The first neighbors he met were Glenda and Van Keck, organic farmers who have lived on Dusty Drive since 1974. “They were worried about the cannabis growing right from the get go,” Mr. Wagner said. “And I came over in hopes of quelling their concerns, to introduce myself, and to show them my plans.”
At the time, he wanted to cultivate half an acre of organically grown marijuana, or about 1,000 pounds per year. He told the Kecks he would process in the barn using ice and water, a nonchemical method. Mr. Keck grumbled about his property values, Mr. Wagner said. Glenda Keck was largely silent. “She became very uncomfortable pretty quickly, and she left to go to Costco.” The Kecks did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Parvathy Mahesh said she and her husband, Harihara, were told an older couple was moving in, not a pot farmer. She worried about trucks rumbling past her front yard, close to Mr. Wagner’s gate. And the road was too steep to sustain commercial traffic, she said. “If it was on a private road, that would be one thing,” Ms. Mahesh said. “But this road is shared by all the residents.”
In early March, the Maheshes called the Kecks. Then they went to talk to Mr. Momtazi at his tasting room. “I said, ‘I don’t know anything about this,’” Mr. Momtazi said.
He recalled that he and Mr. Wagner talked weeks earlier. His new neighbor mostly complimented him on his biodynamic farming practices, he said, and failed to mention marijuana. Mr. Wagner said he was hesitant to mention his farm, but did address the topic.
The visit from the Maheshes sent Mr. Momtazi reeling. He wasn’t opposed to marijuana use, but a processing operation was something altogether different. His daughter, Hanna, who oversees events, scoured the internet and found Mr. Wagner’s Instagram account. On Jan. 14, he posted a photograph of the barn, a wall of storm clouds on the horizon.
“The future sight of greenhouses, and processing facility,” Mr. Wagner wrote. “Watch for the build out coming soon!”
Twelve days later, he posted another photograph, this time a selfie, his scruffy brown hair tucked under a baseball cap. “When I’m out on my land, my eyes stay glowing, and I still pinch myself occasionally just to make sure this is real!” he wrote. The posts stretched back to October 2016, about the same time the previous owners were negotiating with the neighbors to make it possible for the Wagners…