Thursday, June 20, 2013


  • I'm posting this for a friend.
  • For years this farm has strived to support the local community by producing quality fruits and vegetables. We have actively supported the local food bank, provided flowers to hospice, invited the public out to experience the farm with our U Pick, hosted the Twin Cities Run for the Community, and much more.
    For those of you who don’t know me, my name is George Loftus. I am a
    fifth generation farmer in Nevada County. My family has farmed here for
    over 100 years. My great Uncle, Joel Bierwagen, started SunSmile Farms 75
    years ago. SunSmile Farms is a 70 acre Certified Organic farm located at
    the end of West Drive in Grass Valley, CA.
    Today, the farm is about to go out of business. In August 2011, NID
    turned the water off to the farm causing irreparable damage. The farm’s
    perennial stock, the trees and berries, was severely damaged. We grew
    nearly 400 thousand plants in our gardens at the time the water was turned
    off. The farm was devastated. In Spring 2012, I brought in a water truck
    to water 41,000 onions and 12,500 heads of garlic. Most of the onions and
    garlic were unmarketable or rejected for wholesale seed.
    Our operation used to consist of a Farmstand that was open 6 days a week,
    U Pick cherries, peaches, and blackberries, CSA, and Farmers Market. The
    Farmstand is now open on occasional weekends just to sell peaches. We
    still have U Pick peaches, but the U Pick cherries, blueberries and
    raspberries are gone. The trees and plants have died. In 2012, we had to
    cancel the CSA subscriptions as we were unable to plant our gardens. We
    are unable to plant our gardens because we don’t have a consistent supply
    of water. The water was restored in mid June 2012 and we have had
    continuing problems with our service. NID sleeved the pipe to repair the
    leak and installed a new box to turn off the water. November 2012, they
    crushed the old service box and reconfigured a new one. I still contend
    that I am not receiving the water I historically had. It is an ongoing
    NID acknowledged they were wrong and told me to file a claim. My wife and
    I spent countless hours going through my records to calculate the damages.
    I then hired a forensic accountant to verify the calculations according
    to my harvest and sale records. This took considerable time. In January
    2013, I sent the damage estimates for the perennial stock (trees and
    berries) to the NID Board of Directors. They rejected my claim saying
    that it was untimely. I was hoping for an early settlement.
    My attorney contacted the NID insurance adjuster and let them know of the
    rejected claim and made arrangements for them to tour the farm. I was
    contacted by a forensic pathologist who visited the farm 3 weeks ago. We
    met for 5 hours. No word so far.
    If I am unable to reach an early settlement by July 23, I will be forced
    into filing a lawsuit. To date, I am requesting damages for the loss of
    the trees and berries. If I am forced into litigation, I will include the
    damages for the annuals, the gardens, the flowers, and the year of being
    Now we are at a crossroads. Due to the damage caused by the situation
    with NID and our water supply, we may soon be forced to go out of
    business. As the owner and farmer of SunSmile Farms, I am asking for the
    support of the community to voice their concern and request NID to take
    responsibility for their actions and compensate SunSmile Farms for the
    damage caused.
    Please contact the NID Board of Directors. Send letters, emails, and
    phone calls. We have postcards you can fill out and send in. These
    postcards are available at the farm, in the “Take One” box mounted on the
    sign out front.
    Anyone willing to distribute postcards, please contact us by email
    ( and we will make arrangements.
    Please forward this email to your friends.
    Thank you,
    Constituents wishing to contact members of the board are invited to e-mail
    the directors at the addresses listed below or contact Board Secretary
    Lisa Francis Tassone (273-6185, ext. 222), who will be happy to put you in
    contact with your elected representative.
    Nancy Weber
    Director, Division I (Term of Office Expires in 2014)
    John H. Drew
    Director, Division II (Term of Office Expires in 2014)
    W. Scott Miller, MD
    Director, Division III (Term of Office Expires in 2016)
    Jim Bachman
    Director, Division IV (Term of Office Expires in 2014)
    Nick Wilcox
    Director, Division V (Term of Office Expires in 2016)

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