Farm to Table Apprenticeship at Jones Family Farms, Shelton, CT
Jones Family Farms is a respected destination farm located in Shelton, Connecticut, just 80 miles east of Manhattan and 15 miles west of New Haven, CT. Presently the farm maintains 400 acres of land, including 15 acres in strawberries, 15 acres in blueberries, 25 acres in pumpkins, squash, and gourds, and 200 acres in Christmas trees, all harvested by pick-your-own guests. The farm also manages 50 acres of hay land, 50 acres of woodlots, and over 5 acres of grapes which are in production for the farm’s winery. The newest addition to the farm is the Harvest Kitchen, which hosts hands-on cooking classes featuring seasonal, farm fresh produce. The Kitchen also maintains an educational vegetable garden that provides produce for our classes.
Three apprenticeship positions will be offered this coming season. The apprenticeship is a unique learning and working experience, focused on following food from the field to the plate under the mentorship and direction of a farm manager. The apprentice will participate on a team that includes farm managers, other apprentices, seasonal staff and interns. Our goal is to enhance career paths of market farmers, community dietitians, chefs embracing farm cuisine, food system change organizers, farm and environmental educators.
On the Farm:
Apprentices will gain an understanding of sustainable farming practices through hands-on field experiences such as weed control, harvesting, and post harvest handling. In addition to our production fields, apprentices will be responsible for the care of our kitchen gardens. They will also work closely with the harvest-your-own retail operations and vegetable stand to learn successful direct marketing techniques.
In the Kitchen:
Apprentices will gain an understanding of production kitchen management and record keeping as key members of the team that works to preserve and cook with our summer fruits and vegetables and to create seasonal baked goods for our Winery and Harvest-Your-Own guests. Apprentices will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and learn alongside our guests as assistants during our hands-on cooking programs.
In the Winery:
Apprentices will assist with our wine retail operations, which could include providing wine tastings, speaking with guests about wine production and flavors, and helping as needed in our shop.
As part of your education on the farm, apprentices will be expected to share their knowledge and experiences with our guests. In addition to speaking with Winery, Kitchen and Harvest-Your-Own guests, we also offer farm tour programs during our Pumpkin season for school groups.
Dates: We prefer our apprentices start in early May, although a flexible start date can be accommodated for the right candidate. Full-time commitment to the farm will be expected through December 22nd, with a one-week vacation.
Qualifications: We are looking for individuals with a sincere and strong interest in food and where it comes from. A college degree is preferred. Preference will be given to applicants with experience working in the fields of agriculture, outdoor education, ecology, food preparation, nutrition or dietetics; however, applicants who have some background in food systems or experiential education are encouraged to apply. Applicants should be self-motivated, reliable, responsible, flexible, and communicative. Apprentices must be in good physical health, able to lift 50 pounds, be willing to do a variety of different tasks, and able to work in all weather conditions including cold, rain and extreme heat. Being a team player and having a positive attitude and sense of humor is critical. We are committed to teaching and learning through doing and we want our apprentices to be equally on board.
Education: On-farm education will happen through structured lessons (i.e. Blueberry school, Winery Twilight meetings), and through project-oriented instruction (i.e. learning to harvest and handle specific produce). Our on-farm education will be complemented by the apprentice’s participation in the Western Connecticut Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program, which requires traveling to other farms in the region. Field trips to other farms and educational events will also be encouraged, based on the apprentice’s interest area. Apprentices will have access to the farm library with opportunities for discussion with farm managers, and will be encouraged to research and learn on their own.
Full participation in all aspects of the program is essential, and will include intensive, hands-on physical work as well as educational programming and discussions.
Compensation: The work schedule varies depending on the season, with apprentices working 40 to 50 hours per week, including many weekend and holiday hours. The season will also include a one week vacation, typically in early September. Compensation includes a room in an on-farm house with modern amenities, an hourly salary, and produce when available. Jones Family Farms provides health insurance through Worker’s Compensation for on farm incidents, but personal health insurance must be provided by the applicant. Apprentices must provide their own transportation.
To Apply: please visit our website at