We have two positions open at the farm for the upcoming season. If you're interested in joining our hard-working, fun-loving team, please read on!
JOB TITLE: FARM CREW
Reports to: Farm Manager, Zoë Bradbury DeSurra
Status: Hourly, non-exempt
Schedule: Seasonal; approximately 30-45 hours/week April-November with possibility of extension into year-round work
Start date: mid-April to early May 2023
Location: Langlois, OR
Compensation: Starting wage $13.50-$15/hour.
ABOUT VALLEY FLORA:
Valley Flora Farm is a diversified produce farm located 2 miles outside of the small town of Langlois on the southern Oregon coast. We own 90 acres in a beautiful, quiet river valley, 4 miles inland from the Pacific. Of that acreage, 40 acres are upland forest, 30 acres are in pasture, and the remaining 20 acres is rich river bottomland where we cultivate a wide array of annual and perennial vegetable crops, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, herbs, flowers, and an extremely diverse orchard. The farm is nestled in a special microclimate where cool-weather crops thrive, but where we also have warmth enough to grow eggplant, sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes outdoors - in spite of our proximity to the ocean.
We’re surrounded by natural beauty, with numerous coastal rivers running undammed from the coast range to the sea; uncrowded beaches; wild dunes and forests. The farm is 20 minutes from the picturesque coastal towns of Port Orford (to the south) and Bandon (to the north), and five minutes from quaint rural Langlois. We’re five miles from Floras Lake, an epicenter of kite and wind-surfing. There is also nearby mountain biking, surfing, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding.
Valley Flora’s production is highly diversified, and so is our marketing. We distribute our food via four distinct sales channels: a 130-member main season CSA (June through December), a 60-member winter CSA (January to May), a bustling farmstand (year round), a busy summertime u-pick (June through September for strawberries and flowers), and robust direct sales to local stores, co-ops, and restaurants (year round).
The farm is deeply dedicated to ecological farming principles and practices. We adhere to all the standards, rules, and principles of organic production but are not third party certified. We practice reduced tillage, have an unbridled passion for cover crops and biodiversity, and we do everything we can to minimize our carbon footprint and avoid waste. We’re a mixed power farm, relying on a combo of tractor power, human power, and draft horse power (Jack and Lily are Zoë’s team of Belgian/Morgan draft horses who work in harness on the farm). All of our farm infrastructure is powered by solar energy produced by a 12kW solar array on the roof of our barn, which runs our greenhouses, walk-in coolers, irrigation pumps and more.
Our farm crew is typically comprised of 4 full-time employees and 2-3 part-time employees during our main season, from May through October. Our crew scales back for winter, employing 2-3 employees who stay with us year round but reduce their hours in the winter months.
Zoë has been farming for over 20 years, first as a hired hand on farms in Massachusetts and California, then as the crew manager at Sauvie Island Organics near Portland. In 2008 she returned to Floras Creek, where she was born, to start her own farm business in collaboration with her mother (Bets) and sister (Abby), who both grow produce on the same family land. Together they market collectively as Valley Flora. The farm has been in operation for 14 years and is thriving.
TRAINING AND EXPECTATIONS
Every member of our team is a crucial, counted part of our labor force. We all work hard, typically 8-10 hours per day. New farm crew will likely start in April/May and work full-time through November with us, with the potential for extended work year-round.
We “train-by-doing,” so there is training built into every day, particularly when new employees are diving into a task for the first time. We always try to ensure that our crew members feel confident and capable before being set loose solo on a project, so new employees spend a lot of time working alongside our seasoned crew and mentors first.
Because our farm is so diverse, we rarely get stuck in a single task for too many hours, which helps mix up the physical demands of the job. That said, it is very physical work, with certain seasonal peaks (for instance, harvesting the heavy storage crops of fall, or the intense weekly transplanting of spring/early summer). To help build strength and physical health, we train our employees not only in farming techniques, but also in proper body mechanics (we rely heavily on a set of body weight exercises called Foundation Training to keep our backs healthy and strong).
Farm Crew members are involved in the following tasks on our diversified fresh produce farm:
Daily harvest for our 130-member CSA, farmstand, and direct sale (stores and restaurants) accounts. The farm grows over 100 different crops, each requiring its own techniques, tools, and skill set for harvest. The farm strives for unparalleled quality and consistency, requiring that our employees learn the specific harvest standard and quality control for every single crop in ever-changing conditions. Simultaneously they must learn to achieve these standards while moving as efficiently and quickly as possible, ultimately aiming to meet our established baseline harvest rates (which we have established for every crop on the farm through many years of data collection).
Post-harvest handling: Washing, processing, packing and quality control for the 100+ crops we grow and harvest, for three distinct sales channels, including CSA, farmstand, and direct sale orders.
Weekly Fieldwork: These tasks include transplanting, fertilizing, trellising, mowing, weed control, pest management, irrigation, and plant care. Farm Crew will be trained in operating the necessary equipment to perform these tasks safely and efficiently, including mowers, weed eater, wheel hoe, oscillating stirrup hoe, collinear hoe, Japanese hand weeder, drop spreader, drip roller, handlines, bed shaper and mulch layer, flame weeder, pressure washer, hand truck, manual transmission flatbed pickup, and utility trailer.
Weekly Deliveries: Farm crew will be trained in the safe driving and maintenance of our Sprinter van to deliver produce to wholesale customers and CSA pickup sites. They will learn how to pack the van efficiently and strategically for deliveries, ensuring that the produce is transported safely and can be unloaded in the proper order.
U-Pick Management: Farm crew will be responsible for overseeing flower and strawberry u-pick operations one or two days/week. This includes setting up the u-pick stand, communicating and interacting with customers to orient them to the u-pick system, answering questions, and being a public-facing farm ambassador.
Farmstand Management: Farm crew will be in charge of our farmstand, including pack-out of pre-orders using our online software, transporting pre-packed farmstand orders, setting up the market display at our farmstand two days/week, and managing sales and customer relations.
- Prior outdoor, physical work experience (prior organic vegetable farming experience preferred but not required)
- Strong work ethic and positive attitude; able to keep up morale throughout long days of physical, sometimes repetitive work in all weather conditions
- Good communication and listening skills; willing to resolve conflict in a mature, respectful manner
- Excellent attention to detail; able to maintain high quality standards and follow food safety protocols while working quickly and efficiently
- Adept at working individually but also committed to being part of a high functioning team
- Flexible; able to adapt to shifting priorities and conditions, seasonal work hours, and to help out when and where needed
- Able to take direction, learn quickly, ask for help and clarification where needed, and accept and act on constructive feedback
- Able to work long hours in any weather and capable of safely lifting 50 pounds repeatedly. Able to squat, bend over, kneel, and crawl for proglonged amounts of time.
- Able to drive a manual transmission is very helpful, as our primary farm truck is a stick shift.
- Valid driver’s license, clean driving record (you will be added to our commercial vehicle insurance)
- Basic English or Spanish required
We strive to be a warm, fun, welcoming workplace where our sense of team is paramount and our collective efforts are funneled towards producing the highest quality produce in the most efficient manner possible. We are all constantly striving to improve ourselves, our efficiency and the farm’s productivity; therefore, keen observation, critical (and creative) thinking, and humility are exciting traits in a Valley Flora applicant.
COMPENSATION AND ACCOMMODATIONS
The starting wage is between $13.50 and $15/hour, DOE. We work closely with our local Small Business Development Center, which offers a three month On-the-Job Training wage subsidy for new hires. Applicants who qualify for that program will start at $15/hour. Otherwise, new hires typically start at $13.50-$14.50 DOE, with a wage reevaluation after the first month to assess the possibility of a mid-season performance-based raise.
Additionally, all employees have access to farm produce, and between June and December get a weekly CSA share from the farm, valued at $950+/season. Employees also have unlimited access to “house” produce (seconds or grade B produce that doesn’t meet our sales standards), as well as multiple gleaning opportunities throughout the season. For employees who complete the entire season we always aim to give an end-of-year bonus, calculated based on the farm’s profitability and the number of hours worked.
We do not currently have housing available at the farm. Local housing options are somewhat limited, however we are well-networked in the community so it’s very possible that we could help a new employee find housing.
There is limited cell service, depending on the cell carrier. There is Wi-Fi that is available to everyone on the farm.
EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Since its inception our farm has been a bilingual, diverse workplace. We speak in English, Spanish and Spanglish all day long, making sure that language never leaves anyone out of the loop. We are owned and managed by women, and we make our absolute best effort to give everyone on our team opportunities to take ownership of various aspects of the farm and to feel appreciated for their contribution on the farm. Tasks are typically divvied up on the crew based on what people are excited to work on and never along gender-biased lines. We actively solicit input and feedback from the crew to make sure that the farm is being managed in a way that feels good, fair, inclusive and respectful.
Valley Flora is committed to open, non-violent communication and does not tolerate any form of bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or discrimination, ever.
- Please email email@example.com and tell us about yourself, including your work/life experiences, why you’re interested in this position, and why you are a great fit for the job.
- Please provide a current resume and 3 professional work references.
- In the subject line of your email, include “Farm Crew: [Your Name]"
- Applications will be reviewed as they’re received, so we encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. Positions are open until filled. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.
Thanks for your interest!