Kelly Guava Jelly reveals her sweet and sticky take on the world. Take a bite out of her passion fruit for everything from dancehall to health, and other weird hippie meanderings
A nugget of DOPE Guava history
Once upon a time I graduated college at the precipice of the Great Recession. I hoped to get a job combating climate change, but alas, there were practically none to be found.
Luckily, my Jewish nose could always sniff out the green. Low and behold a skunky smell led me to a land where Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties of northern California meet – The Emerald Triangle. It was mid-September: harvest season. The abundant weed was grown in what were primarily illegal operations, yet every store you went into sold trimming scissors and turkey bags. It was the American mecca of outdoor cannabis grows and there was work to be done.
A friend hooked me up with a grower who had a small operation outside of Willits. I, a young solo woman straight from Washington, made my way from San Francisco up to Nor Cal. All I had was a phone number and an open mind. When I reached the small town on Highway 101, I made the call. In an unfamiliar place a dude in a truck picked me up and drove me off into the woods, telling me to keep my eyes closed at certain points on the route.
I was put to work trimming “by the pound.” This means that you get paid based on the amount of herb that you trim – after it dries. I slept on the porch and showered in an outdoor shower in front of anyone who cared to watch. A few days of this went by then I was suddenly shipped off to a next farm. I never did get paid for that work.
I jumped around to a couple of different farms. I slept on a couple of different cold, hard and sometimes wet floors. Finally, word came along that John (keeping his real name off the record) needed workers at Happy Valley for the rest of the season.
It was the best of times; it was the most stoned of times
Tiki John would pay us $20/hr. (under the table of course) and had what seemed to be endless amounts of fresh buds to trim. It was here that I got to experience the complete farm life operation. We had a port-a-potty and access to a shower that sometimes had hot water. We took turns cooking and cleaning for the crew, did harvesting, big-leafing, trimming, hanging, stem removal and packaging.
Being harvest season in the Emerald Triangle, trimmers from all over the world flocked to the area. Soon we were a crew of two Israeli guys, two Swedish ladies, an Australian dude, a French-Canadian woman, a Mexican, a couple of randoms that came and went, a man we called Country who had a thick southern accent and sat around rolling joints and talking incessantly, Tiki John, his dog Sally an artist from Portland named Ready, myself, and the beautiful female plants.
We spent our days under a tarp-walled shack picking off big leaves, cutting tree trunks at the correct angle for hanging and trimming away. We listened to books on tape, Democracy Now, talked about the world, shared thousands of joints, made bubble hash and rolled up glove hash. With the smell of dirty hippies covered in marijuana tricomes, we became a family.
Things always happen for a reason
In my weed trimming travels, I experienced the gauntlet. Especially interesting was the time I was hitchhiking with ¼ pound of my work. For 30 minutes no one had picked me up and I was starting to get nervous. Finally, an Eastern European dude with a heavy accent let me in. We hadn’t gotten ¼ of a mile when he offered to pay for sexual favors from me. Luckily he didn’t take it hard when turned down and instead just pulled over and let me out. As soon as I climbed out, a nice Mexican man and his son picked me up and drove me all the way to my friend’s house in Berkeley.
At the end of it all, I earned enough money to pay off my student loans! When no other industry could have lifted me up, I reconnected with the earth, learned about different cultures, and saw the world through a unique perspective. I got by with a little help from a green goddess friend. I still get high with a little help from my friend. I will continue to try to make the world a better place with a little help from my friends.