Behind The Curtain 19: Looking At A Crisp, Red, Tangy Future Beyond The Grow Scene – June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nick turned onto Orchard Lane in Fieldbrook. “An apple orchard,” he thought, “just might be the answer.” Working for others, or more specifically, caring for other’s indoor grows was getting old. He was tired of the indoor scene, tired of the daily fear that came with it, the loss of neighborhoods – of a community vibe and the energy consumed to create a few pounds of bud.

Legalization was coming, he was sure of it, and he wanted to be ready. Workshops at the Small Business Development Center in Eureka proved helpful. He had a business plan, a license, but most of all he had a desire to make things better.

He wanted to grow, but he wanted to do it right – organic, in greenhouses with natural light. And, he wanted to create a by-product from his grow – something medicinal he could market. The apple orchard was sounding better all the time. Friends of his were already making tinctures, salves and all kinds of food products.

Branding the Humboldt name was all anyone could talk about. “Grow the best bud you can,” Supervisor Mark Lovelace urged during that surreal meeting at the Mateel in SoHum.

Like much of California, around the turn of the century Humboldt was mostly agriculture and ranching land. Homesteaders from Northern Europe came here in the late 1800s growing fruits, vegetables, and establishing dairy farms and cattle ranches.

Nick read there were so many dairy farms the Arcata Plaza was a showplace, regularly parading livestock around the square, and something like 80 percent of all food consumed during the first half of the 20th century was produced right here on county soil.

“Living off the land is nothing new,” he thought aloud to himself.

Grain was being grown again after 50 years, and ranching was making a big comeback – with a lighter-on-the-land approach of raising small foot-printed animals like rabbits and fowl. Nick wanted to be part of the change that was inevitable.

The old farmstead he was about to visit thrived for decades as an apple orchard. The owner said her family had lived there for generations, but she couldn’t keep it up any longer and most of the family had moved away. “No work here – no wages either,” the owner named Doty had said on the phone.

She told him she was hoping the lease income would help her through retirement, but past renters thrashed the place with an indoor grow.

Now, she was looking to partner with someone and bring back the orchard. He wasn’t quite sure if she was senile or sincere.

Doty was standing on the front porch when Nick pulled up and gave a wave from the car.

“Hello!” Doty said warmly, waving back.

“Hello!” Nick replied getting out of his truck. “Lovely place you have here.”

“Thank you, it is a beautiful spot,” Doty said, turning to open the front door. “So, you said you were  interested in bringing our orchard back to life?”

For more on Nick or Doty, see Behind the Curtain Nos. 3, 4 and 15.

Aunt Mary’s comment: While growing and consuming Cannabis Sativa is generally becoming more accepted throughout the country, it is still illegal in California. This series is meant to enlighten, inspire and to demonstrate how many lives are affected by criminalizing this simple medicinal plant. It’s also a way to document history in the making, for a big change is coming and the future is is up to us.

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