By Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education, Harborside Health Center
Pineapple Thai, Burmese Cotton Candy, Cherry Cola: 2012 truly was an epic year for sun-grown cannabis. The rains didn't come until late October, allowing growers to let their plants reach peak maturity. Some farmers in Grass Valley had plants in the ground until Thanksgiving. I love those long, equatorial sativas. Thank goodness some growers do, too. California sunshine combined with above-average temperature all summer and fall allowed flowers to fully ripen. I've seen some of the most amazing, sticky, frost-covered colas this year.
This was truly a banner year for outdoor crops; grapes, hops, and our beloved cannabis all had a great season. It's also been a full year since Harborside Health Center began highlighting the magnificence of outdoor cannabis by rebranding it as sun-grown (SG). The industry and press followed suit. During the past year, our percentage of SG sales grew from a mere 5% to over 20% of our total. We've also seen the advent of top-shelf sun-grown, where we pick only the best, highest-testing flowers and put them in custom, SG-labeled jars. In the future, look for HHC to release limited-edition half-ounce and full-ounce jars that are nitro-flushed and sealed. Imagine pulling out "vintage" 2013 flowers in 2020! Unopened, these jars will last for years.
Preservation was the last thing on people's minds at this year's Emerald Cup, the world's largest outdoor cannabis competition held annually in Northern California in December. Over 200 entries graced a six-foot display case. It was quite an inspiring sight. Activist Tim Blake started the cup in 2003. For the last decade it's held court at the Area 101 community space in Mendocino. This year it moved to the Mateel Community Center in Humboldt County. The move has both psychic and spiritual implications. As anyone familiar with this region knows, there's more than a little bit of rivalry between the two. Thank goodness for lab testing and professional judges!
This competition brings in cultivators from all over the Emerald Triangle and beyond. One of the top 10 finishers was from Butte County. That grower extolled the virtues of high-altitude sunshine. The Cup is a great chance for normally reclusive growers to come out of the woodwork--or more correctly, the woods--and share their handiwork with each other. Tall tales are swapped; many joints, pipes and bongs are smoked; music and food are enjoyed, and a good time is had by all. It's also a great opportunity for dispensary professionals to meet and greet producers of top-quality sun-grown, and access this medicine for their patients.
Seeing only sun-grown at the Emerald Cup, it's strange to then drive back to the city. Passing through the woods, then into farm country, and finally over the bridge and back to the gritty, urban sprawl of the East Bay, you finally arrive in a place where almost all of the cannabis is non-organic indoor. The expansion of our SG choices this year has been wondrous. On any given day at Harborside, we have upwards of six different strains. We've been treated to phenomenal flowers this year. Hopefully the trend towards sun-grown continues, and even increases, as the seasons pass.