Company: Fresh Off the Hill
Title: Founder and CEO
Reading the pages of High Times, a 13-year-old Ryan Zuccaro had made up his mind: He was going to Humboldt County to be a cannabis farmer. Nearly two decades later, he’s living that life — and doing it legally.
“My mom was a single mom, so we were just on survival mode and I used to sell weed since I was 13 and that’s how we kept the lights on and all that fun stuff,” Zucarro says. “I wasn’t really good at school or really anything besides hard work. But I knew exactly where I was heading. The older I got, the only thing I truly, truly loved was Mary Jane, so I just kept focusing on that.”
After years of working as a machinist, Zuccaro pulled enough money together to leave his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and join California’s medical cannabis industry. In 2011, he purchased his own 250-acre piece of Humboldt County which later became home for his state-licensed farm, Fresh Off the Hill.
“I had no idea what I was doing on an estate,” Zuccaro says. “It was not just growing pot — I had to learn how to run an estate and that was a lot of work.”
Learning from as many of the area’s growers as he could, Zuccaro built Fresh Off the Hill to be both environmentally and economically sustainable. The property now spans more than 600 acres and has allowed Zuccaro to start giving back to the community he’s admired since he was a child.
“We’re cultivating enough money to give back to the school systems,” he says. “We run things for skate park fundraisers and a whole bunch of things. That’s been the exciting part.”