A week removed from the big win at The Emerald Cup in Hollywood, we sat down with indoor flower champs Fig Farms to talk about taking home what many consider the biggest prize in all of the cannabis world.

Since founding Fig Farms during the medical era, Keith and Chloe Healy’s names have been synonymous with awesome pot, even if the low-key husband and wife preferred their privacy. We’ve featured their work regularly over the years. We’ve previously mentioned a ton of their strains, their mortgage broker was hyped we crowned Chloe one of the Ladies of The Heat, and Keith even joined us for a podcast alongside Josh Del Rosso of OG Kush fame.

This time, when we caught up with Keith, he was on the heels of a call about Fig’s new licensing deals in Illinois and Arizona. As for whether it’s more difficult to grow elite cannabis when he has all that going on in his orbit?  

“It’s been relatively easy,” Healy replied. “It’s just been more of us realizing we got to get our shit together as we enter those states. We’ve got friends, followers, and people that care about us in different stores and things in California, but we don’t have that in Arizona and Illinois. People might recognize us there, but if we don’t have a professional, it’s kind of a waste of energy.”

The expansion efforts have had the team checking off more boxes for the brand. When they were just worried about growing awesome pot, they didn’t have to worry about things like a guidebook so their partners would know what font to use when or bringing on PR support to help in new markets. 

Healy noted his farm leads, Ben and Nick, have been huge. Their confidence in knowing the systems and understanding exactly how the grow works without trying to give it their own touch, has really taken some weight off the Healys’ shoulders, one of which is very pregnant and due in a month as I write this. The pair also help COO Mike Doten dig through massive pheno hunts, bringing the top 40 or so to the Healys for final review. 

“It’s hard for me to go through 500 strains,” Healy said. “So I got them whittling it down to the top 30 or 40.”

The conversation would move toward the big win last week. Of the five strains that Fig Farms entered, four made it into the top 20. Animal Face and Blue Face would place first and third on the podium. Holy Moly would take fifth place, and The Breeders Cup. 6ixth Sense would round out the pack in 11th. 

Animal Face

The winning Animal Face came from a 700 seed pheno hunt Keith popped in 2017, as he prepared to move to his new facility in Oakland. After seeing his name in High Times, he was terrified. He moved to a gated community to keep his family safe and started the hunt in a locked back office. 

“So we did this massive scene and then we had to have it like in our office in this random rental for months, before we brought them over to Oakland,” Healy said 

But the move to Oakland wasn’t necessarily all smooth sailing as they got things off the ground. The moms of the now prized genetics were just sitting in an open warehouse under an old school 1000-watt bulb in the freezing cold warehouse. Healy said things were pretty rough, but luckily most of those genetics survived.  

“So the Animal Face has been kind of in Oakland since Day One. Since the first full production run in a room,” Healy said. “Animal Face, Blue Face, those are the strains we’ve been running since the beginning of Prop 64.”

Healy believes Animal Face winning goes to show you that the gas and fuel flavor is always going to be in style. The popularity may change a little bit, but it’s always going to be relative and bring out the idea that chasing new things all the time isn’t necessarily the greatest formula.

Blue Face

“Part of the reasoning being, it’s also important to stay true to something and really learn it, and learn how to do it the best that you can,” Healy explained. “And I really do think that the Animal Face batch that won the cup was the best Animal Face I’ve ever grown.”

The only flower they entered that didn’t place was Krytptochronic. Healy was understanding of the judges’ decision to leave it out of the mix. 

“It’s special in the way of what the market wants. But it’s not necessarily what would excite a buyer or like a cannabis person,” Healy said.

Healy is thankful for the respect of his peers and shops, but he sometimes thinks the people on the hunt for just the latest and greatest are missing out on what they’re doing in Oakland. 

“That’s not necessarily a Fig Farms’ thing,” Healy emphasized. “And the store has to carry that jacket to meet those people’s needs. But it’s not like what necessarily excites them. And I think that that’s kind of Krypto’s story. It does really well. It’s one of our top-selling flowers.”

Chloe was eight-months pregnant when they got word they should head south to L.A., for the awards show. Keith was squeamish about making the decision to travel with her, without knowing if they’d make the podium. He pressed the Emerald Cup team for a hint. They held firm while stressing he should make the trip.

Chloe & Keith Healy before the awards ceremony.

In the end, they would claim their third top prize in the fourth contest they ever entered. While hearing Fig’s name on podiums isn’t a stretch, it’s rare. We asked Healy what made him want to enter the cup this year. 

“It was more like I finally had a moment to breathe because the cultivation was going off so seamlessly and things were just doing so well.”

Eventually, he realized it was the last day to enter

“I came to the office and I was like we’ve got to move mountains right now, get fucking flower over to Ukiah,” Healy said. “And it was just like one of those things. I woke up in the middle of the night kind of like, what are you doing? You gotta do this.”

Healy believes his own perfectionist mentality has kept him from entering other things in the past, but the run before the cup was so magical, there was nothing about it that could essentially convince him not to do it. But for the outsider’s take, Healy has impostor syndrome about the quality of his flower sometimes. It’s generally rockstar pot, with a few exceptions here and there like anything in agriculture. 

“I constantly think I could do something better. And I think it’s the hardest part in cultivating this. Like, as a farmer, you’re never happy,” Healy said. “There’s always something you feel like you could do better. And it’s a really hard situation.”

Healy noted it feels like another prime example of the plants he loves always providing for him in almost a weird way ever since he was 16, when he started selling pot. When they needed money to pay rent and had the perfect bumper crop or plenty of other examples. 

“We were trying to decide if we were going to pursue the legal market or not, and the Banana Fig plant was just this amazing plant,” Healy said. “We entered that in the High Times, won the cup, and the next morning got offered the space in Oakland.”

Healy believes the timing of their latest win could not have been better. 

“Here we are in one of the hardest markets I’ve ever experienced in my life, and need something that’s gonna like propel us forward. And we have one of the most incredible harvests we’ve ever had. And it was packaged in time to be fucking entered into the cup,” Healy said. “It’s just like, everything falling in place for us.”

Keith said in the years since that Cannabis Cup win, it was more about dialing in the people rather than the facility. He notes it was more about getting everyone in tune, so it could be a symphony. It took just one person not hitting the right notes, for everything to sound bad. 

“And when you have one person that’s managing the garden that’s not in tune with the song you’re trying to sing, the music comes out like shit, but when we’re all singing together, it comes out perfect,” Healy said. 


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