Sylvester Manor seeks farm apprentices

Past farm apprentices lovin’ farm life.

Sylvester Manor is accepting applications for the 2019 farm season for both full-season farm apprentices and long-term opportunities for those from World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF).

Apprentices will gain experience in all aspects of vegetable production, including working with over 100 hens in a laying operation. Other livestock opportunities are possible based on interest and experience level.

For full-season farm apprentices, a commitment is required from April 1 through November 1. Preference will be given to those with one to two seasons of hands-on farm experience. Applicants must be self-motivated with strong communication skills, demonstrated leadership abilities and must be able to lift 50 pounds. The farm also requires apprentices to have a positive attitude and willingness to work and live well with others.

In the beginning of the season, the 40-hour workweek is Monday through Friday and changes to Tuesday through Saturday in June until the end of the season. Additional weekend duties will rotate among all full-season crew. Pay is hourly and farmers have access to vegetables and a weekly food stipend.

Most of the learning will be hands-on and/or self-directed. There will also be some organized educational opportunities both on-farm and in conjunction with other local/regional farms, including a grass-fed beef operation that is currently leasing a portion of our property (See the June 14 Reporter).

Housing is provided in the historic Manor House for up to seven apprentices and WWOOFers with options available for tenting. Bedrooms are shared by two to three people per room. Toilets, electric and wifi are available in the house while a modern kitchen, laundry and shower facility is a short walk away. Meals are eaten together and cooking and cleaning responsibilities are shared. A comfort level with a communal living environment is essential.

Active participation in community events as well as Manor-sponsored cultural events is strongly encouraged. Concerts, worksongs, contradance and fundraiser benefits are a few of the activities apprentices will be involved with.

Farm tasks include, but are not limited to:

-Animal chores.

-Greenhouse and field seeding/transplanting.

-Helping with the CSA distribution and farmstand sales.

-Setting up and running irrigation.

-Weeding and cultivation.

-Harvesting, washing and packing produce.

-Helping with various activities of the non-profit, including concerts and fundraising events.

-Leading WWOOFers and other farm volunteers in field tasks.

Apprentices will work in both outdoor and greenhouse crops.

WWOOFing at the Manor

Long-term volunteers are asked for a one- to two-month commitment where they will work alongside the field crew for roughly four eight-hour days per week.

Daily activities include seeding, bed preparation, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, washing, packing, animal chores, construction projects, farmstand work, farm-based education and more.

The work is hard, but also highly educational and rewarding. Volunteers need not have farm experience, but must be enthusiastic about growing food.

The manor is able to accommodate live-in volunteers from April through the end of October. Food, housing and kitchen and bath amenities are included in WWOOF experience, while tenting is also an option.

Evening and weekend activities include fishing, swimming at nearby sandy beaches, hiking, music-making and attending various organization-sponsored events.

During the week, farm guests share all meals and rotate cooking responsibilities. Vegetarian and vegan diets are accommodated. Children and pets are not allowed.

Public transportation is available from Manhattan, Boston and New London, Connecticut, and to Greenport, New York, which is just a short ferry ride away from Shelter Island.

All interested applicants should send resume and cover letter to [email protected] or apply at

Apprentice farmers dine together regularly during their stay at the Manor.