Hidden Star Orchards
50 acres in Linden, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
John and Clazien Smit and their sons, Johann and Paul, along with 8 full-time and 2 part-time employees.
About 30% of this farm is certified organic.
John and Clazien began as dairy ranchers, but in 1985 converted their ranch to an apple orchard after hearing about a delicious new apple variety (Fuji) that would grow well in their region. The Smits have since diversified and begun to transition their land to organic production, which they find both more labor intensive and rewarding. The conversion has encouraged the younger generation to stay involved with the family farm.
Johann began farming with his parents 10 years ago, and son Paul helps by selling the Smit's apples in Southern California. Even the Smit grandchildren pitch in by sorting apples!
Pheremone disruption, owl boxes (owls prey upon voles), maintaining a habitat for beneficial insects, and discing to destroy vole habitat.
San Joaquin loam is amended with cover crops and compost.
Micro-spraying water from onsite well.
Burning, hoeing, mowing, and discing.