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We are primarily a perennial, plant-based farm growing without any chemicals. Our oldest orchards are 2 acres of 30-year-old commercial pears that we planted. We curate 120 different varieties of rare heirloom pears as part of a greater pear breeding and selection process for our region. We are a licenced small farm winery and include 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. We are developing a small berry operation growing berries that no one else grows. On the annual garden front, we grow a decent garden for ourselves with a little spilling over into our farmer's market. We also have been growing seeds under contract for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for the better part of seven years though this is a very small part of our diversified income stream Monica seems to impress them with the quality of her seeds. Shiitakes are another part of that stream.

Much of our creative energy goes into value adding our unique farm products for market. We are one of the very few farms I see at market that value add products with the food we grow.

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.

You can find us at North Asheville Tailgate Market, the Blacksburg, VA Farmers Market, Lewisburg, WV Farmers Market, and our “local” on-line market, The Monroe Farm Market. Our cider, Outcider, can only be sold on farm.

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We also offer nut oils, scion wood, and various forms of agrarian entertainment.

See a talk Bill Whipple, Owner and operator of Talking Hill, gave on the Acornucopia Project.

You can find our products at North Asheville Tailgate Market, the Blacksburg, VA Farmers Market, Lewisburg, WV Farmers Market, and our “local” on-line market, The Monroe Farm Market. Our cider, Outcider, can only be sold on farm.

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

Our work schedule…

Generally variable as we work many fronts including two different locations in WV and NC and everywhere in between with our region 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. We are timber framing a new barn and help could be used with that. This season, I hope to be running a series of trainings throughout Virginia for nut harvesting. Usually there is at least one fruit school I offer and hope to be developing a new "Nut School".

The season really kicks in around the first of May with orchard management and laying out the year's gardens. Harvesting and processing goes on from the first berries in June until the last market in December. Last year 95% of the pear crop failed due to late, hard frost, so emphasis has turned to nuts and foraging. One really doesn’t know how much, or what kind of work until we are clear of frosts by May 1st. I can assure anyone that working with us isn’t repetitive.

Compensation offered...

We offer a weekly stipend of $75 for 30 hours of work. We have a small 10x10 cabin with electric hook up and an outdoor kitchen. We commence stipend compensation after the second month of internship. The first month's stipend is given at the end of the agreed commitment.

Our location...

We make the world as lively as we want. Fortunately, the world around us is not so lively. We live in a quiet and beautiful agrarian part of southern West Virginia and this has proved to be the most challenging aspect for previous apprentices on our farm. 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. We have other farmer friends that would also be interested in sharing an apprentice if a more diversified experience is sought.

The farm is at the end of a road with neighbors nearby. Town is 15 minutes away. We have 180 acres with 5 ponds, a creek with waterfalls and plenty of woods for walking in. We like to share meals at least a few times a week. 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, courage and tenacity. A good sense of one's self limits, challenges, and assets. We are regular people with our own flaws and talents so social skills -- like clearly communicating needs and openness and commitment to conflict resolution -- are a must.

Our farm is unlike very many 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 agriculture in our society. 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 raise food, make a living and regain human dignity in an oppressive corporate society that is rapidly altering the environment in which we live.

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

To inquire about employment opportunities, please contact Bill Whipple, owner and operator, by email any time after January or visit our website for further information.

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

We host a couple of farm parties during the year. To learn about them, please join our market’s listserv.

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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