Autumn is a time in the Emerald Triangle when artisan ganja farmers delight in the sparkling colors and aromas that emanate from cannabis flowers ripening throughout their gardens. Organic sun grown purists like myself once counted down the days when these fresh buds would at last be ready for toking, since the prior year’s aging harvest had lost much of its fragrance, sheen and robust effects. Those lean days are a thing of the past, thanks to light deprivation farming, which tricks cannabis plants into finishing much earlier than full term plants by cutting back daylight hours with a sun-blocking tarp.
The sprouting of new monthly Humboldt canna-events has allowed me the privilege of sampling the tastes and effects of many of this year’s fresh “Light Dep” buds. Mendocino Generations was one of the stand-out collectives at both the Emerald Magazine’s September Pot Pairing and Humboldt Local’s September Casual Crop Exchange. This past month I’ve had the pleasure of trying some of their unique genetics and learning more about the deep Back-to-the-Land roots of their craft farmers.
Mendocino Generations is currently comprised of three organic farms run by longtime friends, most of whom grew up together in an intentional community amidst the rugged mountains of central Mendocino County. Their parents built their own homes, grew their own food, ran a school collectively for the kids and shared countless long meetings, potlucks and celebrations. Several of their parents still live near where the three couples work on their own homesteads today.
Living the remote homesteading lifestyle for decades, while cultivating a hugely beneficial, yet maligned and legally suppressed plant, inevitably leads to countless adventures, trials and tribulations. Sharing authentic rural Mendocino stories a right of passages. Their name also alludes to the generations of cannabis genetics carefully selected over many seasons from landrace varieties.
One of them, The Green Door, is my new personal favorite. It’s a heavy and fragrant sativa dominant strain, bred by Jamie Beatty. He named it one morning when he describes being very grumpy; when the whole world looked dark. He smoked a bit of it then got on his tractor and drove up a hill. “I felt like I was driving through ‘the green door,’ like a portal, and everything looked prettier. I was in this new place where the birds were singing louder, all the colors brightened up for me and my whole mood shifted. That’s how I came up with the name The Green Door, because I just felt like I went through one.”
The feeling of moving through a portal definitely resonated with me after toking The Green Door. While I’m a creative person, that adjective does not typically extend into the kitchen, where I’m more apt to be lazy and uninspired. Lately, I’ve adopted the mantra “food equals medicine,” and have introduced more raw and probiotic-rich foods into my diet. So I bought organic sauerkraut this week and put aside my cynical thoughts that the funky smelling stuff would just go forgotten and waste away in the fridge. But after some puffs of The Green Door, I found myself incorporating the fermented cabbage into a delectable lunch wrap with ease and efficiency using other food combinations I’d never imagined — turkey, swiss, pesto sauce, ground flaxseed and bay leaves. I credit The Green Door for transporting me into that refreshing and satisfying culinary experience. I also sampled their Blue Fire OG, Cozy Up, and Lemon Fire OG. All were absolutely tasty and satisfying products and I can see how, as their tagline says, they can bring about “Better Living Through Cannabis.”
Jamie and his wife, Chiah Rodriques, operate River Txai, one of the three cannabis farms that currently comprise Mendocino Generations. Txai (pronounced ‘SHY’) is a native Amazonian term with a deep meaning similar to ‘Namaste.’
Another farm in the collective, WaterDog Herb Farm, is a 160-acre off-grid homestead and permaculture demonstration center where operators Cyril and Anna Guthridge grow more than 25 medicinal herbs and offer workshops on how to better manage farms that share their 39th parallel zone nine climate.
Cyril’s love of farming goes back generations, as his father was an arborist and his grandfather was a soil scientist. Cyril is excited to share his proprietary varietals at the Mendocino Generations booth this October 22nd at Terroir, the monthly 215-friendly farmers market and farm-to-table dinner in Mendocino, California; as well as in December at The Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California. They include Sour Pineapple, Pineapple OG, Phoenix, and new yet-to-be-named Phoenix crosses.
Anna Guthridge and Chiah Rodriguez went through the same extensive training in herbalism and are now experimenting with synergistic combinations of cannabis and other herbs to add to the Cannabliss line of body products recently launched by Chiah. The most provocative of her five current all-organic salves is a mildly psychoactive personal lubricant designed to be titillating.
More farms plan to join onto the Mendocino Generations collective as they complete the process of becoming recognized by state and county agencies as legally compliant. “I think more and more people are going to realize how important it’s going to be to come together as this tsunami of regulations hits California,” Cyril remarked. “The industry has survived on the lack of best practices and the future of the industry is the opposite. Everyone will need to be operating at the utmost best practices in every aspect. So we’re really excited to see how this changes things, and if people are actually going to start doing things much more properly because the California market is going to demand it.”
As our conversation drew to a close, Jamie shared a personal best practices that he deems essential. “Don’t forget to thank the plants,” Jamie said. “It’s important when you’re taking them down to give some love and some thanks to the plants for what they do for you and all the different ways that they do it. Respect the plants as their own entities.”
As holistic, earth-centered cannabis farmers are given an accessible pathway to come out of the shadows and share their craft, more people will be able to benefit from what Mendocino Generations calls “Better Living Through Cannabis.”
Written by Kerry Reynolds