On April 30th, I had the honor of being invited out to the annual Breeder’s Gathering in Mendocino County. The weather and the people didn’t disappoint, and the cannabis culture was on full display in all its glory.
After a 2+ drive from Sacramento with nothing but bluebird skies, I met up with my homie Joe in Willits. I received my “Welcome to Mendo” in the form of a quick shower that gave all the plant life a bath and filled the air with all the sweet smells of spring.
The gathering was put on for the 4th consecutive year by Doc Ray Genetics as a hillside community event for breeders and cultivators ahead of the grow season. It was hosted by Bill and Cathy Brown at their amazing property Farm to Family Ranch, a 160-acre spread just west of Willits, CA.
Doc has spent the last 50 years in the Emerald Triangle breeding, cultivating, and stabilizing his patented genetics. He is not only a master at his craft, but is also an artist, a survivor of the War on Drugs, and an Army Green Beret.
This year was a bit different in that he was joined by his partner Bentley, a filmmaker, photographer, activist, and connoisseur. He has dedicated his life to creatively capturing the beauty of this miracle plant and shining a light on the amazing people in our community.
Together they make up the flower brand Terps by Doc and Bentley.
They also wanted to help create a path to market for Heritage Cultivators, pay them fairly, and give them the exposure they so richly deserve as the original stewards of cannabis culture. Everything in their product line is a limited run and small-batch, starting out with flowers from Savage Farms and SoHum Royal, with plans to expand the lineup as they get rolling.
The fact that these two opposites have aligned to work together is a testament to the ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking that has permeated the spirit of the traditional market weed game for decades and we’re seeing it more and more now in the legal market. It’s also happening at a time when it’s vital for the survival of so many small California farms facing extinction-level events from over-regulation, over-taxation, and a lack of retail dispensaries.
Doc invited some of his pre-vetted support team to assist the other small farmers going through a lot of the same challenges. They were able to offer up assistance in their particular areas of expertise. Those in attendance included Spring Creek Farms, A.C. Moon, Emerald Spirit Botanicals, and Family First Farms.
They ran the gamut from plant genomics and DNA testing from Leafworks, on-site potency and cannabinoid testing kits from Orange Photonics, to IP protection from Plant and Planet and utilization of blockchain technology from Canopyright to help to register and safeguard proprietary genetics for the future.
These are just a few of the new aspects that small farmers must focus their attention on in order to operate in the California legal market. Finding viable partners to assist in these previously foreign areas is absolutely crucial to success. One wrong move could cause a delay of months in being able to bring product to retail. Looking to the old-school method of referrals and word of mouth from trusted sources is yet another way small farmers can band together and avoid the onslaught of MSO weed and brands headed our way while maintaining a connection to the cannabis culture.
If you plan to attend the G4 Live event this weekend (May 12-14) in Las Vegas, you can catch Doc dropping knowledge on the “Why Recovery Should Include Plant Medicine” panel on Friday, May 13th from 10:30-11 am and the “Horticultural Practices for Plant Supplement” panel from 2:15-2:50. Make sure you tell him Beard Bros sent you!
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!