The 2018 harvest “is one for the record books.”
Northern California’s world-renowned outdoor cannabis harvest has for generations run parallel to the wine grape harvest, drawing itinerant workers to the region and fueling a cash-based economy that has kept small towns and garden supply stores afloat.
Roughly 279 acres are licensed for outdoor cannabis cultivation across a five-county Northern California marijuana growing region — the Emerald Triangle counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity and lesser-known cannabis country in Sonoma and Lake counties, according to a Press Democrat analysis of state licensing and Sonoma County permitting data.
That translates to a legal outdoor harvest worth about $474 million a year, barring catastrophic crop loss and based on industry standards for yield and the current wholesale value of marijuana, about $500 a pound.
Still-ripening marijuana buds are secreting their most pungent essential oils of the season — odors noxious to some, appealing to others and a sign of harvest time. The earliest flowers were cut down in September and the slower- to-ripen varietals will head to the drying sheds in early November.