The Emerald Triangle refers to an area located on the northwest coast of the United States (northern California) and comprised of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties.
This region is often referred to as the Napa Valley (famous for its vineyards and the quality of its wine) or the Silicon Valley of cannabis given the large proportion of the population devoted directly or indirectly to the cultivation of this plant, and also to the incredible quality of its produce, be it flowers or cannabis seeds. As we have said, this area has a series of characteristics that make it ideal for this activity: the population is scarce and widely dispersed, with large tracts of unpopulated land.
In addition, it enjoys an ideal climatology for growing cannabis, with great solar exposure, absence of strong winds, an excellent and fertile soil and optimal temperatures. All this means that the cultivation and breeding of this plant has become, without doubt, one of the main and most profitable activities in this region, with excellent varieties of cannabis developed by local breeders.
It all began in the 1960s and 70s with the “back-to-the-land” movement, when thousands of young people, disillusioned with mainstream society and disheartened by the Vietnam War, moved to the countryside in search of sustainable living. Northern Californians who went “up the country” chose the region now known as the Emerald Triangle for its beautifully remote location a few hours north of San Francisco.
The settlers didn’t initially view the area as an ideal place to grow pot, but they soon realized that its rugged terrain and redwood forests provided the perfect cover for illicit farming.
Today the Emerald Triangle supports more than 20,000 cannabis growers, by conservative estimate, and is known around the world as America’s cannabis epicenter. A study has never been conducted to measure pot’s economic importance in the region, but local growers’ organizations confirm that cannabis is—by far—the tri-county area’s most important industry., and it is has been speculated that it could be one of the most important production areas worldwide. Besides the high number of growers living there, every autumn hundreds of people come to the Emerald Triangle looking for work harvesting cannabis; these are mostly itinerant trimmers, known as trimmigrants. However, this green rush is not limited to these three counties, indeed it’s increasingly common to find trimmers looking for jobs in other neighbouring counties such as Sonoma or the aforementioned Napa.
Today, Emerald Triangle-grown weed fetches higher prices than much of the other product currently being cultivated and sold at commercial scale. Statewide, legal medical marijuana sales reached $1.8 billion in 2016, while the industry at large, could be worth $5.7 billion by 2021, according to a report from Arcview Market Research.
Over the last five decades, growers have developed techniques and strains exclusive to the Emerald Triangle, subtleties that ultimately rely on the area’s biodiversity.
Here are just a few of them:
- Mendocino Purple Kush from Medical Seeds
- Mendocino Skunk Chong’s Choice from Paradise Seeds
- 707 Headband by Humboldt Seeds
- Black Water from The Cali Connection
- Desert Diesel by Humboldt Seeds
- Mendo Diesel from Apothecary Genetics
- Purple Trainwreck from Humboldt Seeds
The fact that growers in many other areas can carry out their activity freely and professionally could slightly demystify the products from the Triangle, although tradition, soil, climate and the knowledge and experience of the nearly 20,000 growers in these three counties will surely mean their produce will continue to be considered among of the best in the world.