Thank you for your interest in serving on a Real Life Orchard and Garden team! You don’t need to have any experience to make an impact in these ministries. Your team leaders and local experts will teach you what to do. Please review the descriptions so you can make an informed decision on how you would like to serve. We do not expect every volunteer to attend every session. We know that work, vacations, and life in general sometimes get in the way. What we do ask is that you make it a priority to attend most of your team events. Each team has a leader who generally sets the schedule for all work events.
If you are interested in volunteering with one of our orchard teams, CLICK HERE
Volunteers are required to fill out and sign our VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT and RELEASE OF LIABILITY.
This team is responsible for pruning, fruit thinning, and fertilizing the apple trees, as well as harvesting the apples. The season begins in February with pruning followed by fruit thinning and fertilizing the trees during the growing season. In September and October, the team harvests on Saturday mornings. A typical harvest session takes about one hour.
This team spends time training the canes on the trellis, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting the berries. Most of your time serving on this team will take place from the first week in June for harvest through mid-October.
This team is responsible for fertilizing and weeding the blueberry bushes. They are also responsible for pruning the blueberry bushes approximately 2 weeks after harvest. The harvest season is from mid-May through July. Harvest is managed by the Host Team.
This team generally picks figs 1-2 times per week during harvest and packages them in berry containers. Harvest generally begins in late summer and continues for 4-6 weeks.
This team oversees the ¼-acre vegetable garden. We typically grow tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, greens, peppers and other vegetables. In general, the harvest begins in July and runs through August. In August, a fall garden can be planted. Harvest is different in the garden in that it is done across a variety of vegetables that get ripe at different times. Harvest is done on an as-needed basis. (Our garden is not currently operating. If interested in heading it up, please reach out to us).
Each volunteer is on a 7–9-week rotation for mowing the grass in the orchard. It typically takes 2-3 hours to mow the grass. Volunteers MAY also use our weed eater and spray tank to eliminate weeds.
This team facilitates the U-Pick berry harvest in June and July. The U-Pick patch is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 9-11 am. We are looking for volunteers to commit to serving on a particular day of the week. This team is important because they are the face of the orchard and the Real Life Center for guests on our campus. This team gives out buckets and instructs the guests where to pick and helps package the fruit in berry containers.
This team takes care of the equipment, fencing, and irrigation in the orchard to ensure that the orchard is functioning properly. We are looking for volunteers who enjoy handyman-type jobs. Volunteers on this team will serve throughout the year under the direction of the maintenance team leader.
This team begins the year by pruning the muscadine vines in January. This can take 3-5 hours depending on how many people participate. Most of your time serving on this team will be in harvesting muscadines. The season begins around the 3rd week in August and concludes in late October. Harvesting is once per week on Saturday mornings.
This team is responsible for pruning, fruit thinning, and fertilizing the peach trees, as well as harvesting the peaches. The season begins in February with pruning followed by fruit thinning and fertilizing until harvest season begins in late June. In June and July, the team harvests on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. A typical harvest session takes about one hour. During the harvest season, volunteers are asked to sign up to pick either on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings. We do NOT expect you to pick twice every week. The season usually ends in early August.
This team is responsible for spraying for weeds, pests, and the prevention of diseases on the apple and peach trees. Volunteers must become certified for this position and wear a special protective suit while spraying. The RLC will provide training on all necessary equipment including our tractor. Certification costs are covered by the RLC.