding. You can count on doing repetitive tasks day in and day out. You can count on getting dirty almost every day. You can count on having sore muscles and a sore back. You will get to eat some of the most amazing and tasty organic produce ever. You can expect to do things you never thought you could do, pushing yourself on many levels. You can expect to work together with others to accomplish goals as a group. There will also be times when you will be expected to take individual responsibility to complete tasks.
Farm Description: Flying Cloud Farm produces vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers for direct sale to our customers. We follow organic practices, although we are not certified, due to the fact that we direct market the majority of our produce and have relationship with our customers. We sell at three farmer’s markets each week, prepare 100 CSA shares and stock a self-serve stand at the farm. Up to 100 families sign up for CSA shares, receiving a box of produce every week for 20 weeks, some with an additional flower bouquet, which make up our Community Supported Agriculture group. Our farming practices rely on cover cropping, amending the soil by annual testing, crop rotation, and careful planning for insect and weed issues in order to consistently produce food for our customers.
Isaiah and Annie Louise manage the farm, but there are many other members of the family who live on the farm. We have two daughters, Sidney and Ivy, who help on the farm when they are recruited, especially for berry picking. Annie’s parents, Will and Susie Hamilton, live on the farm and own much of the land. There are also many siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles who live nearby as Annie’s family has been in Fairview for 100 years. Isaiah’s mother also lives in Fairview, and his family shows up throughout the summer.
The farm is located 12 miles outside Asheville on 74A East in the last valley before the road climbs the mountain to the continental divide. The farm’s name is inspired by the name of the stagecoach that traveled Drover’s Road (route 74A) in the mid-1800′s. The Flying Cloud made a stop at the historic Sherrill’s Inn, which was purchased in 1916 by Annie’s great-grandparents and named Hickory Nut Gap Farm. There is close access to hiking and biking trails. We are fortunate to be located in a wonderful part of Western North Carolina with beautiful vistas, a great climate, and a vibrant culture.
Apprentice Program: The focus of the apprentice program is education through experience. Flying Cloud Farm is a great place for learning how to successfully operate an organic farm. Our farm is well organized and we have years of experience growing a wide variety of products and utilizing a diverse marketing strategy. This combination creates an environment of knowledge for those who want to become produce growers.
We have 4 positions starting in April and lasting through October. Generally the start dates are staggered throughout the month of April and the end dates are staggered from early October until Thanksgiving. We will also be hiring for 4 summer positions, which should work well for folks with a school schedule.
The typical schedule is 6 days per week, 4 full days of 8-10 hours per day, and 2 shorter days, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sundays are free. We sell at up to 4 markets per week in the height of the season so there are plenty of opportunities to get into town to sell our produce at market. This gives you a chance to sell the produce and flowers, interact directly with customers, meet and interact with other area farmers, as well as a chance to work off the farm for a day.
Throughout your apprenticeship you can expect to participate and learn about all areas of the farm operation, such as farm planning, starting seeds, transplanting, weeding, pruning, harvesting, washing, packing, marketing, and sales. As part of your apprenticeship we sponsor you as a member of CRAFT, where you have an opportunity to visit other farms, network with other apprentices and farmers, and learn from their programs and potlucks.
Housing: We will provide you with a place to live as long as you’re employed on the farm. There are various housing options available. We have 2 converted school buses, a small cabin, and a yurt. We will be vacating our Appalachian log cabin this spring to open it up for a shared house for the summer farm workers. Everybody shares an outdoor kitchen, a shared bathroom, and an outdoor shower.
Food: We will provide food for lunches on the days that we are working together. We all take turns preparing lunch at our house. Produce from the farm is available for you to prepare in the ‘apprentice kitchen’ for supper and breakfast. We will make financial contributions to the kitchen for you to buy bulk items to be shared. We will also pay a weekly stipend. Payroll taxes are paid and we provide you a W-2.
We try to be straightforward in our description of the farm and apprenticeship program. We ask that you be clear in presenting yourself as well. Contact us for an application if you are interested. A farm visit and interview are also required.