The rain could not stop the heat at the second annual Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in Santa Rosa.
The event serves as the kickoff to cup season with the winners getting crowned in roughly six months in L.A. at the awards show. This weekend had traditionally served as the whole show for years, before the new format. The quests of farmers looking for next year’s hottest genetics, the chance to survey the harvest, and the awards show were all crammed into one action-packed weekend over 17 years that continued to get larger and larger.
With the awards show still months out, the weekend now focuses on the cannabis of the moment and seeds. The seed and genetics part can’t be overstated. In more recent years we’re even seeing tissue cuttings available for farmers terrified of the dreaded Hop Latent Viroid, commonly known as HLVd. Cuttings with HLVd have been the downfall of mega nurseries people were convinced were here to stay. But regardless of the high-tech stuff, the regular seeds and cuttings called clones are a huge part of the show.
We were reminded of this when we walked in the gate on Day One. Emerald Cup Competition Director Victoria Shea grabbed me out of line just before gates opened so I’d make it to the judges’ meet-and-greet on time. The public hadn’t even been allowed in yet and there were already lines at the Compound Genetics and Purple City Genetics Booths as their peers participating in the Harvest Ball queued up to get the latest and greatest genetics from both. That wave of people on the hunt would increase tenfold once the gates opened up.
And those who weren’t looking for cuts were looking for great cannabis or trying to convince people they had it; plenty did.
Higher Heights from Comptche, California, had a lovely spread. The two standouts for us were the Carambola and the Purple Candy Cane. The Purple Candy Cane was a bit more complex on the nose.
Pacific Cultivation was another absolute banger spread for 2022. Everything came out awesome, but it would be criminal to not highlight the Hippie Crasher. The pairing of Kush Mints and Wedding Crasher was among the finest offerings at the whole harvest ball. The Caked Up Cherries was our second favorite from the Pacific Cultivation lineup.
Humboldt Seed Company had their new Jelly Donutz collaboration with Casa Flor on display. You could certainly smell the sugary goodness some people like to start their mornings with.
Moon Valley Cannabis’s Wine Country-grown pot also was pretty awesome. The standout for us was the Grapes and Cream, but the Zlurpy was very competitive, too. We could see people leaning in that direction for sure.
Bigfoot Cannabis Co’s rendition of Gelato 41 was stunning. It was one of our favorite versions we have ever seen that wasn’t indoor. The only one nicer won the Cannabis Cup in 2018.
Fidel’s spread was as top-class as to be expected. It included the KMZ that won the Transbay Challenge I hosted in Los Angeles this past August. The blend of Kush Mints and zkittelz is a flavor profile in its own league.
One of the loudest jars of the day had to be the Garlotti from Good Good. Once you cracked it open, you were hit with an explosion of garlic terps so strong your eyes and sinuses might water up a bit. But don’t worry, that’s definitely a good thing.
Sun Roots Farm’s Velvet Papaya won the contest for the thing I think we’ll have the best shot of smoking in a hash format. The terp-loaded strain was said to produce a decent amount of the resin you need to make hash, which essentially is collected plant resin.
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