Just before I got there the farm had been raided by the feds, who deploy helicopters to circle over the county, dropping their men into illegal farms to cut down their crops.
This is the biggest threat; the grow-op being shut down.
And yet Garberville was a one horse town, dark and full of vagrants with mangey dogs lurking in the shadows, mumbling requests for weed or wishing me eerie welcomes.
Two of the guys got wasted and wrestled each other inside the tent, knocking over a table and catapulting buds all over the floor, much to the annoyance of other trimmers.
An older man would sip hard liquor from a flask all day and shout nonsense at everyone from the corner all night.
Allie was the trim manager, teaching the newbies tricks like only spinning the bud once and keeping your trim tray tidy, and making sure everyone was trimming the bud in the same way to get a uniform product.
Making $200 a pound is all well and good, but you need to trim fast and have dense, heavy buds to make any weight.
My farm was an hour away from Garberville, on top of one of the remote mountains surrounding the town. The grower Dave, his wife Allie, and their daughter Carly were from Colorado and had been growing in Humboldt for three years. In recent years surfer dudes and snowboarding bros, like Dave, have also been setting up shop in the triangle.
The farm itself was big, about 100 acres with corners I never even saw and about 200 plants.
This is the cardinal sin of trimming and trimmers have been known to get kicked out of camp, ganged up on by the rest of the group, or even attacked for high-grading the buds.
Trimmers can be a prickly bunch, made up of societal fringe-livers — people who live off the grid without bank accounts, credit cards or cell phone plans, squatters, drug dealers, junkies, ex-cons.
Its advocates were exactly the types you might expect; travelers, vagabonds, those who bounced around on a shoestring selling macrame jewelry or juggling in front of restaurants. And after a few days in Humboldt, I was pretty glad that I hadn’t been reckless enough to show up without a contact.