Chemistry Visits: Moon Gazer Shoots for the Stars to Go Beyond Organic
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Cannabis plants are happiest when the temperature tops 100 degrees in Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley appellation, outstretching their leaves to soak in all of the sun’s goodness on those days when humans would much rather stay indoors. But there’s always plenty to do outside at Moon Gazer Farms, where everything from gardening style to to their brand name harkens back to the cosmos.
And to think, it all started with goats.
“We met on a farm in the Middle East. We milked 150 goats by hand twice a day on a very special place out in the hills overlooking Nazareth,” Moon Gazer co-founder Sandra said of that fateful moment when she met her partner in business and in life, Josh. With the Holy Land as the ultimate backdrop, the two naturally connected over cannabis.
“I got some herb and remember meeting Josh and asking if he wanted to blaze,” Sandra reflected. “You didn’t even ask if I blazed,” Josh clarified, “you kind of knew.”
The two became fast friends, bonding as part of a larger local and global community of Willing Workers on Organic Farms known as WWOOFers. After falling in love with the agrarian communal living (and each other), they made their way back to the States seeking something similar. They would find it in Redwood Valley at Frey Ranch, America’s first organic and biodynamic vineyard.
What initially began as a month-long volunteer stint quickly emerged as the blueprint for a new life in the Emerald Triangle. “We didn’t just fall in love with the farm, but all of Mendo,” Josh said. “We always liked weed but people were just handing us bags of weed left and right.” After first trying their hand at growing cannabis in 2012 with seven plants, they expanded to 25 plants the following year, and within four years they were up to 200 plants. Moon Gazer was born.
Sandra and Josh use a self-sustaining, regenerative approach to cultivation that’s downright cosmic. There is never any light deprivation because there are no greenhouses–Moon Gazer grows their plants under the sun, moon and stars. Instead of clones they grow from seeds, producing plants that are not only stronger and healthier, but which also possess a more diverse cannabinoid profile. “That’s how you find exceptional genetics,” Sandra explained.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The cornerstone of Moon Gazer’s operation is the use of biodynamics. That means by raising their own animals and growing their own food, the farmers are able to produce everything they need to sustain. “Nothing is really being bought from the store,” Josh said of Moon Gazer’s closed-loop system. “We collect a lot of oak leaves in the fall, or madrone leaves in the summer. Goats help keep our brush down. They provide us with milk and also provide us with amazing fertility, so we make compost out of their barn material. We’re using as much material onsite as we possibly can.”
Moon Gazer goes even further by using Hugelkultur to literally build their own soil. After clearing out brush to make the landscape more fire resilient, Sandra and Josh don’t burn it. “We choose to bury it, which is what Hugelkultur is, in essence,” Sandra said. “It is using the resources you have on your land or nearby to build soil and enhance diversity.”
Capping it all off, the farmers apply a no-till gardening style that centers on adding materials to the soil without disturbing it. “The diversity of life in the soil is really what grows our plants and crops,” Josh explained. “We don’t just harvest our cannabis and let our soil get washed out in the winter. There’s still lots of potential going on, there’s still a lot that we can do, so we’ll plant garlic in those beds.” All of these practices have resulted in Moon Gazer’s status as a Demeter Certified Biodynamic farm, carrying products that have been Dragonfly Earth Medicine Pure certified. They were also the recipients of the 2016 Emerald Cup Regenerative Farm Award.
That’s why Chemistry looked to Moon Gazer’s Dog Named Tsu strain for its new full-spectrum balanced CBD vape. A mix of Black Dog and the classic CBD strain Harle Tsu (with a nod to the classic Johnny Cash tune) this strain comes courtesy of Bio Vortex, their favorite breeder.
We mentioned exceptional genetics–Dog Named Tsu is pretty much the ultimate example of why growing from seed is Moon Gazer’s go-to. When Chemistry takes an entire crop of the strain, a range of possibilities exists beyond the CBD to THC ratio. “You also have different spikes of THC, some CBG somewhere, maybe a different plant has a different terpene. And when you concentrate it all, you really do get a nice small amount of everything,” Josh explained. In other words, this isn’t your mother’s entourage effect. “When you smoke a pen from Moon Gazer, you get a wider expanse, a more full-spectrum experience from the entourage effect point of view,” he said.
The consumer also benefits from Dog Named Tsu’s balancing buzz. This session vape can offer relief from a stressful commute to pain and inflammation, and can be used day or night due to its mellow nature. And with Caryophyllene, Myrcene and Terpinolene as the dominant terpenes, Dog Named Tsu tastes great too.
Outdoor, seed-grown, biodynamic and beyond organic: in the era of the hashtag, authenticity is all in a day’s work for Moon Gazer. “We don’t farm biodynamically just to market it as biodynamic. It gives us the healthiest most delicious food and medicine that you can grow,” Josh said. “It just makes sense.”
Moon Gazer is out of this world. And we’re proud to call them our partner.
Written by: Kaisha-Dyan McMillan