Last spring we traveled up and down the Golden State visiting clients’ facilities, listening to their stories, and hearing about the various ways AROYA has helped make their lives easier. We were so inspired by that trip – and the case studies that came from it – that we decided to do it again.
Only this time, we’d go bicoastal.
We started things out in Northern California and if there was one big takeaway from the first leg of our trip, it’s this: cannabis cultivation – much like the culture at its center – is vast, wide-ranging, and always surprising.
After members of our international marketing team convened in the Golden State by way of Washington, Germany, and the Bay Area, we began the 3-4 hour drive to picturesque Fort Bragg. By the time we arrived in Mendocino County’s largest city the morning fog had dissipated, giving way to clear blue skies and ocean breezes. Talk about a warm welcome.
Our first stop was at a facility owned by two friends who grew up in Fort Bragg. Mendocino County is renowned worldwide for its weed culture, but as our hosts explained of their upbringing, people in the community rarely talked about it despite many working in the underground. This insight was fascinating for us visitors, a reminder that behind the region’s mythology lies the very real stories of people just trying to provide for themselves and their families.
As we interviewed the owners and head of cultivation and heard their journeys, we gained more understanding of the steps it took to get them to where they are. In no other industry are the stakes this high, that's why we’re endlessly curious about what attracts people to it. After touring their beautiful facility, we then headed to the beach for an impromptu photo shoot just as the sun started to set over the landscape of cypress trees and crashing waves. We closed out the evening dining with the locals at Sea Pal Cove and imagined what a gift it is to have such a beautiful setting as one’s own backyard.
Our second Fort Bragg facility visit the next day showed us another side to this coastal oasis. What started just a few minutes' distance from our first site visit ultimately took us away from the ocean and into the woods. We conducted five interviews from our client’s first “office” – a dining room table at the home of one of the co-founders – before our wonderful guests led us to their mixed-light greenhouses situated higher and deeper among the trees. Beneficial plants flanked the flowering rooms, keeping aphids and other pests at bay while some of the year’s hottest phenos awaited harvest.
For the family behind the brand, being able to show their sprawling facility was a hard-won victory that started decades ago. In a state like Cali where weed is seemingly everywhere, it’s easy to forget that raids were a common feature of prohibition (and one which sadly still persists). And yet a common theme emerges: love for the plant pushes people to keep going despite it all.
Trading sea breezes for dry heat, we hit the road the next day and headed to Sacramento. The state capital has its own chapter in the annals of NorCal cannabis cultural history, and it felt great to be back in a town with a different but equally powerful cultivation legacy.
Our interviews with the Sacramento facility’s co-founder and his General Manager yielded more about the local growers’ community and spotlighted their mission of having fun while also addressing some of the holes they’ve seen in the broader industry. The timing of our arrival meant we missed harvest by a day, and while we always love to capture footage of humans interacting with the plant, there’s something special about the clean, refreshed post-harvest vibe that feels like anything is possible.
Our host’s busy day meant things wrapped up quickly, giving the marketing team plenty of time to regroup before the final visit to a location in San Francisco. Fog welcomed us back to the city by the Bay as we made our way to a tissue culture and testing laboratory – a cultivation facility unlike any our team has visited before. Sourcing new phenos is a crucial aspect of every head grower’s job, and this state-of-the-art facility is all about finding and serving commercial growers with guaranteed fire. While the film crew checked out the rooms (covered in head-to-toe protective gear since this is a lab, after all) we interviewed a co-founder as well as the head of cultivation. Uniquely grounded by an innovative tech startup vibe informed by cultivation savvy going back more than a decade, we couldn’t help but wonder if we were bearing witness to the future of the industry.
It’s amazing how much we learn from our clients.
Creating the ultimate cannabis production platform doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A huge component of our work involves staying in close contact with the cultivators who use it – not only to learn from their experience using AROYA, but also to share their incredible stories with the world.
Because if there’s one common thread to be found among all them, it’s this: to fulfill the dream of participating in cannabis in a healthy way, free from prohibition and stigma. And we’re here for it.
Click here to catch up on all our case studies – and be sure to check out our east coast recap!
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