Internships 2018

 

Internships at Flint Hill Farm Educational Center!  3 interships open for 2018!   Come join the Fun with us!! 

Flint Hill Farm Educational Center, Inc. is a nonprofit 501c3 Agro-Educational Center located on Flint Hill Farm, a 28 acre preserved farm in Coopersburg, PA.  The Educational Center offers year round Dairy internship programs open to individuals 17 yrs. old and older.  We have had the pleasure of successfully offering Cheese Making/Animal Husbandry Internships from 2011 to the present.  Our graduates have gone on to follow their dreams in some of the following venues:  running their own dairy farm business, employment in various aspects of the hospitality trade, traveling and purchasing cheeses for international cheese buyers, organic food production and preparation, and creation of various kinds of artisan home cheese production models.

The Intern’s experiences will cover the following areas during their time at Flint Hill.  Our present dairy herd consists of 4 Jersey cows, 14 Alpine does and 2 bucks and 2 East Friesian ewes. Hands on milking skills for goats, sheep and cows will be taught.  Seasonal changes of milk, effects of weather, feed, lactation and breeding cycles help develop awareness of natural conditions that effect the taste and production of cheeses and other dairy products.

Some of the topics covered during the Cheesemakers/Animal Husbandry Internship are as follows:

1.       Cheese making- theory and practice for soft and aged cheeses

2.       Yogurt-classic and smoothies

3.       Packaging and labeling

4.       Marketing both at the Farm Store and through local Farmer’s Markets

5.       Community Education

6.       Political Awareness and Action

7.       Livestock health assessment- hoof care, famacha scoring, parasites testing, medications

8.       Livestock handling- cows, goats, sheep, horses.  Use of horse power for farming

Requirements are as follows:  

Ability to lift 20lb.

Obtain PA child abuse clearance prior to starting

Ability to walk one mile without difficulty

Good personal skills with the public

Reliable transportation to the farm

Ability to commit to 3- 8 hr days per week and one 4 hr block for 3 months- days flexible

 

Desire to enjoy the farm with us, have fun and make good cheese!

Chickens, Cheesemaking, Herd management for cows and goats, Schools and Agro-Educational experience!! Call for information 610-838-2928

      

    

                             

Thank you to Laurie for 2014                                        Thank you Melanie  2015                                          Thank you Hanna 2016-217

 

Laurie's Intership story 2014:

After spending 17 years living in downtown Chicago, I was the last person you would expect to live on a farm. But I felt something pulling me toward learning about a simpler life, one that made more sense with the rhythm of the day and of the seasons. Flint Hill Farm was an easy choice, with its commitment to education, and the dairy production. You have to be careful what you say - I always used to say "one day, I'll live on a farm and make cheese!" At the time, it was just a casual comment; a silly joke. Little did I know!

I became the cheese intern at Flint Hill and lived on the farm from August - December 2014. To say it changed my life is a huge understatement. I'll never forget my second day on the farm, when the owner, Kathy, was showing me how to milk the cows. She finished with the first one, let it out of the stanchion, and said "ok, take her back & get another one.”  GET ANOTHER ONE? Another COW?  Did she just tell me to GET A COW?? Well, Kathy is not a person you say "no" to. So I proceeded to take the one cow back to

 the enclosure  (really, she took me - cows are creatures of habit, she knew where she was going, so I just followed & said "c'mon" a few times so it seemed like I was in charge). When we arrived, 4 other cows looked at me disinterestedly as they continued munching on their hay. (To tell you the truth, I was relieved that they were disinterested - I don't know quite what it would mean if they WERE interested!) So I did the only logical thing a person would do when asked go get a cow; I said "ok, let's go! Who's next?" And sure enough, one of the cows started moseying towards the barn. Unreasonably proud of myself, I trotted in behind the cow, proclaiming to Kathy, "Here she is!"

After that, anything else I learned on the farm seemed like a piece of cake. I would milk the goats in the morning, then spend all day in the Milk House making cheese. How could it get any better than that? The days were long, but I loved what I was doing, so it didn't seem like such hard work.

One thing that really surprised me was that I was constantly meeting people. I had thought I would be somewhat isolated, but the farm was alive with people, from the volunteers who took care of the animals, the beehives, and the greenhouse, to the families who visited for the educational programs, to the visitors who enjoyed all the farm had to offer during the farm stays.  Through my contacts on the farm, I got a job which still seems like a dream to me - working with artisan cheese makers all over the world to bring their products to people.

Laurie Ann Foote

 

Hanna Walker intern 2016-2017                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Working at Flint Hill Farm as the cheesemaking intern was a great experience.  I would like to have my own farm one day and and this was my first step to getting there. I learned everything from milking the cows, goats and sheep to packaging and selling dairy products at farmers markets. My favorite part was working with the animals. It is a great feeling when everything goes exactly how you planned and all the animals go exactly where they are supposed too.  I also had the pleasure to halter train some calves and sheep. Seeing the outcome of the work I put into those animals makes so much of a difference when they need to be milked or vet checked.

I wasn’t so sure how well I would do with the cheesemaking, I haven’t really had any experience with cheese other than eating it.  After making various cheeses I found out that it is quite fun to see milk become cheese, especially when it is the milk that you yourself got from the cow that same morning. Some of the cheeses I made were cheddar, mozzarella, and chèvre.  I learned how to make other dairy products as well, such as yogurt, kefir and buttermilk.  It is amazing to think that different breeds of cows can make different tasting cheese.  For example Jersey cows have way more cream in their milk and because of that their cheese tastes a lot better than from some other breeds like holsteins. After working on the farm for about a year and working with lots of different animals I figured out that I would like to have a sheep dairy farm so I can continue making cheeses.  

Hanna Walker  Flint Hill Farm Cheese Internship 2018

 

 

Robert Dunning Intern 2017-2018

  

 

Last year, Kathy Fields at Flint Hill Farm taught me how to make cheese from her goats and cows.  I met her in August and after we talked about my personal goal to make cheese, she proposed an internship (free labor) during which she'd help me learn more about cheese making, two days a week for three months.  I started that week!

I'll give you a little background about myself so you can see why this made sense for me.  I'd been laid off a few months earlier from my software development job of 20 years.  Rather than jump back into the corporate rat race, I decided to take the opportunity to follow my dream and become a farmer.  I decided to build a sheep creamery on the sheep farm where I lived.  I had made a few cheeses during the past several months and realized that cheese-making was complicated, subtle, and difficult to do well.  I needed help.  So, Kathy's internship was a perfect match.

Each morning at Flint Hill, I worked the daily operations of the Flint Hill creamery.  I started by milking 15 goats in the morning using a bucket milker machine.  This produced several gallons of goat milk which I'd transfer to the bulk refrigeration tank.  I didn't milk the cows, but Kathy did, producing several additional gallons of milk each day.  I learned to prepare the bucket milker for milking, milk the animals and transfer the cow and goat milk into separate refrigeration tanks.

Then I'd move to the kitchen and work on the dairy products Kathy needed that day.  Usually we'd make a cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella or Manchego on Thursday, and on Friday we'd package dairy products. We also made cultured milk products, yogurt, kefir and butter milk.  These cultured milk products are fast sellers and we made and packaged a lot of it.  One nice aspect of these liquid milk products is that they can be sold the same day they are made.  The hard cheeses, on the other hand, have to be aged for two months before selling them.  During that time, the hard cheeses have to be flipped every few days and checked for mold and cleaned as needed.  The liquid milk products could be made, cooled, and put on the store shelf the same day - good for cash flow!

I spent a lot of time packaging products for the Flint Hill Farm store.  To package the hard cheeses, we cut the cheese into 1/2 pound wedges, weigh them, shrink wrap them, create a label with the name and weight of the slice.  For example, a 30 gallon batch of milk makes about 25 pounds of cheddar cheese, so we'd package this into 50 1/2 pound portions.  You might think this is a little repetitive, and it is, but the time I enjoyed the most during the internship was the regular time yapping with Kathy and the other cheese interns in the kitchen.  Cheese making requires concentration and focus, but when you do it all day, there is lots of time to chat.  And we got to know each other during these cheese-making and chatting sessions.  Wearing our hats and hair nets, working in the shiny steel kitchen, washing and sanitizing the utensils and countertops repeatedly each day, my co-interns and I became cheese makers.  We talked about cheese and life (perhaps a good title for a book?).  It is a wonderful feeling to share a dedication to making excellent cheese with others and investing your time which builds a sense of trust and friendship.

Throughout each day, I was surrounded by the team of volunteers at Flint Hill Farm.   The farm is a complex operation with Kathy at the center.  There were two other cheese-making interns at Flint Hill while I was there, Mollie and Jane.  Jane had recently "graduated" but returned to the Farm occasionally to visit and help.  Mollie was a rookie intern like me; she and I worked together.  We did everything from milking goats to flavoring, packaging, and making cheese.  

Cleaning up was an integral part of every activity.  After transferring milk, the milk lines had to be cleaned and sterilized.  The same was true for the bulk tanks, the milking equipment and pasteurizer.  Fortunately, there were documented procedures for setting up and cleaning each piece of equipment.  Sinks, counter tops and floors had to be kept clean throughout the day.  Most of the surfaces in the creamery are stainless steel and provide a satisfying sparkle.  This may seem unimportant but keeping the food preparation area clean is critical to the making of safe and healthy cheese; not to mention it helped me learn many FDA regulations for commercial kitchens.

One of my most memorable experiences during my internship was the opportunity teaching cheese making classes to guests of Flint Hill Farm.  Yes, I had quickly become the teacher!  Kathy often has overnight guests who visit the farm to experience farm life and learn to make cheese.  The guests brought unique life experiences and reasons for coming to Flint Hill and working with them in the cheese kitchen allowed me to get to know them and learn about their personal experiences.  Teaching cheese making also boosted my confidence in cheese making.

Each morning, Kathy gave me the agenda for the day - what cheese we would make, what type of milk to use (cow or goat), and what items she wanted packaged for the store.  Sometimes it was a challenge to finish everything.  Multi-tasking was essential; e.g. packaging a yogurt while a cheese is cooking.  You've got to finish a cheese batch in a single day for it to be successful.  Once or twice I stayed late because I didn't manage my time well.  My phone's "Timer App" was a super-helpful tool to keep me on schedule with the multiple tasks of operating the creamery.

The team of helpers at Flint Hill has many colorful and unique individuals.  My co-intern, Mollie, makes cheese at home and wants to learn more about the farm-to-plate cheese making process.  Mollie speaks Mandarin, and we had fun because I spent a month in China.   Jen is the lifeblood of the farm, feeding the animals and managing the chores around the horses, chickens and goats.  Kathy is blessed to have Jen.  Lenny and Dennis are regular fixtures at the farm.  Lenny has a wonderful sense of humor, dead pan, the kind I love.  Dennis is a machinery genius, and visits the farm bringing various large equipment, fixing things before they break.  He loves his backhoe!  Kathy is the nexus of the farm and coordinates customers, volunteers, visiting school children, vendors, employees, and family.  She sees and talks to more people each day than I see in a week.  She wears a Bluetooth earpiece to never to miss a call.  This was the Flint Hill Team!

What did I get out of my cheese internship at Flint Hill?  I certainly achieved my goal of learning how to make cheese; and also seeing where I need to learn more.  I learned about the mission of a farm, which translates to a detailed business plan, marketing plan, and the operations to support it.  I gained first-hand experience working in a creamery and learned to overcome the hiccups associated with the operation.  Without question, the experience will help me start a creamery on my farm.   Most importantly, each morning I enjoyed coming to Flint Hill to work with Kathy and the team and was able to contribute to the success of Flint Hill and evolve into a cheese maker.  I appreciate and value the opportunity Kathy gave me to work at her farm and learn from her.

 

Robert Dunning

Internship, apprenticeship offered at Flint Hill Farm Educational Center 2018

COME BE A BUILDER OF HEALTH AND WHOLENESS!   2 Educator  Internship Positions available.    Be the one who plants the seeds that will grow into a harvest of lifechanging dreams for others!

Flint Hill Farm Ed is a non profit Educational Center located on Flint Hill Farm, a 28 acre preserved multifaceted working farm in Lehigh County, Upper Saucon Township, PA.  We run a Certified Raw Milk Goat and Jersey cow milk Dairy that sells its products year round through two markets, on site sales and opportunities at local hospital cafeterias and colleges. We also run a year round educational program for the local school districts and vocational schools, summer horse camp and farm camp during the months of July and August, and a year round riding lesson and community educational programs (See Farm Activities)  Summer Farm Educator Internship Position:  Community outreach- Farmers Market/ Summer Farm Camp Educator.  

Cheesemaking Internships

The Educational Center offers cheesemaking internships 3 times a year for a committment of 3 months intensive immersion.  New this year!  We were donated a 28' 2008 Sport travel railer with queen size bed, full kitchen, full bath, living area and air conditioning! Housing offered with somw internship options.

Farming Internships for older teens and adults with special needs: 

Flint Hill Farm Educational Center has presently one adult intern developing his chicken/egg business in collaboration with his family and SPINN.   Ben has been a volunteer at Flint Hill Farm Educational Center for two years.  He has independently been responsible for collecting and washing our eggs for market. This year in collaboration with the SPINN Program, Ben and his family have purchased Ben's starting flock and his mobile chicken house.  He is moving toward taking responsiblity for caring for his own flock and selling the eggs he collects from his own chickens to a local restaurant.  Wishing you well, Ben, in your new venture!!!  

 

Alec came to Flint Hill Farm Educational Center  in 2006 as part of his Kutztown HS farm experience.  He returned in 2012 learn the basics of chickens and egg production to begin his own business "Alec's Eggs".  In the spring of 2013 Alec's grandfather built Alec his first mobile chicken house. Alec started his flock by purchasing 12 layers.  While at Flint Hill Farm Educational Center, he independently cared for his flock, collected and washed the eggs and in the first year sold his pastured eggs at the Lower Saucon Farmer's Market and to family friends.  In the fall of that year Alec moved his business to his home where he has increased his flock and now sells weekly to Blue Sky Cafe, Bethlehem, PA!  Another farmer in the state of Pennsylvania moving toward his goals!! Congratulations!!!!

 

Farming internships for individuals or families desiring to move towards aquiring goats, cows or chickens. 

We are members of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Southeast Region Representatives for PA Women in Agriculture, Lehigh Valley Horse Council and the Farm Bureau. At present we are coordinating with the NDRC and our local Forester to create a Woods and Pasture walk through our back pastures and 6 acres of woodland.  The Penn State Extension Center has assisted us in planning for a number of educational community programs to run through this calendar year.

Please call to discuss your educational goals and how we can help you move forward to reach them.  If you can committ to the Educational Center for a period of  3 to up to 6 months for 20 hours a week, we would be happy to have you come for a tour.  All our interns have moved into employement in the agri-business spectrum over the past 3 yrs.  We can assist in networking after completion of the program.

Three references required.

Flint Hill Farm Internship Program Documents:

Responsibilities and Requirements
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Intern Application
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Contact: Kathleen Fields
Email: kathy@flinthillfarm.org
or call 610-838-2928