2020 Milking/Cheesemaking Apprentice Sage Farm Goat Dairy
- Date Posted October 14, 2019
- Location Stowe, VT
- Category Agriculture
- Job type Full-Time
We put a great deal of time and energy into maintaining a healthy, productive goat herd. We practice rotational grazing, moving our goats to new paddocks every day. We have built a robust genetics and breeding program, raising all of our own replacement does and managing a selective kid sales business for other goat owners looking to improve their dairy herds.
All of our cheeses are made and aged in our on-farm creamery. We make many different cheeses throughout the year, reflecting the seasonality of our milk and other farm-produced ingredients. All of our products are made on a very small scale, allowing us to do all of our cheese work by hand, without the use of a lot of heavy machinery and processing equipment.
We began our business in 2008 with just 6 milking does, and while our herd has grown to 20-30 in the past 11 years, we have intentionally chosen to keep our farm very small. We enjoy the nature of the labor, both with the goats and the cheese, and staying small allows us to keep our hands active in all of the processes of running a dairy farm, from milking and goat care, to cheesemaking and affinage, to selling our products at market and distributing them to the wider audience of the New England artisan cheese market. Internship description
Our apprenticeship runs about 8 months, starting in early April and running through December. The apprentice will work about 30-35 hours most weeks. The apprentice will work 5 days per week with two consecutive days off. Split shifts (meaning two distinct work sessions per day broken up by a number of hours off) can be expected most days. The apprentice can expect extra hours when Molly or Katie is away from the farm (probably 4-5 weeks total, spread out over the course of the apprenticeship). Extra hours weeks will likely be closer to 40 hours per week.
Weekly apprentice duties are:
Milking the goats: 5 days a week, with some morning and some evening shifts (approx. 15-20 hours, depending on the season)
Miscellaneous farm chores: 1 day every other week (4-5 hours)
Cheesemaking and Affinage: 2-3 days a week, 2-6 hours/day, comprised of a variety of tasks and hours, depending on what is happening in the cheeseroom and aging cave (approx.. 10-15 hours)
Farmers markets: The apprentice will learn how to set up, break down, and vend at our Sunday Stowe market. The apprentice will work at least one market per month, sometimes more. (approx. 8 hours per market)
What we have to offer:
Housing- Tiny house located on the farm complete with electricity, heat, water, kitchen, composting toilet and shower. Partners are welcome to live at the tiny house, but we cannot accommodate pets of any kind.
Stipend- $200/week, to be paid biweekly
Food- Weekly milk and cheese
Garden Plot- If the apprentice has interest, we have space on the farm for a small garden plot where the apprentice may grow vegetables and/or flowers for his/her personal use.
What you can expect to learn:
How to take care of a small herd of goats (30), with special attention to milking
How to care for, feed, and raise baby/kid goats
How to use fixed and moveable electric fencing to maintain a rotational grazing system
How to make and care for a variety of fresh and aged goat’s milk cheeses
Packaging, distribution, and marketing of cheeses
Qualities we expect from the you:
We are looking for a hard-working, positive, flexible, honest, friendly, detail-oriented individual to join us. You must be comfortable interacting with the public, able to lift 50+ pounds, physically fit, at ease around animals, self-motivated and self-directed. While no previous farming experience is required, you must be a quick and willing learner. As you become familiar with the work, you will be expected to work alone at times and alongside one of us at other times. Once you have mastered milking the goats (usually a 1-2 week training period, depending on previous experience), that task will always be a one person job. As you learn how to make and care for specific cheeses, you will often be responsible for making cheese or doing cheese chores alone. While there are some tasks that we will accomplish as a team or as partners, the majority of your work will be done solo. You must be willing to get dirty for farm chores, and you must be equally willing to get clean for cheese work. In order to maintain the highest quality standards for our products, you must be meticulous, thorough, and very detail-oriented in both the milking parlor and the cheese room.
The Stowe area offers superb recreation opportunities: mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, kayaking, and fantastic swimming holes are all nearby. Stowe and the surrounding area has a vibrant food scene. There are lots of great bars and restaurants and many other small farms, breweries, and food producers. The nature of the apprenticeship will allow for ample time to recreate, exercise, relax, and explore. For example, if you have a cheese shift in the morning and a milking shift in the evening, you will have a few hours in the middle of the day to yourself.
Details: Weekly stipend of $200, plus free housing in a tiny house on the farm (heated, with electric and water), plus free milk and cheese, plus a free garden plot Application instructions