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 think you might be interested in volunteering with one of our teams, contact Steve Thomas, our Orchard Coordinator, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are required to fill out and sign our VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT and RELEASE OF LIABILITY.
The season begins in February with pruning. This is followed by fruit thinning and fertilizing the trees with harvest beginning in late June. 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. Harvest is managed by the Host Team.
This team generally picks figs 1-2 times per week and packages them in berry containers. Harvest generally begins in late summer and continues for 4-6 weeks.
This team begins the year by pruning the grape vines in January. This can take 3-5 hours depending on how many people participate. You will spend most of your time serving by harvesting grapes. The season begins in about the 3rd week in August and concludes in late October. This team picks grapes once per week on Saturday mornings.
The season begins in February with pruning. This is followed by fruit thinning and fertilizing the trees with harvest beginning 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 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.
Grounds Crew Team
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 who are able to commit to serve 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.