The Bluegrass Podcast: Trimmigrant Part 1
I hope you’re rolled up and ready, because it’s time for The Bluegrass Blog, and this week, we’re diving into the Cannabis industry in the Emerald Triangle with the subject of today’s episode: How I became a Trimmigrant. The night before I lay tucked into a slightly horrifying edge of the forest in which I was asked if I could supply hard drugs. Twice. I was glad to dissapoint with my answers. Asking questions in my head about cannabis and haircuts, I drifted off to sleep underneath the Redwood cover.
Heading out Tuesday, I got a jump start on the day. I packed up, ate a nutritious breakfast of banana, peanut butter, and date syrup on a tortilla and I headed on the road to make it along the mystery path. Jump forward several directions and I made my way up the winding drive. With the rain coming down in sheets every day, I was glad to grab a work trade for the day, and especially with a legendary grower!
The past year when I’d come to Humboldt for the Ganjier Training, I’d bought a jar of buds in a mason jar and I loved it. I’m a sucker for any container I can then reuse as a drinking glass and a mason jar is the queen of those containers. Really, I’ll take a clean mason jar over the majority of other things, heck even a regular drinking glass usually. So to grab a glass quarter full of bud, and actually want to keep the jar, felt like an incredible find.
What would await me was something no less than incredible, As I wound my through the redwood roads, I followed directions, and followed curving roads to an unsuspecting gate where I would get some up close and personal experience with a series of beautiful strains and selections of flower.
Offering up work without pay is a great way to learn. Just sayin. When you really want to learn something just find someone who really could use some help and show up. It does wonders. And let’s you be a fly on the wall as we always do. If your goal is to learn. Learn. And go straight to the source as much as you can.
I got there, bushy tailed, eager eyed, and bouncing on the balls on my feet straight into a sleepy den of individuals enjoying morning breakfast.
A person I would learn was part of a film crew from Columbia called back for my host, and went through the farmhouse. Past the kitchen I could see a wood-stove, and a gentleman who was smoking a healthy joint, playing catch up on the last week’s football, american football, games, generously packed with fresh herb. I walked past them and their beautiful dog to feel the gentle warm of the iron stove melt the mist from my fingertips as the heat radiated up my arms, and let the smoke from the joint waft over.
Getting the chance to go and see some of those plants in the most singular way possible was incredible. There’s very little chance to stand in front of the garden that grew the cannabis you were smoking against the backdrop of the redwoods.
On arrival, there was a documentary crew, shout out to the Orange Crew and Jose, who’s journey I’ll link below if you want to follow the documentary, and hopefully you'll be able to see a short clip they shot of our interview, which was super cool! They were following the farmer I was with and wanted to just see what was going on with the strains, Humboldt County, and others in the area. Others on the road finding where it leads. Great people from Columbia who were coming to the west coast on a mission.
As different film crew members filtered through the kitchen and the sun room, the morning began to churn a little more, until Sherita who was to be my mentor showing me around, and a sunshine regular who plays music, showed me the best ways to get set up to lay t things out efficiently for processing. Clipping small branches pff, breaking them off, and cutting patterns to make the work less and more efficient. We were stripping the more useless leaves from the outside of the plant, like so many dry and crumbling banana peels revealing the glistening buds underneath. We also broked down the large candelabra branched plants down into more manageable single branches to take one at a time.
Trying to find a way to work between the bucking sticky branches, depositing the leafy material onto tables and moving them to preserve every single sticky trichome head possible, was a challenge.
I guess I should also explain the whole “trimmigrant” thing. Popping over to people who might not be from Humboldt, I am, as they say, a trimmigrant. Someone who travels to Humboldt and the Emerald Triangle for the trim season to rack up cash, collect cannabis, and enjoy the harvest season in Humboldt, no small prize either in and of istelf, although my focus was more on mentorship than making money.
Since I got here, there are definitely stories of the good old days of trimmigration? The golden days of being a trimmigrant. Trimmigrantary? Anyways, the days When double fisted cannabis demons blazed through rows of hanging cannabis, harvesting pounds by the day, and racking up serious cash doing so, getting paid a significant amount by the pound harvested. Three months of 12 hour days translating into 9 months of travel or any other activity. A disappeared heydey, gone Long ago with the cash boom of black market days gone by. A familiar story for many rural areas across the United States.
Part of the job of the Ganjier is not only to absorb information, but understand it, and understand how to bring that information to others.The podcast let’s me transmit, but there’s always a separation between seeing something, and experiencing something. It’s one thing to understand where a grape comes from, but to understand the life of that grape before it becomes wine is another process entirely. So too with cannabis, though we definitely were not looking to crush these fruits, they did offer a deeper insight as always into new cannabis flower, products, methods of creation. Every day feels a little further though in my journey towards the horizon of a better cannbis future.
Watching the constant stream of buds flood from underneath my fingertips and towards the slowly stacking boxes was a thrill. One thing I’ll say about watching everything move under your fingers, you get a much better understanding of where cannabis goes, how it goes, and what the process is to get what you get to put in your pipe. As a previous dispensary employee, it definitley made me wish I’d had this experience while working as a budtender. It’d be an incredible standard if part of a budtender training was a farm and processing visit. Imagine if every barista got the chance to visit a coffee farm and roastery!
Although, I wasn’t actually trimming. I was bucking. The stage before. Separating the individual buds at their stems from the larger stems and branches from Harvest. As we unwound the hanging strings, holding long beautiful rows of buds, we separated them out into larger buds, and smaller, fluffier buds, as well as any pieces that may have broken off But not a bud in its own right. Over three days I helped to buck beautiful purple, green, and golden cannabis flowers into boxes for trimmers later on. processing is an ever different set of standards no matter where you go. Everybody has their own way of going about things, and this was no exception. We removed some of the outer water leaves, the crispy outer membranes, and mostly got the buds themselves into correct sizes.
I’ll admit driving through the redwood hills of Humboldt has been incredible, but before this I was starting to thirst for a bit more of an up-close look at some cannabis, when finally, what should appear, but an acceptance! After a few different offers of free work, I’d arrived a little too late into the harvest season this year for p