For many cannabis enthusiasts, the first real wave of the year’s harvest starts with the light-deprivation-style grown cannabis that comes down each June. 

The resulting cannabis is often shortened to deps by industry folks. They’re produced by farmers using various means to control the light cycle to force plants to flower. They started to become prevalent in the mid-2000s. For many years a lot of people just used the early dep harvests to pay their trimmers in the fall when their full-term harvest came down. But the quality of the product saw the prevalence of the cultivation style continues to grow to this day, where many expect solid deps to be a big part of the forthcoming national marketplace. 

When it comes to deps, Humboldt County is one of the best places in the world to find the best representations of various strains grown that way. In the years The Emerald Triangle’s farms weren’t decimated by fire and smoke, it basically seemed impossible to grow better deps than the cream of the crop coming out of Humboldt’s hills annually. 

But as opposed to smoke, this year’s early season saw farmers dealing with a lot of overcast skies as the heavens opened up to pour water on California. The Vesuvio Gardens team told us there was basically no spring this year and that led to many people getting a later start than usual. Vesuvio was a couple of weeks into flower when we chatted with them.

“We’re only about 10 days behind in Honeydew, and in Whitehorn, we’re pretty much on schedule,” Vesuvio’s founder Joe Jacovini told L.A. Weekly. He went on to note the early runs don’t do so well in Humboldt’s valleys, as opposed to the hilltops where they can get a lot of light. 

One of Humboldt’s most prominent dep cultivators is Jason Gellman of Ridgeline Farms. Ridgeline returned to the top of The Emerald Cup podium this year after previously winning back-to-back editions of one of the most coveted prizes in cannabis. With the exception of a few full-sun plants he does for personal use, Gellman is exclusively growing sungrown deps. He does partner at another light-assisted facility in the winter. 

We asked Gellman how the scene up north was looking, as he preps for the 2023 harvest to begin. 

“We know we hear the prices are going up, I hear that a lot, but nobody has herb,” Gellman told L.A. Weekly. “Does that mean it’s going to really go up? Because usually when you get the herb, then where are all the buyers, but I feel like right now, this should be a good year. I know there’s a pretty big drought of good-quality weed right now.”

We asked Gellman if the trophy shelf makes it easier for him to get top dollar against the rest of the harvest. 

“I always hear that a lot of the time and everyone thinks because I got a name and a brand, they think I can get more than X guy and it’s really not the case,” Gellman replied. “I mean you spend so much money packaging and prerolls and everything like that, it’s really hard. The people who wholesale their weed probably make more money than I do at the end of day.” 

Despite the perils of packaging as he listens to the numbers start to fly around the bulk product, he’s excited for the weeks ahead. 

“I think it’s going to be decent. It really depends on the weather. We’ve had unstable weather so far. For this first round. We didn’t have sun for three days straight. And so if we don’t get heat, we got small bud and that’s going to really affect the quality of the whole dep harvest around here on round one. So we’re playing with the weather, and we’re hoping that it’s shifting, it’s a little more scalable, and I think it’s gonna be a good year.”

After going through the struggles of the past few years, 2023 is looking daily upbeat for Ridgeline. 

“I think for the people that have hung in there are gonna get rewarded, be able to make a living and I mean that’s what it’s all about right now. Just trying to stay alive, make a living and keep our jobs,” Gellman said. 

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