It’s mid-October. Fall is palpable. Pumpkins are poppin’ off at the farmers’ markets, there’s a chill to the air and rain is in the forecast for the next few days. Plus, it’s pretty much time to harvest full-sun outdoor marijuana crops. What a lovely time of year!
In reality though, if you factor in the indoor and light deprivation crops, harvest season in the Emerald Triangle is happening 24/7/365. People definitely produce weed year-round in these parts. But right now, when the full-sun outdoor grows are being harvested, is the most special weed harvest time. It’s the Emerald Triangle marijuana harvest climax.
And an interesting aspect of the fall marijuana harvest climax is Trim Tourism, a unique phenomenon where people from all over the world travel to the Emerald Triangle to try to score jobs trimming weed.
Last week in Garberville, the streets were swarming with traffic, even more so than usual. Lots of people were stationed along the main thoroughfare with cardboard signs that said things like “Work” or “I [heart] Work,” complete with sketches of cannabis leaves and little scissors.
Flocks of young folks sporting earth-tone clothing and backpacking gear were milling about on the Town Square. Foreign dialects floated in the air. Trim-work solicitations were speckled on the Town Square bulletin boards and on the bulletin board near the Garberville Theater. Some were colorful; some had little tear-off phone number strips; some provided information about country of origin — Belgium, France, Canada; some featured earth-friendly vibes.
On Wednesday, I chatted with a few work-wanting trim tourists. They came from Spain, from Italy, from Orange County. They came because they love the weed and because Northern California is legendary. Somehow, everybody knows that this is the most off-the-hook pot producing region in the world, that this is the pot-head farmer/tourist mecca.
The handful of tourists that I talked to have been in the area for at least a few days, and they hadn’t found work yet. But there is trim work happening, that’s for sure. I’ve personally visited a couple different medicinal outdoor cannabis gardens in the past week, and I got to witness all the work that goes into harvesting cannabis. The trimming machine scene I visited was most interesting. More on that next week…
Anyway, I can’t say how successful the hordes of trim tourists will be with finding work this fall; there’s no accurate trimmer employment index to check. What I can say is that when it comes to finding trim work, word of mouth is king — it helps to have a personal connection with the cannabis farmer or to at least have someone that can vouch for you with the farmer. In that way, the illegality-of-cannabis thing can make finding trim work a little tricky, but not impossible.
In spite of any hurdles they might face with finding work, tourists without any personal connection to the Emerald Triangle whatsoever are here and the hand-drawn ads on the local bulletin boards and snazzy cardboard signs aren’t the only ways they are advertising their desire for weed jobs. The Community section of Craigslist is yet another forum people use to solicit cannabis work.
Here’s an excerpt from a Craigslist weed-work solicitation ad by a young traveling couple:
We want to help someone with a genuine desire to do good and heal through their herbs. We know the importance of the energy that you put into your product, and both have a genuine love for quality herb. We are trustworthy and hardworking. Will do whatever needs to be done to secure a successful harvest on time.
The ad is a few weeks old, but its content is indicative of this conundrum — the lack of personal connections to local cannabis farmers. So a lot of these tourists’ ads feature pledges of trustworthiness, good vibes and strong work ethics, presumably because they have no one to vouch for them.
Undoubtedly, there are tourists that are successful with scoring work. And for those that get lucky, they will discover that trimming is physically tedious; that there is etiquette and technique involved; that the vibes and working conditions vary greatly from farm-to-farm. Indeed, one could write at great length about the methods and culture of weed trimming in the Emerald Triangle. But let’s not get into that today. Too many harvesting chores to be done in the garden.
In parting, I will leave you with some photos of trim tourist phenomena that I snapped over the past week in SoHum, mostly in Garberville. Next week: My experience at a farm where a Twister T4 Trimmer machine was used to process a full-sun outdoor cannabis crop.