Emerald in the Rough

It’s late autumn and the market is saturated. The initial push from various grow operations, both legal and otherwise, have passed their peaks and the season is winding down…for some. Others in the legal medicinal wing of our counties operational proceedings are only just beginning their next wave of products to continue serving their customer base. Legitimacy and coming into the light of commonality by way of consistently quality products for patients seeking alternative and effective medicine is a magnum opus that knows no season. After a recent excursion to Oregon, who only recently saw recreational cannabis go into effect, it was amazing to see first hand all that is possible when the culture is embraced in the mindset and enveloped in knowledge. From Portland to Ashland, hundreds of shops opened up seemingly over night, as if the entire state had its hands in the center, and upon legalization let out a resounding, “And… BREAK!” as they scattered to begin serving their customers. OMMP patients in the state are allowed to go to the front of the line, bucking the recreational users so that their needs are served first. For many growers and patients alike, this is a utopia, and a small vision of the way that they always saw legalization coming to fruition. Here in California, we still have a dearth of growers that are prioritizing their patients as if they were already at the front of the line, such is Emerald Orchards. However, their goal is not to just provide products, but rather to be an example on the advanced guard of protecting the local industry.

I spoke with one of their owners, Andrew Tone, over coffee on a brisk morning to know more about what he feels his and his businesses role is in the future of the burgeoning boomtown of the marijuana industry.

f53ed4a0-2a16-40a5-bfda-1862fafb8b75“Emerald Orchards is a farm co-operative of organic and sustainably organized farms. We consist of farms in Humboldt and Trinity county, and we are a group of people that are trying to organize ourselves and legitimize ourselves for the next phase which is coming fast. And our goal is to keep the farmers and the “mom and pop” organizations that exist around here current, and that Humboldt County has a future in this industry, because right now is stands on the edge of a knife.” He continued, “part of our goal with what we’re doing is to exemplify our own representation in the community. The going quietly thing? It hasn’t been going well in case anyone is paying attention.”

To that same end, and cross referenced with the visibility of growers in Oregon, it would seem that Emerald Orchards has a strategy which is an increasingly common trait amongst growers. In that, strength in both numbers and transparency will be a boon to both their business and the industry at large.

“Let’s say you have a farm and make a good product, or an extract company and make a good product; get out there and tell people about it! It’s all about people getting outside their comfort zone, and you can’t do it all yourself. It’s very important that you get involved, and communicative. Follow whatever rules are being laid down, and use them to your advantage. Because, we, as a community, are being observed right now. We have an opportunity to show other places how to do things properly. It’s an amazing time to be doing what we’re doing. We’re a small blip on the radar, but we are able to do things so efficiently with our processes, that we believe it deserves attention. There’s a new wave of entrepreneurs that are business people, not plant people. They don’t understand that we care primarily about our plants and their medicinal properties.

3fede490-592c-498d-801a-465cb87e4ab0When asked about what separates Emerald Orchards from other farms, Tone went on to say, “All of our employees have a share in whats going on. We have share farming, and we utilize practices and techniques which have the lowest impact possible on the ecosystem. IE collecting rain water, managing water storage, and other shared practices. It’s environmentally and emotionally viable, with expansion on proprietary genetics. Our gardens also thrive using a custom blend of biologically enriched, organic amendments by local company Soil Scape Solutions.”

Our conversation continued on with florid discussion about envisioning the future of the industry, with ideas of ganja hay bail rides on farms, or even turning various plots of lands into a latter day wine country motif. Throughout the interview, Tone’s passion and love of his products and his position was palpable. It was refreshing as a journalist that there are still a bevy of people in this world who are trying to help just as much if not more so than they are trying to make a buck.

“It’s a spirit of mutual respect. Through our land, everything comes out. We do. Our livelihoods do, and our health can as well. We evolved at the same time as these plants. We rose in an agrarian format, but then there’s the entrepreneur side. So you can’t be too far on one side or the other. It’s necessary for survival.”

All of the contact information, lists and photos of products and where to find them can be found at Emerald Orchards website at emeraldorchards.org. Lastly, speaking from personal experience, if you have any ailment that fits the bill of their medical parameters, their products take mighty fine care of you.

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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