DewPoint keeps it in the family
Story and photographs by Joyce Endaya, NomadiCam
DewPoint Farms is nestled in the highlands of the towering, ancient redwoods, overlooked by the peaks of the King Mountain Range, with the Mattole River, clear as glass and sparkling green, winding its way through the land below. The natural elements create a perfect micro-climate for growing quality cannabis.
In a rapidly expanding industry faced with a whirlwind of shifting regulations and stiff competition, Andelain Roy, owner of DewPoint Farms, is a third-generation Humboldt cannabis cultivator who’s thriving. DewPoint follows a family tradition of love and dedication to growing cannabis. A mother of two, Roy considers carrying on that cannabis farming legacy an honor. She explains, “This is not just a business. It’s our home. One we’re proud to raise our children in and teach them to continue this way of life. We were born in Humboldt County and it is the only place we dream to be.”
According to the Humboldt County Growers Association, “Humboldt County now leads the state in licensed cannabis cultivation.” On the crest of that wave, DewPoint moved quickly into compliance and was the second cultivation company in Humboldt County to receive an annual state license. The farm’s methods are rooted in a foundation of sustainability and environmentally conscious practices. The plants are showered with water from the Mattole River watershed and raised in only natural sunlight and solar energy is used to power 100 percent of the farm. The family’s own food crops grow alongside their cannabis plants.
Andelain is not only dedicated to her craft and family tradition but to her community and the land. She sits on a handful of nonprofit boards, provides support to the Mattole Watershed and Mattole Fire Department financially and by lending her voice. “It’s important for people to know [Humboldt cannabis cultivators’] passion, and know who we are and what we stand for. We’re a family and it is our responsibility to ensure our land is protected and our industry continues to thrive,” she says. “We have generations of blood, sweat and tears poured into our lands and our craft.”
When Roy is not on a trip to the river with her family, packing school lunches or managing her business, she and her husband, Prem, are in the fields cultivating some of the best quality cannabis Humboldt has to offer. They start their days at sunrise: Prem heading to the fields for 12 to 14 hours and Andelain to prepare breakfast, send her children off to school and finally to the office to answer emails and tackle the stack of compliance paperwork until night. After the children are tucked in bed, Andelain and Prem convene to discuss the days ahead over Sleepy Time tea. Then they head to bed and start their routine again at dawn.
Being a small family farm can have its fair share of opportunities and obstacles. Large, multi-million-dollar cannabis companies that don’t rely on sunshine and seasonal cycles can harvest every week while DewPoint harvests twice a year. Although this may seem to place DewPoint at a disadvantage, it’s what puts Humboldt cannabis on the map and earns devotees from all corners of the world. “I will never commoditize my plants. I value the quality and uniqueness of my products far too much,” states Andelain.
DewPoint does not have a team of seasoned business professionals managing all aspects of the company. That means Andelain is the compliance manager, sales team and co-cultivator. When they need to lead marketing and sales, she swaps her farm boots for heels, throws on her suit and drives off in her diesel truck to the next business meeting. “One day I’ll put on my suit, which doubles as my armor because at times I feel I am fighting for my livelihood. The next day, I’ll be working alongside Prem in the fields. When people purchase my product, they should know Prem and I planted those seeds and touched every plant. Our motto is ‘look, listen, and feel,’ and we employ our senses each time we step foot into our greenhouses.”
With regulations being constantly overhauled, cannabis cultivators are faced with a host of challenges. Each unexpected change or added fee could make or break small family farms. In 2018, when packaging regulations were in place, the Roys planned on investing $100,000 in product packaging materials. If they had, DewPoint would not have recovered from the abrupt termination of the packaging regulation that followed. With the most recent changes in the system of tracking and tracing cannabis from farm to dispensaries, she lost significant time and money spent hiring and training an employee for the program, along with the purchase of thousands of dollars of materials. But as the dust begins to settle, she is thankful for the structure and safety protocols to keep cannabis safe, legitimate and high-quality.
There are other practical benefits to legal farming, too. Last fall she and her neighbors gathered with Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal to develop a neighborhood watch and train community members. Andelain explains that cannabis farms can be vulnerable to crime “as a cash-based business and [given] the fact that we are required to list our address in public records. … Prior to legalization, we would have never worked hand in hand with the sheriff on matters of safety and security. This meeting proves times have changed for the better and the community is stronger than ever.”
Whatever comes next, when the sun comes up on the mountain tomorrow, the Roys will be up and back to work.
Joyce Endaya is owner of NomadiCam Productions at www.NomadiCam.com.