CA: Pot Goes Farm-To-Table This Harvest Season


On a quiet, rain-soaked block of Geary Boulevard in the Inner Richmond last month, in the back lounge of a chic medical marijuana retail store called Harvest, a middle-aged pot farmer named Lourdes was doing brisk business.

A constant stream of well-to-do patrons with medical pot cards milled around 10 tables. Some customers wore looks of curiosity and others childlike glee, but virtually everyone eventually gravitated toward Lourdes corner booth, where – glowing in the warm light of a low-hanging chandelier – she offered each potential customer a treatise on the quality of her cannabis.

She described the four strains she brought along – including a lush green indica that shares her name – with grandmotherly affection, offering a magnifying glass to examine the flower buds more closely.

She said her son had named this amazing flower after me blindly, before we even had it tested. The strain is so potent, the lab tested it nine times to be sure. So frosty and so beautiful. The most important part of it is it passed all these very, very strict tests with flying colors – no traces of any pesticides.

Lourdes – who declined to give her last name because Id rather remain a little more underground – runs with her husband a small farm in Mendocino County called Stagecoach Ranch. Shed come into the city to take part in a farmers market-style event to meet new customers, and she was stoked.

This (harvest) was phenomenal, she said. We did better than weve ever done before. The plants hit the top of the greenhouse this year – over 16 feet tall – she exclaimed with pride.

All across the Bay Area, dispensaries celebrated a high-grossing fall harvest with similar, albeit much larger, events. On Nov. 12, the Natural Cannabis Co. held an outdoor gathering with 28 farmers and 200 guests who could buy a Best of Harvest box containing a gram of cannabis from 28 small farms. On Nov. 18, a pot-delivery tech company threw a private harvest party in SoMa.

The wine industry has their events around harvest and so do we, said Dona Frank, founder and owner of the Natural Cannabis Co. Small farms tend to get overlooked at all these cup events, especially now that so many are tied to corporate interests. We work exclusively with small farms, so we want to recognize their contributions. These farms are growing some of the best cannabis in the world, right here in the Emerald Triangle.

Back in Harvest, the dispensarys general manager, Shanna Main, dashed back and forth from the main salesroom to the lounge wearing a green corduroy jacket. Its farm to table, basically, she said. Were trying to bring the community together.

Many of the patients strolling around the market were surprised to find it there at all.

We were actually just dropping by (the dispensary), said a young bearded man named Steven Ramsey, who seemed slightly befuddled by the hubbub. He and his shopping buddy Courtney Hayden were both self-professed newbies to the world of high-end cannabis.

We like to explore, Hayden said. Last weekend we were all about blunts, this weekend were going to explore tinctures.

A few feet from Stagecoach Ranch, past a company selling vibrating vaporizers, was the farm HerbaBuena, which incorporates holistic practices into its growing methods. Owner Alicia Rose spent years in the wine industry before making the jump to cannabis.

When youre farming with not just science but intention, she said with a slow lilt, (it) makes you feel more harmonized and balanced.

The only negative energy at the event came from talk of legalization. After years of fearing the police, small farmers now fear competition.

Prop. 64 leaves me very, very anxious, Lourdes said of the proposition legalizing marijuana. There (will be) a lot more regulations and a lot more laws. She wasnt alone.

When you want to maintain a certain level of quality, said Charlotte Troy, the owner of the probiotic cannabis chocolate company OARA, youre always up against people that can produce lower quality and higher quantity.

Maybe it was the weed, but the farmers are staying optimistic. We believe there is still going to be a market, an interest and a following for little boutique growers like we are, Lourdes said. For the quality.

By midafternoon, the rain had stopped and the room had begun to empty, but Lourdes was still running at full speed. Still beaming in front of her cannabis flowers, which might as well have been her children, she said, Its a labor of love in every respect.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Pot Goes Farm-To-Table This Harvest Season
Author: Max Savage Levenson
Contact: San Francisco Chronicle
Photo Credit: Laura Morton
Website: San Francisco Chronicle