Fresh air, fine friends and bonfire gastronomy await you at the Autoflower Cup
If glamping in a rustic lodge on the banks of a salt water fjord nestled alongside the Olympic National Forest with high-minded friends, bonfire cookouts and the finest weed available to humanity sounds like the ultimate getaway, welcome to the Autoflower Cup, an immersive educational retreat hosted by Carla and Sebastian.
On an overcast morning in the Pacific Northwest, Heads Lifestyle connected with Carla Asquith, Camp Counselor and co-organizer of the 2021 Autoflower Cup to chat about the upcoming cannabis event and the circuitous journey her life took before eventually settling on living off the grid, foraging in the rain forest of Washington State and throwing the most elevated weed getaway.
After years of attending large-scale hemp and cannabis festivals, Carla and her husband, celebrated chef Sebastian Carosi, felt they had something fresh to offer the cannabis community.
“My hope is that people will come to this event and feel like they got an educational getaway,” explains Carla.
Camp counselors Carla Asquith and Chef Sebastian Carosi bring to the table their extensive knowledge of the natural world.
Festivals like Burning Man and Hempfest will always be popular, but Carla and Sebastian have a vision for a more refined private event with a strong educational component.
“We wanted to try—at least in our own way—to elevate cannabis’ reputation with our events and to elevate cannabis consumers’ reputation to that of a more educated group and lifestyle. So we’re trying to move our event to a more upscale education-based environment,” Carla continues.
But how does one arrive at the decision to throw a private, read: clandestine, three-day cannabis event? Let’s rewind to the beginning.
Carla grew up in a small farming community in Washington State. When she left home, she may not have had a lot of money but was imbued with a solid foundation of outdoor knowledge.
“My parents were very unconventional so at least three times in my childhood my parents put everything in storage and took us up into the woods. I spent a lot of my childhood off the grid, in the woods, and that familiarity with the things in the woods can really only come from experience,” she explains.
This year's Autoflower Cup will take place in Washington State on the banks of a salt water fjord nestled alongside the Olympic National Forest.
Carla was first introduce to medicinal cannabis as a expectant mother suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, the same condition that had Amy Schumer severely nauseated and vomiting on stage during her last stand up special Growing.
“I had a relationship with cannabis as a medicine from a super early age in my adulthood,” she explains.
In 2010, life threw her a major obstacle—a diagnosis of cervical cancer requiring a radical hysterectomy. After the rigours of cancer treatment left her a dark shell of her former self, she did what felt only natural—she put all her worldly goods in storage, packed up her three kids and went off-grid with her soul mate.
“After that nine months, I am more sure than I’ve ever been in my life that that disconnect was necessary for my mental health. Sebastian and I make it a part of our life to be outside and to completely disconnect—not just go to a campground, but really go out into the woods and disconnect from society,” Carla states passionately.
It was during this period of reflection and healing that they arrived at an understanding of what was most important for their wellbeing and happiness.
“Both of us had been foragers before that. We were both very outdoors oriented. But we really did an immersion study at that time. We tried to make every meal include something that we had picked that day,” she explains.
The Pacific Northwest is an amateur mycologist’s daydream with over 100 varieties of edible and medicinal fungi. Foraging for mushrooms and other wild edibles is easily accessible if you know where and what to look for. Carla considers herself a mycophile and expert outdoor enthusiast.
“I developed almost an obsession with mushrooms—not psilocybin necessarily, but all mushrooms. Mushroom foraging is my therapy,” she continues.
Upon their return to society and with a rekindled belief in the healing power of nature, Carla and Sebastian launched Camp Ruderalis to share their love of the great outdoors, plants wisdom and the pleasures of wildcrafting. They felt they had an inspired vision of what a cannabis event could be.
“After three years of us looking at each other after every event and being like, Well, we could have done this differently, we finally put our money where our mouth is,” explains Carla.
Through their company Camp Ruderalis, Carla and Sebastian will host this year’s Autoflower Cup with a breezy line up of outdoor activities, educators and copious amounts of cannabis. Guests can revisit all the traditions they loved about summer camp as kids—s’mores by the campfire, pyjama pancake and waffle breakfasts and film screenings—while their grown up selves get to partake in 420 sessions, jam to nightly music on the waterfront, forage for wild mushrooms in the Olympic National Forest, harvest wild oysters on the Hood Canal, and participate in live auctions and browse the vendor village. For foodies, there will be campfire chili and clam chowder cook offs, oyster shucking demonstrations, an artisan chocolate shop and food truck. Between eating and smoking and chilling, participants will attend presentations by cannabis and mushroom experts. The event comes to a grand finale with the awards ceremony and the crowning of the new Autoflower Cup champion.
For foodies, there will be campfire chili and clam chowder cook offs, oyster shucking demonstrations, and an artisan chocolate shop.
At the interconnection of cannabis, psychedelics, wildcrafting and conservation, Carla and Sebastian’s holistic approach to Camp Ruderalis is built on their vast knowledge of the natural world and a strong sense of fellowship.
“The cannabis community and the mushroom community share so many people and so many ideas,” explains Carla.
Part of their educational mission includes emphasizing the urgent need to respect Mother Nature. In order to ensure everything goes smoothly, the event is open only to those with reserved tickets and the guest list will be limited to no more than 200 attendees. An environmental impact officer will be onsite to make sure everyone is picking up after themselves.
“We do have someone whose only job is to make sure that our party does not leave a stitch of litter anywhere,” confirms Carla.
Award-winning cannabis, gastronomical bonfire cuisine, and wild foraging—with so much attention to detail backed by years of real life hands-on experience, it sounds like Carla and Sebastian have created the ultimate stoner sleep away camp.
More information on Camp Ruderalis here.
Follow Carla Asquith on Instagram.
Follow Chef Sebastian Carosi on Instagram.
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