Author Archives: junipinyon

Be our next Ecological Vegetable Farm Worker

We are now hiring for the 2020 growing season! To apply, please email us your cover letter and resume.

 

ECOLOGICAL VEGETABLE FARM WORKER

Little Hat Creek Farm is a successful diversified ecological vegetable farm and wood-fired bakery. Our beautiful five-acre property is nestled in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, close to the thriving “Brew Ridge Trail”, and abundant outdoor activities including Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. We are about one hour from Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and Staunton.

2020 will be our seventh season; we have grown 30-40% every year selling at several fast-paced farmer’s markets. Our goal as a business is to drive change in our regional food system by forging one-on-one relationships with our community of eaters, providing them with bread and vegetables that are directly linked to the land.

In our fields, we use ecological farming practices on about one acre of annual vegetables. We grow dozens of varieties of vegetables, focusing on building soil health and producing nutrient-dense food for our community; we avoid chemicals. In the spring we also produce thousands of vegetable, flower, and herb garden starts to help our community experience the joys of gardening. In our bakery, we specialize in using regional flours to produce naturally-leavened breads and croissants in our wood-fired oven.

Our passion for regional grain motivated us to help found the Common Grain Alliance, a new non-profit that seeks to revitalize the grain economy in the Mid-Atlantic. We see ourselves as one of several businesses working together to re-regionalize grain in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition, many of our pastries use the vegetables and fruit grown on our farm, and everything is baked in a 5’x7′ wood-fired oven that is housed in a cheerful 1000 sq-ft climate-controlled bakery building on the farm. In 2019 we added monthly pizza nights and workshops that have helped to deepen our engagement with our community.

We believe that economic success is an important, and often overlooked, piece of “sustainability”. But even as we are numbers people who are very focused on the bottom line, we also value family and relationships, and are willing to work extra hard to make space and time for people in both your life and ours.

Our team includes 2 full-time employees, and 1-2 part-time employees, in addition to myself, my wife, and our 2-year-old twins.

Job description

You will be involved in all aspects of the farm, including seeding, planting, harvesting, sorting, weeding, and mulching. You will be expected to help keep the greenhouse and packing station tidy, including washing flats and harvest containers. Our weeks build up to our busy farmers’ markets, where you will help sell the fruits of your labor and meet our dedicated community of eaters. You may perform other tasks as needed.

Skills Desired: You take pride in your work and enjoy working independently. You learn quickly, and can execute tasks efficiently while maintaining sufficient attention to detail. You can perform physically-demanding tasks outside in all kinds of weather. You are thoughtful, inquisitive, and find joy in hard work, food, and good company.

Compensation: This is an hourly paid position $8-12/hr DOE. Expect to work full time, with 50+ hour weeks possible at the peak of the season.

Housing: We have a one-room insulated cabin with a sleeping loft on-site. The cabin has electricity, and comes with a microwave, hot plate, mini-fridge, space heater, and air conditioner. There is a kitchen sink with running water, and the private bathroom (with shower) is about 20 steps away just inside our mudroom. If you choose to live on the farm, we will charge a nominal rent to cover internet, utilities, and laundry. We have two cats, so we prefer no additional pets.

Minimum Length of Stay: This position starts April 1, 2020, and ends in October. There is some flexibility with start and end dates, but you must be able to stay at least through the end of September 2020.

Educational Opportunities: We are a small professional market farm, so you will be involved in every aspect of our operation including: greenhouse management, planting, cultivating, harvesting, composting, and marketing. We will train you to do at least one farmer’s market with us every week. During the season, we will tour other ecological farms in our area.

As part of Little Hat Creek Farm, you will be connected to a growing network of like-minded farms and grain professionals in the Mid-Atlantic who are working towards a thriving regional foodshed. We make a point of sharing the details of our farming, baking, and business practices, so we encourage you to ask questions so that we can help you realize your goals.

Compensation for this position is $8-12 per hour. Expect to work 50-60 hours per week June-Aug, 35-40 hours per week at other times.

Please email us your one-page resume and cover letter. Deadline: January 31, 2020

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Join our team!

The season is upon us and we need more help! Please check out our new listings on Good Food Jobs for a Wood-fired Bakery Assistant and a Farm-Bakery Assistant. Application deadline is July 12, so please help us spread the word!

And thank you for helping us find our next awesome team member!

Old-time Pizza Nites all summer long

OLDTIME PIZZA NITE

UPDATE (Sep 10): If you’ve had trouble with the ticket website, don’t worry! Just come. Let us know you had trouble and we’ll honor the online price. Thanks!

Join us for our LAST monthly Oldtime Pizza Nite!  Between 6:00 and 8:00 we’ll be cranking out two different vegetarian pizzas made with produce grown by us and by our friends–it’s all-you-can-eat, so bring an appetite! There will be kombucha from Blue Ridge Bucha on tap to wash it all down.

buy tickets

Music will be provided by Mary Jane Epps and Joe DeJarnette. A public jam hosted by Aaron Olwell will start at 6:00, so bring your instrument! All levels welcome (we mean that!)

Pizza production and the hosted jam will stop at 8:00 but you’re welcome to stick around, hang out, and play tunes until dark.

What to bring:

Blankets and/or lawn chairs for relaxing

Layers to stay comfortable in all weather (this is a rain-or-shine event!)

Salad or dessert to share (this is totally optional, but comes with a free glass of kombucha!)

Kids and friends with toys/frisbees etc to share

Musical instruments for jamming

Please leave your non-service pets at home

And no alcohol please!

It helps us immensely if you can purchase your tickets in advance. Advance ticket sales are available until midnight the day before the event. After that, you’re still welcome to come and purchase tickets at the door for $2 extra. There are limited income tickets, and one volunteer ticket (online only), which entitles you to free pizza in exchange for helping us set up and break down. As a volunteer, you’ll have to be available between 5:30 and 8:00!

We look forward to meeting you!

Best,

Heather, Ben, Sam & Hazel

Be our next farm worker!

This is a full-time hourly paid farm position.

Job Description: You will be involved in all aspects of the farm, including seeding, planting, harvesting, sorting, weeding, and mulching. You will be expected to help keep the greenhouse and packing station tidy, including washing flats and harvest containers. You will assist us at our busy farmer’s market stands, help us pack our CSA, and help manage our laying hens. Additional duties may include deliveries, helping with bakery production, packaging bread, or cleaning tasks in the bakery.

Skills desired: You are a good fit to for this position if you love making and sharing good food and if our farm+bakery business model excites you. You get pleasure in seeing (and eating) the fruits of your hard work. You want to learn more about what it takes to run a successful farm business, and how to grow nutritious and delicious food. You are a self-starter who can anticipate tasks and you work well independently and with others. You take pride in performing routine tasks quickly and efficiently while attending to detail, and you are able to problem-solve on the fly. You are punctual, able to safely lift fifty pounds, and able to meet deadlines.  You can perform physically-demanding tasks outside in all kinds of weather. You are thoughtful, inquisitive, and find joy in hard work, food, and good company.

Compensation: This is an hourly paid position starting at $8/hr. Expect to work full time, with 50+ hour weeks possible at the peak of the season.

Housing: A room in our house is available for rent for $175/month (utilities, laundry, internet included). You would share a bathroom with our housemate, and have unrestricted access to our home kitchen, or the bakery for cooking. Your room comes with a mini-fridge, full-size bed, and simple furnishings.

Minimum Length of Stay: Must be available to start immediately. There is some flexibility with end dates, but you must stay the full season.

Educational Opportunities: We are a small ecological farm, so you will be involved in every aspect of our operation including: greenhouse management, planting, cultivating, harvesting, chicken management, and marketing. We will train you to do a farmer’s market with us every week. During the season, we will tour other ecological farms in our area.

As part of Little Hat Creek Farm, you will be connected to a growing network of like-minded farms and grain professionals in the Mid-Atlantic who are working towards a thriving regional foodshed. We make a point of sharing the details of our farming, baking, and business practices, so we encourage you to ask questions so that we can help you realize your goals.

You will have free access to unsold farm produce, eggs, bread and pastries, plus trading rights at market for things we don’t produce, like meat and cheese.

To apply, please submit your 1-page resume and cover letter to littlehatcreek “at” gmail.com. In your cover letter, please tell us what motivates you to be a part of a regional food system.

This position is open until filled.

 

 

 

Do you shop at the Nelson market? Sign up NOW for your fall bakery shares

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP by NOV 7

Starting next week, you can pick up a bread and/or pastry share at the Blue Ridge Bucha taproom in Waynesboro, at Basic Necessities in Nellysford, at the Old Orchard Farm Market at RVCC, or on our farm.  Shares work like a CSA–you pay in advance for 6-7 weeks of deliveries (depending on the location), and you can buy as many types of bread as you want! We’ll have another sign-up drive for winter shares in January. Thank you for your support!

Blue Ridge Bucha Taproom: Wednesdays starting Nov 14

RVCC, Basic Necessities, Little Hat Creek Farm: Saturdays starting Nov 10

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It’s Fall, y’all!

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The first morning in August when there is a chill in the air, I think to myself how much I love the change of season from summer to fall. Unlike summer to spring, which often feels like an explosion of green, fall presents itself in bits and pieces; a cool breeze on your skin, golden evening light dancing on your cabbages, a dusting of leaves on your path. I love how Fall teases us with cool weather, only to step back and allow Indian Summer its time in the sun.

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Fall vegetables are challenging to grow, because we usually have to start them in the heat of the summer. Most brassicas (because, let’s face it, most of the best fall vegetables belong to this family) don’t germinate well in the heat. We start them indoors, and then cross our fingers that they don’t overheat as transplants, or get overtaken by flea beetles that adore making cabbage leaves into Swiss cheese.

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Next year, we will invest in insect netting that will help exclude these little insects without overwhelming the plants with heat. This year, we just got lucky. Our leafy fall Brassica plantings look great. Cabbages are heading up in the shortening days, and the kohlrabi! Yes, we have decided we love kohlrabi (starring in the above photo), and have planted more than ever. Today is the first harvest of this otherworldly vegetable. We can’t wait to bite into the first crispy fresh slice this evening. Kohlrabi is lovely in fall soups and stews, but in our house it rarely makes it past the cutting board. –HAC

Visit our new Pop-up Shop in Waynesboro!

we are lovely.jpgWe are so excited to collaborate with Blue Ridge Bucha to bring our ecological vegetables and wood-fired sourdoughs to Waynesboro. On Wednesdays starting today from 4:30 to 6 PM, we will be setting up a table inside the beautiful new Blue Ridge Bucha Taproom at 1809 E Main St, right along the 250 corridor. If you miss market, or just need some mid-week groceries, stop by, and remember to bring your growler!

Plus, we will be opening up our bread & vegetable CSA to a small number of new mid-season members in Waynesboro, and we’ll be trialing a new bread & pastry subscription service.

Come say hello!

A big thank you to our crew!

We couldn’t do it without you.

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Our 2018 crew from L to R: Rhys (farm), Addy (bakery), and Brian (farm/bakery).

Last week we went on vacation to the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival. We go every year, but this is the first year we went for five nights, not just two. I should say, we go every year except last year, when we were busy having our twins. It was worth missing the festival to now be able to celebrate Sam and Hazel’s birthday with friends, many of whom we only see once a year in the mountains of West Virginia.

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Camping with twins is maybe not everyone’s idea of a vacation, but we wouldn’t miss it. Somehow showing up at the same time of year to the same place with the same folks to do the same thing is an important reset button that helps us keep the rest of our lives in perspective. Some of the hardest decisions in my life I have made at, or just after, Clifftop.

So it is fitting that we celebrate one of the biggest changes in our life–the birth of our twins–there as well. We are so grateful to our wonderful crew for making it possible for us to get away during peak season. We had full confidence that the greenhouse would be watered, the tomatoes would be harvested, the CSA delivered, and the bread and pastries baked while we were gone. It is no small task to run a multi-faceted business like ours, and Addy, Rhys, and Brian did a great job.

Thank you!

Ben, Heather, Hazel & Sam.

A mid-June farm update

img_0170.jpgNow that the rainy days of May are gone, and the humid, dusty days of June are here, it is really feeling like Summer. Despite the May 14th hail damage, it doesn’t appear that our tomatoes will be late. We think perhaps our switch to Vermont Compost potting soil might even be pushing them a little early. We start our earliest tomatoes in mid-February, so we don’t ever get fruit until July, and we’re not expecting any until then. But some of the cherry tomatoes have some full-size green fruit on them, so we’d better keep our eye out for color while we’re stringing them up.

A hail-storm in May definitely did damage the vines of cucumbers and melons. The hail came in between the first and second planting, and you can see that the second planting (the right-hand bed, above) is already larger and giving us more cukes than the first. The melon vines look similar, though it is too early to compare fruit. Winter squash vines were fortunately not affected, as they were seeded later than the cucumbers but earlier than we have seeded them in the past. The winter squash vines are starting to take off, so cross your fingers for a good winter squash harvest this year; it would be a nice change after three years of disappointing harvests. We are hoping the earlier planting will make a difference!IMG_2462.JPG
Spring things like radishes, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach have all finished for us, and this week we mowed all those beds. This afternoon I went ahead and tilled all those beds so that Heather can seed a cover crop of buckwheat. The buckwheat will occupy the ground until we are ready to prepare beds for fall broccoli, kale, radishes, turnips, and a late planting of summer squash. Buckwheat is a short turnaround cover crop that does lovely things for the soil tilth, scavenges phosphorus from the soil, and attracts pollinators. It would be great if we could let it go to seed and then use it in our bread, but we have no good way of harvesting the seed, and our farm is so small that we need the beds for vegetables. –BGS & HAC

We are hiring a bakery/farm assistant!

We have created a new full-time farm/bakery position for our 2018 team! This position is an entry-level position split 25/75 between our ecological vegetable farm and wood-fired bakery.  You will be paid hourly and can start immediately. Apply now by sending a resume and cover letter to littlehatcreek@gmail.com.

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General description: Little Hat Creek Farm is a successful small diversified vegetable farm and wood-fired bakery. 2018 will be our fifth season.  Our weeks are structured around preparing to sell at three fast-paced farmer’s markets and delivering our CSA. We use ecological farming practices on one acre of annual vegetables and a small fruit orchard. Our bakery specializes in naturally-leavened breads made by hand with local flours and hand-laminated croissants. Our 5’x7′ wood-fired oven is housed in a climate-controlled bakery building on the farm. In addition to our retail sales outlets, we also wholesale bread and pastries to stores and restaurants. Our team includes two full-time and one part-time employee in addition to Ben, who manages the vegetable side of things, and Heather, who manages the bakery.

 

Skills desired: You are a good fit for our team if you love making and sharing good food and if our farm+bakery business model excites you. Our goals in creating this position are to become both a bigger buyer of regional grain, and a better employer.  We like working hard, but by bringing more people on board we aim to produce more while keeping everyones’ hours reasonable and using our teams’ skills appropriately. You will join our business at this exciting time as we transition from doing all the work ourselves to building a team that will allow us to have a greater impact on our community.

Duties: You will assist our existing bakery and farm team with discreet tasks that help them move production along including cleaning, dishwashing, pastry prep and makeup, scaling, dividing and shaping dough, and ingredient processing. In addition, you will assist our farm team with normal farm tasks, including hoeing, mulching, planting, harvesting, seeding, and weeding. You may be asked to perform other tasks, including making deliveries, helping to manage the oven fire, or feeding sourdough starters. 

This entry-level position is a great way to get your feed wet in an artisan bakery and on a small ecological vegetable farm. We prefer that you demonstrate some kitchen experience (but it doesn’t have to be baking), enjoy working with your hands, and are able to learn new skills easily.  You can anticipate tasks, see what needs to be done, and do it. You are organized and take pride in a clean workspace and a job well done. You are able to work quickly and efficiently while attending to detail, and you are able to problem-solve on the fly. You also don’t mind working outside in any weather and enjoy physical labor. You are punctual, dependable, able to safely lift fifty pounds, and able to meet deadlines. You work well with others, but are also content to work alone. You must have a clean driving record and be comfortable driving a large van on mountain roads.

Duration and Hours: You need to be available to start work immediately. We prefer that you commit to working through October 2018, preferably through December 2018, with the possibility of transitioning to a role of greater responsibility through the winter. Your working hours will be 35-40 hours per week, split 75/25 between the bakery and farm.  You need to be available all day Tuesday and Friday, either Saturday or Sunday, and at least one other day.  There is some flexibility, but we ask that you keep the schedule once we decide on it.

Compensation: We pay monthly, starting at $8-10/hr (DOE) with a $2 raise after three months. Benefits include unlimited free access to unsold farm produce, eggs, and baked goods. You will also receive training in marketable skills, including but not limited to. We pay monthly. You will have unlimited free access to unsold farm produce, including eggs, bread and pastries.  You will also receive training in marketable skills, including but not limited to:

  • making pastries and naturally-leavened bread on a commercial scale
  • growing vegetables ecologically for market
  • handling food safely
  • processing fruits and vegetables
  • successfully growing a small local food business

You will also have access to the logic behind everything we do. We make a point of sharing the details of our farming, baking, and business practices, so we encourage you to ask about starting and running a business like ours.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Ben + Heather

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