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Chemistry Visits: Finding New Life On An Old Vineyard At Bud Farm

Bud Farm resides on a hill in Nevada County, in the Sierra Foothills at an elevation of 2,600 feet. Located in Northern California (and not Nevada, as this Cali native learned), this region stays dry and hot most of the year. The rains don’t come until November, and long sunny days make mold and mildew issues less likely, creating the kind of microclimate that cannabis plants - and sativas especially - love.

As long as the soil is just right.

In 2019, Bud Farm found its dream location in a twenty-five-acre farm that produced award-winning wines for roughly two decades. Not only did the family-run operation close out its first year with a successful harvest; they did so after building their cannabis garden in an empty field surrounded by the old growth vines of a former vineyard. It’s a process that can take up to five years, I’m told.

But for a self-proclaimed former “renegade indoor grower” who got plenty of practice growing back in the day in his Oakland garage, starting this farm in this location was about something much bigger.

“One of our crazy dreams has always been to have a self-sustaining farm, where we could use the organic and regenerative farm practices that me and my wife have learned about over the years,” says one of the founding farmers, adding that it was, “not just the right way to do things, but actually a means to better the planet.”

With a preference for anonymity, the Farmer describes the serendipity of repurposing a former vineyard to grow cannabis. “Grapes are a perennial crop, so you don't have to replant every year, that's the only difference,” he says. “The main thing is that keeping the soil alive and active throughout the year is what makes these plants thrive.”

Before Bud Farm came along, its previous owners had cleared away the vines from a large section of the farm to create two-acres of open field. The soil in that field was untilled and had supported a perennial crop for ten years, making it primed and ready for growing something new. Once the family secured the property, they started adding organic inputs, compost, gopher cages, companion plants, and (one imagines) plenty of long days to transform it into Bud Farm. And the results were swift.

“We had great microbiology in the soil, and then later when we put our plants in the ground, man, they just took off! We are lucky because we were able to take this land that was perfectly set up, and build it from scratch the right way,” the Farmer says.

When it comes to farming practices, Bud Farm’s position is clear: feed the soil, not the plant. Their regimen involves putting compost and amendments directly into the soil, then feeding the soil compost teas every month or so to keep the biology alive. The farm’s living soil system is further supported by beneficial plants like radishes, carrots, dill, and cilantro, and they make their own compost thanks to the sheep and chickens living on the farm.

“We don't want to bring anything in from offsite,” the Farmer says. It’s an approach informed by the third-party Sun + Earth certification, which is awarded to farms where cannabis is “grown under the sun, in the soil of mother earth, without chemicals by fairly-paid farmers”. Chemistry is in the process of becoming a certified Sun + Earth manufacturer, and at the time of our conversation, Bud Farm was also working toward fulfilling the requirements needed to hopefully land them a certification this summer.

While the founders at Bud Farm and Chemistry were friends well before either business was born, their passion for the plant and commitment to clean, sustainably-farmed medicine made working together a no-brainer. And once that first harvest was complete, one strain made an immediate impact: Lemon Cake.

“We are big sativa fans here,” The Farmer says. “We really like strains that are inspiring and energizing. We like to use weed to make everything just a little bit brighter and happier, and Lemon Cake is a great strain in that regard.” Describing its aroma as “really skunky, cheesy, loud”, the Farmer admits it’s the kind of weed that reveals itself when hidden away in a room or glove box.

It’s also potent, according to the Farmer, but not in the way most people may think. “It's not actually about the THC, it's about the entourage effects of all the terpenes,” he says,

“But people like to get really high - us included - so it's the best of both worlds.”

Needless to say, once Chemistry got the scoop, the collaboration with Bud Farm was on - resulting in our new Lemon Cake diamond-infused one gram pre-roll and .5 gram vape cartridge. When asked for a glimpse into the Lemon Cake experience, The Farmer didn’t mince words.

“Take the purest form of THC to really get that ultimate high, and you infuse it back in with the flower joint to get the ultimate pleasurable smoking experience. You don't have to dab, you don't have to smoke a bunch of bongs. You get to sit back, take a couple puffs off a joint like everyone likes to do, and have a nice half day experience of getting stuff done and enjoying life.”

We couldn’t agree more. And because we know customers will love it, we’ve added Lemon Cake to our Project Fusion pre-roll line. As part of the Cannabis for a Cause program, 1% of the proceeds will be donated directly to Sun + Earth.

For the family behind Bud Farm, responsible cannabis cultivation will always be the goal. “Our family members, we're growing for the sake of proving that it can be done the correct regenerative way,” says The Farmer.

“We're not trying to be this money-making company who just puts out the hottest trends. We're growers and stoners growing for the right reasons, and living by that motto.”

Written by: Kaisha-Dyan McMillan

IG: @ahsiak

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