Cannabis is considered to be a water-intensive crop, but master grower Sunshine Johnston of Sunboldt Grown in Humboldt County is showing that dry-farming (a technique that utilizes seasonal water abundance) can actually produce a higher concentration of flavors. Although her plants have not been watered all season, they are healthy and thriving in the rich native soil. By harvest time, these full-season flowers are gorgeous, sticky, and luscious, with plenty of bling.
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Standing among towering sunflowers overlooking a terraced garden, one can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude and admiration for this slice of paradise.
HappyDay Farms is a diversified, Clean Green Certified, off-grid, multigenerational family farm tucked away on a hillside in northern Mendocino County, with views of rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see. Lush cannabis plants are accompanied by a plethora of plump produce, colorful flowers, and healing herbs.
Blossoming life blanketing every available space testifies to the tender love, thoughtful care, and nurturing energy poured into this patch of earth. Happy Day Farms’ dedication to land stewardship returns in generous harvests of food and medicine, a hearty bounty shared with the community at farmers markets and in CSA boxes.
Small-batch craft cannabis requires devoted attention to each individual plant. If it isn’t possible to provide the necessary time and energy, there are too many plants in the garden. HappyDay had planned to grow smaller, more easily maintained plants this year, but with roots in such a richly fertile plot of land, these ladies soon flourished into magnificent bushes, happily and healthily expanding beyond expectations.
Mark Haskell Smith's book Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup inspired CertifiedDank.com in 2012. We visited him in Los Angeles to catch up while sharing some Durban Poison from Cornerstone Collective and Guava Chem from Farma.
The International Cannabis Farmers Association’s farm tours and community gathering in early June provided a wonderful reminder that six degrees of separation are more like two degrees in the Emerald Triangle. While Northern California’s cannabis community may appear large and widely dispersed, it is in fact a somewhat small, supportive, and tightly knit family.
A group of farmers, scientists, and founding members of the International Farmers Association gathered in Southern Humboldt for an educational tour through the beautiful off-grid landscape of Villa Paradiso and another neighboring farm in order to learn more about how they might coordinate their mission to expand consumer access to organically and sustainably sungrown cannabis.Read More
As soon as I discovered White Rabbit High Tea on Instagram, I knew we had to plan a trip to Los Angeles to experience one of Jessica Eriksen’s wonderfully whimsical events, and in late May we were delighted to attend her playful pastel tea party at Super Future Studios.
We passed miniature pre-rolls of sungrown cannabis flowers from PremaFlora, sipped lightly infused kombucha, and sampled a seemingly endless series of scones, tarts, and other treats. Chef Holden Jagger elegantly and ingeniously incorporated cannabis as a flavorful ingredient without getting gimmicky. (Terpene-infused honey butter! Sandwiches garnished with male flowers full of pollen! Candied CBD brittle!) Our only complaints were an excess of deliciousness and tea bags of Earl Grey oversteeping in teapots.
The aesthetic ambiance was lovely, the crowd was cool, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first foray into L.A.’s weed scene.
We visited Portland for the first time last year, to attend the first Cultivation Classic. That inaugural event revealed an unparalleled caliber of thoughtful innovation and dedication, which left us feeling profoundly inspired.
The second Cultivation Classic took place on May 12, 2017 at Revolution Hall, where cannabis consumption was not allowed. The lack of smoke in the air made for a more academic and businesslike atmosphere, and though there was a bar serving drinks, with so much fascinating information being dispensed by the panelists, we rarely left our seats in the auditorium.
We were particularly keen to hear Dr. Ethan Russo speak about “making cannabis safer and better.” He emphasized the potential health risks associated with smoking, insisted that “smoking of anything will never be FDA-approved as a pharmaceutical,” and added that these risks are reduced but not eliminated with vaporization. Dr. Russo warned about shockingly high levels of dangerous pesticides detected in cannabis sold at dispensaries, pointing out that none are considered safe for inhalation and that some are known carcinogens that can also cause seizures as well as contributing to honeybee colony collapse disorder.Read More
Amidst the forested foothills at the junction of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, a steeply terraced garden sits resplendent with row after row of dazzlingly vibrant cannabis in magnificent full bloom.
On this south-facing slope in southern Oregon, chuffy colas gleam with vigorous vitality as they bask in the midmorning sun. A kaleidoscopic array glows in vivid shades of green, splashed with bright yellow fennel and dotted with plush purple buds radiating florid fuchsia pistils.
Touring the gardens of Moon Gazer Farms is like wandering into a fairy tale. It isn't just the quaint meadow of flowers or newly planted orchard, the sweeping views or early growth of spring. It's also the loving dedication to the land that casts a bewitching sense of harmony and wonder.
Across the way lies an open field filled with giant rows of recently built hügelkultur beds surrounded by lush foliage. After implementing regenerative practices on a different farm last year, it was time for Moon Gazer to take the knowledge gained from that experience to their own sacred space. They have already made great strides to integrate with their new home.
Moon Gazer's deep commitment to stewardship was recognized with an award for regenerative farming at the 2016 Emerald Cup, and the farm is also certified DEM Pure by Dragonfly Earth Medicine.
With new land comes new growth: a start so fresh, you can feel the vibrant energy promising so much greatness to come. The fledgeling cannabis plants arranged inside and outside of the greenhouses are looking happy, healthy, and strong, with an extraordinary line up of genetics, many sourced from similarly sacred spaces. The hügelkultur beds are just about ready. The native soil, wriggling with worms and rich with biology and naturally occurring minerals and nutrients, will provide unique terroir. Soon all those lovely ladies will be moving into the earth to flourish through their life of flowering into fall harvest.
The Mendocino County cannabis community gathered at Area 101 in Laytonville, California for Healing Harvest Farms' spring farmers market, where stellar flowers and friendly faces were found in abundance and live music accompanied the buzz of the crowd.
Flower Girls are discerning devotees who congregate in order to elevate our appreciation of the cannabis flower. This smoking society is a forum for the cultivation of connoisseurship, wherein we discuss the intricacies of various flowers and highlight those we deem the dankest.
When Flower Girls gather for a tasting session, we strive to smoke mindfully, sharing insights and observations, considering origin, appearance, aroma, flavor and effect. To prevent a proper tasting from deteriorating into an ordinary hobnob, focused attention and patience are essential.
Somewhere in the moment after I sample a chewy tropical pineapple licorice bite followed by another puff of one the copious amount of joints circling the table I unlock a karmic cannabis connection. Enjoying the cannabis with the farmer who tended for these outdoor plants with such care, talking about its effects together and pairing it with complimentary food and drink, brings tasting marijuana into a whole new expanse. We’re appreciating every expression of our favorite flower with our friends and taking notes for the next time. Proper enjoyment of cannabis can make for a vivid and imaginative journey into the heart of dankness.
Take the 101 north from San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and passing through the suburbs of Marin and the vineyards of Sonoma and Mendocino. The trees along the road grow increasingly imposing as you wind your way through the rural landscape, and when you find yourself surrounded by ancient 300-foot-tall redwoods, you’ll know you’ve reached Humboldt County.
Back-to-the-land hippies have been cultivating cannabis in these forested hills since the late 1960s. Over the years, their small family farms been joined by an influx of large-scale grows that wreak environmental havoc while churning out a steady supply of subpar pot.
With a glut of cheap weed bringing down the price per pound, many farmers have compensated by growing more plants, sacrificing quality for quantity. Meanwhile, dispensaries throughout California place a premium on flowers grown in warehouses under electric lights. Flowers grown outdoors are presented as an economical alternative to top-shelf indoor.
Rather than accept a lower price for premium sungrown, some farmers pass their product off as indoor, while much of Northern California’s outdoor crop is sold on the black market in other states. Since dispensaries are unwilling to pay for Humboldt’s finest, it has gone unrecognized within the legal cannabis industry.Read More
Cannabis is not technically legal in Amsterdam, only “tolerated,” and this places the plant in a particular cultural context. It is labeled a “soft drug,” too easily classified alongside legal prostitution in the red-light district and perceived as attracting unsavory types and fostering a generally shady vibe. (Meanwhile, binge drinking is far more normalized.) The patchwork of contradictory regulations seems to prevent coffeeshops from stocking sufficient quantities of product or making menus adequately available for perusal.
“Plain and simple, small farmers using organic production methods grow outstanding cannabis. Vibrant flowers with beautiful hues and iridescences, complex bouquets, robust flavors, super clean effects — that’s what initially attracted me to this. I was just blown away by the quality.”
Having sampled several of PremaFlora’s offerings, I wholeheartedly concur. My personal favorite, Holy Diver, has the crisply sweet texture of sauvignon blanc with a peppery bite, and imparts a stimulating, creative, functional high. This cannabis conveys true terroir, a taste of the 100-year-old apple orchard on a lush coastal hillside where goats and chickens roam.
Cannabis is an annual plant that naturally flowers from late summer into fall. The growing season begins when farmers plant seeds every spring. The seedlings quickly develop branches and leaves over the next few months, becoming taller and bushier until longer nights after the summer solstice trigger the flowering phase. In autumn, when flowers are ripe, they are cut down, dried, and trimmed.
Do biodynamic cannabis flowers truly possess a holistic, spiritual, even magical purity? Perhaps. They are certainly an enticing alternative to cannabis grown in warehouses under electric lights with toxic pesticides, fertilizers and nutrients. Sensitive souls who care deeply about their impact on the environment and what they put into their bodies are quite likely to appreciate the subtly special qualities of a biodynamic high.