The History of our Agricultural Background & Sharps Gulch Ranch

The land we live on is rich in family farming history and we are proud to continue that legacy through hard work, storytelling and the restoration of the ranch’s two homes, a large victorian and a 19th century creamery-turned house. We both come from a long lines of agriculture families, so we are grateful and excited to see these California roots grow into a story of our own.

- Mary and Brian Heffernan

California Stories

Sharps Gulch was established in October of 1857 by early pioneers of Scotts Valley, William and Augusta Sharp. After trying his luck mining in California’s booming gold country and farming in the San Joaquin Valley, William Sharp moved his family north looking for better land and a better life. Traveling in a covered wagon across California and through the Scott Mountains, the Sharps arrived near Fort Jones on Christmas Day of 1854 with chickens, pigs and the first turkeys to be introduced to the county. After renting land for a time, they purchased the gulch in 1857 and planted 500 acres of grain. William and Augusta had ten children: Emily, Philip, Frederick, Augusta, Friedell, Eugene, Josephine, Frank, Walter and William, and the farm stayed in their family until 1974 when it was purchased by the Hansen Family.

Brian and Mary Heffernan purchased Sharps Gulch from the Hansens in 2013 and continue the family farm legacy with their own roots in California agriculture- dating back to the 19th century.

Brian's Family Legacy:

Casper Borchard, Brian’s great, great grandfather, was born in Germany and came to Ventura County to began farming sugar beets in 1867. Known as one of the first agriculturalists in this region, Casper and his wife Theresa farmed in the area and eventually bought the Conejo ranch of four thousand acres. Their son, Antone, continued the family ranch and later settled in Orange County, where Brian’s family continued working in agriculture until the present day. Brian's Dad felt a strong tie to his farming roots and left the business world to begin his own farming journey in Imperial Valley and then in Tehema County  in the North Sate. Brian's dad, Tom, passed away this year but made many visits to the ranch before he died and was very proud to see his son following in his footsteps. We farm to remember Tom and his dedication to the land, the animals and the California farming community. 

The Conejo Ranch, founded by Casper Borchard

The Conejo Ranch, founded by Casper Borchard

Mary's Family Legacy:

Mary is a 6th generation Californian, with her family roots in Watsonville/Santa Cruz county which began when her ancestors came from Ireland to the Pajaro Valley in 1859. They grew strawberries, apples, lettuce, and sugar beets and farmed in the Watsonville area for five generations.

Below are photos from the Sheehy Family produce facility and the Sheehy family apple crate labels and brands. We proudly hang these in our home to remind us of our farming ancestors and our farming roots!

Watsonville farmers outside of the Sheehy family's produce facility: Golden Rule Brand

Watsonville farmers outside of the Sheehy family's produce facility: Golden Rule Brand

Gold Bond Lettuce.jpg
Red Heart Apples.jpg
Rolden Rule Tomatoes.jpg

We are very proud to be back in agriculture, just as our ancestors were, on our own family farm to continue our Californian history on Siskiyou County soil. Our daughters are 7th generation Californians who we hope to raise with a love and respect of the land where we live.