Name: Scott Vasterling
Location: Humboldt County, Calif.
Title: Founder & Owner-Operator, Humboldt Family Farms
One word to describe your cultivation style: Sun-grown
Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse or a combination: Combination of outdoor and greenhouse
Can you share a bit of your background and how you and your company got to the present day?
My family has owned and operated a farm-to-table style café in Trinidad, Calif., for the past 20 years. We have been sourcing and curating fruits and vegetables from the best farmers in Humboldt for our café. These same farmers also grow amazing cannabis. Humboldt Family Farms was created to provide a platform for the collaboration of farmers to bring their best cannabis flowers directly to consumers.
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What tool or software in your cultivation space can you not live without?
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your business in the last six months?
The Rhino fire tool. Great for digging up root balls and building a trail for a fire break.
What cultivation technique are you most interested in right now, and what are you actively studying (the most)?
The hugelkultur raised garden beds and improving regenerative farming techniques.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
Learning from your mistakes is critically important to improve. A few years back, we planted a large percent of our farm with a new “indoor” strain we’d never grown before. It didn’t like the outdoor environment, and we had issues with it all season then yielded about half [of] what we were promised. Now, we always have a “test” garden bed to prove new strains for a season before committing to it on the next run.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven grower about to enter the legal, regulated industry? What advice should they ignore?
Grow the genetics you love and are passionate about, rather than chasing the THC percentage. The quality and chemistry of the flower will be obvious if it’s something you really care about. Most of the strains we have on the farm we’ve had for over a decade because it’s what we love, and they always sell out. Ignore the people that say you can’t do it.
How do you deal with burnout?
Spending time outside with my family and seeing the world through the eyes of my 4-year-old daughter.
How do you motivate your employees/team?
Stay positive and celebrate successes.
What keeps you awake at night?
Zynder Lou, our livestock guard dog. She’s getting older and barks at everything.
What helps you sleep at night?
The love, support and patience of our talented team and collaboration of farmers as we navigate this wild world of cannabis legalization.