INTERNSHIP: Hooked on Farm Life and Looking for your Next Fix? Ranfurly Farms, Chase, BC

Posted by Michelle Tsutsumi on February 19, 2016

Garden in full swing at Ranfurly Farms, Turtle Valley near Chase, BC.

Wanted:  an enthusiastic, hardworking individual to take on the day to day operation of Ranfurly Farms market garden.

Duration: April 15 – October 15, 2016

The Farm:
Ranfurly Farm is a 30 acre family farm located in picturesque Turtle Valley, 10 minutes from the little town of Chase, BC.  It is home to three generations of farmers with 6 – 40 years of experience.  This year we will run 200 “freer” than free range laying hens and 900 broilers on pasture.  We raise Blue Face Leicester and Gotland sheep for fibre; pigs, rabbits, and ducks for our own consumption, milk our own cow, have a donkey and a llama for guardians, and dogs and cats for predators and pests. We also have a small herd of beef cattle that we graze on leased land.

Pasture poultry enjoying a sunny day.
Pasture poultry enjoying a sunny day.

The two acre market garden has two greenhouses and supplies a bustling summer market and a small CSA.  It is fully fenced with page wire to keep the animals out and is supplied with water via our irrigation system and frost free hydrants.  There is a raspberry patch, strawberry bed, asparagus, and a few perennial flowers and herbs for household consumption.  We also have a small orchard area with fruit trees and bushes.  We are not certified organic, but we do not use any petrochemical fertilizers or pesticides. This year, I would like to establish a perennial planting for bees and beneficial insects.

Hillside view of the bustling market garden.
Hillside view of the bustling market garden.

We believe in the 4-H motto, “learn to do by doing”.  You will spend lots of time working with and learning with the other farmers — butchering, milking, cheese making, canning, preserving, spinning, weaving, knitting, bookkeeping and small scale building are all skills we can share.

The Farmers:

Margaret, Adam, Jen and Mike.
Margaret, Adam, Jen and Mike.

Mike and Margaret met at Olds Agricultural College and have farmed their entire married life. They started out ranching in the Caribou and then moved into purebred Simmentals and a farm in Vanderhoof.   When Margaret retired from her career with the school district, they left Vanderhoof for a condo in Victoria. That lifestyle change was short lived and in 2009 they tired of city living and moved to Turtle Valley. Mike has a wealth of animal experience, with everything from rabbits to goats to cattle. He manages the pastures and orchard, as well as has his own garden projects. Margaret is a spinner, weaver and knitter extraordinaire, so she takes care of her sheep and is our fibre expert.  She also does most of the canning and food preservation. Jen is the oldest of their three children.

Jen and Adam started the CSA market garden and pastured poultry operation in 2010.  Adam was brand new to the farm scene and took on the pastured poultry while Jen oversaw the garden. They lived in a travel trailer for three seasons while their farm business got established and grew. In 2012, a house was built, followed by a wedding in 2013 and the birth of their son in 2014.  Adam has since started his electrical apprenticeship while Jen continues on the farm with Owen, their two year old son. This year, we are looking for someone who can take responsibility for the market garden so Jen can focus on motherhood and overall farm management.

Jen with her little helper, Owen.
Jen with her little helper, Owen.

The Job:
You will be responsible for the day to day work that keeps the plants growing well and the overall garden plan on track. This includes direct seeding, transplanting, cultivating, caring for seedlings, laying out and prepping beds, watering, setting up drip irrigation, and harvesting for market.  A detailed crop plan that encompasses the crop rotation and succession planting plan will be in place and it will be your responsibility to carry it out as the season progresses.   Being able to follow directions and keep good records is another important aspect of the position. Attending the weekly market and filling the CSA orders will also be your responsibility. There will be some opportunity for you to explore and experiment with your own ideas in consultation with the other farmers. There is flexibility around work hours and vacation days as well.

You will also have lots of opportunity to interact with the animals through daily chores and larger farm projects.  We grow and eat our own delicious vegetables, meat, eggs and milk all year, so food preservation and preparation are important aspects of farm life. You can learn to milk a cow and butcher chickens, rabbits and pigs.

More happy chickens out in pasture.
More happy chickens out in pasture.

Work Hours:  Minimum 8 hours per day, 5 ½ days a week. We aim to work a half day on Saturday and take Sunday as a full day off.  Long days are necessary to complete the workload at different times in the season, but that is balanced by days that are more relaxed. For example, harvest days are generally 10 hours or longer and when the chickens go to the processor we catch them in the evening.

Compensation:  A profit sharing agreement and/or monthly stipend will be discussed with eligible candidates.

Accommodation & Meals:  We have a 26’ travel trailer with hot water and electricity on site.  It is stocked with dishes and cooking utensils, and has a queen size bed.   There is a composting toilet in the camping area and an outdoor shower attached to Jen and Adam’s house.  You are responsible for your own breakfast, while lunch and dinner are shared.  We provide full room and board, and meals are based around what we produce.  Everyone helps with cooking and clean up.

To apply, please outline your relevant experience, and email your resume to ranfurlycsa@gmail.com.

Call Jen at 250-679-2738 for additional information or just to chat.

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