A Trimmigrant’s Perspective

Capture“There is a palpable tension between the ‘working man,’ scraping by on Wal-Mart wages in a sagging economy, and the newly-rich young man with dreadlocks and a backwards baseball cap flashing a wad of cash,” says a passage in this morning’s edition of Narratively.

The piece centers on one man’s experience working in the weed fields of the Emerald Counties. He starts in the Santa Cruz mountains and ends up with a grower as weed is exchanged for cash in Eureka. In between he stops in Leggett, where the locals are less than thrilled at the influx of trimmigrants–seasonal workers in the area’s marijuana industry.

He writes, “The seasonal workers, many already living on the edge of society, seek fast cash and exciting adventures in the hills of Northern California at harvest time. They sit on freeway onramps and in town squares holding cardboard signs with pictures of scissors drawn in Sharpie, looking for trimming work. They will be picked up by strangers, often blindfolded and taken to remote woods outside of town to work the farms, plucking leaves, watering plants and trimming buds, hoping the man decides to pay them what he promised. I have joined this group of vagabonds to document the effects of marijuana prohibition on the people and communities of Northern California.”

He doesn’t much manage to document the effects of prohibition so much as to describe his personal experiences in the Emerald Counties. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable read.

You can take a look at Lennon Bergland’s article, My Dreamy Dangerous Season with the Weed Harvesters of California Cannabis Country here and expect more like him next fall.



  • Trimmigrants are here and for the immediate future, will be here in the future.

    No one can say the value of the grows has had on our local economy and when it becomes regulated the stronger value it will have on our local government agencies. With regulations it is hoped the “trimmigrant” rush to get make the fast buck will also change.

    Much of the local frustration (hearsay and experience) is the constant gathering along streets in various communities and trashing the place when they leave each day, only to return the next for those who did not get a job the day before. With regulation, permanent employees will be hired and hopefully with this the employers will create appropriate lodging for their employees; not on the streets or in tents – we can dream, yes?

    Not all trimmigrants trash the areas and show disrespect to local norms, but it only takes a few to make the majority look bad. One should not group all of them into one basket, but address the problems held against the trimmigrants towards individuals causing the problems.

    Hopefully, in the future with regulation the glory of being a trimmigrant is removed and those employing trimmers and other staff will do more to provide prospective employees lodging.

    • You’ve raised a good point. I’m wondering if CalOSHA will be tending to the workers’ safety, as well as the Farm Worker Housing regs. The current proposal seems to invite all regulations applicable locally and through the State. I hope this has been thought of… It’s a mine field.

  • There is no “Trinity Mountain Range” and the Trinity river flowed fine all year… the lake is dismal, but that has nothing to do with the story.

    • not my cup of tea

      His directions are a little off, if done so purposely in event that he tips someone off that reads his account to a grow location. He mentions the Eel River and crossing it to the grow, so he’s already in SoHum, nowhere near the Trinity Alps. But then he mentions doing a drop at K-mart, but passing by the jail which means he came from the north and unless they circled back all the way around Eureka, he didn’t cross the Eel at all, but rather the Mad or maybe the Trinity rivers. K-mart seems way too obvious of a place to be “hiding” at for an exchange. Cops go by there all the time. But interesting personal take. Definitely not a lifestyle of my choosing, having to always watch your back against everybody and the critters. The pay just isn’t that good to erase having a target on my back, with a drunk tyrant of an employer.

  • Why not put up some fake videos of trimigrants being ambushed and beheaded?

    It will keep some from coming.

  • for all the people who don’t have friends that would want to come back…

  • The difference between the guy working for minimum wages and the guy with dreadlocks is credit. The guy working minimum wages can rent a place because he has good credit, can get a car loan, etc. Have you tried to rent a place lately without having a credit check?

  • i had a nephew trim one season while looking for a real job
    his pay was a pound to sell illegally every 2 weeks
    he had friends that sold it , he didnt want to ruin his life by getting caught
    wonder how most of those trimmers getting paid now ? they getting the shake to sell illegally ?

  • Super boring article. Talk about something we haven’t all read each year from some wannabe “journalist” turned trimmer. *yaaaaaaaaaaawn*

    How about we talk about the droves of intensely smelly, low vibration, dirty, ratty bummies loitering in all the grocery store parking lots, posing as “workers” with their instruments and dogs, harassing us in line as we pay if they suspect us to be a “grower”. Who in their right mind would hire such foul smelling and looking bummies to do anything in their medicinal garden??? Obviously “trimmigrants” are not being hired to work on farms where cleanliness and clean medicine is a demand. Not to mention, these lazy brats with probably well to do parents in the European countries they came over here from after their 2 weeks at Burning Man expect you to take care of them like they are your children. Grow up! Get a life and stop abusing our seasonal work efforts.

  • people wouldn’t have too higher trimmigrants if local people actually wanted to trim.

  • I used to complain about trimmigrants. We always hired locals and especially locals who’d had a rough year. Eventually, as growing got safer and easier, all our trimmers got their own scene. The locals who were available were available for a reason. Didn’t have a scene or a regular job because they party hard and continuously and it ended up costing us lots of time and money. We hired our first trimmigrants last year, off the street. They were good and fast and motivated to roll up some cash. The kids are in their young 20’s, international travelers with great heart and great stories, very considerate and thankful for this high-paying and fun-to-them job. They swing through here to earn cash to fund their low-cost vagabonding adventures. I’d probably do the same thing in their position- they remind me of that old care-free lifestyle. I’ll never hire locals again. Locals are unreliable, complain and expect everything!

    • It is to easy for locals once they get into the system of not working. Or, they are growing their iwn you think?

    • ElHuichol,who is frowned upon,is seasonal farm worker too.

    • Forgot lazy…

      There will be a time when people will wish these days were still here.

      Once weed is corpgov very little will be grown in the triangle.

      When it’s over it won’t be coming back.

  • sharpen your pencil

    Everyone wants to call them trimmigrants.. call them what they are trimsients…

  • Hard working local

    As a year round local trimmer I personally know I work harder currently than I ever did working a full time bank/deli/waiting job(and imagine, i still shower!). Granted the pay is exceptionally better, but the hours and conditions can be less than convient. I feel that we deal with a much higher cost of living here in Humboldt and it is dissapointing to see outsiders stroll in and take up the jobs for a lower wage and in some cases leave a huge pile of waste in their wake. I dont believe that if you’re not on your own scene there is a reason. Many people dont want the risk. I’m not opposed to outsiders coming occationally(it actually brings diversity to the job); nor do I blame them, but it has gotten to the point where it has taken an environmental and social toll on the community. I don’t think anyone can deny that

  • Hope we have a rainy winter! THIS COUNTY NEEDS AN ENEMA!

  • Keep your work local. If you don’t know people that live here that need to work for you then your probably not much of a community member to begin with. And your going to invite more and more trash and rips to come.
    Stop abusing this lost secret. Your loud mouths have spoiled a great piece of opportunity. And now we all pay for it.
    Go home to your city or help improve our space.

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