Chemistry Visits: A Small Farm with a Big Heart and Important Values – Briceland Forest Farms
If you are what you smoke, then Daniel Stein is sun-grown all-natural cannabis. That's what he grows, as well as a variety of produce at Briceland Forest Farms (BFF) in Humboldt County, California. Here he is co-owner and co-farmer with his wife, Taylor. The two, along with one other farmhand, take pride in producing cannabis that they believe in.
One of the most significant values at BFF is that the way you farm matters. Not only in the quality of the final product produced but also in how it impacts the climate. BFF is a regenerative farm that uses only natural elements in its practices that help to keep the soil fertile. They pride themselves on farming to preserve and restore the environment.
"You get something that's grown in the native soil, in the ground, in the finest growing regions in the world," Daniel shared. "And it is grown with sunlight, and it's not just sunlight. It's grown under the stars, under the moon at night, and with winter rainwater that's been stored or with spring water. And you can feel that."
The BFF homestead has been a part of Daniel's family for decades. He has spent the last 20 years building the off-the-grid farm where they have produced some exquisite strains, including the Mother's Milk found in Chemisty's new line of infused live resin prerolls. The sativa dominant strain is one of Daniel's personal favorites.
"It's on the side of creamy, peppery with a little bit of gas that to me is an energetic, creative terpene profile."
The terpene profile is one of the deciding factors in selecting the perfect strain to roll into their collaborative pre-rolls with Chemistry. The partnership between a small farm and an established cannabis brand brings consumers flavorful, clean cannabis and a choice that supports a legacy Humboldt farm in a market dominated by large corporate cannabis.
As cannabis continues to explode into a multi-billion dollar industry, industrial-scale production has driven down not only the cost of cannabis flower but, some argue, its quality as well. Indoor grow operations also produce cannabis that makes a huge carbon footprint on the already fragile state of the climate. So farming on a small scale that stays true to the regenerative practices that make BFF a high-quality cultivator is something they don't plan to change.
"I really hope in the expanding and competitive market we are able to remain a small farm and continue to have collaborations with companies that we value highly."
BFF was 1 of 27 other small farms part of the 2022 Emerald Cup's Small Farm Initiative. The initiative provided small financial assistance, premium market placement, and amped-up marketing promotion for the event. It also brought together a group of like-minded farmers with similar values and struggles, and the shared experience helped them develop their brand, Farm Cut. All farms featured on this menu are Sun + Earth Certified. This certification criterion is higher than traditional organic standards because it incorporates the pillars of regenerative farming, farmworker rights, and community engagement.
Connecting with the community is a regular part of life at BFF. Outside of their time spent growing cannabis, and attending events like the Emerald Cup, Daniel and his family grow produce for local farmers' markets, restaurants, and the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Daniel hopes that access to quality, clean, regeneratively farmed cannabis is a more direct-to-consumer experience like other produce one day.
"We dream of the cannabis industry being able to have farmer's markets similar to how we do our veggies or like a wine club model. Where without having to have multiple middlemen, we'll be able to have a direct connection with our customer and survive as a small farm with a pretty small production."
In the multi-billion dollar California cannabis industry, BFF remains a small farm with modest beginnings. The world they want to be a part of is not driven by industrial production and profit but by ethical values, grassroots productions, and quality craftsmanship. They truly embody these principles that only amplify their love of growing cannabis.
"As a farmer, there is no plant that I grow that is so interactive. Any bit of energy you put into cannabis, you see an immediate reaction. It's almost in real-time. So it's a really fun plant to grow. It grows so fast, it's very responsive, it's absolutely beautiful, and within a season, you get to see a landscape change, from starting with a little seedling to having 14-foot tall rows of trees. So it's a really satisfying crop to be able to grow."
Written by: Rebecca Olmos