The San Deigo Farmers Cup is back for its pandemic edition and the votes are in ahead of Sunday’s big awards show. 

While San Diego isn’t traditionally known for “the culture,” the team at the Farmer’s Cup is doing their best to keep the scene alive as they attempt to put it more on pace with California’s headier municipalities that dot the coast as you start to head north. 

“We’ve been doing the cup since 2014. But it really rematerialized when COVID hit because we needed to keep on going,” founder Josh Caruso told L.A. Weekly.

As Caruso watched live events start to dry up during the pandemic, he moved to make the Farmer’s Cup virtual and partner with a few local dispensaries. Caruso said part of the motivation to put on the event is to try and excite brands to give San Diego a shot. He feels there are pretty slim pickings on the local rec market at times. 

“It was just much needed and then on top of that the consumers wanted something down here,” Caruso said. “We don’t get shit shipped down here. For us to do a cup down here is pretty big for the locals. That’s kind of what drives us and obviously, just connecting everything. We’re always overwhelmed by the number of brands that really want to get involved with this.”  

The flower entries we had the chance to go over were certainly reputable. Entries tend to fall into a few categories for every cup. Those that are top tier and separate themselves from the pack, the reputable offerings, and the stuff you’re surprised people entered. Out of the personal use entries, there were only two things that didn’t get smoked, and then the rec category had another few that didn’t make the trip from Adelanto to San Diego well.

Nevertheless, those top-tier offerings were spectacular. The Joey Diaz branded Laughing Gas in particular offered fuel and nail polish remover notes in its aroma that would hold up with the elite exotic OGs of the moment. The Sticky Status Ki OG and Malibu GMO were also heat offerings. 

In the anonymous personal use indoor category, we thought it was between a GMO-heavy offering that was spectacular and another that smelled similar to lemons and burnt rubber. The #3 outdoor entry for personal use smelled like a banana smoothie and was probably the furthest thing ahead of the pack in any respective category. 

“It’s nothing but good things. We’re super stoked to do it,” Caruso said. “It ain’t paying the bills too much yet, but we’re working on that part. That’s always gonna come. We’re not worried about it.”

Caruso also sent out a big thanks to their dispensary partners Green Alternative San Diego, Golden State Greens, and Originals San Diego.

Jackie Bryant is one of the top exotic byline hunters in cannabis at the moment and regularly covers the San Diego weed beat for a variety of local outlets. She gave us her take on the flower entries this year. 

“I tried the homegrown and outdoor categories and for me, the 92 OG from Atrium is the clear outdoor winner. It’s gassy, piney… basically, it’s vintage. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a central coast OG and that’s the beauty of it, especially in a world where cuts are becoming more and more homogenized. It’s a gorgeous blast from the past,” Bryant told L.A. Weekly

Bryant went on to note that while she did enjoy the licensed offerings, the homegrown category is the closest to her heart, especially in her neck of the woods where outdoor cultivation has been a controversial thing over the medical era and even today.

“It’s particularly special I think for the local growers, who have trouble getting their time in the sun, so to speak,” Bryant said. “Basically, it’s harder and more expensive to go legal in San Diego than in other parts of the state (if it can be believed) and because of that and the fact San Diego tends to be overlooked in general. It’s important that there’s a platform for the city to shine and show off its best. There’s a long history of legacy cultivation here that isn’t as well-known as some other regions’ history. Every year, this is the most fun and surprising category because you know you’re trying heat that most people will never even get to touch.”

You can watch the awards show for The Farmers Cup on Sunday at 7:10 p.m. And keep an eye out for their next contest, an edibles-only edition for Valentine’s Day in February.


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