Hey, you. Yeah, you. Did you scoop your weekend pass for the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball yet? We got ours and we heard that the cost goes up this Friday, so we wanted to let you know so you can save a few bucks.
The Harvest Ball has announced its full music lineup and it is as eccentric as always.
They have announced their Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative which will grant exhibit space and spotlight promo, pro bono, to 27 small cannabis farms as these craft cultivators continue to be crushed by overbearing regulations and taxes.
Further Reading: The 2021 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball Will Shine Light on Small Cannabis Farmer’s Plight
We know that the best seed breeders and all our weed people will be there. We know the Cannabis Marketplace will be lit. We know that the food is always great. We know this!
This mid-December gathering in Santa Rosa has become such a tradition that it almost feels like a homecoming, even for a couple of East Coast dudes living in SoCal.
We’ve never seen the term “Harvest Ball” attached to the Emerald Cup, though. So, what is it?
The Emerald Cup Harvest Ball is not the “Pothead Prom” as some have asked. You don’t need a tux or a gown, and you can leave your blue suit and brown shoes at home because the Emerald Cup is a party, a celebration of the cannabis plant and the culture at its roots.
That’s what it always has been, and it looks to us like that tradition is set to carry on this December 11-12 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
But, yet… it seems like there is something we haven’t mentioned. Some core part of the Emerald Cup that is not being marketed along with the Harvest Ball.
That, of course, is the annual competition and Emerald Cup Awards, a storied gathering dating back to 2004, way before cannabis “brands”, or social media, or the relative safety that now buffers law-abiding cannabis consumers and producers.
The Emerald Cup Awards will not be held in 2021, but they aren’t going anywhere. They are evolving year after year, however, and change always comes with some debate.
Here’s the roadmap from where we’re at now to the Harvest Ball in December, and on to the Emerald Cup Awards in the spring of 2022.
Full Spectrum of Cannabis Culture on Display at the Harvest Ball
As we have written before, despite its necessary evolution, the Emerald Cup has been able to retain that old-school, nostalgic, “seshin’ with friends” vibe.
With direct access to seed breeders, cannabis farmers, and the faces behind the best edibles, topicals, concentrates, and more, as well as that same face-to-face interaction with the thought leaders in the Emerald Cup Sessions, the Harvest Ball is like a cannabis connoisseur’s wonderland.
We always leave that weekend feeling mentally enriched and motivated and look forward to that rush next month.
Amber Senter is the CEO at LL Products, Inc., as well as Chairman of the Board of Supernova Women.
Senter is a well-respected brand-builder and cannabis activist currently based in the Oakland/SF region but truly making waves worldwide.
We share with Amber a common connection to our late friend and mentor, Mickey Martin. So, watching her rise over the years, earning every accolade, smashing every ceiling, has been heartwarming and inspiring.
Senter will be speaking at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball on a Sessions panel titled, Creating Real Impact: Empowering Social Equity Operators in the Cannabis Industry. If you’re looking for us at the Harvest Ball, this discussion is a surefire place to find us, but we caught up with Amber recently to get her thoughts about the Cup, and the direction it’s moving.
“I love the Emerald Cup because of its authenticity,” Senter told us. “You will find the true cannabis enthusiasts and the producers behind the products at the Emerald Cup.”
Amber Senter represents the cannabis movement as well as anyone and far better than most and is truly paving a way for others to follow.
“Over recent years, the Emerald Cup has done a great job diversifying its speaker lineup and in turn the crowd of attendees and participants,” says Senter, adding, “It seems that the Emerald Cup heard our call and responded by making the event more diverse in a number of ways. I would love to see more focus on Black, brown, and social equity cannabis brands at the festival.”
Our buds Julie Chiarello of SKUNK Magazine and Swami Chaitanya of Swami Select will both be speaking on the Behind the Scenes: The Emerald Cup Judging Experience panel for that insider’s perspective.
We’re also hyped to see ol’ Mean Gene from Mendocino speak on The Hottest Topics in Genetics panel, as well as the man himself, Reggie Harris from Oakland Hyphae when he takes the stage to speak on psychedelics. Yeah, the Emerald Cup is covering it all.
Of course, one of the premium attractions at every Emerald Cup event is the access that cannabis aficionados can have to their favorite seed companies. Homegrowers and commercial cultivators alike line up early for a chance to rap with their favorite breeders and get their hands on the next big thing.
This year, one of the top seed companies in the world, Humboldt Seed Co., is an Emerald Cup Harvest Ball Sponsor which makes perfect sense when you realize how many Emerald Cup-winning farmers run Humboldt Seed Co. gear in their gardens, greenhouses, and grow rooms.
We reached out to Nat Pennington, Humboldt Seed Co.’s CEO, for his insight on December’s Harvest Ball, and the competition and Emerald Cup Awards to follow.
“The Emerald Cup is the quintessential cannabis event in the world,” says Pennington, “and for a genetics company, it is the most relevant event because it provides a great opportunity to talk shop and go over the experiences that people have had. Whether they are Humboldt Seed Co. customers, or our peers and colleagues, we can all get together socially in this fully above-board marketplace.”
Looking back on the epic history of the Cup, Pennington says, “There has been innovation and collaboration that has changed the cannabis world forever that took root at the Emerald Cup.”
We tried to pry some secrets out of Nat about what they might be unveiling at the Harvest Ball and we got him to fess up to a hot collab with Ridgeline Farms (past Emerald Cup winner), but no more details were given. You’ll just have to show up on December 11th and 12th to find out!
BEARD BROS TIP: If you are hoping to get your hands on a certain strain, or specific seeds, consider paying the extra money for the VIP Pass or Super VIP Pass to the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball which grants you entry to the event one hour before the general admission. Since companies must try to estimate how much product to bring, supply can drop fast. Download the app, tag your friends and favorites, make a beeline for your target booth, and don’t let the lines deter you. Get what you came for!
The Road to the Emerald Cup
We’ll speak more on this in the coming months, but as we recently said in an interview with Cannabis Now, the whole “NorCal vs SoCal” clash is stale and counterproductive. The cannabis market is quickly going global but you’re repping a zip code?
The brands that are succeeding in Cali have reach up and down Cali, but it’s a big state! Mom n’ pop legacy operators – like the 27 that will benefit from the Small Farms Initiative – often cannot afford the marketing and production to educate retailers and consumers to expand their brand to that level. That’s why so many are struggling.
The crew at the Emerald Cup sees this firsthand and made the smart decision to split their December event into two experiences. That’s what it comes down to – you still get to get down in Santa Rosa in December, then another party in SoCal in the spring. We are failing to see how this is a bad thing.
The lights just shine brighter in LA and bridging the gap between there and the Emerald Triangle is long overdue and just creates opportunities for the kinds of farms we want to see on store shelves statewide.
This new roadmap gives outdoor fall harvests much-needed extra time to dry, cure, be tested, packaged, etc.
It then gives the Emerald Cup Judges (we applied, fingers crossed!) more time to savor the samples they’re given.
Finally, it gives everyone a great excuse to gather once again, perhaps in a new locale but surely with the same dope vibe we’ve all grown to love.
There will be more details coming soon about the 2022 Competition and Emerald Cup Awards… but first comes the most wonderful time of the year, the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball.
Have you grabbed your weekend passes for the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball yet? We’ll be there blazing our trail all over the fairgrounds – come kick it!
Tickets are available NOW at www.theemeraldcup.com
Text the word HARVEST to 420-420 for a chance to WIN FOUR FREE TICKETS!
Still reading? Check out this bonus quote from Nat Pennington at Humboldt Seed Co.
“You know, buying seeds isn’t like buying a pre-rolled joint or something where you’re going to take it home and consume it that day, or the next day, and move on to the next. When you buy seeds, you’re essentially going to be partners with those seeds for up to the next nine months or so the growing season is long down in SoCal! So you’re going to be getting really personal with those seeds.”