Lately there have been countless new seed companies emerging across the United States and Europe. This includes smaller companies that do most of their promotion through social media and master growers with a passion for trying out new things. In a move that's interesting for growers, some companies are returning to the roots of cannabis genetics, namely landrace strains—strains with names such as Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold and Panama Red to name a few.
Many companies these days are building on the works of their peers and colleagues, in that they are buying packs of either regular or feminized seeds and then either selfing a good mom or making a cross once they’ve sifted through their males and females. (Selfing generally involves the process of making seeds from a clone-only mom via a type of process that induces male flowers on a female plant.) In some cases, this can work and leads to amazing new strains, such as the Gorilla Glue #4, The Bruce Banner and The Blissful Wizard.
But as the palettes of today’s new smokers become more and more sophisticated, we are seeing a return to old school flavors like oranges, lemons and earthy/piney tones of the Haze’s and early Skunks.
One of these new companies, based out of Amsterdam and called Plantformers, is focusing on the roots of cannabis. They are listening to their customers desires by providing strains that both rejuvenate old land race genetics and combine the old and the new in order to make something fresh and vigorous.
Plantformers debuted at the 2014 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup last November with two strains: Mekanika Haze and Mr X Kush—both favorites amongst the Amsterdam cannaseurs.
The founders of Plantformers have more than 20 years experience in the cannabis business working mostly out of Amsterdam. They got their start back in the day working with Mila, the famous Amsterdam hash queen. Breeding, for them, sprung from a desire to go through their vast seed collections, comprised largely of original land race genetics.
As seed collections get older and older, it is wise to restart your favorite strains and rejuvenate the genetics from time to time. Otherwise, you run the risk of having seeds that won’t germinate. This was also a deciding factor behind their decision to breed. The best way to rejuvenate old seeds is to germinate everything you have and let mother nature take its course, meaning leave the males in the room and let them pollinate the females. This way you will capture the entire gene pool.
Plantformers's goal is to look through their classic genetics and find some new flavors, while reinvigorating the various land race lines via back crossing. (This is a technique in which you cross the selected female back into itself using an original male from the same strain.) This way some of these “lost” strains will be available again to growers looking to try some old school flavors. One strain they are currently working with is a pre ’92 Durban Poison, some old genetics indeed.
One subject that comes up over and over again with growers and breeders that I talk to is organic and sustainable farming practices. When I spoke to the folks at Plantformers, they told me the same thing. Currently, they are a boutique company that places a high value on craftsmanship, which means smaller batches of limited-release strains all grown through biological/organic farming practices.
Plantformers' first two strains the Mr X Kush and the Mekanika Haze are available at the Bushdoctor Coffeeshop in Amsterdam. Their strains are also available at the Grey Area and the Superfly, which is one of the coffeeshops closest to Schipol airport—perfect for a burn right before or after a flight.
Keep things green!!
[Author's Note: This article is dedicated to the late owner of the Bushdoctor Coffeeshop—an amazing guy with a big heart. R.I.P. Luca.]
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