Thank you for checking out Ryder Farm Cottage Industries for your internship
Intern Video | Intern Application
Ryder Farm is situated on a gorgeous 129 acres bordering Peach Lake in Putnam County, NY—60 miles north of NYC with
easy access via the MetroNorth rail.
OUR ANNUAL CYCLE
Certified Organic growing of
a full variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for direct sale has been the thrust of our farm operation since the late
1970s. We have a thriving stall at the NYC Union Square Green
Market on Saturdays, a bustling business at the Brewster Farmers Market, two days a week, a sizable CSA, a respectable wholesale
business, and a roadside stand. Interns will have the opportunity to work these markets and stands—it’s a wonderful
and often relished experience!
We grow for market on 5+ acres, hay on 8
acres, and look forward to pasturing on 18 fenced acres in the near future. We maintain a forest management program on an
additional 50 acres.
Preparation begins in the
fall with cover crop planting, following the application of composted manure, then mowing with a brush hog and rototilling
come spring. Early growing season is in February, March, and April with seeding and plant propagation in our “grow box”
and a 20’ x 50’ heated greenhouse. In spring we also begin the direct seeding of early crops. The transplanting
of frost-hardy crops commences in the field as the trans-potting of young hot crops—tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.
is done in the 20’ x 100’ hoop house.
While seeding continues throughout
the season, with June begins the intense planting of the greenhouse crops, and the market season opens with early greens and
perennial herbs and flowers. From here, we continue with successive planting and cultivating…that is, weeding with
hands and hand tools, irrigation, and feeding with direct nutrient application to the soil, as well as foliar backpack spraying.
We have a staging area for cleaning and packaging and 2 walk-in coolers for holding
produce. There is a 6’ box truck for marketing, a crawler dozer, 4 tractors (a 55 hp Ford 4wd, 30 hp Ford 300,
42 hp Ford 340, and a 1955 Ford 9n), lots of implements, and carts including a manure spreader, a fine compost pad, and a
sawmill. Interns with express interest and talents are encouraged to learn more about farm machinery.
THE WORK + LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The workday fluctuates with
the seasons, providing a midday break during the heat of summer. Each day begins with the assignment of duties by the Field
Manager. We expect a 40 to 50-hour workweek. Tuesday and Friday harvest days are long but necessary. In addition to tilling
the soil, planting, and harvesting, interns help prepare CSA orders, process the harvest for market, work market stands, and
help with general maintenance of the grounds.
The beginning of the season is a time for sharing agricultural knowledge among
the interns, each one being asked to make a presentation about his or her particular area of interest or knowledge. These
are folded into the daily workshops lead by Fuad, our Field Manager. In addition to the education gathered at Ryder, all interns
are invited to attend local information-sharing sessions at neighboring farms through a program called The Lower Hudson Collaborative
Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), which other area interns attend. This is a very interesting and useful part
of the Ryder Farm intern program and a chance to see how others manage their farms, meet other interns, etc. Each summer,
Ryder Farm hosts a CRAFT session that includes a potluck dinner and a lesson on making the perfect bouquet from Betsey’s
flower garden. It’s always a highlight of the CRAFT season.
Each year, we hire a mixture of live-in interns (which provides minimum wage minus
an allowance for room and board leaving–about $150 before tax deductions) and experienced, local help. Some interns
will have more experience than others, and we stratify the level of experience so there is a satisfying role and a meaningful
learning experience for each individual. Our interns are diverse and hail from many nations and are many ages, as we support
high school agricultural programs and participate in the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA). We expect
all interns to be respectful of one another’s differences and to make strides to work together, teach one another, and
learn from one another. We are proud of the beautiful mixture of staff that helps our farm each year and are positively recognized
for our commitment to diversity among the local agricultural community.
As with any higher-educational learning environment,
we expect Ryder Farm interns to be mature, team players, and in possession of the skills to practice what is learned. Maturity
on the farm doesn’t only involve self-control, kindness, and discussing discontentedness with your manager. We expect
Ryder Farm interns to also enhance their experience by continuing to seek knowledge through the Internet, the Ryder Farm library,
buying their own books, sharing knowledge with one another, asking the managers questions, and attending the seminars.
ROOM + BOARD
Living accommodations are in simple
bungalows dotting the area near the farm house. Linens are provided, but interns are welcome to bring their own—anything
really that makes life more comfy. Some interns will be sharing bungalows, while others will have their own. There is WiFi
access in the common space inside the farm house where the kitchen and bathroom are also located.
Betsey Ryder does the grocery
shopping each week. All farm staff take turns preparing lunch for the entire team M – F. At dinner time, interns decide
what to prepare on their own, sometimes cooking for one another.
While we are a fun loving community and sometimes even have musical jam sessions together, please do not apply if your
lifestyle includes loud, late nights and substance abuse.