News Release - August 22, 2016
Special to Sierra Booster
Many local farmers and ranchers are opening the barn doors, literally, for a new event to be held October 1. The Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail will showcase eight local ranch sites, three vegetable farms, and three historic buildings as they play host to 25 – 30 artists and other agricultural enterprises from the region, showing their wares. In addition, the event will highlight the newly installed barn quilts around Sierra Valley.
“It’s an art circuit, a historical tour, a natural resources excursion and agritourism, all rolled into one,” said organizer, Kristi Jamason of Beckwourth. “Residents from the art and agriculture communities have really come together to create an event that will have appeal to history buffs, art lovers, birders, foodies, ag producers, families and tourists, seeking a good time this fall.”
The Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail will give the public a rare opportunity to visit working ranches and to step into the past in the historic dairy barns around the Valley. Each of these ranches has deep history that will be shared with visitors – through tours, by meeting and talking to multiple generations of owners, and in some cases through video. Loyalton High School students Bret Colberg and Matthew Stilson, and teacher Megan Meschery spent part of their summer developing “digital stories” for event participants, including the Sierra Valley Grange.
“The Sierra Valley Grange has deep roots in our local communities,” said Laural Colberg. “Our Grange #466 was organized in 1931 and grew to be the largest Grange in California by 1935. This event is going to help us tell the story of our past and share with a broader community the many services the Grange provides today.”
Working ranches that will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 1 include Green Gulch Ranch, Ramelli Ranch, Lemon Canyon Ranch, and Harvey Farms & Forestry. The Roberti Ranch will host visitors for three ranch tours by bus – at 10:15, 12:15 and 2:15. Each tour will be limited to 25 visitors; those wishing to attend one of the 1.5-hour tours should reserve a seat using the Ranch Tours link on robertiranch.com.
The event will also highlight newer agricultural operations in the Valley, including Beckwourth-based Bloomstone Farm, a vegetable and flower farm run by Sarah Johnstone; Li’l Meg’s Pumpkin Patch on Wittemore Farm, run by Megan Whittemore and her father Tim; KC Cattle Company, a diversified livestock enterprise run by Kacie Marin; and Sage Eggs & Ham, a heritage breed hog farm run by Laurie Munroe; as well as Calpine-based Sierra Valley Yaks, run by Jenna Endres and Greg Gatto.
Additional event sites include the original Maddalena Homestead, home base for furniture maker Brad Greenwood Designs, Feather River Land Trust’s Maddalena Preserve on County Road A-24, the Sattley Cash Store (now operated as Country Class Collectables by Marjorie Voorhees and Scott Perry), and the three event Trailheads – Sierra Valley Farms in Beckwourth (Road A-23), the Sierra Valley Grange (Vinton) and the historic Sierraville School.
The 14 event sites will host artists from the region, as well as other agriculture-related organizations. There will be painters, potters and photographers, boatbuilders, blacksmiths and basketmakers, weavers and woodworkers, jewelers and glass artists – and more.
Passport and Raffle
The Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail event will also offer a keepsake Passport, featuring beautiful photographs taken in Sierra Valley, which is on sale online via the event website (www.sierravalleybarnquilts.org) for $20. Travelers along the Trail will be invited to collect stamps in their passports of local cattle brand insignia, artist’s marks and more from event participants. A fundraiser for the event, the Passport will also serve as an entry for the event’s raffle drawing. The raffle, featuring prizes from generous local businesses and participating artists, will be drawn at 4:30 p.m., prior to the dinner at the Sierra Valley Grange Hall.
The Plumas-Sierra Cattlemen’s Association will be serving a delicious meal to end the day, from 5 – 6 p.m. Grilled tri-tip steak, beans, salad, rolls and dessert will be served up through a joint effort of the Cattlemen, the Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen and Sierra Valley Grange.
“This will be an opportunity to catch up with friends, compare passport stamps, swap stories and refuel for the drive home,” says Jamason.
Purchase dinner tickets in advance for a discounted price on the website.
The October 1 event will also highlight the Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Trail, including 10 new large-format quilt squares installed on historic buildings around the county. The Barn Quilt Trail was a project of the Sierra County Arts Council, funded by a Local Impact grant from the California Arts Council. Mountain Star Quilters and the Sierraville Recreation Association also played essential roles in bringing the Barn Quilt project to fruition. The Recreation Association continues to make barn quilts of various sizes as a fundraiser and will be selling them on October 1 at the Sierraville School Trailhead.
Those planning to “blaze the trail” are encouraged to start at one of the three event Trailheads, which will be handing out maps, selling Passports and souvenir embroidered flour sack dish towels and hosting artists and informative exhibits.
The Sierra Valley Grange Hall, 92202 Highway 70 in Vinton
Sierra Valley Farms, 1329 County Road A23/Westside Road in Beckwourth
The historic Sierraville School, 305 South Lincoln in Sierraville
Knowledgeable volunteers will be available to help those travelling the Trail plan their route – whether visitors are interested in children’s activities (for example pressing cider, pumpkin patch games, feeding snacks to yaks), hearing about local ranching history, particular art media, farm visits, etc.
The Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail is a cooperative venture of the Plumas-Sierra Community Food Council, Sierra County Arts Council, Plumas Arts, and UC Cooperative Extension, with grant funding from the Common Good Community Foundation and Plumas Public Health Agency’s 20,000 Lives initiative, and contributions from the East Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce, many local event sponsors, as well as individual artists and family-owned farms and ranches.
“Our community members are very supportive and truly generous,” said Carolyn Roberti, one of the event planners. “Many people have come together, contributing access to their property, their artwork, time, services and funds to make this first-time event a success. We hope many will turn out to enjoy the day.”
Additional information and photographs of art, ranches, farms and event locations, event sponsors and links to barn history, birds of the area and more are on the event website: SierraValleyBarnQuilts.org.
Participants at Art & Ag Sites
Bloomstone Farm Site:
(with farm & hoophouse tours by Sarah Johnstone)
Casey Clark – handmade pottery
Gabriela O’Neil / Tahoe Glass by Gabi
Katie Tanner / Oddglass – fused glass
Maddalena Homestead Site:
Brad Greenwood / Greenwood Designs – hand-crafted furniture
Judy Dailey / J Dailey Design - jewelry
Sierra Valley Yaks – yaks for meat and fiber
Jesse Greenwood –magic realist paintings
Feather River Land Trust’s Maddalena Preserve:
(with natural history walks by FRLT)
Plumas Audubon Society – information, nest boxes
Micah Silver / Lost Sierra Wildlife - photography
Tyler Jacobsen - paintings
Green Gulch Ranch:
Gloria Gipson / Earth ‘n’ Light - Gemstone, crystal and Kumihimo braided jewelry
High Sierra Coffee Roastery
Sally Yost - paintings
Harvey Farms & Forestry:
Anna Harvey - blankets, yarn, rovings, pelts, fleeces and felted soaps
Lucia Biunno / Dog Walk Crochet
Michelle Haselton / Lakes Basin Creations – pine needle baskets, weaving and spinning
KC Cattle Company:
(diversified livestock exhibit, iron ancestry of Sierra Valley agriculture, petting zoo and animal art for kids)
Kacie Marin Photography
Lemon Canyon Ranch:
Doug Read – hand-carved woodwork
Joanne Corso / I AM LOVE Artworks – paintings, handmade paper, baskets
Li'l Meg's Pumpkin Patch:
(offering pumpkins, gourds and more for sale, games for kids, Halloween-themed photo opportunities)
George Halvorsen / Hand Crafted Wood Products by George Halvorsen
Susan Wilson – weaving demonstrations and activities
Rob Robson - paintings
Scott Perry / Country Class Collectables - pyrography
Paul Herman / Great Basin Pottery
Dennis Black – blacksmith demonstrations
Sattley Cash Store:
Marjorie Voorhees / Country Class Collectables – stained glass
Sierra Valley Farms (Trailhead):
(with Gary Romano selling and autographing books and farm products for sale)
Sage Eggs & Ham – heritage-breed hogs – information, pork
Sierra Valley Boatworks – cedar strip kayaks and canoes
Sierra Valley Grange (Trailhead):
(with refreshments and apple cider pressing)
Betty Thatcher – watercolor paintings and greeting cards
Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen – Sierra Valley ranch history exhibit, brand quilt, informational displays
Sierraville School (Trailhead):
Kathleen Goicoechea – paintings
Sierraville Recreation Association – mini barn