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.
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.
Micro-spraying water from onsite well.
Burning, hoeing, mowing, and discing.
Pheremone disruption, owl boxes (owls prey upon voles), maintaining a habitat for beneficial insects, and discing to destroy vole habitat.
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.
McGinnis Ranch is steep: it sits on a 12% grade. The harder it rains, the less fun it is for Howard, who sometimes spends days replacing soil that has washed down the hill. But the grade allows maximum sun exposure and extends the farm’s season significantly.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »