Apprenticeship at Whistling Duck Farm
Trail, OR - 1995
Our names are Mary and Vine Alionis. We own Whistling Duck Farm,
located 40 miles northeast of Medford, OR, in the Elk Creek Valley. We
have 44 total acres, with 8 acres of pasture bordered by Sugarpine Creek
and 35 acres of wooded land. It is a rural, beautiful setting with lots
of hiking, swimming, etc within walking and driving distance.
We are beginning our fourth year farming; this is our second
season at this location. We grow a wide variety of crops: all types of
root crops, salad greens, beans, flowers, tomatoes, and herbs. We also
have and are developing permanent plantings of berries, asparagus, fruit
and nut trees, kiwis and grapes. We keep ducks and chickens as well. We
are working to make our farm a permacultural landscape.
Our goals here are three-fold. First, to be able to support
ourselves by farming and providing others with healthy food. Second, to
develop and utilize our land in an ecological, permacultural way. And
third, to help educate others who wish to live in a similar fashion.
Our apprentices are not our employees; they are an integral part
of the community of our farm. This is an educational working program
through which we hope to share the knowledge and experience we've gained
in three years of farming, marketing, and working with the land. We want
to help others become successful farmers and give an opportunity to gain
experience and test ideas without financial risk.
We provide housing and food for apprentices and for those in need
of cash while staying here we often can provide a weekly stipend.
Full-season apprentices will also have the opportunity to grow a crop for
their own profit.
Mondays and Wednesdays are harvest days for markets and
deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturdays are usually free days
for full-time apprentices, Sundays are free for us. In addition,
full-time apprentices each spend one day a week on house duties:
preparing meals, organizing a bit and relaxing. The edges of the season
are a bit calmer. Extended time off can usually be accomodated if
planned in advance.
Our season extends from March through November. We are looking for
full-season apprentices and we also consider part-time and part-season
apprentices and work with individuals to develop a suitable schedule. We
are open to the possibility of having an apprentice stay through the
winter, a time which includes a lot of infrastructure, land development
and greenhouse projects.
While we work with each apprentice to find the areas they are
best suited for and most interested in, they most be committed enough to
handle some of the less inspiring tasks as well. Most importantly, we
are looking for positive, confident, energetic people. We do not allow
drugs and alcohol on the property.
If you are interested in speaking with us more about this, please
feel free to write or call us. The best times to call are in the morning
between 7:00 and 8:00 am, around 1:00 pm, or between 8:00 and 9:00 in the
evening. Our address is:
Mary and Vince Alionis
11555 Elk Creek Road
Trail, OR 97541
I lived on their farm last summer and I had a wonderful
experience. I would highly recommend this living and working experience
to anyone who loves working outdoors, who beliefs in a sustainable way of
life, and who is excited to learn. If you have any specifi questions for
me, my email address is egkF94@hamp.hampshire.edu.