For 15 years the Emerald Cup has been showcasing Northern California’s premier cannabis destination while advancing the concept of sustainable, outdoor farming. Its reputation is firmly solidified as the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, cannabis competition in the world.
In this editorial series, DCN had the opportunity to speak with each of the first place winners to showcase who they are, their mission and what it takes to compete in one of the industries most respected cannabis events.
Meet Ridgeline Farms
Ridgeline Farms focuses on quality over quantity, family values and environmental stewardship in their owner-operated Cannabis Farm. They care deeply about cannabis, growing it with natural and organic techniques that both produce the highest quality product and protect the natural habitat they are lucky to be surrounded by. No city scape here. Ridgeline Farms sits high above Southern Humboldt County overlooking majestic redwood trees, rolling oak forests, and the winding Eel River.
The farm has sweeping views of the world renowned Kings Range, a central feature of Southern Humboldt’s landscape. Their unique location creates the perfect environment for Cannabis to thrive, bringing high potency and strong terpenes to every strain they are blessed to grow there. As lifelong residents, and second-generation farmers, they are committed to continuing being pioneers of the industry as they bring quality products to market.
DCN: Ridgeline Farms placed first place in the Licensed Sun Grown competition, how does it feel to be first place with the Green Lantern strain?
Ridgeline Farms: Winning the Emerald Cup, in itself, is beyond amazing and it is the first in the licensed category makes it even more special. There is so much competition out there these days, but I feel I have an advantage because I was brought up growing, so it’s second nature for me. Also, the climate in Southern Humboldt is perfect.
DCN: Let’s talk about this strain, what is your favorite thing about this strain?
Ridgeline Farms: The Lantern is a special strain that one of my good friends started from seed. Ridgeline Farms won The Golden Tarp last year with that strain for the highest THC content. Not only is it the most potent, but it shines like diamonds and tends to change color during the colder months. There are so many strains out there and honestly, lots of them have similar traits– this one stands alone. When you smoke The Lantern it is an upbeat high that makes you feel good and sometimes, with the right people, you find yourself laughing uncontrollably.
DCN: As second-generation farmers, naturally in our eyes, you are all entrepreneurs, what challenges have you overcome as an entrepreneur over the past few years?
Ridgeline Farms: As a second generation farmer, I have seen the marijuana culture change from being considered evil to excepted and respected. In my eyes, marijuana was alway a special plant and in the community I grew up in, Southern Humboldt, everyone grew, so it was excepted among most families. Along with the good, came lots of bad and that was the run-in with the law. I saw many of my friends and family members incarcerated for marijuana cultivation. There was a constant underlying fear that our loved ones could be taken away from us at any time.
Additionally, we experienced a disproportionate loss of young lives in our community associated with some of the unintended consequences that come from being in the industry. As a young child, we went through some traumatic times. The uniques challenges we faced growing up in the marijuana culture, bonded us together to become a tight-knit community that looks out for one another.
DCN: What has it been like going through the process of becoming a licensed grower?
Ridgeline Farms: Our community is at an inflection point. The last few years has been a rollercoaster of emotions. First coming out of the marijuana closet and basically turning yourself in was very stressful and looked down upon by many that did not agree with going legal. Then came the daunting permit process. The tribulation of what the farmers have to go through to be on this platform is unheard of in any other industry.
All of a sudden, we don’t own our water rights anymore and every engineer, consultant, lawyer, and county has their hand out basically sucking you dry for all your time and money. You need to pay bird watchers, archeologist, waterboards, engineers, lawyers, consultants, county, state, etc. without ever knowing if your investment will pay off. Most small farms will run out of funds to complete their project, or are not in the right area to even start their project, or just get fed up and quit. For me, there was no other option then to push forward. This is what we were raised doing, this is what I know, this is my life, and my way to support my family. I actually started going grey from the stress and the process, but I kept telling myself I would not give up — I kind of thought of it as a game of monopoly or life.
Pick a card “pay the county $2,000, do not pass go, do not get your permit.” This would make me relax and just keep going through the motions. This has takin a toll on most local business and most families in our small area. We are seeing many businesses closing and families leaving an area they love because they can no longer support themselves. We watch as the big money comes in and the small people loose out.
DCN: Ridgeline Farms takes pride in growing cannabis with natural and organic techniques, can you share more on why this is so important?
Ridgeline Farms: Growing organically is the only way to go. Knowing that people will be putting natural cannabis into their bodies, many of them who are fighting illnesses and chronic pain makes it the only way to go. My parents, who always grew organic, taught me to focus on putting natural ingredients into the soil to bring it to life and only use environmental-friendly products. Whatever you put into the plant, stays in the plant, so we make sure to put in only the best.
DCN: What does Ridgeline Farms have in store for 2019?
Ridgeline Farms: This coming year, Ridge Line farms will still, believe it or not, be working on all the stuff we have to complete to make our county and state permit final. The saga continues on. My hope is that this rigorous process will allow our children to grow up proud of their parents and without living in fear. Besides continuing to keep up with the new rules and regulations, we will just be doing what we have been doing our whole life– growing the very best plants we can. Southern Humboldt farmers grow amazing marijuana. I hope that the world will get to experience all of our artisan flavors.
DCN: Thank you for taking the time to share more about RidgeLine Farms. Congratulations again! Before we let you go is there anything else you would like to share with the DCN community?
Ridgeline Farms: We take pride in what our elders taught us and our culture that we have been brought up in. We have overcome a lot as a community, and we will continue to overcome the challenges we face. We are resilient. This is our way of life here in Southern Humboldt; this is our home– our roots run deep.
To learn more about Ridgeline Farms visit www.ridgelinefarmsshc.com
Stay tuned for our next Emerald Cup Spotlight with Om Edibles.
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