Cannabis ripens on the bud at Harborside. The dried cured flower buds are the most valuable part of the plant. Harborside cannabis is all Clean Green-certified pesticide free.
Harborside CEO Stephen DeAngelo inspects ripe buds on the farm.
"We're learning, 'How do you do at scale for the first time'?" DeAngelo said. "A year from now compared to this — this will seem archaic."
Star of the show
A cannabis bud finishes ripening at Harborside Farms in Salinas, Calif. The farm encountered constant setbacks this year, including late rains and late shipments of equipment — like fans.
Time to cut
A worker cuts plants during a massive harvest in July — Harborside has three more harvests this year.
Worker Daniel Virgen carries marijuana plants he has just cut down through a greenhouse to be sorted during harvest at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Trimming at scale
Worker Marciela Quiroz (left) and her co-workers separate leaves and flowers of a marijuana plants during harvest at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
A worker separates marijuana flowers and leaves off of a stalk during a harvest. Dozens of workers harvest from dawn until after dark to capture potent plant at peak ripeness.
Time to dry
A worker hangs cannabis plants for drying.
Rack and repeat
A worker pulls a rack of cannabis plants through the drying room during harvest. Harborside hopes to use scale to chop the price of pot by two-thirds to $99 per ounce.
On the move
Cannabis plants are transferred into a massive drying room.
Marijuana hangs in the very fragrant drying room at Harborside Farms in Salinas, Calif. — which has become an epicenter of cultivation in the post-prohibition economy.
William Evans gives a tour of the drying room where marijuana hangs during harvest at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Drying marijuana at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Worker Eric Marquez carries marijuana to be dried in the drying room at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
A Harborside worker shows off frozen cannabis in an industrial freezer. Most of the harvest will be "fresh-frozen" for later use in extracts.
GreenState file photo
A worker collects cuttings for a new cycle of growth at Harborside Farms. Harborside grows from seed and clones from its own mothers.
Well Lit Place
Liduvina Figueroa cleans up a marijuana plant during harvest at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
A worker pushes starter plants across a nursery greenhouse.
Preparing for the Future
"I don't know that I saw myself in American Gothic," DeAngelo said. The dispensary operator turned farmer walks past new construction on the farm.
Clean Up Time
Workers sweep up marijuana leaves that fell on the ground during a harvest at Harboside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
William Evans gives a tour of the drying room where marijuana hangs during harvest at Harborside Farms in Salinas, Calif., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
California’s $21 billion commercial cannabis industry begins to go legal on Jan. 1, 2018, when the state must issue first-ever licenses for farms, kitchens, labs and stores. But cannabis has been quasi-legal since 1996, thanks to medical marijuana. In this photo essay, we gathered never-before-seen images of this already robust economy at harvest time. We also learned that what is considered large-scale or “industrial” for cannabis is, in fact, still hand-crafted and artisanal compared with modern agriculture and manufacturing. Even more than $1 billion in annual taxes, California cannabis is tens of thousands of good, high-paying, middle-class, local jobs that often do not require a college degree. As these photos show, pot’s not some theoretical addition to California’s economic dynamism — it’s here, it’s now and it’s got all the momentum. Take a look around the Harborside Farms harvest, the first of four online mega-galleries on GreenState. — David Downs