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Autumn Brands: Sustainably Led, California Bred

PHOTOS Autumn Brands

Culture

Autumn Brands: Sustainably Led, California Bred

Autumn Brands celebrates new strains for music lovers in collaboration with California reggae/pop band Iration.

In a coastal town just south of Santa Barbara, the Brand family’s backyard is right down the road from one of the top sustanable cannabis operations in the state. Nestled between the mountains and the water, their Spanish-style villa gives way to acres upon acres of greenhouses containing spray-free, sungrown cannabis ripe for the picking.

Born in Holland, Hans Brand is a fifth-generation agriculturalist and first-generation cannabis grower. After moving to Carpinteria and successfully incepting B&H Flowers — a traditional cut-flower farm featuring Dutch stars like tulips, roses and gerbera daisies — he saw his business eventually start to take a turn for the worse.

When B&H faced hard times, Brand took a shot in the dark and leased out a few of their greenhouses for medical marijuana grows under Proposition 215. When he saw his business return to the black, he knew he had to take an even bigger risk to secure the family legacy for his two children: he had to start a different type of flower farm — one with sativas, hybrids and indicas at the helm.

After bringing on CFO Autumn Shelton as Partner, Autumn Brands was born. When California passed Prop. 64 to legalize the plant in 2016, the duo knew the brand had a real chance. By 2018, their hand-picked product was on shelves in dispensaries throughout the state.

Hans Brand, Hanna Brand, (Hans’ daughter and co-owner of Autumn Brands) and Autumn Shelton enjoy Iration’s performance at the intimate performance in Santa Barbara County.

Today, I find myself at a sunny post farm tour reception by the Brand family pool to celebrate a new line of flower in collaboration with Santa Barbara-based reggae-pop band Iration.

The line features three signature strains: Daytrippin’, a full-bodied sativa rife with the scent of woody santal and over-ripe peaches; Lemon Time Bomb, a citrus-laden hybrid with a pucker-worthy sour punch; and Summer Nights, a creamy indica with the nostalgia-inducing scent of evening diesel.

Packaged in sustainable glass with backyard compostable lids, labeled with the strain’s major effects and top terpenes, these powerhouses all boast total cannabinoid percentages (the number you should really be looking at — not just THC) of over 30%, meaning my pain eased and my feet melted into the Earth before I knew it.

Given the brand’s commitment to ingratiate their plants into the local ecosystem, a collaboration with cultural ambassadors of the community came naturally. The entirety of the farm’s five-and-a-half acres is spray-free, establishing an environment that allows aphids to survive just enough to not affect the cannabis output too drastically, encouraging the native California ladybugs (the kind without the spots) to lay their eggs voluntarily. Once the eggs hatch into larvae, the ladybugs eat the aphids in their path — protecting the plant without pesticides to ensure strength, viability and consistency in a year-round climate. But before planting even begins, the team carefully selects genetics to bolster that strength, viability and consistency in the balanced coastal ecosystem.

Why greenhouses? While significantly more cost effective and sustainably focused than indoor grows, they also provide environmental control and the subsequent reliability benefits. Like outdoor grows, greenhouses can harness the free power of sunlight — but even better, they can harvest every week for year-round flower.

Ladybugs are sign of Autumn Brand’s commitment to pesticide-free cannabis.

Iration’s organic energy pairs perfectly with Autumn Brands’ offerings, as does their formation in Isla Vista. Their Hawaiian upbringing and island roots fuse with rock, pop and soul to create modern, easy listening akin to groups like Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome. The group is comprised of members Micah Pueschel (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Adam Taylor (Bass), Joseph Dickens (Drums), Cayson Peterson (Keyboard/Synth), Micah Brown (Guitar/Vocals) and Drake Peterson (Trumpet, Keys).

“We’re so happy to collaborate with Autumn Brands, growing real quality cannabis right here in one of our favorite places in the world,” said Iration lead singer Micah Pueschel.

After two decades of music, the band is touring their eighth studio album, Daytrippin’, this summer. The most exclusive stop is here: an intimate invite only performance just up the road from the Autumn Brands weed farm.

As the sun started to dip below the tops of the greenhouses, Iration took the stage to play an acoustic set featuring some of their fan favorites like “Time Bomb,” “Falling,” and “Summer Nights,” — along with a Steely Dan cover, upon request.

I also got the opportunity to sample offerings from Autumn’s “now melt” intimate wellness line, further catering to their primarily women-led clientele including body butter, bath crystals, gummies and “intimate serum” (cough, lube).

“It’s important for us as a women-owned brand to ensure that we’re setting the standard and spreading our philosophy for quality and safety throughout the industry as much as possible. We know how beneficial cannabis can be, even to those who aren’t interested in combusting flower, so we want our quality to be accessible for every kind of consumer,” Shelton said.

Call it awestruck or just over-indulged, I caught myself smiling involuntarily as I took in the scene. Tree-hugging stoners mingled with formerly buttoned-up founders and investors, all abuzz.

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