Friday, February 27, 2009

Greenhouse Action!

The nursery greenhouse is up and running - I mean growing! It seems earlier than last year, but Andrea says it's about the same time.

One big change is our fancy new vacuum seeder. In the past, the trays have been seeded by hand, which is quite time consuming, especially with little tiny seeds! This machine has a row of needles (that can be changed according to seed size) that suck up one single seed and shoot it down the tube, aligned over a socket in the seed tray, neatly planting as many or as few seeds as we need in each tray. (Hector is our expert operator)

After the seeds are planted, they are covered with a bit more soil and vermiculite. We tuck them in and cover them each night and say "Good morning little onions" every new day. Once we have the big greenhouse cleaned and sterilized and the seedlings are big enough, they'll move across the road to make room in the nursery for new young food seedlings!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February at the Farm

Gerardo, Simone, Hector & Michael had a better day for willow harvest yesterday. It was way warmer than last week, when they had to go out in -5 degree weather! That day, they couldn't even turn off the tractor in the field for fear that they wouldn't get it started again. They are working on the curly willow now & waiting for the pussy willow to bloom. They cut it in the field and put it on a wagon pulled behind the tractor. Then it goes into the greenhouse where it will be trimmed and bunched and then moved to the allium cooler until it's time to take to market.

There isn't much more time to use the greenhouses for cleaning or storing items, as we expect to have them set up & ready to grow soon!

Ezequiel (driving the skid steer), Adam and Michael did some repair to the nursery greenhouse and set up the tables inside. The black hose will carry warm water to keep the seed tray soil warm, for good seed germination. Adam (with the beard) is our resident animal expert & helped white mama goat give birth the other day. Adam says that the kids imprinted on him right away so they'll probably be friendly with people.

The little kids remind me of puppies at this point, wagging their tails and tripping all over their gangly selves.

Yes, Andrea is yelling at that rooster. He makes her so mad when he hassles the hens, brutally pecking the feathers right off their backs! We have too many roosters so he better shape up or he will be shipped out. Andrea keeps warning him, but he's rather incorrigible.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baby Goats

White mama goat had two kids yesterday! Adam delivered them, cleaned them up & started them suckling and they made it through the night. Thankfully it wasn't as cold as it has been (it's a balmy 38 degrees right now), so they should be out of the woods now, as they say. We recently lost two little babies - both were born on super cold nights and didn't make it. It's our own dang fault for leaving the billy in with the nannies for far too long, getting them pregnant just in time for a midwinter birth.

The babies aren't scared of people yet, so Andrea & I will go out later this afternoon to give some love and take more pictures.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Career Opportunities

Hiring for 2009 - See descriptions below!

Field & Harvest Coordinator
Field/Shop Crew Member
Farm Chef
Delivery Driver
Packing Shed Coordinator
Madison Farmer's Market Stand worker

We are always in search of hard-working individuals with an interest in being part of our team. We have several year-round positions in addition to employing 15-20 seasonal employees during our peak season from April-November. While we actively recruit after January 1 of each year, we invite you to contact us any time of the year. Send us an email outlining your interest and experience as well as attaching your resume or a completed application from our website and we will let you know our current needs.
Please send inquiries to:
Harmony Valley Farm
S 3442 Wire Hollow Rd.
Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: 608-483-2143

In addition to an hourly wage, all employees are eligible to participate in our retirement benefits and health insurance programs. We also offer lunch for all employees prepared by our farm chef during the peak season, April-November. You will have access to produce from the farm when available. Opportunity for advancement always exists for individuals demonstrating a strong work ethic and superior performance.

Hours of Operation
During our peak season, April-November, work hours are 7:30/8:00 am-6:00 pm with a 1-hour lunch break. In the off-season, work hours are 8:00 am- 5:00 pm. Keep in mind this is a farm and there may be times when these hours will vary based on weather conditions, farm events, or other variable factors.


Field & Harvest Coordinator—Hiring for 2009
We are looking for an organized, people-oriented individual who has a minimum of 2 years farming experience, with an emphasis on growing fresh market produce. In this position, you will work with the management team to plan field and harvest tasks and expedite job completion while working with a field/harvest crew of 12-20 people. You will manage quality control of product being harvested, supplies, and time usage. Basic tractor operation skills are required. Additional opportunities, based on experience, may include greenhouse management, planting, irrigation and other field work. Spanish language skills a plus. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
§ Daily & Weekly harvest scheduling
§ Manual & Mechanical harvest
§ Quality Control
§ Ensure appropriate post-harvest handling of product
§ Transport of harvest from field to packing shed
§ Record Keeping
§ Other production related tasks may include transplanting, weeding, mulching, pruning, mowing, and other field maintenance.
This is a year-round position. During the off-season, tasks may include helping as needed in the packing shed, doing inventory of seeds, seed ordering and receiving, germ testing and end of season record keeping and production reporting. Basic computer skills are a must, advanced computer skills a plus.
Position available March 23, 2009.

Field/Shop Crew Member—Hiring for 2009
We are looking for an individual with 2 or more years of experience working on a farm to be part of our field/shop crew. Must be willing to learn organic farming methods and be a flexible, cooperative team member. Experience with operating tractors and implements required. Skills with welding, maintenance and repair of machinery and facilities, and computer skills are preferred. In this position you may work independently or as part of a team to perform the following responsibilities:
§ Pasture management
§ Fencing
§ Caretaking of animals (cattle, pigs, chickens, and goats)
§ Irrigation management
§ Equipment & facility repair and maintenance
§ Soil preparation
§ Transplanting & seeding
§ Mechanical cultivation
§ Mechanical harvest
§ Seeding cover crops
This is a year-round position with tasks varying with the seasons. We are looking to recruit individuals with an interest in working here for a minimum of two years in order to build a strong team with continuity from one season to the next.
Position available March 16, 2009

Farm Chef—Hiring for 2009
Are you looking for a creative culinary challenge and a chance to connect directly with your source of organic ingredients? We are looking for a creative individual with cooking experience and an affinity for organic ingredients who is interested in writing and preparing their own weekly menus based on the seasonal produce available from our fields and meat from our pastures. You will cook lunch Monday-Friday for a crew of 30-35 and dinner for farm residents and guests, usually 2-5 people. The sky is the limit as long as the meals are nourishing enough to fuel the appetites of our hard working crew and emphasize ingredients from our farm, supplemented with staple organic ingredients from other local producers and our local food co-op.
You will also have the opportunity to serve as a resource for our CSA members by providing weekly recipes and information for our newsletters on vegetables they receive in their boxes, participating in and planning on-farm events, and attending the weekly farmer’s market in Madison. The experience is yours to create!

You must have previous experience and references for previous work in the foodservice industry. Also must have basic computer and writing skills. The Chef’s contract is for our peak growing season, April 6, 2009-November 13, 2009.

Delivery Driver—Available for 2009 Season
We are looking for an experienced truck driver with a valid CDL and a clean driving record. You will drive a 27' straight truck on a delivery route to Minneapolis/ St. Paul or Madison. If driving to the Twin Cities, you will leave the farm Wednesday evening, stay overnight in the Twin Cities, and complete deliveries Thursday morning before returning to the farm in the afternoon/early evening. If driving the Madison route, you will leave the farm very early on Saturday morning, complete deliveries and return to the farm in the afternoon. We are looking for more than just a truck driver; you will be representing Harmony Valley Farm to our customers. Responsibilities include:
Delivery of wholesale produce orders to warehouses
Delivery of retail orders to stores and restaurants
Delivery of Community Supported Agriculture boxes to home sites
Meticulous set-up of CSA sites which involves neatly stacking the correct number of boxes, and set-up of a newsletter and brochure table.
Keeping careful logbook entries
Attention to detail and accurate box delivery a must!
Position Available May 6, 2009

Packing Shed Coordinator—Hiring for 2009
We are looking for an individual with excellent communication and organizational skills to work in our packing shed. In this position, you will work with our current packing shed coordinators and management to plan and coordinate the flow of production to complete washing and packing of product for distribution to our CSA, wholesale accounts and farmer’s market. Your primary responsibilities include the following:
Wholesale/Retail Sales: Receive orders, communicate with Sales Manager, Bookkeeper & WS coordinator in the packing shed to ensure orders are filled and shipped correctly. You will also schedule and plan trucking, coordinate consolidated shipping /cross-docking.
Market: Ensure product being harvested for Farmer’s Market is received from the field, washed, sorted and stored appropriately for market quality standards. Pack product for market and load the truck including all needed supplies. Complete inventory of product upon return from market.
General responsibilities include overseeing wash/pack operations to ensure proper packing, maintain quality standards. Prepare packaging needs (labels, boxes, containers, etc). Wash and pack produce. Uphold sanitation practices, help maintain general orderliness of supplies, inventory and work areas.
Required Skills Include:
Computer Proficiency (Microsoft Word, Excel)
Able to work as a part of a team with effective communication
Experience operating fork lift and pallet Jack
Spanish language skills a definite bonus

Position available April 6, 2009

Bookkeeper—Position Available Immediately
We are seeking an organized, detail-oriented professional to do the bookkeeping and manage the financial information for our business. The primary responsibilities for this position include, among other things:
Keeping the financial records
Managing Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
Payroll and related HR financial accounting and reporting
Processing CSA orders
Maintaining a product cost system
Providing financial reports to the management team
Participating in financial analysis of the business
Invoicing for Wholesale Sales
Required personal skills:
Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a small team setting
Self-starter able to take initiative and follow tasks through to completion
Effective verbal and written communication skills
Required technical skills:
§ Previous work experience in business or accounting with bookkeeping skills
§ Proficiency and experience in using Quickbooks, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access and Outlook
§ Accuracy with numbers
§ Attention to detail

Farmer’s Market…It’s Just around the corner and we need you!
We’re in search of friendly faces to work at our stand at the Dane County Farmer’s Market from April-December. We attend all the outdoor markets from mid-April through November and four indoor winter markets. In this position, you will help set up and take down the stand, restock vegetables, assist customers with sales as well as answer questions about the produce, cooking, the farm and our crops. As a representative of the farm, we will train you in basic facts about Harmony Valley and the vegetables we grow and sell. We are looking for individuals who are physically fit, friendly and able to communicate well with the public. Sales or customer service experience, good math skills, an interest in organic vegetables, and a smiling face are required. An interest in cooking is very helpful as well. You would be expected to work 2-3 Saturdays a month. Hours are usually 5:30 am-1:30/2:00 pm. Compensation includes $85 for the day and $15 in veggies from the stand. If you would like more information, contact or 608-483-2143 ext 4