Listing Information

Currently Hiring

Yes

Number of Workers Sought

2

Type of Farm

Fruit/Orchard

Marketing Strategy

Farmers' Market, Wholesale

Paid

Yes

Pay Rate

$12.00 per hour with onsite housing provided. Workers are free to eat all the fruit they want during harvest.

What are the dates of your position?

We are hiring for two positions. Position 1 is for assistant manager and is all season beginning 3/10 and ending about 9/15. Position 2 is for pruning crew member beginning 3/10 and ending about 4/15.

Are you open to shorter periods of employment or do you prefer that workers stay the full season?

Shorter periods of employment possible

Housing

Yes

Explain the room and board arrangements or describe options in your area

Accommodations are on the rustic side. There is a workers cabin and a larger cabin with a bathroom, shower, and cooking facilities. Some workers prefer to sleep in a tent as it can be more comfortable during hot weather. I prefer to share cooking with others and eat together, provided it works for everyone. I am not a vegetarian and usually eat a good meal every night. The orchard is not my primary residence and usually spend 2 or 3 nights a week there. Employees are responsible for their food when I am not there. Light drinking is ok, but I am not very tolerant of heavy drinking.

Please share three things you think people should know about living with you.

I like to drink a good cup of coffee every morning.
A good meal every evening is important to me.
At this point in my life I usually don't have much energy left after work and pass the time cooking, reading, fishing, or an occasional glass of wine by the fire next to the river.

Describe yourself, your family, background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interests

My three vocations have been drywaller, geologist, and orchardist. My wife and I started the orchard in 2001 with two small children. The kids have moved on and no longer help with the orchard. Starting and growing the orchard has been one of the best experiences of my life. Most of my farming experience has been at the orchard. Most of the things I have learned were learned the hard way. Our goal is to grow premium quality fruit. We want every piece of fruit to be special. We usually achieve our goal. Achieving this quality generally takes a little more work than most orchardists are willing to do. We have always tried to grow our fruit so that we were comfortable with our kids picking it off the tree and eating it.

Describe the physical setting of your farm and the nature of the community in which you live

The orchard is located near the confluence of the Clark Fork and Flathead Rivers with Clark Fork River frontage. It is a beautiful spot where two canyons come together. The location is rather remote with the towns of Paradise and Plains nearby. Nearest neighbors are another orchard and a farm. Missoula is about 70 miles away. As for recreation, there is swimming and fishing in the rivers. After work on hot days we usually swim down to the confluence with the Flathead River to cool off. There are also lots of mountains to explore near by.

Describe your farm operation

Our crops are peaches, cherries, and a few apricots. We will have certified organic peaches and Rainier cherries this year. We also have non-certified peaches and red cherries. Pruning, peach thinning, and harvest are all labor intensive. Quality is very important to us and care is taken to do as good a job as we can with each step. Getting the right crop load on each tree is one of the most important steps. All fruit is picked and packed in the field. Our main markets are the farmers markets in Missoula and the Western Montana Growers Coop.

Describe the work to be performed by applicant

We will be needing two workers to assist with peach harvest beginning in mid August. Most of the work will involve sorting and field packing peaches. There is also a lot of moving boxes of fruit around after it is packed. Harvest usually lasts 4 to 5 weeks. If workers desire, they can assist at farmers markets in Missoula on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.

What do you expect of a worker?

I expect workers to work the hours that they are paid for. The work is physical and requires standing all day. We generally work 32 to 40 hours per week. During harvest there can be times when we work over 40 hours. Workers usually keep the best peaches they encounter during the day to eat themselves. We work hard and usually have fun while working.

Describe the learning and educational opportunities available to a worker

I usually work alongside our workers, except for hand peach thinning. Workers are shown what needs to be done along with the reasoning for the task. I am willing to share any knowledge that I have and questions are encouraged. Workers have the opportunity to learn about fruit tree nutrition, weed control, crop load management, picking, sorting, and packing of fruit. There is also the opportunity to work farmers markets.

Are you a full-time farmer?

Yes

Please attach any photos of your farm and operation