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The Neverending Hunt

Emerald Essence’s Search for Tomorrow’s Strains

Emerald Essence has been quietly winning awards at California cannabis competitions over the last couple years for their sungrown flower and oils, but Vince Sims — CEO, COO and Lead Cultivator — said he’s not a “trend chaser” when it comes to the kinds of cannabis he grows on their Northern California farms.

Vince focuses on what his team is growing now, and what they’ll grow in years to come.

“We ran hundreds and hundreds of seeds” to hunt down the perfect female cannabis plants for breeding, Vince said. “At one point we had almost 100 moms;” that has been dialed back to about 10, he said. “This will give us a good base of building blocks for the breeding we’re going to do.”

That initial phase of breeding has netted Emerald Essence a few awards, 12th place at the Emerald Cup with their Jedi Kush, plus two top 16 plaques from the “Golden Tarp” Awards. Emerald Essence concentrates have placed in the top three at Hempcon and the 420 Fest. Now their two year breeding program will explore the possibilities of their strongest cultivars, he said.

“We work really hard to produce the best medicine that we [can],” Vince said. “If something doesn’t meet my standards, then we don’t distribute it… There’s going to be so many hard working farms that aren’t there when the dust settles, and there’s a lot of them that put out amazing material,” he added, “People are going to lose out on having good medicine provided for them. So, that drives us a lot because we feel people deserve it.”

That dust is beginning to settle in California as of 2018, but it’s no surprise to Vince and Tara Sims, who’ve prepared for this for years. They came to Northern California together in 2010 and launched Emerald Essence two years later. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana the couple said they moved to California when they learned they were having a child. They were drawn to the West Coast because cannabis laws were friendlier in California, and the industry had actual momentum.

“Living in Indiana, when we had our first baby, we decided to move to a friendly, cohesive place [where] I could actually put my efforts into something [and] it was taken seriously,” Vince said. “I’ve always looked at cannabis as medication and how much it balanced [me].”

With its redwood forests and wild rivers, the Sims discovered there was a lot to love about Northern California. “We really wanted our children to grow up around the forest and the greenery,” Tara said. “It was also a better fit for us personality-wise.”

Their first farm is located off of the Avenue of the Giants, home to some of the forest’s largest redwood trees, and they said they are often in awe of the beauty of their farm’s microclimate. Emerald Essence now runs two farms and partners with three others — Bigfoot’s Patch on Island Mountain in Humboldt County, Daydream Valley Farms and Three Brothers Farms of Mendocino County — to create the flowers and oils that are available across California.

Staying in the cannabis game is like weathering a storm, and Tara said she has spent the last three years navigating through compliance with local and state laws. Now with permits on the horizon and a growing fanbase in the Bay Area and North Bay, Tara said she feels like she’s “finally reaching the end of the journey, though there will be maintenance and changes along the way” to stay permitted.

“I’m really positive about 2018 for Emerald Essence,” Tara said.

Vince echoed that sentiment. “To me, to be a part of this transition, it’s something I never would have seen possible. The ball is rolling. I’m just honored to even be a part of it,” he added. “With everything happening with compliance, we’re definitely getting beat up a lot, keeping up with the regulations and keep up with everything. But there’s really nothing else that I could see myself doing that I have as much passion about,” he said.

“We’re fighting the good fight because we love it,” Vince said.

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