Hall of Flowers felt a little different this year. Widely regarded as the flagship trade show for the industry at this point, this was the first year that HOF felt a little BizCon-y, and I mean that in the absolute nicest way possible. With less flower than ever on display, and less rooms to view even, I wouldn’t blame this as much on the production team as I will the state of the industry right now. Shit’s tough out here, especially in California, and the only ones with real budget to spend are the picks & axes guys, like service and technology providers. Most of the brands simply can’t afford the booth price, and many that can believe they’ll find more ROI keeping their heads down on their various specialties. It’s a hard time to be outside, despite probably needing to be more than ever. I went on a little rant about this on my instagram yesterday, but let’s all try to remember that all our OG’s could really use our support right now, and every jar purchased or ticket acquired is voting with your dollar, and your attention. So while I’m about to list my favorites below, I would also encourage you think about who wasn’t able to make it out this year for whatever reason, and consider that your business makes all the difference to most of us. This goes double when times are tough, like right now.
It’s not all bad though! I actually want to call out a very smart move by the HOF team, something that shows where their head’s at and illustrates the helping hand they’re trying to offer to the little guy, and that was that small business section that topped off the big room. Not only was that incredibly valuable for all of the participants, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well trafficked they were both days. You’ll see a few of those names below, but I was impressed by (almost) the entire section. (I didn’t feel comfortable pulling up to the lube kissing booth – let’s just call it out of my coverage area. Sorry guys!)
It’s also worth mentioning that there were some staples to my consumption diet, like CAM and Fig Farms, in attendance, who while I won’t mention below are always stars of every show. I’m trying to cycle in new names and there are always too many dope people to mention, and I just can’t be here all day. But I’m trying! If you don’t see your name below that doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Just… maybe next time! It’s going to be a long summer.
For everyone else, if you’re not texting to say ‘why not me?’, blow me up on social and let me know what gear I missed, or what I should heat-check next! Until next time, I DO love you.
I’ve written about these guys before, and while you already know that I’m a big fan of their flower, it’s worth noting that this was the very first brand I mentioned to anyone that asked about what to check out on the floor after I did my first run through. In fact, I walked several people over to their booth, and the secondhand joy I got watching my friends discover these guys in real-time filled my soul with warmth. But I’m not just here to relish in good feelings. While I’ve told you about the Cowgirl Cookies before, today I’ve got to mention its sister plant, Grumpy Tiger. This one’s got a more complex profile, and almost reminds me of mendo breath in terms of the nose and flavor, but it was the high that was worth shouting from the rooftops about – which is, realistically, the most important part of cannabis. This one had my eyes red and heavy from the first puff, and transported my attitude back to how I used to feel smoking bones after class. I can’t recommend this one enough.
These guys are old friends at this point. I’ve seen their growth since basically the first cannabis event I went to in California, and they’re due their shine for the work they’ve done just proliferating squish culture alone – shouts out to Vinny, one of my first real friends in the scene. That said, as someone who’s not a huge hash guy myself, there hasn’t been a ton of times I’ve really consumed their products, just cheered them on from afar. That is, until now. Their new product is probably the most flavorful hash hole I’ve smoked to date, and while I’m not sure what sorcery is producing such potent flavor in their roll, it’s an absolute showstopper. These immediately stand up next to the most well-known rolls in the space, and they’ve only dropped like two styles so far. Really excited to see where they take this.
You might have seen this on Jimi’s story already, and while I do my best to avoid too much overlap between the two of us, some things are just too fun to leave out. This year A Golden State brought some still unnamed R&D batches for a few of the journalists in attendance, and while I will say upfront I’ve never *not liked* their flower, what they’ve got coming is actually *exciting*, and it’s pretty hard to excite me anymore. Sure I’m partially biased because instead of strain info my name was on the packaging, but I’m a rather big fan of ‘Cappetta C’ – it’s got an almost spicy musk to it, and it transfers well. They’ll have to let you know what that actually is in the future, but for now I’m not mad at the working title. Also, wouldn’t it be funny if both Jimi & Lindsey pick different favs? I vote you just run with ‘em like that. I’d smoke on some Bartlett B & Devine A any day!
Another R&D run I’ve got to shout out is Oakfruitland’s. Although they were arbitrarily labeled so I can’t give you the specifics on the details of either, it’s nice to see some people working on bringing more diverse profiles to market. While one of these has an almost stew-y nose and taste to it, the other, greener of the pair, presents more cheese-y – but like those cheeses that they make mold a little for whatever reason. Both have a funk to ‘em that you’ll remember, and are pretty significantly different from what’s popular right now. Here’s to hoping this encourages a trend towards new profiles!
Two for one because if they’re not actually a team they sure act like one, but these guys are a staple every year. That said, the display they put together for this year’s event was pretty show-stopping. As sparkly as Wendy’s spirit, you couldn’t walk into the big room without being in awe of their razzle-dazzle, and it had people fixated, with a line waiting to chat that lasted basically the whole show. Talking Trees was premiering a new infused shorty, but perhaps more interesting to my readers, on display Craig had some of the most impressive freeze-dried flower I’ve seen yet. Although I know it’s early for this tech, and that even Craig wasn’t sure of the shelf-life yet as this was still in early testing for him, it’s hard to complain about the look or smell of those nugs. It’s also worth mentioning, in a piece that leans so heavily into supporting the real OG’s, that both Wendy and Craig couldn’t be nicer people (Obe is also the man) and if there were ever people who I wanted to say ‘shut up and take my money’ based on energy and personality alone, it would surely be these two.
I feel like every time I see these guys I want to write about them. From the wrestling aesthetic to their frankly world class staff, there’s not much I don’t love about these guys. However, even I wasn’t expecting the Hasher Snacks, RDR’s flip on crackerjacks. These medicated honey roasted chipotle peanuts are made with the brand’s hash rosin, and while the pack holds 100mg, they’re dosed appropriately so no one has to eat just one. In a world that’s seen a million gummies and chocolate bars, RDR is once again refreshing the landscape with a tasty, savory snack. It even comes with a prize inside!
Another brand that’s been on my radar awhile, I have got to call attention to the fact that Traditional is absolutely showing out at every event I see them at. And while being the most visible in the show always helps, it’s clear they’ve got a great culture over there. Their marketing team is amazing, they have a grazillion merch items and canna SKU’s, they’re tapped in with every level of celebrity, but my favorite part? I told them to be careful sampling at the event bc both the DCC and the cops are walking around and homie grabs a jar and goes to find the cops to show them what good weed looks like. If that’s not standing on it I don’t know what is.
I remember when these guys launched, and while I remember thinking that ‘the kids will love this’ back when I mentioned them in the 3rd edition, I’ll admit I kind of tuned them out from there. I didn’t expect to consume much of their products in the future given how much I actually like the taste of the plant, but with bubblegum nicsticks taking off the way they were it was pretty clear a certain demographic would pick up on ‘em. That said, I also didn’t expect them to pivot towards quality the way they have. Flash forward to today and I’m pleased to report that High 90’s isn’t just that flavored noise anymore, these guys are actually bringing impressive flower to market, too! While they haven’t turned off the Tropical Punch prerolls, and they HAVE turned on a vape that looks an awful lot like an elf bar, there’s more to this brand than you’d initially expect, and I’m not afraid to stand corrected.
The funny thing about this one is I’m actually the one that’s late here. These guys aren’t new, and their work has always hit, but sometimes things slip through the cracks and unfortunately, these have been one of those things in my coverage thus far. Well that ends today, because if you’re consuming concentrates and don’t want to break the bank in the process, this is one you should have been known about. Their Blueberry Muffin has already won a bunch of awards, and is one of the only things I will actually take a dab of while working the floor of an event. It’s also worth noting that this live rosin I just saw for the first time, Banana Bob, absolutely smacks as well.
Another from the high tops, Ice Box Flat Farms was pointed out to me by my friend and former colleague Daniella. She mentioned that these guys were messing with their preroll machine and realized they could fit another gram inside their traditionally one gram cone, so of course I had to see what this business was about. I’m pleased to report that these things were actually smoking, and in a world where everyone wants to over-infuse for the sake of fooling their consumers into believing the listed THC percentage, it’s nice to see someone bringing a straight flower roll to market as their pilot offering.
Bonus Off the Floor Finds:
I’ll be honest, this is probably my favorite score of last week. And it’s less on the strength of the flower as it is the personality of the cultivator. I met Funk Farm while waiting to get a fried chicken sandwich. I wasn’t expecting to chat, I was checking my phone for maybe the first time all day, and here’s homie, talking about the scene out in Montana – or lack thereof. There wasn’t much going on out there, and while he is growing back at home, he felt foreign to the culture we have out here, and had to experience it for himself. I don’t know what it was specifically that made the flip switch for me, but the passion I could hear he had for this plant was clear, and hearing it coming from a state that I knew frankly nothing about – I don’t even know if they have mountains or flatlands there – was refreshing. It reminded me that we still have so much ground to cover here domestically, and I’d spent the front part of this year thinking about just about anywhere else to travel to. Well homie, now Montana’s on the list, and it’s on the strength of your farm. I don’t know wtf we’re going to do there, but I’m coming to hang just as soon as possible.
Now these little guys were a great surprise last week. I’d been spritz’ing heavy all week (more to come on that later) and I needed to change my perspective in a new way. Enter MK’s Mints – delightfully flavored mushroom microdose mints. Aptly shaped like lil’ toadstools, and leaning into a certain happiest place in the world aesthetic, these guys are my favorite new fungi product I’ve seen in months. It’s also worth noting this was much more powerful than the typical ‘micro’dose. You’ll feel the first one. They say with 8 you’re flying, which is approximately half the package, and while I haven’t gotten there quite yet, i’m excited for the next night off to see how far down this rabbit hole really goes…
This was a new name for me, but they came highly recommended by my friend Carter of CAD, and he has a particularly distinguished palate, so when he tells me to check something out I listen. I’m glad I did, because not only was it a pleasure to smoke with HB, but the Georgia Pie Z she broke me off with was one of my favorite take homes from the show. Although they were playing the traditional game of showing up with a backpack, it just goes to show that with really good flower it doesn’t matter how flashy your display is. We’re here for the heat!
This kind of feels like my anniversary with Surefire. We met like three May Santa Rosa halls back, and everytime I’ve pulled up since he’s had some new gear to knock my socks off. This time we met before the show started, and I got my favorite score of the week before even entering the showrooms. I’ve raved about his Candy Fumez in the past, and while they are still just as on point as I remember, his Sureberry is the ONE man. A sister pheno of Sherbanger, this one’s got a bit more of an ocimene taste – that is to say that almost apple-y flavor. But the one thing that’s important to remember when that terp shows up is that it’s going to transfer heavily to the flavor, and this is a particularly lip smacking experience. Also worth noting the Larry Z he showed me, which was less Z and more cake than I expected, was a hit with every typically gas focused connoisseur I showed it to.
One of my favorite parts about going to Santa Rosa every year is pulling up to Sazon to eat a quality Peruvian meal with the homies. This year Barney and I got there early to have a nice pseudo-romantic dinner before the Rosin Tech afterparty so we could actually relax and talk for a change, and he broke out some of Green Dawg’s new D1 – a cross of Sour Dubb and a Dosido / Face on Fire cut from Always be Flowering. After we smoked it, the relaxing definitely happened, but I’m not sure if I was making any sense because I got insanely lit. Drew’s calling this Sour 2.0, and however I tell you this weed brought me back to my teens would not be doing justice to the time traveling that took place there at the table. Not only are we talking real green weed, but the nose and flavor are so strangely close to that elusive profile we all loved back then, with a new gas focus that makes it a sure favorite for today’s smokers.
Finally, I want to give a shout to Mendo’s own, Heritage. These guys have won a bunch of awards in the past, including 1st place for Rosin at Ego Clash, and 1st place for Ice Water Hash in the Emerald Cup in the past year alone, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that they know what they’re doing. That said, I had never met any of the team over there, and I’m happy to report they’re just as delightful as their hash is delicious. Of their selection my favorites were the Sour Diesel and ‘Mom’s Terps’, though the Amarello was a close third. I haven’t gotten to the infused prerolls yet, but I’m confident they’ll be smokin’ too!