Kiss the Cow Farm
Farm background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interests
Our farm journey is still a surprise to us. It all started years ago with 6 chickens. We’ve now 450 layer hens, several hundred meat birds, and a dozen or so cows. So basically, it’s out of control! Thank God we love this life, the land, our animals and friends. Why do we do this? Easy peasy: we want to grow good food for our friends and neighbors, teach something meaningful to others, and leave things in better shape than when we found them.
Kiss the Cow Farm is an organic, grass-based dairy selling farmstead ice cream and raw milk from our small herd of Jersey and Normande cows. We also raise and sell pastured eggs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. We sell our products through a farm store, seasonal CSA, farmers' markets, restaurants and co-ops.
Farm physical setting and community
We share a 500 acre, historic farm with other ag enterprises (veggies, beef cows, hard cider). Crews from all the farms share a weekly lunch together. Lots of farming activity and other younger and older, like-minded people to interact with. Near Silver Lake State Park and lots of hiking trails. And we co-host a weekly farmers' market with local vendors, awesome bands, tacos, hard cider, kombucha & ice cream for a few hundred people. It's a very cool time. This is a typical, rural Vermont experience. Life's great here. Come experience it yourself!
Are all crops and animals raised organically? If not, to what degree are organic methods used on the farm?
Our products are certified organic, although we also raise non-gmo poultry (primarily for wholesale accounts).
Apprentice(s) and Farm Worker(s)
Number of apprentices needed:
Number of workers needed:
LEARN. HUG COWS. EAT ICE CREAM! Ideally, from April until November, but there's flexibility. Winter positions sometimes available. Apprentices will learn all about running a small dairy and poultry farm as well as working in the creamery –primarily making ice cream! You will also be involved with our pastured poultry operation, fencing, construction and other projects. This is a complete immersion experience. If you want to learn about and get (more) experience farming with animals then your wish will come true!
Days are physically demanding with hard work and long hours filled with chores, projects, customers and laughter! We take plenty of breaks, chatting, reading, and catching some vitamin D sunrays. Our standards are high and necessarily so as we are entrusting you to prepare dairy and poultry products for safe human consumption. Please consider this commitment before applying. However, we find the work enjoyable, lots of interesting folks to chat with, tons of things to laugh and giggle about, and very entertaining and often cute animals to distract us. This is really your experience, not ours. While working closely with us some of the time, you will also have independent responsibilities. So let us know what you want to learn, what you want to be able to competently do when you move on. We'll try to incorporate your goals into the experience you have with us.
Work Week and Wages
Five days each week, totaling around 50-55 hours, with two days off!
Wage to be determined:
Wage based on experience:
Trial Period Information:
We do not expect you to know everything or be perfect. We do expect you to be willing to learn and to work honestly and conscientiously.
Apprentice Benefits and Learning
Apprentice off-farm learning
- Attend other organizations’ workshops
- Provide transportation
- Support and create local networking opportunities for apprentice
- Time off to attend NOFA Vermont workshops
Room & Board Benefits:
Room and Board
As for room & board, well, basically you become a member of the farmily! There are bedrooms upstairs in the farm house. Or you could choose to live in your tent anywhere on the surrounding several hundred acres of woodland and eat what you can forage, but, hey, it's your choice! We've also retrofitted the sugar house into a 1-2 person residence. Laundry, shower, and kitchen (with basic ingredients plus veggies & dairy plus grocery allowance) are available at the main house. Meals can be with us or on your own. While not vegetarians ourselves, we love veggies and there are plenty in the summer and fall! We've also built an outside 3-season kitchen, dining area and shower so the crew can be on their own and hang out together if you want.
Skills to be learned by apprentices
This is an immersion experience. You will experience first-hand what it takes to run a diverse, organic farm. Apprenticeships are not easy as the hours are long and the work is physical. However, there is no better way to learn the craft of small-scale agriculture than to roll up your sleeves and do it. The primary goal of our apprenticeship program is to teach you what you need to know and give you plenty of practice and the confidence to pursue your own farm dream. Our internships focus on three areas, dairy herd management, pastured poultry management and ice cream making. Depending on your interest, you may focus on one area, but will still be involved in all aspects of managing a small, grass-based farm, including: milking, feeding, moving animals to new pastures, the installation and maintenance of fence and water systems, calf care, herd health and nutrition, safety, dairy protocols and processes. You'll be raising poultry from day-old chicks, feeding, watering, moving field pens, tracking batches, processing, packaging, and delivering to customers. You will not only learn to make ice cream, but help us create the processes for this new adventure. You will participate at farmers markets and enterprise brainstorming, assist with marketing, cleaning, repairs, maintenance, and construction projects.
Apprentice instruction and training
Both Lisa and Randy are educators with master’s degrees in education. Most learning is experiential and one-on-one, plus what topics and questions come out of daily conversations. We typically teach by example. Lots of opportunity to work together and on your own. We are here to support you, but we don't hover.