A New Generation on the Farm

Meet the Apprentices of Amber Waves Farm

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Laura Rose cutting flowers in the field

Katie & Amanda

Farm family portrait

Welcome to the farm

Abby Augarten with a pint of sugar snap peas from the field.

Brendan Tully caring for the farm ducks

Abby Augarten

Adrienne Nelson illustrating the weekly CSA share

Brendan Tully carrying a CSA box

Ben Goldberg

Laura Rose riding into town to grab lunch

Mark collecting eggs from the mobile chicken coop

Laura Rose Dailey ready to cut flowers in the field

Portrait of the crew after a long hard day of work. Tired but still smiling.

Apprentices loading the truck for the morning harvest

U-cut yarrow

Ben Goldberg

Cosmos

Abby and Adrienne hitching a ride back to the barn

Mark checking the morning harvest list

Mark Waterman

Mark and Brendan washing lettuce for a restaurant order

Adrienne trimming up the scallions

The crew harvesting kale

Ben watering seedlings

Shoes off before entering cottage! Please and thank you.

Brendan carrying irrigation pipes into the field

Mark hoisting a hula hoop of drip line

Abby and Mark

The team discusses irrigation installation

Mark in a spaghetti bed of irrigation lines

Abby and Mark pounding in hundreds of tomato stakes

Mark, Amanda, Laura Rose and Abby taking a ride out to the tomato field

Amanda Merrow

Brenden Tully

Laura Rose Dailey

Adrienne Nelson

Ben Goldberg

We've been showing you the work that goes into running a farm through the main growing season. As we move into the height of the summer season, I am astounded by the dedication, hard work, and exuberance of the young women and men who have chosen to work a season on the farm: the apprentices!

Meet this year’s crew below, and learn more about what farm apprenticeship is.

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

A Tradition of Farm Apprenticeship

The farm's owners, Katie and Amanda, themselves began their career farming as apprentices at Quail Hill Farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm owned and operated by the Peconic Land Trust. Under the guidance of Quail Hill’s distinguished head farmer (and poet) Scott Chaskey, they learned the basics of farm operations and found a life-long passion.

→ Hear from Scott, Amanda & Katie in the film Growing Farmers

Today, Katie and Amanda are sharing what they’ve learned with a new crop of young people – giving an outlet for curiosity and in the process developing deeper connections with the land and the food we eat.

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

What Does an Apprentice Do?

Amanda and Katie described the Apprenticeship Program at Amber Waves Farm:

Amber Waves Farm apprentices spend a season at the farm learning how to grow food organically and sustainably by working hands-on in all areas of the farm’s activities. Apprentices join the farm crew in early spring and stay through the fall, a work period that provides the ability to experience the course of an entire farming season. On a daily basis they coordinate with head farmers about day-to-day farm operations, from field work to farmers’ market preparations and hosting community events.

In the field, apprentices master technical skills associated with plant propagation, greenhouse production, crop rotations and soil health, harvesting, and tractor work. Additionally, after the harvest, apprentices are actively involved in community outreach and education by organizing weekly on-farm CSA pick-ups, assisting with school field trips and community workshops, representing the farm at the local farmers markets, and distributing food in our community to local restaurants and food pantries.

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

By participating in the wide variety of daily activities and responsibilities at the farm apprentices not only gain hands-on experience in the field, but also develop an in-depth understanding of the daily business management of the farm, including marketing, bookkeeping, and setting budgets.

The farm is located within a few miles of many other small organic farming operations, so there is ample opportunity for apprentices to visit, explore, and network with other farming operations that use different systems and equipment in addition to daily one-on-one instruction they receive at Amber Waves.

Apprentices have the opportunity to participate in additional enrichment programs, including regional farming workshops, conferences, and field days that enhance their overall farming experience. Apprentices are provided a weekly stipend along with on-farm housing, attendance at off-farm agricultural enrichment programs, and access to unlimited farm produce as a part of their compensation.

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Meet the 2014 Amber Waves Farm Apprentices

Abby Augarten

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Adrienne Nelson

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Brenden Tully

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Ben Goldberg

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Laura Rose Dailey

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

Mark Waterman

Image Credit: Mallory Samson

A New Generation on the Farm is a season-long exploration of the work at Amber Waves Farm, and it is a partnership between The Kitchn, photographer Mallory Samson, and the Peconic Land Trust. Founded in 1983, the Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. This is the first in a series about first generation farmers the Trust is working with to ensure that protected farmland is used for farming on Long Island’s East End.

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