Island Mountain Organics
On a 40-acre organic farm in southern Humboldt, the crew for Island Mountain Organics carefully processes freshly harvested cannabis. The glittery buds are removed and sent off to dispensaries throughout the state and to partners such as Lowell’s Brand. The crew then turns their attention to the woody stalks, the backbone of the cannabis plant that is often thrown away. Instead of being discarded, the stalks are fermented onsite for two to eight weeks. The result is soft, pliable cannabis fibers that are peeled apart and repurposed to make ‘artisinal paper’.
Island Mountain Organics was started three years ago. Many of the crewmembers have spent decades raising cannabis in Humboldt County. One of the crewmembers has a background in agroecology and helped site five modern greenhouses amongst grassy rolling hills. The cultivation area is just a half-acre of the property, and beyond the greenhouses, neatly kept cannabis cages form beautiful sculptural patterns under the blazing sun.
The farm currently grows twelve different phenotypes of cannabis that have been cultivated from seed and clone. The current staff favorite is a Gas Leak male x Fire OG female. Apart from the cultivation area, the property also has a main lodge, two drying rooms and a processing room. There is a vegetable garden bursting with beneficial plants: calendula, sunflowers, crooked neck squash, heirloom tomatoes and 7 different types of tobacco. Creating a diverse polyculture on the farm allows for beneficial pests to protect the cannabis. While indoor cannabis is grown in a completely controlled environment, growing outdoors can expose plants to bugs, molds, dust and possible pesticide drift. Despite the challenges of growing outdoors, Island Mountain Organics labs tested 100 percent clean.
One crewmember admitted that they get a little surly with suits in the industry who don’t have dirt under their nails or an understanding of different microclimates, stating: “I love the wild plants; I love seeing honey bees next to my cannabis, the wind blowing through the cannabis.”
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