Craig Nejedly, Owner of Talking Trees Farms
Talking Trees Farms is a sustainably-focused brand that produces single source cannabis and cannabis products from its permitted farms in Humboldt County, CA.
What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now in relation to the pandemic?
Keeping employees at a social distance of 6 feet in cultivation is not so much a challenge. But when it comes to processing and manufacturing, it’s very hard to keep people distanced so we had to let go a handful of employees to keep our staff safe.
How are you adapting your business to meet the needs of your clientele?
We are always cleaning and sanitizing and our delivery drivers are wearing masks and changing gloves at every delivery. Most of our retail partners have set up onsite precautions and procedures for accepting deliveries and we have worked with them to keep everyone safe. Overall, it has gone smoothly.
We’re just trying to go about life as usual and luckily, in Humboldt, we are fairly isolated and less affected than other areas.
Are you experiencing an uptick or decline in business?
My retail store has definitely seen an uptick in business. During the first week of the pandemic, retailers were placing big orders not knowing what was going to happen. Stores were all super busy but then cities and states enacted their shelter-in-place orders and that created a big challenge for the retailers. We are amazingly grateful that cannabis was deemed an essential business in California. We were allowed to stay open but stores were limited to curbside pick up or delivery only, which created some challenges for city retailers that do not have parking lots. So business has gone up and down but still feels constrained with many stores being limited on their operational capacity. Business is steady and the industry is adapting, and we are somewhat thriving considering the hardship that many other businesses are facing.
What is your takeaway from the new reality of operating during the pandemic?
It’s crucial to have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place to handle such situations moving forward. This was a big learning curve but we quickly put procedures into practice to ensure the safety of our staff and community while still providing access to cannabis. We now have the SOPs and feel we are ready to adjust even quicker next time.
What are you doing to keep it together both on a personal level and business level during these challenging times?
I try to focus on the good things in life: extra time to spend at home or working out, as well as spending more time with family, although it is a challenge as a single parent and there not being school. We’re just trying to go about life as usual and luckily, in Humboldt, we are fairly isolated and less affected than other areas. Mostly, we are keeping busy with cultivation and all the work we do within the cannabis industry. Be well and stay safe.
To find our more about Talking Trees Farms read our feature Listen to the Trees: Organically speaking with Humboldt County's Talking Trees Farms
The New Canna-Normal is an ongoing Q&A series with the cannabis community as we evolve to greet the new normal.