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Rick Roberti, second from left, and his wife Carolyn, center, shared details about their sustainably-managed fifth-generation Sierra Valley cattle and hay ranch with Soroptimist International of Quincy members and guests Sept. 5. The 6,000-acre ranch is run by several members of the Roberti family and produces about 300,000 lbs. of beef on the hoof and 7,000 tons of alfalfa hay per year. An amiable pair, Rick and Carolyn kept up a humorous banter that entertained everyone. They also explained it’s cold in Sierra Valley and not everything will grow out there, so the family is experimenting with raising industrial hemp. They recently began growing non-GMO corn to bale as hay for feed, too (it’s harvested before the corn can form). Photos by Roni Java

Art and Ag Trail set for Sept. 28

Sierra Valley’s stunning Roberti Ranch hosts Quincy Soroptimist club

Rick and Carolyn Roberti hosted a special preview tour Sept. 5 at their stunning Sierra Valley ranch for members of the Soroptimist International of Quincy, showcasing features that make the region and its rural lifestyle a favorite with history fans, birdwatchers and nature lovers.

Sierra Valley is an alpine valley about the size of Lake Tahoe, located east on Highway 70 and situated between the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range and the Great Basin.

According to the Sierra County Arts Council and Plumas Audubon Society, the valley reaches out from the headwaters of the wild and scenic Middle Fork Feather River. It’s freshwater marshes, grass meadows and sage steppes “provide varied habitats that support a wide array of wildlife, including growing herds of pronghorn antelope, mule deer and the occasional elk.”

As part of the Pacific Flyway, Sierra Valley is noted as a nationally designated “Important Bird Area” with over 260 bird species visiting during the course of a year.

The fifth-generation Roberti cattle and hay ranch is a 6,000-acre sustainable agriculture operation. It will be highlighted with 13 other properties, including farms and historic sites, on Saturday, Sept. 28, during the Sierra Valley Art + Ag Trail, an annual event offering free, self-guided tours of market farms and working ranches plus special “passport” activities and prize drawings (by donation).

Children’s activities are included in the day and attendees will see the work of local artisans in many mediums such as wood, paint, glass, ceramic, metal, fiber and more.

Visits to privately owned historic buildings and barn quilts are available, too. Along the way, the region’s history of family-run dairies and 100-plus-year-old barns will be on display for a glimpse into the days when cream, milk and butter production kept the Comstock Lode miners in Virginia City well-supplied. Many of the structures were built with hand-hewn timbers and wooden pegs and they still serve today’s working ranches.

Sierra Valley Art + Ag Trail is sponsored by the Sierra County Arts Council and receives major funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. In addition, area residents, funders, organizations and many individual artists and family-owned farms and ranches make the event possible.

Sierra Valley Art + Ag Trail

Saturday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free one-day, self-guided tour of market farms and working ranches, many featuring 100-plus-year-old dairy barns and other historic buildings where local artists demonstrate and show their works in wood, paint, glass, ceramic, leather, fiber, stone, metal and more.

Start your visit at one of three “trailhead” information centers located near entry points to Sierra Valley in Plumas and Sierra Counties.

Sierraville School, 305 Lincoln St., Sierraville.

Sierra Valley Farms, 1329 County Road A-23, Beckwourth.

Sierra Valley Grange Hall, 92202 Highway 70, Vinton.

Though much of the event is free, a $20 donation may be made to help fund the event and donors will receive two drawing tickets plus a keepsake “passport” to join the fun of collecting stamps from sites and artists along the trail.

A prize drawing will also be held featuring donated works from many of the participating artists and tickets are available for a dinner served by the Plumas-Sierra Cattlemen’s Association and Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen at the Sierra Valley Grange Hall.

For tickets, souvenir “passports,” dinner and other reservations, visit SierraValleyArtAgTrail.org.

Trailhead locations will have passports and prize drawing tickets from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

And don’t miss the “after-hours” fun at the Sierra Valley Grange Hall, starting at 4 p.m.

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