Hidden Star Orchards


John Smit and Wendy Holm, along with 6 full-time and 4 part-time employees.


100 acres in Linden, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Farm History

Once a dairy farm, the Smit family land was converted to an apple orchard in 1985. The first trees planted were a delicious new variety of apple called Fuji, and it was well-suited for the region. Today 80 acres are cultivated in a variety of fruits, including apples, cherries, and grapes. In 2005, after a three-year transition process, CCOF organic certification was granted for about 60% of the farm’s product. Hidden Star irrigates with 100% potable well-water drawn from 1,000 feet below the ground.


About 60% of this farm is certified organic.


San Joaquin loam is amended with cover crops and compost.

Water Use

Micro-spraying water from onsite well.

Weed Control

Burning, hoeing, mowing, and discing.

Pest Management

Pheremone disruption, owl boxes (owls prey upon voles), maintaining a habitat for beneficial insects, and discing to destroy vole habitat.

Fun Fact

A one-mile swath of Delta trade winds blow over the orchard. Moisture from this coastal influence creates a delicious flavor profile in Hidden Star’s apples.


Linden, California


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »