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Posted: Tue, November 22, 2022

Hector, NY job

Phone Number: 508 274 1375


Plowbreak Farm, Hector NY
Full Time Farm Worker Position Available

Plowbreak Farm is a ten-acre USDA certified organic diversified vegetable farm specializing in wholesale and CSA markets. We are located in Hector, NY, ten minutes from Watkins Glen and 30 minutes from Ithaca, home of Cornell University.

The ideal candidate has experience working on production-scale vegetable farms and is looking forward to a career in agriculture or is looking to start their own business.

Farm work tasks on our crew are varied; for sanity and physical health we make an effort to not do the same thing all day long, and we do our best to find indoor (barn or high tunnel) work in inclement weather. Primary tasks vary by the season and include: field planting, high tunnel management (planting, trellising tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers), harvest, greenhouse seeding and weeding. Other tasks include end-of-season cleanup, irrigation management, mulching, mowing/weedwacking, and tarping/row covering fields. We use the tractor to eliminate as much heavy lifting as we can, and we work as a group to finish jobs quickly and easily.

Employees will each play a managerial role in the farm’s operation, in three specific areas: we will have a high tunnel assistant manager, a greenhouse/seeding assistant manager, and a packshed/harvest assistant manager. Each assistant manager will be responsible for performing regular daily and weekly tasks, be able to coordinate other employees in that specific area of expertise, and relay important information back to us about conditions in those specific farm operations. Each employee will complete general farm tasks in addition to helping manage their specified area.

– 40 hours per week
– Monday-Friday, with approx. 2 hrs work Saturday or Sunday every weekend for cucumber/tomato maintenance harvesting
– Mid-April through Mid-November
– Workday starts at 8 and goes to 5, with generally an hour for lunch.
– No housing available, must be able to commute via car, about half hour from Ithaca/twenty minutes from Trumansburg/ten minutes from Watkins Glen.

– $16/hr, commensurate with experience and work ethic/ability
– Employees are encouraged to take all the vegetables they need for the week, and in the height of a crops’ season, preservation quantities as well
– Up to five days vacation after 6 months full time employment
– End of year bonus for full season completion
– Home-cooked farmhouse lunch provided several times per week

– At least one year commercial vegetable farming experience (farm size irrelevant)
– At least two years’ full time work experience in any industry
– Attention to detail, ability to listen to and follow directions
– Ability to work fast, efficiently, enthusiastically
– Ability to work efficiently in any weather (heat, cold, rain, snow, all with proper gear and many popsicle breaks, of course)
– Can take a list of tasks, projects or crops to harvest and efficiently manage them to completion alone
– Able to lift 60 lbs comfortably, repeatedly

Job Description
– 3-5 weekly harvest days, where you will dig, bunch, cut and band vegetables, and pick tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in our trellised greenhouses.
– 3-5 weekly pack shed days, where you will wash and pack the produce harvested that day
– Once or twice a week seeding/planting sessions where we seed trays of veggies in the barn or plant out seedlings on our water wheel transplanter.
– Materials handling sessions, where we lay out row cover, greenhouse plastic, occultation tarps, and landscape fabric for weed suppression and crop protection.
– You’ll work with a small crew including both Kara and Aaron, the farm owners, to accomplish the day’s tasks. There is also time spent working alone on various jobs, so the inveterate audiobook or podcast listener has lots to look forward to.
Larger harvests of squash, potatoes, cabbage, etc done with a crew, assisted by tractor.

Asst. Manager, Greenhouse/Seeding:
The greenhouse is where most of the crops on our farm originate. This person is responsible for ensuring seedling crops in the heated greenhouse are adequately watered, monitored for disease and other issues, ensuring that seeding schedules are adhered to and flat quantities are correct. Monitoring hardening off, germination heat mats and rodent control are all a part of this role.

Asst. Manager, Pack Shed/Harvesting:
We harvest five days a week during the season. This person will help ensure orderly flow and efficient operations on harvest days. Will translate order manager software and ensure accurate packaging of produce in the packshed, and make sure crops flow through the packshed quickly to enter cold storage as soon as possible. Labeling and organizing orders is another critical area for this person to oversee.

Asst. Manager, High Tunnel Crops
Our farm relies on high tunnels to protect and nurture our most valuable crops – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, basil, and greens in the shoulder seasons. There is considerably more hand labor involved in the cultivation of tunnel crops, and the person in this position will need to keep track of which tunnels need pruning, suckering, and thinning during the season. This person will also master and supervise the techniques we use to efficiently “flip” the tunnels from landscape fabric and drip tape cultivation in the summer to overhead irrigation and bare ground cultivation in the winter.

As part of our crew, you’ll learn:
– How to manage a seedling greenhouse for high quality transplants
How to manage almost a half acre of high tunnels for fertility, crop vigor, disease pressure and climate conditions
– The basics of tractor operations, including our two Kubota utility tractors, Farmall cultivating tractor, and BCS walk-behind tractor, and how to set a small farm up with simple mechanization
– How to construct irrigation systems
– How to monitor crops for pests and disease
– Trellising systems for high tunnel tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers
– Farm finances, profitability, and business systems.
– How to efficiently manage a clean, simple packshed.
– Basic cover cropping essentials (timing, seeding, incorporation, varieties)
– How to effectively use basic farm hand tools and gear (pruners, wheelhoes, root washer, pallet jack, screw guns, and more.)
– If interested, employees who work with us for more than two seasons are encouraged to start their own farm-adjacent businesses with some support from us.

To apply to work with us, please submit:
– Resume, with descriptions of farming (and other) experience
– Two references (one should be a farm business owner)
– Working interview: 1-2 paid hours of work together on farm
– Please also be prepared to discuss at your interview, or let us know in writing ahead of it: What are you hoping to learn? What would you like to get better at? What are your farming strengths? Do you have farming goals?

We can’t wait to meet you!
Aaron, Kara and June