Story by Yeins Ortega Chestnut and Josh Chestnut
Edited by Jude Thilman
This is a story of how two people – Yeins Ortega Chestnut and Josh Chestnut — brought their unique experience of cannabis cultivation from Jamaica, the Shangri-la of the Caribbean, to the mystically secluded Shangri-la of the Lost Coast of Northern California. And it was there that they founded Lost Paradise Organics, a unique craft brand that proclaims the power of the healing plant to which they have lovingly dedicated their lives.
Their Journey to Each Other – And to Home
Yeins and Josh didn’t start their journey in Jamaica, but on another Caribbean jewel. They lived in Yeins’ home country of Costa Rica for seven years, making frequent trips to Jamaica, where they learned much about caring for the cannabis plant. But it was a romantic moment, sharing their first joint together on a Costa Rican beach in 1999, that started them on a vision quest that would lead them to their home in the Emerald Triangle of California, where they could begin to realize their dream.
In 2007, they came to the Lost Coast, where they fell in love all over again. This time, they were enthralled and amazed by the deep roots and freedom of expression that they found in the local cannabis community. Yeins and Josh settled in a mountain town called Whitethorn, near the border of Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. When California legalized cannabis in 2018, they legally launched Lost Paradise Organics in the Sinkyone wilderness, nine miles from the Pacific ocean.
Driven by their reverence and appreciation for fine cannabis, this husband-wife team applied the knowledge they acquired during their many visits to Jamaica, including cultivation methods, landrace genetics and hashish making. They learned these techniques while visiting the homesteads and growing fields where live resins were extracted using rudimentary methods passed down through generations of people that lived on this renowned island. Their starting point for the farm when they came to California was a commitment to the guidance of nature’s biodynamic cycles: the seasons, the moon, the sun, clean air, clean water and tender, intentional care of every plant and her surrounding biosphere.
Realizing Their Dream – Sustainably & Regeneratively
Lost Paradise Organics farm is powered 100% by a solar system; they use rain water catchment; create compost made from their animals’ manure; they never use any synthetic or harmful fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. And they preserve all their natural surroundings, using only rudimentary machinery and tools to develop the landscape. These systems combine to create a fully sustainable experience that all consumers can feel part of when they support all local producers that care for the environment.
Their cultivation site is located at 1,600-foot elevation, with plants grown in raised wooden beds. For over five years, they built the soil in these beds, using forest-made compost made of wild brush, madrone, pine and oak leaves, as well as rotten logs of these same types of trees, combined with mycelium and microorganisms that reproduce naturally when left untouched in their natural beds for an extended period of time, sometimes over a full year. Mixing this with manure from their goats, rabbits, chickens and sheep creates a rich regenerated soil. They make their own batches of EM1 (a natural fermented soil enhancer made from rice or wheat bran, molasses and microorganisms) and charged biochar and mix their cover crops into their beds of stinging nettle, clover, beans, and other enhancements. All of this creates a well-balanced, living, natural soil, with very little need of outside commercial soils. Soil examination is done every year to test for deficiencies or other imbalances and is corrected using only natural and organic outside amendments if necessary.
Lost Paradise Organics’ flower is grown from seed for the full term or cuttings for the light dep cycle. The flowers are grown in full sun outdoors and in green houses for the light deprivation method. All seeds and cuttings are selected to achieve the desired genetics for the exact characteristics that make it into a successful final harvest and meet the standards that connoisseurs of fine cannabis appreciate. They select the best genetics available from renowned local breeders and also using their skills to breed their own exotic seeds.
The flower is grown in small batches of diverse varieties that provide select breeding stocks for future varieties to be developed. This practice preserves plant genetics and evolution using a process of observations and selections, creating uniquely balanced compounds for the end consumer to enjoy.
Lost Paradise Organics uses regenerative growing techniques at every step during and outside the growing periods. The soil is amended using compost made onsite during the autumn season and harvested with balance and care during the spring, lending complexity to the biochemical profile of the flowers.
Plants are cultivated from seeds and sprouted in early spring. Careful selection leaves the females to grow ten feet high by late summer, maturing by October or even later. Spending more time in their growing cycle, taking advantage of the long, slow intake of nutrients under natural sunlight, along with special care in the selection of genetics — all these factors give these flowers their special potency. This quality is reflected in their taste, smell and the feel brought on when they are enjoyed in their full, mouth-watering ripeness.
The flowers are cured to perfection and then hand-trimmed to carefully maintain the trichomes and overall flower integrity. Sun grown flower is grown in clean air and water, nourished daily by the hands and intentions of a real farmer that takes care of every single detail for every individual plant throughout her life cycle.
Their craft pre-rolls are finely made at their facilities where the farm and growing operations are located, making this a true experience of farm to table cannabis. Their pre-rolls are always made with all natural sun grown flower, while some exclusive editions are infused with artisanal kief. All products are crafted with quality and purity in mind, preserving the flower’s specific compounds of every single variety at every step of the way. The product is fully tested not only for potency and terpene profiles but also for purity, making sure there are no traces of harmful heavy metals and pesticides or microbials and mycotoxins. The packs come in a single strain or in a combination of two strains, there are 6, 1g pre-rolls in every pack- every 100 packs delivered have five merchandise prizes. The company releases just a few thousand of these 6 packs every year and they are available at CA retailers listed below. Made only in small batches from seasonal varieties that are chosen according to their unique profiles, these pre-roll packs are a special treat for the senses of a connoisseur.
The ice water hash is made in collaboration with licensed manufacturers. After selecting the harvested and cured varieties that serve this specific purpose, Josh and Yeins choose the higher terpene profile to obtain the desired quality. They select the best-rich terpene and trichome profile varieties to make Bubble Hash with concentrates of up to 60% THC, obtained through a natural process that doesn’t compromise some of the most valuable compounds in the full spectrum profile of the plant. In this way, they obtain an exquisite final product that you can enjoy altogether in addition to your flower or alone to taste the flavor of the unique terpene profiles in every variety.
Yeins and Josh never use any artificial or generic additives or extraction methods that can compromise the purity of the end product or the health of its consumers. Staying True to The Plant is their company motto. “We only release whole plant and final tested products made with artisanal methods, maintaining the full spectrum of all the beneficial properties the plant holds.”
Their farm incorporates a natural variety of healthy crops both cannabis and other plant and animal participants in a multi-cropping approach. “We try to grow enough of every chosen variety to make batches big enough to satisfy the needs of different buyers. We supply quality instead of quantity and that’s the value we hold, because for us it’s truly about the medicinal and clean, superior recreational flower that we can produce consciously and responsibly.” Added to that, fresh vegetables and the animals that inhabit and nourish the surroundings make the land an ideal place to achieve the sustainability that the earth requires and on which cannabis thrives.
Healing with a Larger Meaning
“We feel truly grateful for the plant and the opportunity to express the positive impact of this experience in our lives.”
Yeins came in contact with cannabis at the age of 17. Cannabis prompts her creativity; lifts her energy; and brings the relaxation needed for meditation. For Yeins, it’s a personal relationship: “I love cannabis. I am totally thankful for this plant. It’s a great companion in life.”
Josh’s passion for this plant began when, at the age of 18, he was clinically diagnosed with a scoliosis, a spine deformity. Doctors recommended that Josh have spine surgery followed by pain medication, possibly for the rest of his life to make life more comfortable and the pain more manageable.
But Josh looked for other options. He found that smoking cannabis or consuming concentrates gave him great pain relief. When he compared the relief he got from cannabis with the effects of the strong prescription drugs and their ongoing sickening side effects, he opted out of the doctor’s recommended plan. Josh could see that living on pain pills would easily lead him to a life of drug dependence. He knew that was not the way he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
Today, Josh is a healthy 44-year-old individual, happy, active, and living a productive and satisfying life. It was the cannabis plant that saved him from what might have become a destructive opioid addiction.
Lost Paradise Organics’ craft brand is powered in a unique way by the belief in the healing and soothing properties of a plant that harnesses its power to bring relief, happiness and abundance to human kind. And Yeins and Josh know that the release of her power comes through the long-desired and overdue freedom of legalization.
Policies Under Legalization: What We All Need to Stay Alive and Thrive
Yeins and Josh believe strongly that cannabis should finally be recognized as the beneficial natural healer that is its essential nature. It offers value to humans who have the right to use it for physical necessities, mental comfort and overall enjoyment. And the policies that accompany legalization must be crafted to support this ideal.
The couple has specific ideas of what our small craft operators need to help them survive in the legal marketplace. There should be more small craft operators provided a path for obtaining microbusiness licenses to enable artisanal production onsite. And there should be more farmer’s markets allowed so that products can be shown to licensed buyers, without the heavy burden of having to manage so many regulatory restrictions for these types of events. It should be easier for farmers to show their products to retailers directly, without the many types of permits and licenses that create such an incredible burden for small producers.
Heavy taxation limits consumer choices, also preventing them from obtaining high quality cannabis along with full information about how and where it is grown. And Yeins and Josh would like to see more farms represented on the retail shelves than products from corporate entities with nice packaging and the resources that enable them to navigate all the regulations and succeed at this complicated endeavor of becoming a legal, commercial cannabis business.
“To be honest legalization has been the most difficult time for us, but I believe that through these hard times, the most pure form of strength is also born in our lives and will stay forever. We are very thankful and at peace. And this is what is most important.”
As members of MCA, Yeins and Josh believe in what MCA represents. “MCA brings the advocacy for a well-represented cannabis community to the world and sets standards that highlight a way of living with the plant and not simply exploiting the plant.” For Yeins and Josh, their mission is based on their belief in the unlimited power of the plant benefitting many more, beyond the enrichment of their own company.
Pursuit of social equity is at the top of their list of values in caring for others and having concern for the most vulnerable. They recognize the importance of supporting local non-profits and noble causes that bring knowledge, prosperity, equality and de-stigmatization of the plant throughout diverse communities who have suffered because of such stigma.
“The world is watching and Mendocino County, together with neighboring counties, are setting a path that can be replicated in other parts of the globe where legalization is being considered or is happening already. This path will hopefully help the affected punished communities achieve their right to finally enjoy the benefits of this new legal era.”
Yeins and Josh appreciate all the information provided by MCA to its members, keeping people up to date about all the important policy advancements, concerns and modifications of cannabis law that will determine their future success or failure as craft farmers.
Finally, the couple is grateful to be part of “an incredible group of talented, active, warm human beings that care for others and for the overall community at large. As hard this has been we still recognize that we walk through an already paved pathway and all of you before us deserve all the appreciation.”
Among the brand’s products available to retailers and other licensees are the flower in different presentations, ice water(bubble) hash and pre-roll six packs that are a combination of two single varieties in every pack. All the products are naturally and organically made, from seeds and plant cuttings to the final branded product.
Lost Paradise Organics distributes directly to other licensed manufacturers, other distributors and retailers. Among our current retailers/ distributors:
– Natural Cannabis Company in Hopland, Santa Rosa and Oakland
– Humboldt County Collective in Eureka
– Redwood Herbal Alliance in Santa Rosa
– The Country Club in Redway, Garberville
– Grass Roots in San Francisco
When you purchase any of Lost Paradise Organics products you are also giving to non-profits and children in need around the world.
Yeins Ortega Chestnut is originally from Costa Rica and came to the U.S. 22 years ago. Yeins is co-owner of Lost Paradise Organics and oversees regulatory compliance as well as farm development and promotion of their cannabis brand. She has a background in hotel management and now transfers her business skills into cannabis entrepreneurship. Yeins enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, traveling, and she appreciates time with people. She loves being with animals and in nature and Yeins is happily married.
Josh Chestnut is co-owner of Lost Paradise Organics and is in charge of cultivation operations. Josh is an independent developer and farmer at heart; an experienced tropics tourist guide and carpenter. Josh enjoys fishing and diving, being with his family, traveling and exploring nature everywhere and anytime he can.
Editor: Jude Thilman serves as Vice-Chair of MCA and is owner of Dragonfly Wellness Center, a medically-focused dispensary on the Mendocino Coast, between Fort Bragg and Mendocino Village.
Website: Lost Paradise Organics
What’s so Special about Mendocino cannabis, culture, and community? As the premier trade association in our county, the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance is devoted to serving our world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy advocacy. MCA promotes the Special. Watch this space….