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Ain't Nut’n Perfect- Willy Nilly Nut farm is a chemical free perennial, tree crop farm. Focused on non timber food products like fruit and nuts. I have been stewarding this farm for 35 years.The oldest orchards are 2 acres of 30-year-old commercial pears that I planted in 1987. The farm has expanded to 10 acres of different succession, and management styles curating 120 different varieties of rare heirloom pears as part of a greater pear breeding and selection process for our region. This is a big year as the farm has expanded to include the planting of 40 acres of “forchard” (Forest/ orchard). In the works are extensive deer fence construction, designing, planting and maintaining a mixed orchard of the improved genetics of Native food producing hardwoods such as Black Walnut, several species of hickory, hybrid chestnuts and oaks. This will be a culmination of a life’s learning working with trees. If this sounds as exciting to you as it does me, then I could use your help.

The farm is a licensed small farm winery of little consequence, and includes a 10-year planting of old world cider apples and pears over an acre of ground. Including the pears and cider varieties, all told, we grow approximately 1000 fruit and nut trees as part of our diversified farm. I dabble with a small berry operation growing berries of obscurity. On the annual garden front, we grow a decent garden for ourselves with a little spill over, and do a fair amount of food preservation.

At this time, much of my creative energy goes into developing nut processing equipment, and value adding unique farm products for market. There is plenty of opportunity to tinker! We are one of the very few farms I see at market that value add products with food from the farm.

On the larger social front, the Acornucopia Project and the Nutty Buddy Collective are very much part of our farm's initiatives, but involve work off the farm. This outreach of social networking, development and change are as important as the food we grow.

I took a break from farmers’ markets last season exploring alternative wholesale markets, but you can still find us at North Asheville Tailgate Market. Our cider, Outcider, can only be sold on farm.

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About purchasing from Talking Hill Farm...

“Bill Whipple has spent decades thoughtfully growing organic pears that are incredibly delicious. His newer efforts -- involving both berries and acorns -- are intriguing. As an individual consumer, I always look forward to his email letting folks know when he will be at the North Asheville Tailgate and how the previous growing season went.”

- Merianne, customer

“The folks at Talking Hill Farm are wonderful! They take a truly personal touch with us. They always ensure everything they do, from practices to packaging, is sustainable. We highly recommend Talking Hill Farm to any customer that prioritizes unadulterated foods with a personal touch!”

- Doug, customer

Unique products of excellent quality, grown with integrity. Bill and Monica are knowledgeable, and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. They are also just delightful people!”

- Anne B., customer and WV farmer

“Stellar produce and value added products that are carefully prepared and grown with the utmost integrity.”

- Aaron, chef and buyer at Tabula Rasa

“Talking Hill Farm's produce has flair that others don't have. It's top notch and diverse. Bill Whipple is an avid fruit tree grower and experimenter with new and grafted varieties, making it a pleasure to shop - and eat! Bill himself is intelligent, entertaining, dependable, and creative, and he sparks energy and good humor wherever he is. He loves Talking Hill Farm, and the food from it demonstrates his devotion..”

- Anne A., customer

“The Talking Hill Farm provides sustainably sourced, wild harvested and organically grown foods and value added products that are unique to our farmers' market. They are a pleasure to work with and a valued asset to our local foods community.”

- Shay Amber, director of the North Asheville Tailgate Market

“Bill has been managing this orchard for over 30 years. His farm remains a rare and precious resource for genetics (seeds and scion) of a broad range of fruit and nut trees. He organizes and collaborates with other growers across Appalachia.”

- Ramin, current customer

Our work schedule…

Generally variable as we work many fronts including two different locations in WV and NC and sometimes in between with regional projects.

In the winter, time is spent developing the Acornucopia Project, which can be done anywhere where there is a computer. Actual WV farm work begins in February with pruning and scion harvesting. This year will be focused on planting out the new Forchard.

Established orchard season really kicks in around early April during bud break and laying out the year's gardens. This is a diversified food tree farm (without animals). Harvesting and processing goes on from the first berries in June and wraps around the year with nuts through the following season. One really doesn’t know how much, or what kind of work is needed until we are clear of frosts by May 1st. I can assure anyone that working with trees isn’t repetitive.

Compensation offered...

We offer a weekly stipend of $75 for 30 hours of work. You will be asked to make a commitment to work through an agreed amount of time by paying up front the weekly stipend for that time. When the internship commitment is fulfilled, then the deposit will be returned plus the equivalent stipend.

Our location...

We live in a quiet and beautiful agrarian part of Allegheny Mountains in southern West Virginia. Lewisburg, WV is 45 minutes away and a nice little town with arts. Blacksburg, VA is 1.5 hours away and so is the New River Gorge Recreation Area and Cranberry wilderness.

The farm is at the end of a road with neighbors nearby. Town is 15 minutes away. There is 180 acres with 5 ponds, a creek with waterfalls and plenty of woods for walking in. Sharing the preparation and eating of meals is a great time to integrate and plan what is happening on the farm . Independent projects are strongly encouraged using the farm's resources. There are very few agricultural communities in WV and this is one of them. Our community is like most in America -- friendly, conservative and independent.

What we’re looking for...

Maturity to know oneself and your needs, courage to face self doubt and personal issues that arise, and tenacity to see through what you have intended to do. A willingness to explore one's self limits, challenges, and assets. We are regular people with our own flaws and talents so social skills like clearly communicating needs, openness, and commitment to conflict resolution -- are a must. A sense of humor and playfulness go a long way on this journey..

Willy Nilly Nut Farm is unlike others. First and foremost, I am hoping that applicants will be able to settle down from a frenetic culture at large, into a gentle rural setting and focus on what we do, which is to creatively innovate and push the edges of perennial agriculture. Trees move slow, and know you are coming in on one little slice of their continuum, but if you quiet down enough they can be heard. There is a lot of work to be done and it isn’t all weeding, irrigation and plasticulture. It is also personal human relations, outreach and activism, radically innovative horticulture, marketing and having fun, art and creativity, and of course trying to figure out how the heck we are going to heal the Earth and its inhabitants while raising food, make a living, and regaining human dignity in the rapidly altering environment in which we live.

I highly recommend that you have a car and be ready and willing to make yourself comfortable in a rustic and simple setting. Please no drugs including marijuana, and very moderate use of alcohol.

To inquire about unemployment opportunities, please contact Bill Whipple, owner and operator, by email anytime. There is always something going on at the “nut house”.

About working from Talking Hill Farm...

“I've learned an incredible amount from Bill regarding managing an orchard. With 30 years of experience, his knowledge of genetics and production are very rare for the Eastern USA. Not only have I learned about managing and breeding trees, but also a tremendous amount about building community and retailing at various markets. Bill's a fun guy, too, and a pleasure to be around.”

- Ramin, current apprentice

The Acornucopia is always cooking up something. Usually collaborative events with chefs in some town. If we can get enough help we will bust out another carnival of nuts which is loads of fun. Also hope to get Circus Quercus on the road soon.

About purchasing from Talking Hill Farm...

"Bill Whipple has spent decades thoughtfully growing organic pears that are incredibly delicious. His newer efforts -- involving both berries and acorns -- are intriguing. As an individual consumer, I always look forward to his email letting folks know when he will be at the North Asheville Tailgate and how the previous growing season went.”

- Merianne, customer

“The folks at Talking Hill Farm are wonderful! They take a truly personal touch with us. They always ensure everything they do, from practices to packaging, is sustainable. We highly recommend Talking Hill Farm to any customer that prioritizes unadulterated foods with a personal touch!”

- Doug, customer

Unique products of excellent quality, grown with integrity. Bill and Monica are knowledgeable, and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. They are also just delightful people!”

- Anne B., customer and WV farmer

“Stellar produce and value added products that are carefully prepared and grown with the utmost integrity.”

- Aaron, chef and buyer at Tabula Rasa

“Talking Hill Farm's produce has flair that others don't have. It's top notch and diverse. Bill Whipple is an avid fruit tree grower and experimenter with new and grafted varieties, making it a pleasure to shop - and eat! Bill himself is intelligent, entertaining, dependable, and creative, and he sparks energy and good humor wherever he is. He loves Talking Hill Farm, and the food from it demonstrates his devotion..”

- Anne A., customer

“The Talking Hill Farm provides sustainably sourced, wild harvested and organically grown foods and value added products that are unique to our farmers' market. They are a pleasure to work with and a valued asset to our local foods community.”

- Shay Amber, director of the North Asheville Tailgate Marketr

About working from Talking Hill Farm...

“I've learned an incredible amount from Bill regarding managing an orchard. With 30 years of experience, his knowledge of genetics and production are very rare for the Eastern USA. Not only have I learned about managing and breeding trees, but also a tremendous amount about building community and retailing at various markets. Bill's a fun guy, too, and a pleasure to be around.”

- Ramin, current apprentice


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