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farm managers wanted - Susquehanna, PA

Posted: February 26 2010

Unique opportunity for organic farm couple to expand and potentially take over our certified organic produce business in NE Pennsylvania.
We are seeking energetic, highly motivated self-starters with extensive know-how and experience in all aspects of organic growing and marketing, composting, machinery operation and basic maintenance to manage our certified organic produce farm.

Starting as salaried managers (including farmhouse, utilities, and other benefits), the couple would work to increase productivity and sales. The potential to make the business their own would follow a transition period for developing mutually beneficial goals and a compatible relationship.
Creative ideas and the practical ability to implement them, warm people skills, and a deep love of land and animals are desired. Since we are at the farm only part-time, we need mature, responsible people to run it as if it were, and might become, their own. The job also entails caring for our two western horses, one miniature, two Nubian goats, chickens, ducks, and four affectionate barn cats as well as maintaining grounds, buildings, and equipment.
Currently, we produce and sell a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs from our pastured ducks and heritage chickens to on-farm customers, farmers market, restaurants, and health food stores.  We would love to start a CSA if our new managers are experienced in organizing and running one. Other possibilities for expanding our small business include fruit trees, berries and other small fruits, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, forest garden, and high tunnels for year-round production. Our six established beehives are productive, and we would like to resume production of maple syrup.  We are interested in discussing any ideas people have for enhancing the beauty, quality of life, and productivity of the farm with the sole exception of raising animals for food.
The farm, located near Susquehanna, PA (½ hour southeast of Binghamton, NY, and 1 hour northeast of Scranton, PA) is nestled in a lovely valley, surrounded by rolling hills and adjoining 8000 acres of PA state gameland on two sides. Two cold water streams meander through it, and there is a small stream-fed pond for boating and swimming and some wetland areas. Birds, small mammals, and other wildlife abound.  Our 200 acres are half forest, half pasture. with a  2-1/2 acre garden area that is expandable but best suited to intensive planting. Farm buildings include: a large barn, machinery shed, stable, chicken house, maple syrup house with modern evaporator, root cellar, roadside stand, packing shed, and a 26' x 28' greenhouse for starting transplants and raised bed growing.  We have a complete line of farm and garden equipment and tools. There are two separate residences: the managers’ modern farmhouse and our cabin, which are 1/4 mile apart.
It has been a labor of love, developing the original farm, which we purchased 42 years ago, from an abandoned overgrown former dairy farm into the beautiful productive sanctuary that it is today. In addition, there are another 100 acres 2-1/2 miles up the road, just over the NY state line, that are half hayfields and half wild blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Both properties are protected in perpetuity by conservation easements that allow limited building for agricultural and/or environmental purposes.  We are currently holding discussions with a land trust regarding its potential future ownership of the properties as well as with faculty from two leading universities about making part of the land available for environmental and agricultural research. The farm also provides a beautiful setting for farming and environmental workshops for children and adults, nature writing and art workshops, and programs in the healing arts, such as yoga, t'ai chi, and meditation. Our goal is to create an entity that combines organic farming, environmental and agricultural research, and outreach programs.
Although a land trust may own the land, we hope to transfer the farm business to younger farmers, perhaps through a long term lease of farmable land and buildings. We, our children, and our grandchildren  would continue to enjoy the property while helping to facilitate the new entity. If you share our enthusiasm about this project, please send a resume and letter about your interests and goals to Shary and Gary Skoloff: [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you.