← Back to news feed

sylvester manor field crew

Posted: January 16 2012

This is a wonderful place, greenhorns. 


Sylvester Manor Farm, a rejuvenated, growing farm on Shelter Island, NY in Suffolk (the state’s agricultural leader) county’s resplendent East End, is graced with a gentle zone 7a climate; 243 acres of wood, fields, saltwater inlet, and a historic northern plantation estate; and an organizational mission to continue to explore the intersection of food and culture through farm/arts programs and events such as Plant & Sing festival.
We feed the people of this small inter-dependent island community through a 135-family CSA planned for 2012 (has increased by 50% annually), a daily farmstand, weekly farmers’ market, restaurant sales, value-added operations, and charitable donations of fresh produce and eggs.
We seek field crew to join in almost all aspects of sustainable crop production from seed to harvest, plus opportunities to work with other operations in our diverse farm organization: the distribution systems listed above, as well as herbs and perennials, flowers,education, arts events, grounds and forest, preserved products, and music performances. We’ve planned to grow our livestock operation in 2012. Despite the overall variety of tasks, the bulk of the work is group weeding, mulching, and harvesting. We seek crew that work hard and fast at these tasks while contributing to the camaraderie. Our farm has evolved a unique, vibrant music culture (browse our website to get a taste), and the singing often spills into the field work and after-hours.
The work is structured such that new crew members follow the lead of experienced ones until they’re able to choose some of their daily and weekly responsibilities for themselves, based on interest and need. All 2011 crew ended up managing significant pieces of the farm operation, and the value of this experience was expressed in their season evaluations. As a young, expanding farm whose customer base is supportive of diversification, there are excellent opportunities for crew members that demonstrate passion and commitment, to design, plan, and lead us into a project of mutual benefit.
We are in the research stage of developing a farmer incubator program which would support qualified employees in a graduated transition over several years from farm crew to farm business owner.
Compensation: $7.25/ hr for general field crew, additional tiers up to $9/hr for the perfect candidate with 2 years experience in a specific skill set the farm needs, eg livestock specialty. Crew housing buy-in available, generally we all live and eat together, and buy into a delicious, efficient, and joyful communal cooking/dining plan using mostly farm produce and eggs (currently $15/wk each, covers all food needs). We ask for flexibility from our crew to work when the need arises, in return we offer flexibility to grant (unpaid) time off when needed, up to one week per season.
Period: we have positions in a variety of time frames between March and December. We will consider candidates that are only available between college semesters.
Work Week: 40 hrs/wk, option to work and earn more based on seasonal needs of farm. Typically Monday afternoon through Saturday Morning, with a rotation to cover remaining days. Sunrise (5 AM in July) til lunch, balance of hours after lunch or in evening, based on season.
An Excellent Applicant:

  • already knows she/he enjoys farm work & is hungry for skills, ideas, & understanding.(not sure? Consider applying as a Wwoofer at [email protected])
  • has a positive, supportive attitude and gifts that add to our farm community
  • moves quickly when working, with an eye towards more efficient techniques and systems
  • when necessary can work long, hard hours in challenging weather, and still contribute to morale
  • can lift and move crates and sacks up to 50 lbs.
  • promptly and clearly communicates needs, expectations, and problems
  • can lead volunteers and crew in tasks they have mastered
  • enjoys taking on a project in their comfort zone and leading it with minimal direction, communicating progress with farm manager

We do not generally offer first-season crew participation in tasks such as season-to-season and big-picture planning, or tractor operation. The systems of cultivation are not entrenched, but still evolving, towards an increasingly permacultural practice. We do offer a rich experiential sustainable farming experience, in a beautiful location, with a dynamic, musical farm community. There are excellent educational and personal growth opportunities, especially for those that are ready to take a supported step into managing specific pieces within a growing, diversifying farm operation.
To apply, please write a cover letter which includes (1) the thread of your life that has brought you to farming; (2) any history that indicates you are prepared for a physically demanding season that will involve lengthy tedious tasks in challenging conditions; (3) why you want to farm here; (4) what you hope to get out of the season, and how you plan to use the experience in your future. Send with resume and contact information for three professional references to:[email protected].

We’ll review applications received prior to a deadline of January 24, and contact you immediately after the deadline to say whether or not an interview is desired. If positions aren’t filled we’ll keep the posting up and extend the deadline to February 7, and every two weeks thereafter until positions are filled, at which point we’ll remove the job posting.


Creek Iversen, Farm Manager
Sylvester Manor Educational Farm
Phone (631) 749-0626


shelter island, NY