February 6, 2019

Nothing’s Fresher Than These 5 Sun-Grown Strains in Oregon

It’s that time of year! The sun-grown cannabis harvested in 2018 is coming to shops near you after drying and curing through the end of the year.

Here are highlights from some trusted Oregon farms—new flavors, strains, and experiences, all created under the age-old sun using tried-and-true farming methodologies.

Rogue Blue Cheese by Roganja

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Roganja is where the language of wine and cannabis intersect.

When the farm’s third-generation operator speaks about the cannabis his family has raised on their plot of land in southern Oregon since 1975, you’ll be quick to hear the term “terroir”—a French word common to wine circles that refers to a synergistic trinity: the soil and weather and farmer, working in harmony to influence a finished cultivar’s overall phenotypic presence.

The Rogue Valley’s rolling hills, early springs, and late first freeze—while less popularized than, say, the microclimates in Humboldt County, California—differ from those of the Emerald Triangle for being geographical sweet spots ideal for terpene preservation and long-finishing equatorial strains that can be cost prohibitive to grow inside.

Extending the Rogue Valley’s terroir potentials into evolution itself, Roganja’s breeding arm Massive Seeds has for decades created strains in and for the region—those that evolve alongside the weather and are selected by discerning connoisseurs.

Their Rogue Blue Cheese is one such strain. Its hybridized roots date back to the late 1970s with DJ Short’s Blueberry—a heritage Oregon cultivar crossed with UK Cheese and, later, Applegate Hornblower for berry, cheese, cough medicine, and candy notes.

Buy it at Satchel.

Ol’ Betsy by Liontree Farms

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Like Roganja, Liontree Farms is backgrounded by wine-country thinking. Though the farm’s proprietor grew up in Hawaii on land where the family cultivated cannabis, his formal education is in growing grapes for wine.

Liontree relies on organic nutrition, sun, local water and weather, and not much else.

Like many people who find ways back to their roots through what they learn in school, Liontree originated as a medical farm in the Applegate Valley on a south-facing slope selected in the fashion of a farmer with vineyard ambitions. Liontree relies on organic nutrition, sun, local water and weather, and not much else.

Their cultivars range deep fuel aromatics to rarer, long-finishing equatorial sativas that best distinguish the region from that of Northern California, where spring happens later and the first freeze comes around Halloween—shortening the grow season and limiting the region’s fitness for long-finishing equatorials.

An apparent lane change from the equatorial sativas hallmark to Liontree is Ol’ Betsy, a heritage strain of Northern California with an unknown lineage, moderate 20% THC, and a dominant concentration of myrcene followed by pinene and caryophyllene. Expect a big mood boost and pronounced but secondary focus enhancements, as well as anti-inflammatory impressions punctuated by a potentially sleepy finish.

Buy it at Electric Lettuce.

Forbidden Fruit by Million Elephants

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)

The swinging trunks behind Million Elephants began growing medical cannabis in 1997 and 20 years later released their first flowers on Oregon’s recreational market. They offer a mix of classic, clone-only, and cutting-edge cultivars and plan to eventually incorporate Laotian landraces unique to the US gene pool.

Using grow techniques developed in Mendocino County, Million Elephants deserves recognition for their nostalgic cut of Trainwreck dating back to the mid ‘90s as well as contemporary creations like Cannarado’s Sundae Driver—a cross of Fruity Pebbles and Grape Pie that legit smells like a yellow cupcake slathered in vanilla frosting that became pink from the dye-bleed of a Maraschino cherry.

But it’s their rarer, clone-only treasure, the Forbidden Fruit, that most stands out across the two seasons Million Elephants has been active at its current site. A cross of citrus masterwork Tangie and crowd pleaser Cherry Pie, Forbidden Fruit most takes after the Tangie at the nose—the scent is like a piece of hard candy doing its best fresh clementine impression, all the while decked out in flashy fall hues contrasted by healthy greens.

Buy it at AmeriCanna RX.

Coyote Art by Green Source Gardens

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Green Source Gardens is an Earth-first operation with a holistic philosophy at the center of their farming practices. The Green Source way exceeds the words “organic” or “sungrown” to encompass the belief that humans are part of and not separate from nature’s totality.

Winners of the 2018 Cultivation Classic Regenerative Cannabis Farming Award and self-described “stewards of the soil,” Green Source embraces and nurtures the microbiology of their land, affording their plants the opportunity to feed themselves the no-bottle way.

The farm’s genetic stable and continuous breeding program is something like a Galapagos with undefined borders—comprised of off-map, poly-hybrid originals like Pinkleberry, as well as our featured flower, Coyote Art. New and refined versions of proprietary cultivars are bred each season, variation is celebrated along the way to preferred breeding stock, and some exotic and gorgeous mutant flowers are emerging.

To describe one such mutant visually, the Coyote Art is a masterpiece of muted-lime sugar leaves contrasted by violet calyxes and albino-pink stigmas. At the nose, this cultivar tells a story of myrcene dominance as mediated by spikes of humulene and pinene. Relative traces of caryophyllene, limonene, and guaiol follow, but what we most appreciate is the even high—relaxed and emotionally restorative from the myrcene, yet aware and lucid; perhaps due to the pinene and humulene.

Buy it at Jayne.

Mountain Girl Black by Pilot Farm

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Over the last several seasons, I’ve had the pleasure of tracking Pilot Farm’s Mountain Girl through an extensive series of iterations, each one equally dissimilar to the next while unified by weather, genetic familiarity, and the farm’s handiwork.

Pilot’s genetic hobo-isms are actualized by semi-open pollination techniques and guided by an ethos not necessarily unique to Oregon, but noteworthy as counterpoint to farms cultivating for high THC concentrations. The idea is to explore what nature provides while getting closer to an ideal product—all the while staying open to the greatest unforeseen outcomes.

This season’s iterations of the proprietary Mountain Girl (a cross of Willy’s Wonder, Granddaddy Purple, and White Widow) include the Mountain Girl Huckleberry, MG Lemon Sky, and our featured flower, the Mountain Girl Black—which brings the Jack Herer-dominant Black Jack into the line for fruit, incense, and baby-powder aromatics, delivering an upbeat headspace situated in physical relaxation.

Coming soon to Electric Lettuce, Amberlight, Botanica, and elsewhere.

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