When Harlee and I got asked to come visit Blessed Coast Farms, California’s first permitted recreational farm, we jumped at the opportunity. Not only is that credential extremely impressive in the first place, what tops it off is that it is run by two sisters, Siobhan and Sloan, in the mecca of California’s cannabis cultivation world, Humboldt County.
We started talking to the Grow Sisters on Instagram and it turned out that the days we wanted to come up was their birthday weekend. Siobhan, 34, and Sloan, 19, are 15 years apart with their actually birth days being 2 days apart. They thought it would be fun to have a huge birthday sleepover at their house and invite all the hardworking cannababes of Humboldt County out for an overnight networking party.
We took off on a Saturday morning, starting our 3.5 hour journey along the beautiful Smith River. We drove down the winding roads through the Redwood National Forest before hitting the endless coast and then, alas, the infamous Humboldt County. We followed Siobhan’s typed out directions, hoping they’d work since we didn’t have cell phone service.
When we pulled into the driveway, we came down the hill and immediately saw the cutest farm house with a big balcony overlooking their beautiful garden. We had an idea of what to expect to shoot when we got there, but we didn’t know how we would be perceived by all these women who had been getting their hands dirty on the farm for years. Sure, I’ve done my time working on a farm and in our dispensaries, but to outside women in the industry, we might just look like girls who like to dress up and take pictures smoking weed.
As the clock literally struck 4:20 pm, we walked in their door with big smiles on our faces as we got greeted by so many badass women who were just as excited to meet us. Our first impressions of the notorious Grow Sisters was that they were super cute and fashionable; Siobhan in a vintage Grateful Dead baseball tee with printed bell bottom pants and a bandana wrapped around her bun, and Sloan in a cute paisley halter pant suit with her pretty blonde dread locks tied up on top of her head. They showed us to our rooms and we loaded in a treasure chest of wigs, sunglasses and vintage coats to dress up in.
As the girls were making dinner, we got to mingle and finally meet our Green Queen Natasha Ricke, who has written for us, along with some other Insta friends like Miranda of Honeydew Farms and Thea of Humble Flower Company. Some of the other companies there were Native Humboldt Farms, Haiikuu Designs, Canyon Creek Collective, Humboldt Infuzions, Cannamommy Nonprofit, and Pure Source Labs, all run by women. We all took turns sharing our stories of what it’s like being women in the industry. As we told our story of changing direction of ladies of paradise, we got nothing but praise and support from everyone. They applauded our aesthetic and liked how we were empowering women in our own way. I remember feeling so pleased and grateful that we were being accepted and taken in so openly, and genuinely felt like what we’re doing can be really powerful.
Siobhan and Sloan set up a cute backdrop to take photos in front of, so we put the wigs and weed leaf glasses to use. I showed Siobhan how to use her Polaroid camera and we took a few until it was time for Sloan to tend the garden for her evening duties, in which we decided was the perfect time for Harlee to start shooting.
We dressed Sloan up in this sick white and gold embroidered jacket with the most amazing long triangular sleeves. When she put it on, we all agreed she resembled the ultimate Goddess of the Garden. Natasha came down with us, and Harlee started shooting them together which was easy and natural for them, being that they are good friends. Soon after we started, the rest of the girls came down and Siobhan started giving a tour of the farm. We definitely needed to shoot the sister babes together so we added one of vintage coats to Siobhan’s look and went at it in the garden. The 2 resembled a look straight out of the 70s, which wasn’t too ironic being that Siobhan’s Grateful Dead belonged to her mom in that decade, and our jackets probably did too.
After we all took turns taking photos and hanging out in the garden, we journeyed back inside to eat dinner. With about 20 women around, Siobhan made a champagne toast to all of us for kicking ass and being pioneers in this new industry. After we ate, some of the local girls trickled out and the rest of us drank ciders, smoked hella weed, hoolahooped, played games and told stories about our journeys. Siobhan and Sloan infused their homegrown OG Kush with crushed lavender (also homegrown) from the garden into joints, and those kept us lit all night.
All of us girls talked for hours about how important it is for women in this industry to support one another, especially since this is a new industry where young women are taking leadership roles and running their own businesses. Natasha and the other girls told us stories about growing up in the cannabis industry and how legalization is changing their lives. When it was finally time for bed, Harlee and I stayed up for a while and gushed over how exciting and empowering our day had been.
When we woke up in the morning, it was obvious we had all bonded and created new friendships with each of the girls there. We packed up our bags and said our good byes, with promises we’d be back for a longer visit. We left our weekend with the Grow Sisters with tons of ideas for the future, and feeling like we had gained some sisters as well.