College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Becky Remsberg

Author: 
Lillian Kahl

“I had always known agriculture was labor intensive, but compared to my previous experiences, Moutoux really put the 'intense' in intensive,” said Becky Remsberg in describing her summer internship at Moutoux Orchards in Purcellville, Virginia.

Remsberg, a second-year Agricultural Business Management student, grew up on a sheep farm in Harford County, Maryland. She hopes to expand her family’s farm and therefore chose to work at Moutoux to gain exposure with pastured pork. While she spent a good bit of her time with livestock, her internship experience was far different from her family farm experience.

Each week, nearly 100 different families visit Moutoux Orchards to pick up their weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) share of food. The farm is set up like a market and the customers choose from all sorts of seasonal vegetables and fruits, beef products, pastured pork, on-farm processed chicken meat, fresh chicken and duck eggs, and various dairy products.

Remsberg’s day-to-day tasks on the farm involved caring for the animals and tending to the vegetable fields that filled the market stands. She admitted to having mixed feelings of pride and disgust when squishing hundreds of potato beetles to save the crop from devastation. And she said she was unable to bond with the farm’s skittish chickens, which she jokingly said made her look forward to slaughter day.

Remsberg lived on the farm during her internship which made “it feel less like a collection of staff and more like a family.” She enjoyed the camaraderie around the frequent potlucks, and the unending support from the various workers. Remsberg spent 12 weeks on the farm with a total of 615 work hours during that time. The internship challenged her, and the land certainly soaked up her sweat, but she shows deep gratitude for the entire experience.

Remsberg's time at Moutoux Orchards taught her about caring for her community, farm business management, and taking pride in her work. Her IAA advisor, Larisa Cioaca said, “Becky grew a lot during her internship, and she was already applying some of her day-to-day experiences to what her farm would one day be.” Overall, it’s apparent that this summer was a great success in anchoring Remsberg’s desire to carry on and expand her family’s farm.

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