Massachusetts – Cricket Creek hiring Head Cheese Maker

Williamstown, Massachusetts

Applications accepting on a rolling basis.  Start date: ASAP

We are looking for a head cheese maker at Cricket Creek Farm to work with the creamery manager and apprentices to make our several award winning cheeses.  

Cricket Creek Farm is a small grass-based dairy in Western Massachusetts. We make several award-winning cheeses from the milk of our herd of Brown Swiss and Jersey cows (currently milking about 25 cows). In addition to the cheese, we sell raw milk from our farm store. We also raise pigs and beef, and have an on-farm bakery. We make all our own hay for our cows that we feed out during the winter.

The head cheese maker must have experience making a variety of hard and soft cheeses, and experience in sanitation and maintenance of a creamery.  Work includes involvement in all aspects of running our farmstead creamery.

Job Description

  1. Overseeing the production of all the cheeses in our current repertoire (8 cheeses).
  2. Taking the lead on enforcing the maintenance and sanitation protocols.  This includes all equipment maintenance in the creamery.
  3. Teaching apprentices all facets of cheese making, both informally (during the work day) and also during “cheese school” on occasional afternoons.
  4. Troubleshoot recipes/inconsistencies with the products as needed and help apprentices refine their practices and work out problems with the cheeses as appropriate.
  5. Maintaining all required records, inventories, recipes, and data collected.
  6. Enforcing schedules, bringing an upbeat and positive attitude, being a leader on the farm.  We expect the person in this position to always be on time, always stick to a tight schedule, keep other people on track, and bring positive energy and enthusiasm to work every day.

We are located in Williamstown, MA – a small college town in the northern Berkshires. Williamstown has a great independent movie theater, the Clark Art museum, a wonderful theater festival in the summertime and several great restaurants. We are surrounded by preserved land with many hiking trails. Nearby is Mass MOCA, Tanglewood, and many lovely small towns. Williamstown is 3 hours from Boston and 3 1/2 hours from NYC.

Compensation: We provide a modest salary, some food, and possibly housing (to be determined).

Communication: Communication is of paramount importance here. We strive to create a work environment that is comfortable, open, clear, and honest for everyone. Every week we have a staff meeting, during which everyone sits down together to review the week and any upcoming news. During this meeting everyone shares personal highlights and difficulties of the previous week. It is also an opportunity to openly discuss any farm happenings.

Length of commitment: We are looking for at least a 2-year commitment, but ideally seeking a candidate that is interested in a long-term position.

Application process and timeline: We are hiring on a rolling basis. We highly encourage a visit from any serious applicant. We do have space available to house an applicant overnight, and a 2 to 3-day visit is ideal. Working and spending some time together will help let us determine whether you will be a good fit for the farm, and will help give you a better sense of us.

The first step is to answer the questions below and send us the responses along with a current resume, cover letter, and 3 references.  Reference letters are not required, but are helpful.  Based on the responses, we will contact you to set up a phone interview and potentially a visit.  Please send all application materials to info@cricketcreekfarm.com or call (413) 458-5888 if you have questions.

A preliminary list of interview questions is below.

The more information you provide, the better. This will help us determine if you would be a good fit for the farm.

  1.  How did you hear about working at Cricket Creek?
  2.  Please describe your cheese making experience in detail.
  3.  Tell us what you love best about making cheese.
  4.  What are your favorite cheeses to make, and why?
  5.  Please describe BOTH a few of your strengths AND room for improvement, with regards to making cheese.
  6.  What interests you most about working here specifically?
  7.  Please describe any previous management experience in detail.
  8.  Please describe any teaching or mentoring experience in detail.
  9.  How do you feel about teaching apprentices to make cheese?
  10.  What is your availability? How long can you commit to?  When can you start (give an exact date please)?
  11.  What is your experience working/living in an intimate setting like a small farm with a small staff?
  12.  How would you describe your communication skills? Are you open, honest, and communicative?
  13.  How would you describe your interest/ability to be a public face of the farm (attending farmers markets on occasion, assisting customers in our farm store)?
  14.  Have you ever lived in this area? Do you think Northern Berkshire County would be a good fit for you?
  15.  Would you be available for a 2-3 day work visit between now and your start date?  If so, please list a few available upcoming date ranges.
  16.   Please list anything else you think might be helpful in describing yourself such as personal interests, etc.
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