A young city boy from New Jersey leaves home to follow the Grateful Dead, only to have his VW van break down in a small town surrounded by redwoods three thousand miles away. What could have been an anecdotal road trip story was actually the launching point for Bryan’s career in cannabis, and the subsequent founding of Scarlet Fire Farms. Together with a team of five, including his wife, Cort, and best friend, The Don, Bryan grows outdoor organic cannabis in Northeastern Humboldt County.
Scarlet Fire Farms recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary, and the team is constantly striving to improve their growing practices. By following the Korean Natural Farming technique, Bryan harnesses indigenous microorganisms to make concentrated teas that maximize nutrients, without the use of synthetic fertilizers. The teas are made from plants on the farm, including everything from leftover fruit that is fermented and used to boost different terpene profiles to fermented horsetail, diluted to spray on plants. Horsetail has naturally high levels of silica that helps protect cannabis from fungus and other maladies.
By making his own foliar sprays and teas, Bryan no longer depends on the bottled fertilizers he used for many years. Instead, he walks over to his cedar trees and collects the various spores that grow naturally on the forest floor. “I’ve spent 20 years reading the bottle,” Brian says. “It’s mind boggling to read the plant, not the bottle… It really opens my eyes to how modern-day farming is, compared to the ancient ways. We essentially attack the earth to grow our food [now].” Using natural farming methods supports the earth, rather than attacking it. And a healthier earth means healthier plants.
Bryan also enjoys breeding cannabis cultivars. Some of his most popular strains include Yeti OG, Foo Dog, Silver Bubster, Swamp Yeti, White Yeti and Primate OG. Scarlet Fire Farms is part of the Emerald Family Farms Cooperative, which helps small family farms pool and share resources surrounding processing, marketing and distribution. This allows Bryan more time to experiment with breeding and fermentation, which his plants undoubtedly appreciate.