By Goldleaf's Alfonso Colasuonno, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis.
In the recent past, most cannabis enthusiasts had to obtain their green from the unregulated market. We didn’t know anything about the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of our cannabis. We didn’t know anything about where our cannabis was grown. We didn’t know anything about which effects were most prominent in the cultivars we purchased.
Thankfully, those dark days are behind us.
Now, with the burgeoning cannabis movement having already attained a significant number of victories at the state level
and more on the way
, many of us have a choice in the matter of which cannabis we consume.
And, if you’re like us, you want nothing but the best.
We had the privilege of touching base with several of the principal figures involved with some of our favorite cannabis farms, asking them to share a bit about their unique cultivars and growing processes. Their responses ran the gamut, but one factor unites all these farms: a focus on quality.
If possible, we highly recommend you sample at least a few of the cultivars produced by each one of these farms. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
“Clean cannabis for a clean high. Bigger than buds.”
Aster Farms is a boutique cultivator, offering sustainably grown cannabis from Northern California. With a deep-rooted belief that responsible farming, live soil, and organic inputs produce the highest quality flowers, Aster Farms lets nature do the work because clean cannabis equals a clean high.If you had to pick one cultivar that you feel is most unique to your farm, what would it be and why is it unique?
“The one cultivar that represents Aster Farms the best is our Maui OG
. It is a unique, proprietary strain with a radiant effect that is balanced and uplifting. The nose is tropical and the buds are a beautiful purple. The effects of our Maui OG inspire people to get outdoors and be active, which is core to who we are and what we value at Aster Farms.” — Julia Jacobson, CEO of Aster FarmsWhat is one part of your growing process that is unique to your farm–why is it important?
“At Aster Farms, we don't just grow outdoors, we grow right into the ground in live soil. Many outdoor growers in California grow in pots, which doesn’t allow for the root systems to extend to their full potential and can result in flushing soil each season. Additionally, it's difficult to create the same insect and microorganism ecosystem in a pot as it exists in well-cared-for native soil. It may be more work to grow in live soil, but we believe in the benefits it brings to our plants, our people, and our environment. Our flower tests high in terpenes and has complex profiles. We believe this contributes to the balanced effects with our terpenes and cannabinoids working in synergy.” — Sam Ludwig, President of Aster Farms
Danny Murr-Sloat inspires many as the famed owner of AlpinStash who credits consuming and growing cannabis with losing 70 pounds, transitioning off over 19 prescriptions (including opiates) for an array of medical issues, and eventually spearheading one of the most revered micro-cultivation brands in Colorado. He’s also a prolific breeder. Since 2014, he’s steadily built the AlpinStash brand through his meticulously bred in-house cultivars, several of which are cult favorites among Colorado connoisseurs. Murr-Sloat’s Lemmiwinks, Sparrow King, Falkor, Grape Grimoire, and Platinum Tiger Cookies cultivars are flying off the shelves, which is especially notable in a state where the retail system pays little homage to growers, if at all. Danny’s secret is keeping operations small-scale, paying attention to the finest details, and adding his personal touch to everything AlpinStash grows.To learn more about the AlpinStash breeding program and Danny’s exclusive in-house cultivars, please visit their website.
You can learn more about AlpinStash’s cultivars and pick up some tips on growing cannabis by checking out their YouTube channel.If you had to pick one cultivar that you feel is most unique to your farm, what would it be and why is it unique?
“This is a difficult question to answer since we grow many unique genetics. Though, since I have to pick one, I choose Lemmiwinks. The most unique aspect of this cultivar is the terpene and flavonoid profile—she smells and tastes like grape Skittles!” — Danny Murr-Sloat, Founder of AlpinStashWhat is one part of your growing process that is unique to your farm–why is it important?
“I don't think we have one single unique process, rather what’s notable is the way we combine all of our growing techniques, as well as our passionate and dedicated team, that makes AlpinStash unique. Two aspects which are not unique to us, but are rare in this industry, are our "everything by hand" ethos and our glass cure. By doing everything by hand—from mixing nutrients, watering, and hand trimming—we ensure each plant gets exactly what they need when they need it. Curing is one of the most important post-harvest steps and is critical to a high-quality end product. What flower is cured is very important—it needs to be cured in an airtight and non-reactive container. Many cure in plastic, but this will react with cannabis and change the smell and taste. For this reason, we use 64 oz. glass mason jars that we burp by hand as needed. Then we send our flower to the dispensaries in the glass jars they were cured in.” — Danny Murr-Sloat, Founder of AlpinStash
Belushi’s Farm is located along the Rogue River in Southern Oregon's Banana Belt, and features signature brands: Belushi's Secret Stash, Captain Jack and The Blues Brothers— sold at select dispensaries in Oregon. Jim built out a 48 plant medical marijuana farm in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), expanding over the years to seven new Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)-approved greenhouses, two barns, a refurbished farmhouse, new facilities, and landscaping. Jim’s construction and reconstruction across the sprawling 93 acres is now in its fifth year. Today, the farm features a totem pole and subterranean sweat lodge built by the indigenous Americans—who absolutely would not accept recompense and are freely granted permission to Jim’s farm—to honor the spirit of the Takelma people who lived there before. The name Takelma means “(those) along the river.” Jim holds ceremonies at the sweat lodge where he whips the spirits around the guests of Mother Earth, Father Sun, Water Spirit, and Fire Spirit in a ritualistic cleansing of the mind, body, and soul. In the winter, a neighbor down the road shepherds around 45 pregnant cows to graze and deliver their sweet calves on Jim’s sacred Eagle Point plot, named for the bevy of bald eagles who also use the land to breed, filling the big Oregon sky with several generations of local fauna. Belushi’s Farm also hosts The Cattlemen's Association annual picnic, along with local weddings and memorial services for members of the community. The occasional party occurs too, where Jim is joined by his band, family, and friends. During the Belushi’s Farm annual Fall Harvest party, the group welcomes budtenders, dispensary owners, and other members of the Oregon cannabis community to the spiritual and charming land Jim loves and shares so graciously.If you had to pick one cultivar that you feel is most unique to your farm, what would it be and why is it unique?
“Hands down, our Cherry Pie
. We call it “The Marriage Counselor” — after I’ve taken a hit, my wife always says, “Well, aren’t YOU being charming tonight!” and I say, “Am I?” — Jim Belushi
, Founder of Belushi’s FarmWhat is one part of your growing process that is unique to your farm–why is it important?
“Our farm is located on 1,800 feet of Rogue River riverfront in Southern Oregon's Banana Belt, where the sun, water, and air make the perfect combination to sustain naturally powerful and beautiful cannabis—it’s the perfect storm for cannabis.” — Jim Belushi, Founder of Belushi’s Farm
MD Farms is a world-class 50,000 square foot greenhouse cultivation facility located in Salinas, California that consistently produces high-grade flower. Part of the MD Numbers family of brands, MD Farms products are available on the wholesale market and private label by brands across California. In-house MD Farms branded products are in development for anticipated launch in 2021. In addition to cultivation, processing, wholesale, and private labelling, MD Farms provides hands-on cultivation demonstration and education resources for others that come from social injustice to experience what can be done with determination and hard work.If you had to pick one cultivar that you feel is most unique to your farm, what would it be and why is it unique?
“One goal MD Farms strives to achieve is always having the best rotation of unique cultivars. We change our varieties based on personal taste, season, and climate. Currently, our best cultivar during the spring and summer months is called Wedding Cake. It’s a consistently high yielder and has all the attributes smokers love in a beautiful toke—a great OG gas nose that finishes with a little citrus, plus other fruit notes. It's sweet to the palate, like cake, and exhales like diesel with beautiful jar appeal, featuring light green crystalized nugs and bright orange hairs.” — Marie Montmarquet, President of MD FarmsWhat is one part of your growing process that is unique to your farm–why is it important?
“We believe in starting with the strongest tissue culture mothers we can procure and providing the best nutrient blend for our specific environment. We use a custom nutrient blend, which is acquired from testing the soil, water, and runoff to determine the best mix for our exact conditions. This blend allows us to get the same results at a quarter of the price of commercially packaged nutrient products. And overall, it is more natural and environmentally friendly.” — Allen Hackett, CEO of MD Farms