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Forest farmer & tree syrup assistant

Tonoloway Farm
October 9, 2020
McDowell, Virginia
Type of farm?
Start Date
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Compensation ranges from $250-400/week depending on experience and skill level. Tonoloway farm can assist in finding housing in the county, with a portion of compensation being allocated towards housing.
Positions Available



Tonoloway farm is a first-generation farm that focuses on the sustainable production of forest edibles, namely tree syrups (maple, black walnut, hickory and sycamore), mushrooms and wasabi. The farm is located on the steep and wooded slopes of the Alleghany Mountains in the central Appalachians. The aim of the farm is to grow what thrives naturally in its environment, while fostering diversity that supports sound ecology and providing nourishing food.

Tonoloway is co-managed by Christoph and Lauren Herby and their toddling daughter who all live and work on the farm. The farm started marketing its products in 2018 mostly within Highland County, Virginia, and has expanded in the last year to include surrounding counties including two markets in Bath County and Staunton, VA as well as a handful of wholesale accounts. Tonoloway plans to increase its production of tree syrups, mushrooms and garlic in 2021 with hopes to add additional markets.

Position Description

Tonoloway farm is seeking a motivated farmer to support its winter and spring activities, in particular the maple and black walnut syrup harvest, shiitake mushroom inoculation and site preparation, with other tasks as needed. This is a great opportunity to work in the opposite season of many other farms. The Farmer would engage in the following activities:

• Setting up lines to capture tree sap
• Tapping maple and black walnut trees
• Collecting and processing sap, and making syrup
• Bottling syrup
• Cutting oak logs and inoculating them with shiitake mushroom spawn
• Expanding mushroom yard
• Managing inventory
• Managing other forest crops (ginseng, wasabi, native medicinals)
• Construction on new timber frame workshop
• Any other tasks as relevant


• Experience in food production and/or work on a farm
• Experience with forest farming, maple syrup production, mushroom production and/or other forest edibles great but not required
• Person should be physically fit to the extent that s/he is able to spend long periods of time outdoors walking on difficult terrain and carrying heavy objects in cold and wet weather
• Person should have a valid driver’s license, and access to their own vehicle to drive to/from the farm. Ability and experience driving a manual shift 4x4 vehicle and ATV are valued.

Application Process

Please send resumé and short letter of interest including why you think you’d be a good fit for this position and your availability to by 15 November 2020.


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