In many ways, the Emerald Triangle is the true Wild West. Generations of cannabis growers hid in the shadows, living a lifestyle that blurred the line between farmer and outlaw. Now, even in a new era of legalization, the notion can be difficult to shake as a new fight has popped up in place of the war on drugs—a fight to keep the culture of Humboldt alive.
Jason Gellman of Ridgeline Farms is at the forefront of this battle. He believes that the plant itself will be the Emerald Triangle’s saving grace, as a rise in corporate cannabis threatens to upend everything he and his fellow countrymen and women hold dear.
“We’re out there fighting for all craft farmers; the best way I figure to do it is to grow the best weed we possibly can,” he told Boveda’s Ryan Harner during a visit to his farm.
Jason Gellman, Ridgeline Farms
Gellman’s entire life has been centered around cannabis, getting an early start on his family’s farm. Saying he’s from “Generation Weed,” Gellman and his friends grew up with the sounds of helicopters and police sirens. The camaraderie and community were shrouded in secrecy, and the threat of arrest filled the town with anxiety and despair.
“Being a kid that had their house raided multiple times, and knowing how that affected me—the stress of always wondering if you’re gonna wake up with your door being knocked in—I didn’t want my kid to go through that.”
When Prop 64 legalized adult-use cannabis in California in 2016, Gellman felt torn. The fear of arrest gave way to a newfound fear of change – and not for the better. With recreational legalization came more regulation, aggressive taxation and homogenization of the market.
“Part of me was excited…it’s a new path…but then part of me was like ‘…are we gonna lose what has made us?’,” he recalled.
Ridgeline Farms—We’re Fighting For Our Survival
Despite an uncertain landscape, a significant drop in wholesale prices and a market saturated by large-scale commercial operators, Gellman and his fellow farmers forge ahead. Their drive, their passion and their flower distinguish them, so they refuse to give up hope.
“Hard times bring people together, and I think right now is that time where we’re fighting for our survival. We’re struggling but we’re still doing this because we love it.”
The exquisite, sun-grown cannabis grown on Ridgeline’s vast fields is rich in terpenes, offering a unique and unrivaled smoking experience. Many of the legacy farm’s boutique strains have topped cannabis competitions. In 2018, Ridgeline’s Green Lantern won the first licensed sun-grown Emerald Cup award, one of the most prestigious prizes in California cannabis.
The farm’s ideal Northern California climate and Gellman’s lifetime of cultivation experience aren’t the only things that make Ridgeline flower spectacular. Gellman feeds his cannabis crops nutrient-rich teas that he brews himself. The culture of the hills is steeped in this care for and passion for the plant. For legacy farmers like Gellman, it’s a reputation worth preserving.
He understands that the flower he produces is an extension of his community, and a chance to showcase the Emerald Triangle in its most perfect form. Ridgeline uses terpene shields from Boveda to protect its bud, preserving a piece of Humboldt in every jar.
“When you’re smoking Ridgeline Farms, I want it to be the best product possible. I don’t want somebody to open up a jar and see over-dried, brown bud. More than anything, I just really want people to know that Humboldt County is known for the best weed in the world for a reason.”