Written by Ganja D from Rebel Grown, with words from Chris Anderson of Redwood Roots
FIRST, SOME HONEST TRANSPARENCY
California’s Cannabis industry is filled with brutal harsh realities. Lawmakers could not have been further away from understanding or identifying with how to create a healthy industry that supports what made California Cannabis so special.
What promised to be equitable for small craft ”legacy” farmers, who grew Cannabis illegally and were treated like murderers by law enforcement and the government during Cannabis prohibition, turned out to be the exact opposite. It created a rat race to the bottom and invited the worst parts of greed and undeserving opportunism. It’s like it took our beautiful sacred flowers that gave us so much out of life, and capitalism soured them with sterile indoors, huge fields of terrible autos, and turned them into distillate and infused pre-rolls.
Almost no one is really winning. Even big companies lose money on every sale. Most aren’t profitable, yet they tell potential investors when they project they will be… if they can come up with overhead to keep operations running.
Retail dispensaries are the hardest hit by 280E tax laws. They can’t write off things a normal business can. Not even payroll! A lot of privately owned shops from the past Prop 215 days have sold to large groups who run them like Apple stores. A lot of them sell products but struggle to keep up with paying for them and use the revenue for their overhead. Meanwhile, the growers and manufacturers wait, hoping to get paid, trying to push without harming relationships. It’s sadly common.
California, with our nation’s leading ideals on environmental sustainability, fills our landfills with wasteful cannabis packaging like CDs with huge unnecessary boxes in the early 90s.
And then there are the growers. Farm owners and actual plant-touching growers. When we use the words ‘legacy’ and ‘craft’, what does that really mean? With 40 million people in California, I bet most Cannabis users don’t have the full picture to understand what ‘craft’ or ‘legacy’ truly means with what is presented to them in dispensaries in our biggest cities.
There is only one place in California that didn’t try to normalize Cannabis, where it was naturally just a part of life in communities for locals, behind locked gates, handshakes on the road, sustaining and supporting entire local economies: Southern Humboldt, Northern Mendocino, and Trinity county – the Emerald Triangle.
Amongst all the plastic mirages of legal Cannabis, the Emerald Cup is one of the few shining beams of light acting as a beacon to remind us all of the amazing community and culture we still have, and where it came from. It brings truly great people with so much love, knowledge, passion, and experience together to share some of the best Cannabis in the galaxy, catalyzing the opportunity to showcase our craft to the people who would appreciate it the most.
Finding real cannabis culture in all the people trying so hard these days is like a page from a Where’s Waldo book. I spent my whole life looking for it, and it’s rare. I found it in Southern Humboldt 14 years ago and have made it a mission to share how unique and magical it is ever since.
Rebel Grown and Redwood Roots will be at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball this year as a sponsor and as vendors.
We will be with a wrecking crew of partners, neighbors, and friends who are some of Southern Humboldt’s best craft legacy and equity farmers and brands.
REDWOOD ROOTS RUN DEEP
Chris from Redwood Roots is unlike any other brand founder or distributor in California. He knows what he has is special, he is representing the pinnacle of legendary Humboldt Cannabis, which will one day be a global brand. But, more importantly, he is representing and fighting to save his community.
Many of the farms he distributes or offers through the Redwood Roots brand are not just partners, but they are also his neighbors and lifelong friends.
While we root for all of our brothers and sisters working and living with the plant in Mendocino, Trinity, Sonoma, Lake County, and beyond, Southern Humboldt has a very special story with Cannabis.
In the 60s and 70s, “Back to the Landers” came to Southern Humboldt for a chance to get back to nature, living off the land surrounded by ancient redwoods and winding rivers. The original homestead families blended ways of life with the locals from the gruff and gritty logging era.
What many people don’t know is that before there was Cannabis culture in Southern Humboldt, this diverse combination of people came together in a unique time and place and built a community. They found ways to work together and support one another, even in difficult circumstances.
They established food cooperatives to make sure everyone had enough to eat, especially in the cold, wet winters.
They collaborated to build schoolhouses and teach each other’s children.
The communities organized fire departments to defend their land, divided into regional districts that are still functioning today, some using their geographical boundaries to establish Cannabis appellations.
As Cannabis became more of a part of life for Southern Humboldt, the drug war heated up in America. Black and brown communities were targeted the worst. Rural Southern Humboldt county also took the brunt of a long aggressive attack from military helicopters and soldiers with machine guns, with too many victims of lengthy prison sentences, and damaged property, families, and lives to list.
“The weed culture is what we’re most famously known for, but having been born and raised here my perspective is deeper than that,” says Chris Anderson of Redwood Roots. “I saw people come out of the woodwork, literally to build a community together. It wasn’t always pretty but some truly iconic and highly successful non-profits were born from the spirit of the people. People talk about legacy in regard to running from choppers, jail time, and murders. To me, the legacy is much more diverse and rich in community service. It’s our community centers, rural schools, hospitals, barn buildings, a community radio station and so much more.”
Through it all, the magic evolved into the realest. most powerful Cannabis culture I’ve experienced. The farms still standing represent the past, present, and future of a community for Southern Humboldt County.
Redwood Roots offers the best hand-picked selections from some of the best legacy farms that Humboldt has to offer.
Please visit us at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball at Booth 101 to experience the magic, Support the true legacy Cannabis community, and come get some of the best weed ever.
Here are the farms and our offerings for the 2022 Harvest Ball:
Of course, Rebel Grown will have fire weed and seeds.
Growing in the hills of Harris and Island Mountain since 2009, and in the Northeast many years before that, our goal has always been to contribute to the community and give back more than we take.
At last May’s Emerald Cup Awards, our genetics won 4 out of the Top 10 Licensed Sun Grown Flowers awards including 2nd Place, the Breeders Cup for the second time, and 2nd Place for Personal Sungrown Flower!
We will have a fresh batch of our two-time 2nd Place, two-time Breeders Cup winning Double OG Chem cut jarred up for the event, grown better than either of the winning years on our farm in the legendary Palo Verde Appellation.
This herb can ruin other weed for serious smokers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We’ll also have seeds of Double OG Chem, 7th Place Natty Bumppo, and other selections that we believe are world-class and that you’ve never seen or heard of, including some feminized collabs with other Emerald Cup Top 10 winners from last year!
We know there will be hype seed-buying frenzies at other booths, but they ain’t got what we got. Come find us.
The only two-time back-to-back 1st Place winner of the Emerald Cup, Jason of Ridgeline Farms has put SoHum on his back, and there is no one more deserving.
With his success comes great responsibility, pressure, and even burden to be a leader for the Southern Humboldt community. It’s hard to receive recognition when many around you are struggling.
“I get emotional driving through town, it’s dead empty. I’ve been growing my whole life and it’s just so much more to me than money or a brand, it’s our community, our whole life,” says Jason. “I love this town and this community, I love the plant. I feel bad for the plant with how I see it treated in the industry by huge companies sometimes. We bred it, our families worked with it. A lot of us are tired from all the pressure since legal weed, we just want to keep growing it our way.”
I’ve been to Jason’s farm where he makes a home with his wife and family. It’s beautiful, and his weed is amazing. That’s because it is grown with care by him, his wife, and a few friends who help from time to time, and they’ve all been doing it their entire lives.
I remember Jason’s uncle who owns and runs the New Harris General store in my neighborhood telling me about when he and Jason’s dad first came to the area in the 70s. They would flip over cow patties on the hillsides and mix in mushrooms they foraged, growing pot plants in the middle of the manure and mushrooms mixed up.
The community has come a long way since then, and we’re still innovating and leading the way with quality and genetics. Check out Ridgeline’s new Lantz, which he bred and selected by combining both of his 1st Place winners – Green Lantern and White Runtz!
Hogwash Pharms and Humboldt Alchemy Group
Owners Jill and Eric are a shining example of how resilient, intelligent, and adaptable Southern Humboldt farmers are. They have lived, grown weed, and farmed food on their property on Blue Slide Creek, a tributary to the Mattole, for 30 years. They show incredible discipline and persistent hard work to be able to maintain their way of life. With so many tasks each day, Jill often gets up at 3am to get paperwork and compliance out of the way. She is willing to do whatever it takes to bring plant medicine to the people through real alchemy practices.
Jill is fifth-generation Humboldt County. Her ancestry came here in the 1870s.
Eric’s parents were Back to the Landers and his experience and palate for good Cannabis goes back to before a lot of today’s top indoor cultivators were born.
Try their pre-rolls, all single-sourced and crafted by their hands.
“We make the seeds, grow the weed, extract the weed,” says Jill. “We make everything, Eric and I. We don’t have staff, it’s what it takes for us to survive, it’s just a part of our culture and our family, it’s just what we do around here.”
Jerry Savage, owner-operator of Savage Farms, is a second-generation Southern Humboldt Cannabis grower.
“I grew up on Pratt Mountain on a nice little homestead. It was the ultimate lifestyle,” says Jerry. “We had chickens, turkeys, a cow, and veggie gardens. We lived off the land. We’d go to town for supplies and we pretty much only needed sugar and sweets, we had everything we needed. It was a unique but great way to grow up. I loved it.”
Savage Farms in Ettersburg, west of the 101, has gorgeous views of Kings Peak.
It’s split between two gardens; one high and one lower elevation, with about 20,000 square feet of cultivation. Aside from a badass name, Jerry and his farm have focused on breeding their own stand-out varieties rather than the hype cuts most farms grow. Look out for his Savage Rose and Papaya Smoothie.
Jerry is also working on a project to keep the legacy alive of SoHum Seeds and Lawrence Ringo, the man who co-pioneered CBD in Cannabis varieties.
“When weed was legal and I started seeing everybody’s stuff, based on our quality I felt like we had a good chance to keep doing this, and I hope to pass this on to my kids one day”. – Jerry
Johnny Casali of Huckleberry Hill Farms is one of the most notable growers in Humboldt County and should be one of the most widely known in California. Not only is he extremely humble, but he also has a beautiful farm property celebrating the roots of Humboldt Cannabis at its finest. He and his partner Rose cultivate each plant with love and individual care that you won’t find anywhere else.
You also won’t find their genetics anywhere else. The lineage of their multi-award-winning Whitethorn Rose and Mom’s Weed date back to genetics grown and bred by Johnny’s late mother on their land 40 to 50 years ago. It still sparkles with beautiful glistening resin glands in the SoHum sunshine and outperforms much of today’s trendy weed.
Once you taste it you’ll understand.
“It’s important for our survival in today’s climate to grow strains that we bred on our farm, that my mother grew since I was 10 years old, in our community,” says Johnny. “It’s just Rose and I that create the magic on the farm and touch every plant, and every leaf, to give it the care it needs and deserves to flourish.”
Johnny is also a victim and survivor of unjust Cannabis prohibition. I encourage readers to google his story and support equity farms.
Canna Country Farms
Here is another multigenerational SoHum farm the world needs to know about. Owner-operator Ted runs all the day-to-day with his sons, third-generation Humboldt Cannabis farmers.
Canna Country has the feeling of an authentic Southern Humboldt Cannabis lifestyle; they only grow their prized genetic selections and they roll their doobies fat.
Canna County is the type of farm where the grower’s main objective is to grow the type of weed they want to enjoy themselves. It just so happens it’s good enough to have won 2nd Place and the coveted Breeders Cup at the 2021 Emerald Cup with their Canna Country #26, and 6th Place at the Emerald Cup Awards this past May!
Besides its beautiful color, Canna Country #26 is full of crisp, lingering flavor. Canna Country’s experience, intuition, and life-lasting passion make their weed a hidden gem you won’t find at your average dispensary. But, you can come and try some at the Harvest Ball!
Jesse from Sticky Fields is the only farmer in this group not hailing from Southern Humboldt, but he has no less experience than the rest and is invaluable to our community. His grandmother came to Northern Mendocino County in 1969 and his family has been deeply entrenched in Cannabis ever since. He is a third-generation Cannabis farmer, growing food and other flowers among his prized Cannabis gardens on his farm in Willits.
“My family has been doing this a long time, I have been doing this a long time. I just want to represent my family and keep doing this,” says Jesse. “A lot of them were against going legal. I want them to see me succeed and know there is a greater purpose in why I’m doing this. It’s not about making money to me. I just want to make sure somebody who has been around this forever stays in it. I love my farm, I live on it. I smoke my weed every day. When I think of my weed I think of my family.”
Jesse is one of the most passionate people you’ll find in Cannabis. I can identify and know that you won’t find many people who care so much and want it as bad because I am the same way.
He’s been breeding his Mandarin Tart for eight years and currently offers an incredible selection of it testing with high terps over 34% THC.
Come visit us at the Harvest Ball to smoke what Sticky rolls up every day.
VALUES & BLESSINGS
With all the challenges we’ve faced, we know we are all blessed to continue working with this plant.
None of us would be here if we doubted the value that our Cannabis will bring to countless lives around the globe one day.
For now, we hope to see you at The Emerald Cup Harvest Ball on December 10th and 11th, we’ll bring the award-winning weed.