Hidden Star Orchards | CUESA

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Hidden Star Orchards


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


160 acres in Clements, 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. With a degree in Agribusiness at Cal Poly State University, Johann advised his parents in this transition. ln 2005, after a three-year process, they were granted CCOF organic certification. Today, 80 acres grow a variety of fruits, including apples, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, and blueberries. Hidden Star implements an efficient drip irrigation system using 100% potable water drawn from a 1,000 foot deep aquifer. To manage pests, they release beneficial insects, create habitats for predators, and spray with organic pesticides. Johann and Wendy are committed to a zero waste philosophy. All fresh unsold fruit is dried, juiced, sauced, or fermented at their San Leandro Cidery and commercial kitchen. Any leftovers are donated to River Dog Farms as feed for pigs. 


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 »