Orchard Manager Riiska Brook Orchard
- Date Posted November 17, 2023
- Location Sandisfield, MA
- Category Agriculture
- Job type Full-Time
Riiska Brook Orchard, established more than 30 years ago, is a picturesque orchard with 1,600 trees spanning over approximately 30 acres. We specialize in free-standing, semi-standard apple trees, with ten distinct cultivars. In addition to our apple varieties, the orchard boasts an assortment of 650 blueberry bushes, a small raspberry planting, and a small number of pear trees. Our primary sales channel is pick-your-own, attracting visitors from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and beyond.Job description
Riiska Brook Orchard is seeking a dedicated Orchard Manager with a strong biological understanding of orchard management practices and a creative problem-solving mindset. The ideal candidate will be well-versed in integrated pest management (IPM) and possess excellent communication skills, working effectively in collaborative settings. The Orchard Manager will play a pivotal role in ensuring the successful execution of crop protection and maintenance activities within our diverse orchard. We offer competitive pay, commensurate with experience.
As the Orchard Manager, you will be responsible for a wide range of seasonal duties, which may include but are not limited to:
- Pruning apple trees to promote healthy growth and fruit production.
- Removal and disposal of pruning debris to maintain orchard cleanliness.
- Compiling a pesticide list for the upcoming season and managing pesticide procurement.
- Preparing the orchard for the spring season.
- Conducting and coordinating equipment maintenance to ensure machinery is in good working condition.
- Pruning blueberry bushes as needed.
- Dependent on snow cover and orchard floor access, complete all pruning tasks by the end of March to prevent interference with bud break.
- Addressing any sanitation tasks not accomplished in the fall.
- Applying protective pesticidal and fungicidal sprays as necessary, based on weather and orchard conditions.
- Implementing advanced integrated pest management practices to maintain crop protection.
- Conducting pesticide and fungicide applications as required, with an emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches.
- Undertaking general orchard maintenance tasks, including mowing, hand thinning, and summer pruning as needed.
- Assist during blueberry sales season.
- Responsible for weekly fall cider production.
- Apple picking for the store.
- Fall sanitation activities to prepare the orchard for the winter season.
- Strong biological understanding of orchard management and decision-making.
- Proficiency in integrated pest management (IPM) principles.
- Effective communication and teamwork skills.
- Proven experience in agricultural equipment operation and maintenance is preferred but not required.
- Demonstrated ability to solve problems creatively and make data-driven decisions.
- Restricted Use Pesticide Applicator License: Must possess (or acquire prior to start) and maintain an active license for application of all manner of pesticides relevant to orchard work to include restricted use pesticides. Special paraquat license not required.
- This is a year-round agricultural position. The scope of work will vary based on seasonal needs.
- The Orchard Manager will be required to work outdoors in various weather conditions.
- Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds. Long stretches of standing and sitting (tractor work) are a part of this position.
- A passion for sustainable agriculture and environmentally conscious farming practices is highly desirable.
- For the right candidate, we are open to hiring additional help to assist in managing the orchard (grass cutting, etc) if needed.
- We would like to continue to expand the varieties of apples and other fruits we grow and will look to the orchard manager for guidance on this. The orchard property is approximately 150 acres so there is room to expand the operations, but it is currently mostly wooded.
- Additional information on the orchard is available here: website, Facebook page, recent article in Edible Berkshires.
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