The Farmstand will be closed this season, however, the U-Pick will continue. Please sign up for our mailing list and we will notify you regarding dates and times.
SunSmile Farms has been experiencing a “water crisis” since August 2011. I know the faithful farm customers are wondering why we haven’t opened…why the truck is not up on the corner. The following is a synopsis of the events of the past year.
Our irrigation water has been provided by NID since 1941. The irrigation water for SunSmile Farms flows through an irrigation ditch in the vicinity of Twin Cities Church; from there it is piped under the parking lot and across to a point above the Rough and Ready Highway; then crosses under the highway and down Mill St.; and then to the Farm.
In August 2011, a leak developed under Rough and Ready Highway. Nevada County requested NID to repair the leak. NID responded that the pipe belonged to SunSmile Farms and was my responsibility and the county then notified me. I have never been of the opinion that I owned the pipeline until it comes onto the Farm, and I requested NID to provide documentation showing my ownership. NID then took the stance that I owned the pipeline from the “box” (where the pipeline begins at the ditch), but did not provide documentation. I repeatedly requested documentation and nothing was received. This was NID’s response to the desperate situation of a customer whose account has been in existence for 71 years! In May, I contacted my district board representative, Nick Wilcox, explained the situation and was granted a meeting with the WHO committee. I also retained legal counsel to aid in rectifying this devastating situation. I had to wait 3 weeks for the WHO meeting. In the meantime, the orchards could not be watered and the gardens could not be planted.
After my attorney made a formal request for documents, on June 11, the day before the WHO meeting, NID produced an easement deed from their files clearly showing that they own the pipe to the end of Mill St.!
NID has now agreed to repair the leak at Rough and Ready Highway (to take place 2 weeks from the June 12 WHO meeting). There remain other outstanding issues. NID requested that I take ownership of the pipeline from the highway to the Farm. If I refuse, they are threatening to raise my water rates and assess a maintenance fee! This has yet to be resolved.
On June 15, the water was turned on. It will be shut off again to repair the leak. I am presently in the process of getting things up and running. At this point, there has already been extensive damage and loss. I have returned the vegetable starts to the nursery and have been watering the onions and garlic with a water truck. The fruit trees are defoliating due to lack of water (I can’t water them with the water truck).
I can’t begin to tell you how this saddens me. Any of you who know me, understand how much this farm means to me. This has been a nightmare! I have always taken pride in producing quality fruit and produce for my customers and very much appreciate the support you have shown.
Due to this turn of events, the Farm will be closed this season.
I would, however, like to open the Farm for cherry U-Pick on Saturday, June 23, 9AM to 4PM. It’s certainly not a prize crop and will, most likely, be the last cherry U-Pick for SunSmile Farms.
The Farm will have U-Pick peaches (such as they are) and U-Pick blackberries. We will notify you by email of dates for these U-Pick events.
I also have onions and garlic for sale. Show your farm appreciation, come by on June 23 and buy an onion!