Love Apple Farms
Apprentice Farmer Training Program
"A farm is a manipulative creature. There is no such thing as finished. Work comes in a stream and has no end. There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later. The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can't, is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die. It's blackmail, really.” ― Kristin Kimball
"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens.
They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous." - Thomas Jefferson
The Farm Apprenticeship Training Program at Love Apple Farms integrates the rigors of traditional farming practices with modern organic and biodynamic values and sustainable, high-end farm to table standards. With unparalleled attention to detail and devotion to quality, owner Cynthia Sandberg has elevated Love Apple Farms from a small garden to a widely-renowned farm and agricultural education center. The Farms' tomato plant sale every spring has a devoted following of thousands of Californians, and the Farms' workshops attract a wide array of Bay Area agriculturalists, backyard gardeners and culinary devotees.
Love Apple Farms' exclusive relationship with two-Michelin Star restaurant, Manresa, has been the cornerstone on which we have built a unique, diversified farm model. Teamed with Chef David Kinch, Love Apple Farms has become a national example for high quality farm-to-table agriculture. Love Apple grows over 300 different cultivars of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers for the restaurant. As the farm expands, our educational program grows to include the ever-changing facets of this highly specialized system.
Apprentice Farmers learn hands-on what it means to live and work on a small farm. Group instruction, workshops and individual duties include:
- Day to day operation of vegetable beds, grounds and property
- Biodynamic agriculture practices
- Close interaction with restaurant staff
- Learning the subtleties of restaurant/farm partnerships
- Crop planning and management from seed to harvest
- Greenhouse supervision and nursery plant production
- Chicken keeping: egg and meat bird production
- Crop rotation and companion planting principles
- Seed ordering and inventory skills
- Integrated pest management
- Soil cultivation and crop fertility
- Crop disease identification and eradication
- Groundskeeping and property management
- Irrigation installation and assessment
- Maintenance of raised beds, seedlings and greenhouses
- Marketing basics, including web-based and agritourism for
- Educational workshop coordination, administration and assistance
- Basic farm carpentry and plumbing
- Garden bed design and construction
- Communal space maintenance
- Organic composting principles and maintenance
- Farm animal structure building
- Humane and reverential meat animal butchering and
- Rare fruit and vegetable research and cultivation
- Varmint control in the field: deer, gophers, rabbits, squirrels
- Wild mushroom foraging skills
- Fruit tree care and pruning
- Four-season vegetable growing
- Canning, pickling, drying and other food preservation skills
- Cheese making
Love Apple Farms is phasing out its traditional apprenticeship program. We will begin a tuition-based farmer training program on October 1, 2013. Please check our new website for that information.
We are still in need, though, of apprentices under the traditional program from June 15 to September 30. To apply for that program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
The Love Apple Farms Apprentice program enables graduating farmers to gain the necessary skills along with real farming experience that will prepare them in establishing their own farm or agritourism business, partner with a high-end restaurant as their choice supplier, join a working farm as part of their management team, teach at an agricultural educational center, join the management team of a garden or nursery center, run a life-lab for school children, start a CSA, work in a farm advocacy organization or supplement a professional career.
Information About the Area
Love Apple Farms is located in Santa Cruz, on the central coast of California. We are halfway between San Francisco and Monterey, with many other fine farms, wineries, tourist attractions, museums, musical venues, and of course, the beautiful redwood forests and beaches that are part of the California coast.
"I couldn't wait to start my apprenticeship at Love Apple Farms, but I never imagined just how enriching an experience it would be. Living and working on the farm you are exposed to so many types of learning, from structuring an efficient restaurant garden that grows biodynamic produce to assisting in classes on goat keeping or Thai cooking. The diverse interests of my fellow staff and apprentices were also an incredible learning tool--everyone is drawn to Love Apple for a special reason, and everyone has skills and knowledge to share. The fullness and variety of my learning experience was something I value immensely, and I have confidence that I could now create my own garden from scratch, organize an outstanding culinary event, or bake the perfect batch of French macarons. I can't wait to see what the farm and my fellow apprentices will do in the years to come."
- Sara Barbour, Summer and Fall, 2011
"I came to Love Apple Farm immediately after graduating from Barnard College in New York City. Although studying in the big city had its perks, I always knew that I wanted to try out farm life and physical labor to feel the other side of what I’d always advocated for: good food. Love Apple Farm seemed the perfect combination of urban savvy and rural practicality. When I visited to interview I immediately feel in love with the plot of land and its mission to grow amazing food.
I ended up spending just under six months at Love Apple. It was a wonderful experience, rich with hands-on learning and new friendships. The skills gained at Love Apple can be applied to urban agriculture systems and small farming operations alike. You won’t learn how to drive a tractor or use mechanical tools to sow and harvest; instead, you learn the techniques most valuable and useful for the home gardener. Most importantly you learn how to grow as much food as possible in a limited amount of space. For me this was a perfect fit. My passion is educating others about sustainable food systems and making good, clean food accessible to all. I now have the confidence to help others become better gardeners themselves.
Love Apple Farm also gives apprentices a sneak peak into the restaurant world, which is an invaluable experience for anyone interested in what it takes to bring food to the table. Working for a high-end restaurant forces a certain balance between detail-oriented precision (ensuring quality) and pace of labor (maintaining efficiency). It also inspires!
Since moving on, I realize more and more each day how much Love Apple Farm gave me a well-rounded peek into the world of farming, eating, and living communally."
- Alison Powell, Summer and Fall, 2009
"Over a lunch break at the farm one day, Cynthia asked me why I wanted to become an apprentice at Love Apple Farm. My reply was very simple, I believe great food only comes from great ingredients. Before my apprenticeship at Love Apple Farm, most of my work experience came from the kitchen; and it is through my cooking experiences that guided me to Love Apple Farm.
I have always loved eating, and I began cooking professionally during college. One summer, I apprenticed at an upscale restaurant in Boston. I was introduced to a world of exotic ingredients and fancy techniques. Ever since that summer, I continued to search for other similar kitchen opportunities. In these kitchens, I began to realize a pattern. Beneath the elaborate techniques and presentations, chefs are constantly looking for fine ingredients. In a way, the quality of the ingredient is the start of a brilliant course.
I believe it is a cook’s responsibility is to accentuate the flavors of the ingredient, and to show its true characters. If a dish were to begin with poor quality ingredients, it would still taste uninspiring and bland, regardless of how great the cook is. From a humble home kitchen to esteemed professional kitchens, this respect for ingredient never changes, which is my motivation to become an apprentice at Love Apple Farm.
As a food eater and cook, I believe my apprenticeship at Love Apple Farm will bring me closer to the world of ingredients. In addition to transitioning from a kitchen to a farm, the experience at Love Apple Farm has been refreshing and rewarding. It is an incredible insight into a fundamental part of the food world."
- Fudy Chen, Winter 2009 - Spring 2010