HUMBOLDT GROWER

– the gold standard

Humboldt Spring… — June 7, 2016

Humboldt Spring…

In the heart of Southern Humboldt…

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(Please note the glimpse of a vibrant and healthy countryside out past our garden. We will be revealing more of the land we steward over time.)

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Natural Light — January 6, 2016

Natural Light

The transition away from the black market is dependent on the quality of our cannabis.  Our product must be A+ to be competitive.  It is illogical to expect indoor farming to sustain a national market……is there any other agricultural pursuit totally reliant on artificial climate conditions?

We really can grow better cannabis with natural light. There is a direct relationship between light spectrum/intensity and a plant’s growth rate and the complexity of cannabinoids and terpenes it produces. Essentially, sun bud has more personality. This association proves that the sun is capable of creating more quantity and higher quality cannabis at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact. As growers, most of us have not yet seen the full potential of this plant.  

“Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s epigenetic qualities, when a crop is grown in a specific habitat” (Wikipedia).   The influence of  “culture” and “place” are significant considerations. Other artisanal crops such as wine, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops and agave rate quality based on terroir.  Since artificial environments have no terroir, our indoor competitors have no incentive to subscribe to a system that will place our product significantly above theirs.  

But cannabis farmers need to take advantage of hybridized or augmented environments – sort of like the best of both worlds. Crops go to market every 3 months year round.  Climate controlled growing, drying, curing, and processing facilities will ensure a more consistent product.  And the farmer can also take advantage of what nature provides, utilizing specific strategies and techniques to manipulate climatic conditions with nature’s help. Most importantly, the quality is A+ and the environmental impact of this “closed system” is minimal.  

Some level of augmentation is appropriate, but it must be balanced with our terroir; our terroir AVA designation will keep us at the top of the food chain. In the stiff California cannabis market with over 50,000 established farms, those who seek compliance will have to do more than just fill out the paperwork.  After you are growing A+ cannabis (at any scale), you will have the competition to contend with – an elite AVA designation will help with that.

We need to position ourselves in the market by creating these American Viticultural Areas (Southern Humboldt AVA, Mateel AVA, Garberville AVA, Briceland AVA, etc.) The state has already designated Humboldt County as an AVA, however, not all areas are equal; different climate zones will produce very different products. People need to get used to the idea that cannabis land is not “flat” nor in a valley! The best olives in the world are grown on cliffs along the Amalfi Coast in italy. The best wine grapes are grown on the steepest slopes….. table grapes grow in the valley! So does rope hemp.

Terroir – “a taste of place” — November 20, 2015

Terroir – “a taste of place”

These cannabis misconceptions are destructive – “weed” grows the same everywhere; cannabis should only be grown in traditional agricultural areas; cannabis should be seriously limited in Humboldt County.
The whole world recognizes that the cannabis grown in Southern Humboldt is of the highest quality. Climate and cannabis are intertwined.  Look at the IDEAL climatic conditions for cannabis. It grows best between 60-90 degrees and 40-60% humidity.  Below 60 degrees, cannabis does not grow and is susceptible to lethal diseases. Above 90 degrees, trichomes die and again cannabis is susceptible to lethal diseases.  Below 40% humidity is too dry, and cannabis does not develop resin.  Over 60% humidity is too wet and the plants mold.
Now let us superimpose those conditions on a climate zone map of California. You will see that Southern Humboldt is a unique convergence of humidity and temperature that exists nowhere else. Humboldt County is classified as “Humid”.  We have the largest annual rainfall of any county in California. With proper management, we should be the only county in the state without  a “water problem”.
“Mazari” is a genetic line traditionally cultivated in Humboldt County.  It was imported from Mazar-i-Sharif Afghanistan, which is at 1,100 ft above sea level.  Most of our “Cannabis land” is between 500-1500 ft. elevation. The geography of this region is also unique, in that these low hills allow “coastal influence” to penetrate deeper into the continent than it does elsewhere, raising the interior humidity. Comparing  annual rainfall, humidity, and temperature shows that Southern Humboldt is a better growing climate for cannabis than Mazari Sharif!.  Southern Humboldt is also a more temperate climate than all of its California competitors.
Regions below 500 feet either fall into the coastal zone 15(too humid), are interior zone 14 valleys(too hot), or a riparian zone blue line watershed(environmental hazard). Regions above 1500 ft are alpine and have extreme climates. Indicas (like Mazari) do well at high elevations with extreme climates. Sativas or Hybrids (like OG or Sour) do well at low elevations with temperate climates. This means all of our agricultural valleys in California are too hot to farm grade A cannabis.  Our mountains are too extreme and cold to farm grade A cannabis.  The low lying coastal hills of Southern Humboldt California are the prefered environment for cannabis.
How has the agricultural world addressed locating specific crops like grapes or olives?  Through terroir – AVA (American Viticulture Areas) Appellations are created to protect the integrity of such unique regions as Champagne france.  This means the elevation, longitude, latitude, distance from the ocean and topography suggest what genetics you should be cultivating on your farm. There are a variety of microclimates within Southern Humboldt itself.
What this all means is that while we are all considering “how much cannabis should be grown in Humboldt County”, we should recognize two things; first, Southern Humboldt County is BY FAR  the most ideal climate for farming cannabis in the United States; second, most of the viable land is already under cultivation. There is very little “open space” for expansion.  State and County officials hold that the current average crop canopy is 2300 sq. ft. or 1/16th acre (usually on a 40 acre parcel).  That is incredibly low density for agriculture.
Let us stop worrying about how big our canopy is and start worrying about getting our appellations! We must secure our market share for future generations.