Jai Armstrong, a 2009 graduate of Ashland High School, has come up with what he says is a million dollar idea, one that makes marijuana harvest a lot easier and more dependable and one that appears to be on track for hiring scores of local young people.
It’s called "Trimcamp," after the camps of “trimigrants” — young folk who traveled around making very good money separating desirable leaves and bud from stems. However, trimmers weren’t that dependable, made a mess and slept all over farmers’ property, says Armstrong.
What keeps the operation clean, dependable and local is big trucks lined on both sides with trimming booths, where locally hired, screened and permitted (by OLCC) workers show up everyday, trim like pros, deliver clean weed and bring their own porta-potties and electricity.
Armstrong provides managers and covers workers comp, pays by the pound, offers profit sharing to workers and handles other expenses that “get rid of the headache in trimming and just deliver what farmers need, then leave.”
Trimcamp now has 20 trimmers and one big truck, but plans this year to outfit two more trucks, get into the business of building pot shipping containers (for rail, plane or ship) and triple his work force.
Their motto is “Your solution is here.”
Armstrong, the brain child of the operation, is one of five owners, with his father-in-law Dave Nouri in place as the CFO.
“It’s a big relief for farmers during harvest,” Nouri says. Farmers pay for product by the pound and sell it to dispensaries.
“There are a lot of flaws in the industry,” notes Armstrong. “The workers come from all over and they’re not necessarily trustworthy. The farmers are trying to manage 20 or 30 people, but they’re farmers, not management people. There’s lots of trash and they need to be sure they’re not getting ripped off.”
A quality trimming team takes all the weight off the farmer, says Armstrong. “The workers live here. We do interviews and look at their resumes and, of course, they have to qualify for an OLCC permit, and get a background check.”
Being mobile, Trimcamp is now servicing the so-called Emerald Triangle that includes Southern Oregon (and much of Northern California), but plans soon to branch out as far as Portland and Bend. They already serve the far-off areas on big grows, but when they are operating on a regular basis there, they plan to have permanent vehicles and staff that live there.
Armstrong says their idea and the tight, professional operation they offer is unique at this point in states that allow pot grows. They charge $120 a pound for bucking, dry machine trim and return to the farmer’s bulk bin. It’s $190 a pound if it includes a “hand finish,” which gathers weed still clinging to stems.
Operating like any business, the Trimcamp brochure states what they offer in terms unimaginable a generation ago: “We cater to medical and recreational cannabis growers … as a subcontractor, Trimcamp is legally permitted to come to your facility and operate within the parameters of your licensing. We only work on permitted grow sites and we abide by all applicable rules and regulations established by the OLCC, OHA, and the State of Oregon.”
Their promotional literature promises “a mobile trimming service providing cannabis growers with a professional, quality manicure. Our mobile units are state-of-the-art Trimlabs, complete with tools, machines (for most of the trimming work) and expert trim technicians. We trim your cured marijuana harvest on-site, delivering your neatly packaged finished product in record time.”
Based on first quarter earnings, the operation is on track to pass a million dollars in gross earnings, says Armstrong, allowing for the envisioned expansion.
The operation now services the Rogue Valley out to Cave Junction, as well as Klamath Falls, Grants Pass and, with larger grows, Eugene, Bend, Salem, Portland and Northern California.
The promo brochure says, “You are a grower. Your job is done. Leave your trimming to us.” It advertises for “awesome people” to apply for work — no small boon to a region where previous crops — timber and pears — have gone the way of the horse and buggy.
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.