Watching Northern Cal

My preferred route back to the Peninsula is US-101, and it’s a preferred place to hang out in the Spring. After watching the winds and fires for a week I’m waiting for the media to turn their attention to the impacts.

Two Sonoma wineries were destroyed, half of the others had no damage, the other half only minor losses. Vines don’t usually burn easily, so it’s the man-made stuff that gets hit. It is harvest season, though.

It’s also harvest for cannabis in Sonoma. Given that the illegal:legal ratio of cannabis farms is about 5:1, we won’t likely hear much from them for quite a while.

One of the basic Econ 101 principles is that free markets can be depended upon for important innovations, and the new cannabis industry is a text-book example of that. One of those ideas is “fresh frozen” cannabis. The normal harvest routine for marijuana is pick it, hang it up to dry 2 weeks, cure it 2 weeks, trim and package for a week. About 6-8 weeks before it sells. When freezing, the pick is immediately put inside a freezer at -38F degrees. Then it goes directly to an extractor, for payment in days after picking.

The unlicensed farmers wouldn’t do this, but the licensed growers only need to acquire the freezing equipment, but not a trivial thing at all. These are barn-sized freezers. And they eat up a lot of power.

Power which suddenly disappeared when PG&E did their thing. When fresh frozen thaws, it turns into mush and is simply organic waste. Well, it’s only the second year this trick has been tried at scale.

I realize the season isn’t over yet, but I’m optimistic there won’t be refugees to the extent of the 2017 fires. That means I’ll be able to find a parking place along the way.

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