Pre cannabis legalization, the concept of "too many choices" was a foreign one to most cannabis consumers. You bought from a dealer, or "Herbal Products Broker" and their selections were often limited to single digits, with delineations such as "the lime green one," "the one with red hairs" or "that purple stuff."
A lack of choice is no longer an issue, but paralysis at the dispensary counter is, with buyers turned deer-in-headlights by the vast array of options. Not just strains, but growers, and that number continues to grow.
As of Nov. 29, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has received 2,128 applications for Producer (grower) licenses. Oregon currently has 1,621 "active" producer licenses, and assuming each license holder is producing at least a few strains, you have over 8,000 flower choices. (Yes, 2,500 may be a variation of "Ice Cream Cake.")
As someone who has tried valiantly to make a dent in those 8,000+ options, here are two outstanding Oregon farms that are producing extraordinary flowers. And to best experience those flowers, a top-shelf portable vaporizer for the "cannaisseur" in your life.
Green Source Gardens
GSG is the anti-corporate cannabis model, with arguably the deepest dive into sustainable and ecologically responsible growing practices in Oregon. Its website explains their embrace of polyculture gardens, bio-dynamics, permaculture, hugelkulture, indigenous agriculture and others that have earned them farming practice awards and certifications from five third-party organizations. Cannabis doesn't get any cleaner.
The grower's strictly sun-grown strains include the best-known Pinkleberry, which a GSG co-owner told "Cannabis Now" as having a high that's "zingy, heady, active. It gets your brain flying." I can second that, having found Pinkleberry and its variations to foster activity, motivation and creativity. It also exhibits the same characteristics of all their strains: sparkly buds with complex and strong terpene combinations. Impressive on all counts. Green Source strains are available locally at Substance Cannabis Market locations in Bend and at Central Organics in Madras.
Rolen Stone Farms
Based in the Applegate Valley since 2016, I discovered Rolen Stone recently after Somewhere Dispensary hipped me to its Animal Tree strain, with 6+% terpenes. Upon smelling the strain through my K95 mask, I was sold. The following week, I lucked out and grabbed some of the "Sherb Breath," which measured an astounding 5.8% in terpenes with 30% THC. The Sunset Sherbert x Mendo Breath lineage left me stress free.
Rolen Stone has a selection of greenhouse and sun-grown strains such as Tropstanto and Papayahuasa I haven't seen elsewhere, with terpenes overwhelmingly in the 4% to 5% range. It selects strains for both flavor and potency, and I've been taken by both. A standout for what "Craft Cannabis" can be, seek them out. High Desert Botanicals in La Pine has the brand, as well as Tokyo Starfish, Substance, Local Market, Miracle Greens and Top Shelf Medicine.
A Vape to Unite Them All
While I'm always down to burn one down, combustion consumption severely limits the range of tastes and effects obtainable from flowers that vaping can provide. Advances in battery technology and 10+ years of portable vaporizer R&D have narrowed the Venn diagram overlay where technology meets affordability in the Utillian 620 Convection Vaporizer.
This Toronto-based company is like most things Canadian: practical, solid and under-appreciated/known by its neighbors to the south. Our loss, because after just one session with this stealthy, beautifully designed and functioning vaporizer, it is my new go-to portable vaporizer.
It's a perfect fit in the hand, a well-built aluminum body which isn't fatiguing to hold and use. Three simple buttons allow easy programming of a temperature between 160 – 220°C (320 – 428°F) in 1 degree Celcius increments, although if your stable American genius brain requires Fahrenheit, that option is offered.
The heating is handled by what they call "Helix Convection Heating," meaning the vapor passes over a small removable metal corkscrew-shaped piece, and the swirling path it creates cools and cleans remarkably well. A black borosilicate glass mouthpiece completes the cooling and cleaning task.
The unit is designed for "single user sessions and micro-dosing," with a magnetic chamber that quickly loads with .1-.2 of a gram of ground flower. That doesn't sound like much, but it's more than enough to do the job. Heat up time is a scant 45 seconds or less, and I got about 70+ minutes per charge. At $129.99, it's a steal .