Sunday, February 7, 2016

Farm Internship

     This summer we are looking for a rising high school senior or graduating senior from Paideia to spend the month of July working on the farm with us! We would provide all your meals while you're here as well as showing you some of the sites in the area so that you get the full Portuguese experience. I (Alice) graduated from Paideia in 2005. After graduating from college in Washington State in 2009 with a humanities degree and absolutely no farming experience I decided to spend a few months volunteering on farms (WWOOFing) in Europe as a cheap way to travel. The first stop was Portugal and it turned out to be the last. I met my now husband Filipe and I've been here ever since. Filipe grew up in the city of Porto, studied math in college and got his maters in Economics but found he had a passion for farming and wanted to live a more sustainable lifestyle. He still tutors math part time out of a joy for teaching and a need to pay the bills but the farm is the center of our world.
On a hike in Geres National Park
     We are situated on 25 acres about 45 minutes north of the second largest city of Porto and just a few minutes from the beautiful, historic town of Guimareãs. Our farm is certified organic and our main source of income comes from our cows, a local heritage breed called Barrosã.
Cow family resting. Mom, dad and calf. 
We have six females and one bull plus the young ones which we keep until 18 months when they are sent off to be processed for meat, most of which is sold to an organic butcher. Our farm is also a working homestead and we keep a substantial garden for ourselves as well as ducks, geese and chickens for our own consumption and occasionally to sell. We began cultivating shiitake mushrooms last year and are preparing to grow more in the coming year. We also have around a dozen beehives which we are looking to expand this summer. The farm has many well established grape vines which were historically used to make the local wine, Vinho Verde, but we use to make grape juice. Last year we produced around a 1000 liters.
Sarah Ku- Class of '05 riding Dixie
We also have two horses, both of which can be ridden.
     The intern we are looking for would be someone who is interested in pursuing a life in farming or homesteading, enjoys physical work and doesn't mind somewhat rustic accommodations. Our stone house has two bedrooms and one bath so you would have your own bedroom but share the bathroom with us. I love to cook and am happy to prepare all the meals but also love help if you enjoy cooking- we are mostly vegetarian but eat meat on occasion and don't mind you having whatever you prefer.
Barragem da Queimadela our favorite swimming spot.
     Most days we take care of the animals in the morning, moving the cows to their new pasture and then feeding all the birds as well as the horses. In the summer there's a lot of weeding and watering in the garden. Once the daily chores are done we work on longer term projects, everything from planting new things in the garden, working with the bees to training the horses. We also forage for wild blackberries and elderberries and make jams and other preserves from the garden. We are happy to have someone who has some knowledge and ideas of their own about new projects, part of the fun of having help on the farm is having the opportunity to get new perspectives. We are also happy to have someone with no experience who is ready to learn. Of course, sometimes the summer afternoons are just too hot to do anything so we are lucky to have a lake not too far away which makes a perfect break from the heat.
     We are looking forward to hearing from students who might be interested in spending part of their summer with us and answering all your questions. If you want to see more pictures from the farm you can check out my Instagram account FARMER__Al. I also invite you to look back at some of the previous blog posts here and feel free to email me at with any questions!

Senhor Da Pedra- Gaia (Porto) 
Goose Family
Guimarães Castle