Tour a Large Legal Cultivation Site Deep in the Hills of SoHum

Marijuana garden From the Emerald Tribune

Cultivation Site

This article first appeared in a new publication devoted to cannabis, the Emerald Tribune.  (Follow them on Facebook for more cannabis news.) The following article is reprinted here with their gracious permission.

This spring, the Emerald Tribune was invited on a tour of a large sungrown cannabis farm, deep in the hills of Southern Humboldt. We braved the treacherous county roads and intermittent rain to reach a sprawling cannabis estate, nestled in the rolling hills where the three counties of the Emerald Triangle meet.


Driving out to the farm was a long and perilous journey. We slowly crawled along winding mountain roads, carefully traversing potholes half the size of our vehicle.


There were some places where the pavement appeared to drip and melt off the side of the hill, and a few miles down the street it bubbled and broke into deep fissures. Neighbors say the roads are better now than they have been in decades. How many millions of dollars worth of cannabis drive along these pock-marked roads every year?


Along the way, we took a few wrong turns down mistaken driveways. One of these brought us to a farm with large hoop houses right next to the house and the driveway. Any fears we may have had about the armed and dangerous neighbors were unfounded. A very nice young lady came out of the house and directed us along the right path.


Finally, we arrived at the right place. The homestead was a clean and well-kept two-story wooden home among the trees, with no hoop houses or cannabis plants in sight. The farmer came out to greet us and begin the tour.


The farmer grew up in these hills, on a property nearby. His parents were back-to-the-landers, hippies who home-schooled their children and bathed them in a metal tub.


His first experiences with cannabis came from doing grunt work on neighboring farms. He dug holes, buried water lines, and did other essential farm chores for just $5 per hour. If you ask him today, he’ll tell you that he owes all of his success to those neighbors, and the entire community.


As a child, the farmer used to explore around the hills surrounding his family’s lot. He talked to farmers on neighboring parcels, and learned all about the area. By the time he was ready to buy at 19, he already knew what he wanted.


He leveraged everything he had saved up, and took out loans with incredible interest rates in order to afford his first lot. Back then, the land was worth almost nothing. These farms are hours from the nearest town. Isolation and rocky mountain roads made it difficult to build and get materials.


After a while, he expanded into another large nearby parcel. Eventually, his parent’s property came on the market, and he acquired that as well. Now he has a large acreage combined of many properties.


The house began as a small cement pad and a one room cabin, which, over the course of 30 years, has evolved into a large and comfortable homestead. It’s hard to imagine such humble beginnings when you look at all the plush furniture in the outdoor dining room.


You can still feel the echoes of those early days in some parts of the home. That seminal cement pad has become a mudroom. Other parts of the home are absolutely palatial, like the Alpine-inspired breakfast bar, where you can sit among the trees and look across the valley at the farm.


After touring the home, we hopped into a 4-seat side-by-side and roared across a beautiful valley of golden grass and a chaparral landscape to the grow site. We passed a rain catchment pond, surrounded by mossy fallen trees, and a little house specially designed to hold big drums of natural gas.


Before we reached the plants, we passed a vegetable garden with a yard full of plump and talkative chickens. A little greenhouse there was full of lettuce starts, and the door was lined with rainbow prayer flags. A tie-dyed SoHum scarecrow kept watch over neat and tidy rows of kale.


From the garden, we walked over to the two-story drying house. On one side of the drying room was a gigantic sliding door, which opened up the entire ground floor to let in light and air. The room was lined with linoleum floors to aid cleanup and sanitization. The gigantic stalks of bud hung floor to ceiling, with barely any space below to crouch and crawl in the polleny darkness.


In addition to chickens, the farm hosts a whole herd of goats and a small flock of sheep. We couldn’t get a picture of the sheep, but we heard all about them. The farmer’s wife makes cannabis-infused sheepsmilk ice cream, sometime using a home-made water-wheel powered ice cream machine. The sheep and lambs have their own caretakers, and very nice accomodations.


Finally, we reached the plants. Long rows of hoophouses climbed up the side of the hill. There were more than I could count, each one bursting with fragrant, dark green leaves. A large greenhouse was filled to capacity with starts.


This cannabis estate lies in the very heart of the Emerald Triangle. Standing among the hoophouses, the farmer pointed out the hills nearby that fell in Trinity County, and which ones fell in Mendocino County.


A crew of young men, many of them brothers, oversee day-to-day farm management. Some of them like to sleep in a big circular building that overlooks the fruits of their labor. Workers can spend time outside while working, and sleep comfortably on the property at night.


The final segment of the tour took us around another rainwater catchment pond for some more scenic mountain views, before returning to the homestead. Looking back across the valley at the neat hoophouses of the farm, it was hard to imagine how far we had come.

farm view 4

The Emerald Tribune takes you behind the scenes to the most fascinating farms in Humboldt County. 

Whose farm should we feature next? 



  • Wow AJ sure is dumb. I don’t see a tag on those horns either.

    • “Drums of natural gas” ahhh those are regular diesel tanks… same ones featured in photos to tarnish the grow sites they bust.

      • I notice they don’t show the bottoms either, if they had containment they would probably show it.

        • or proper placarding for the first responders like the site that got busted with the bag of trash strewed around by a raccoon that was referred to a solid waste violation on hwy 1. I would assume these ASTs are not permitted and if they are someone has not done their job at 100 H street.

  • Total greed bust there ass this is why mom, and pop do not excist any more . who the hell are they going to sell all that pot to oh it’s all personal my ass .sheriff honsel himself will be on there way with the chippers in tow. why don’t they say the name of the farm who is the guy with his back to the camera they just put up a sign saying look come bust me lol alot say they are legal ,but we all know that is a grey area

    • I doubt it sounds like they are paid off, you know with the “permits”

    • It’s a legal grow read the article!

    • If he is going to be 100% legal after Jan 1st he will have to pay $10 per ounce to the state board of equalization, in addition he must pay state and federal income taxes, and he is not allowed to write off his business expenses on his federal taxes because it is still illegal federally. That means he is going to be taxed at damn near 60%. He has to go big. He also will undoubtedly divert a shit ton to the black market to make ends meet. On Jan 1st mom and pop craft growing dies, or goes back to the black market. The dispensaries in the bay area are going to lose 80-90 percent of their growers and those menu positions will be filled by big ass growers cranking out the six most popular strains in mass quantities.

    • Little Reefer Madness Mentality going on for ya

    • Who are they going to sell all that pot to…?? Seriously? The “state of Nevada” will require a couple “thousand” pounds a month to sustain inventory and maintain their state budget which relies heavily on the sale of recreational marijuana tax revenue. Product must be obtained through licensed/permitted growers and delivered by authorized distributors to the dispensaries. No doubt it was said at some point in time about ole Farmer JohnBob JoeBob by one of his nosy neighbors after he bought another hundred acres of land “who is he going to sell all that corn to…?”. Forward thinking farmers who comply with the legal process will be contracted by various sources to grow and meet a quota to supply the demand in states such as Nevada. Looks like these folks are on the right track!

    • Lots of money.too bad they don’t import phytoplankton to Humboldt.then a poor person could survive by growing a food garden.the rich have little security.

    • I do not get what you idiots think. How do u expect the next generation of growers that grew up here to survive. If these people don’t expand and compete they are done. Get off people’s backs and let people attempt to make a living. The large growers in flatter areas where water use is condoned are enough competition they don’t need people getting upset. That is not very much farming space for a crop of u think of it as a farmable crop. With lossses and gains. No one will be getting what they use to for it…. if mom and pop want to stay they need to look like this guy! This is today’s economies mom and pop. Get with the program.

  • The Bigger You Are The More Neighbors You Run Down

    I hope Jeff Sessions can shut this down! We need the feds to step in.

  • What story would we like to see next?
    How about a story about how the big ranches had no choice but to sell off portions of their lands due to the lack of summer work that helped pay the expenses of ranching.
    Summer work consisted of thinning their fire hazard forests and sending their trees to the mills to be made into lumber for housing.
    Alderpoint mill TOWN, Myers Flat mill TOWN, Scotia mill TOWN, Orick mill TOWN, .. town is another word for communities.
    Everybody had a job if wanted. Everybody had a house if wanted, or a couch while waiting to save up for a rental or a mortgage.
    The loggers built and maintained the dirt roads, which helped firefighters to access the fires. The dust was kept down to minimum, due to the water trucks, even before the mandates came along. The mandates were created in order to push out the little guys who yet didn’t have the funds, but were trying to work on it.
    As more and more pot growers, hippies, moved in, more and more protests against the communities sprung up.
    Communities went to pot.
    Now they cry foul for not being able to compete with the big companies who have the money needed for the mandates.
    From family lumber houses to one size fits all yurts.
    The main protesters of yesterday’s lumber communities and summer jobs, are making a killing. The others who joined the “cause” were just useful idiots.

    • nostalgic delusion. you should look into Maine. same shortage of trees occurred. now it just meth and heroin and trailer parks and the locals blame everything but themselves. except the coast were money has invested. if it makes any difference this grow isn’t legal. the diesel ASTs that don’t contain natural gas are not in compliance. one is even leaking.

    • Actually big corporations like MAXXAM are what truly destroyed the logging towns.

      • Dont dare say that! You are posting in the middle of a trumpie-circle-jerk. Tip: Most of these commenters dont actually care about the environment, otherwise they would bring up what you just did. (Land is STILL being poisoned on a regular basis legally-Where is the outrage there?) Nor do they really care about innocent lives, otherwise they would be all over articles when drunks kill someone. But they are all over ANY article about weed. Why? Easy targets to pound their cowardly chests about.

        • Basement keyboard warriors who never slide around on the steep hillsides with 50+ lb sacks of tree seeds on their backs replanting for the forest companies who supposedly don’t care about the land, have transparent insults.

      • Yes, absolutely. They rushed in and did a clean sweep, paid the fines, and moved on while the regular companies and the mom & pops were still trying to meet regulations, but folding.
        I wonder if MAXXAM were subsidized.

    • Everyone could have had a job in the cannabis trade too.. a little initiative and some hard work is all it takes.. plenty of ppl looking for and hiring outside help

      And weed is renewable. Those ancient redwood groves take a long time to come back…

      But you’re right, money Trumps life. or sustainability. or common cents.

  • “big drums of natural gas” “big circular building”
    Was this written by or for 8 year olds? The entire tone sounds like a crappy ad.

    I’m pretty sure those are diesel tanks and the building would normally be called a yurt.

  • This man has made a very nice home stead from his hard labor useing the land to to his advantage any one who thinks growing that much weed is easy ( must of bumped thar head) this place looks like work from Sun up till Sun down very nice true freedom makeing a liveing,building a life for him self and being able to fund his home stead very amazing NICE JOB

  • The first photo of the mountains is just lovely Thanks

  • Looks clean better than all the other so called legal farms I’ve seen in the past months

  • “Neighbors say the roads are better now than they have been in decades”



    Take a drive over Wildcat Ridge out to Petrolia or any other road in the county. Worst condition in decades maybe.

    • Worst condition in more than thirty plus years…the board of stupidvisors is the most corrupt it has ever been…they keep promising to fix the wildcat and yet there are holes like the one I hit a couple weeks ago never saw it, just a big wham. It’s a good fucking time to blow the whistle on the corrupt politicians and people that enable these pieces of shit. Arrest them all and their kids that they enable to grow dope and line their pockets at the cost of the fisheries, and all the deer that get poached. Enough is enough.

  • Someone should post a picture of each fuel shed, one in this article and the one that was recently busted and see if we can tell the difference

  • Sorry but those are red dye diesel tanks. Anyone with a solid head on thier shoulders knows that. Multiple pictures of those very tanks have appeared on this site. I get the story book tale of this article but we all know those are diesel tanks and the ” circular ” building is a yurt. Makes the person who wrote this article seem uneducated and at the very least extremely nieave so the rest of the article falls to pieces as we have no idea what the ACTUAL facts are. He is permitted therefore the chipper as many others speak of is of no concern and he obviously has had cdfw and the waterboard out along with final inspection from the county so good on him. As far as him being “greedy”well he is paying the county every year and extra 40k along with his property taxes to be in operation and all that money stays in the county, so all you haters can thank him for paying for the roads you drive on and the sheriffs you so desperately hope that chip his cannabis that he has the right to grow.

  • Wow, what a valuable contribution you are making, how pastoral, how special you entitled criminals are. Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy your last couple seasons in this business!

  • Super Tiny Mom & Pop Grow

    You guys are really cracking me up. Step out of the hot tub time machine. It is legal weed season. This grow is soooooo small he may not be able to make it. Legal marijuana companies in Canada are growing 1,000,000 square feet of canopy space. For each property. Legal Marijuana is now World Wide. They legally grow marijuana in Canada and sell that weed to other Marijuana countries around the world. Legal weed is now GLOBAL!$$$ The Canadian MJ business model is going to be the standard. U.S. companies are already trying to emulate Canopy Growth. The #1 MJ company in the world. This TINY grow will simply be a foot note along with the current green rushers. My guess is we will see alot off farmers go belly up. Land prices should start coming back down once foreclosures start. The people selling the picks & shovels will do well, but many green rushers will not make it. Law of supply & demand. California is growing 10 to 12 times the yearly consumption of marijuana. Prices have already plummeted. People getting $1,000 for light depravation. Outdoor will hit $300 a pound according to the Harborside CEO’S public quote. He has 340,000 sq ft in Salinas.

    • Peabrain prohibitionists are stuck living under a boulder the size of Mt. Olympus. They will be left in the dust same as all regressives. Best thing, though, is they won’t use cannabis medically. They’re not worthy!

    • you do not no of what you speak

    • Unfortunately I think that this commenter (super tiny mom and pop) is right. The prices are going very low very fast right now. I’m hearing neighbors taking as low as 8 for dep as we speak. Times are changing fast, and I doubt that a lot of these places will be able to make the numbers work for much longer. That’s why we are seeing the flood of properties on the market.
      This is a really nice farm, and hopefully if it’s paid off this fellow will have a nice life with the ability to do some small timber operations and other things to make the tax payments.

      Definitely better have a plan b!

      • Well sense he was bragging on here last time about getting away with growing it for the last 25years he should have enough buried to be fine, but he probably blew it on vacations and blow.

      • We got 1800 for our og deps on two boxes right out the gate to a reputable dispensary that prides itself on carrying the finest. I’m not quite sure about this drastic price drop people speak of. Seems like people’s middleman are making out like bandits. The (retail) prices really haven’t dropped as we all know! it’s that the boof growers have gotten more desperate. Here’s a recipe for success don’t grow tons of boof weed. Sell for decent prices still.

        • Thats true also. It’s sad because I really think the best product we have here is our sun grown seed grown outdoor. But og dep seems to be what people want. Ugh.

        • what is boof weed? Not everyone has a connection to a dispensary…, and do you see the wine makers going into the local grocery stores and trying to sell a couple bottles? As a hardworking farmer I just can’t see spending a lot of time trying to peddle a few here and there to a shop, personally, I’d like to start up an auction for farmers to sell their product to the highest bidder, a good old fashioned gathering with all the buyers able to scope out the product in advance and bid on lots of their fave… it’s possible the middle men are making out like bandits.. but a flooded market seems to drive the price down.

    • harborside can’t even legally sell the Salinas weed they’re growing because it’s testing positive for pesticides and mold acides , residuals from the crops previously grown in the greenhouses. where is all that weed going to be sold?

      • It’s a big country. Lots of smokers out there. We have to be worth the drive up here for the middle men. That means we have to grow amazing quality, unique, organic (that’s something we have over harborside et al) product for cheaper. Stop pampering trimmers people! We need them but they are getting paid way too much. Sorry I know it’s unpopular but it’s the truth.

    • Nobody’s going to get mine for no $300 a pound. I Will burn it first.Must of lost your mind thinking peaple are going to get rid of thar stuff for that price

    • Victor G. Flashman


      Humboldt growers? Finished.

      $1000/lb? Try $200

      Humboldt County pot is real cute, but weed grown by stupid people is pretty much over.

      What farm to feature next? Try the abandoned one. Let’s see what the lovely green rush left behind, before all these properties get snuffled up by the retiring baby boomers looking to get away from town…

      The next big thing up here should and will be, catering to retired people who can afford it!

      Tune in losers. Might have to move on…

      Lake and Mendo will kick your asses this year anyway!

    • Timothy McVeigh's ghost

      It’s hard to forecast a retail market that is yet to exist in California. I find it hard to believe in this state with this large a population that once the retail distribution is open to the general public that the demand will outpace the supply. Colorado, Washington and Nevada all saw the same thing happen those are real life models that should be used as predictors for the future market place. That we will see here soon. Yes the price will fluctuate down this fall based upon bad economic predictions. Those with capitol will buy up everything at a loss to the producer. When the markets are open to the people a fake shortage will emerge driving prices way way up again.
      Look to OPEC for tips on market manipulation becouse that’s what’s taking place..

  • Purported ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!!

  • the problem i see with this legalization is that i cannot grow even one plant outside in my back yard, not six, and not even one, while this guy and others can grow acres!
    that is fucked.
    i suppose the county policy is to protect neighborhoods in fortuna, an experienced farmer could conceivably grow six eight-pounders and skunk out the neighborhood?
    is that why i can’t even grow one fucking plant legally in my less than ten acres back yard in Redway?
    estelle? white courtesy phone…

  • Island mountain raised

    So what I am confused about is how this is considered a legal farm? Aj is a neighbor of mine and I know for a fact that he does not have a permit and I also think even his application is not open. Doesn’t seem like the smartest move to blast your illegal unpermitted farm on line. No wonder he is not showing his face.

    • Nobody who can read the writing on the wall is blowing their last bit of money on permitting process. Legal product is going to be grown on ag land, close to roads where you can get deliveries and workers.
      The only people I know who are permitting are looking to sell their land to an unsuspecting rich person (I’ve heard NBA players multiple times) .
      Hopefully these hills will slow down and get back to country life. I think most people will appreciate that, even if the financial outlook won’t be as good.

  • lets see the permit aj is not a current permit holder its my understanding sherriff honsall has inspected less than 5 “legal grows” so far this year.. this isnt one of them..this is a grey area farm in transition. period…still illegal…

  • Covelo or busted

    No wonder the the salmon are dying,…. fish seem to love water…

  • Double speak outside of cheek

    Always negativity. Always snarky comments. Personally, I think the place looks beautiful. Wish it was my homestead. Good luck to you folks!

  • Cannabis prohibition allows pot to be more available to children.

    According to a study done in 2009 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, children found it much easier to find marijuana than alcohol. But that is completely opposite to what the prohibitionist says. In 2009, marijuana was not legal anywhere in the United States, and alcohol certainly was. Then how come children were able to get their hands on marijuana easier than alcohol? The answer is simple. Illegal drug dealers do not ID or check the age of their customers, while liquor stores do. That is pretty obvious, right? WRONG: peabrain prohibitionists are too ignorant to understand. Enjoy.

  • HoneydewChumpDestroyer

    Scared little guppy talk, grow some fins and learn to swim with the big fish, even if the pound is at 300 it still beats working any job in town, so suck on that for a while, suck on it! Farmers will grow more , simple! If your getting minimum wage then might as well work for yourself, ooooh, ouch, suck on that!

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