Our Company is a family-run, high-density certified organic apple orchard, focusing on heritage and connoisseur apple varieties. We began the process of establishing this orchard in 2011 on our beautiful five-acre property, and are now harvesting from 3,356 trees on three planted acres. Volunteers have been a big part of this, and will continue to be as we need help with many orchard tasks on a year-round basis. Right now, we are gearing up for another busy growing season. We've got lots of weeding to be done, fruit to be thinned, trees to be trained, and much, much more.
Volunteers stay in our spacious (20 by 16 feet) wall tent on a platform, which is set up much like an apartment, with beds and furniture, plus a cozy wood stove. We provide the firewood; the volunteers split what they need for themselves. There is an outhouse right beside the tent and more deluxe bathroom facilities (indoor shower with hot water and a lavatory) are a short distance away. Kitchen facilities in the house, just a short walk away, as are areas for relaxation, to watch tv and socialize.
We graft our own apple trees and grow them in a nursery on the property. Once they are ready (and dormant), we move them to our main orchard, which includes about 333 different heritage and connoisseur apple varieties, some quite rare. Our nursery trees (almost 3,500 of them) require care and attention on an on-going basis. This includes keeping their beds and pots weed-free, making certain they are receiving the required water, and other on-going tasks.
Brian and Peri both also do other work to make the whole effort feasible. Peri is a teacher; Brian is a writer and consultant. We also operate a bed and breakfast on the property. So we keep busy! This -- and our popularity with volunteers -- also means you're likely to meet people from all over the world when you spend time here. We have had volunteers from 12 different countries over the past year. One night not so long ago, we counted six different first languages at our dinner table. This makes for some great conversation.
If you join us, you'll likely get to do many orchard tasks, including weeding, mulching and possibly planting of trees. Let's face it: weeding is a big part of organic farming. There is plenty to do 12 months of the year as, with our mild West Coast winters, there is rarely a day when we can't work outside.
Our orchard sits on sloping land, surrounded by farms and forest and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Islands and Mt. Baker. It's quite spectacular. Please come and see for yourself!
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
We provide an opportunity to experience life on a small island in Canada. Our island is very rich in cultural opportunities and our people are friendly and welcoming.
We have hosted many people from many places and are very good at providing language learning opportunities (Brian is a communications specialist and Peri is a teacher -- including of ESL). We enjoy conversation and learning about other places. Dinner conversation is always interesting and engaging.
Having the opportunity to work with others from around the world is something we have to offer. We understand that travel is more fun when you are meeting interesting people, and have an opportunity to talk about your experiences. We do our best to host at least two volunteers at any given time, though that doesn't always work out.
Of course, you will have the opportunity to learn first hand about what it takes to grow apples organically. Also to learn about creating and producing value-added items. Other farm-related learning opportunities depend on the time of year and can include making soil, grafting, and planting.
In addition, learning how to run a bed & breakfast can be part of the experience.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Most of the work we have is outside in the orchard.
During the busiest times of the year, we are also looking for help with general household tasks -- cleaning, laundry, gardening etc.
In the fall, we need help with the harvest, as well as with processing tasks such as dicing, preserving, dehydrating, and pressing for cider.
Volunteers sleep in a large canvas wall tent. The tent is equipped with 5 proper beds for which we provide the linens. There is a wood stove in the corner and carpets on the floor to keep it cosy and warm. The tent is equipped with both electricity and wi-fi. We also provide towels.
Bathrooms are nearby, with kitchen and relaxation facilities are in the main house and volunteers are invited and encouraged to become part of the family and household.
Salt Spring Island offers many things to see and do.
Our location close to town makes it possible to access many amenities at the end of your work day, or on days off. We are also within easy walking distance of ocean beaches, lakes for swimming, and trails for hiking.
The community bus goes right past our door and makes activities further afield easy to access.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours, 5 days a week