GANJA D’S EMERALD TRIANGLE LOVE AFFAIR
STORY BY Z. SCOTT • PHOTOS BY REBEL GROWN
ALL OF YOU reading this right now have heard of Humboldt County and the famous “Emerald Triangle.” This unique area of Northern California has been a longtime refuge for folks that embraced the early counterculture movement and those who wanted to lead a simpler life and move back to the land. However, one of the main reasons that so many people came to the area from all different backgrounds was to be left alone to do what they wanted to do more than anything else––farm enough high-quality cannabis to make a living and feed their families. With the new growth and modernization of the industry, the area has been changing over the years, but the reasons have largely stayed the same. Nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Humboldt in one of the Triangle’s most preferred microclimates is the culmination of a lifelong dream––Rebel Grown. We had a chance to speak with Ganja D about what makes his operation stand out in a growing area that’s very well know.
Ganja D occupies a very historic property in the region that has been a longtime community gathering spot, first homesteaded by the Applegate family many summers ago, and resting between 1,200 and 1,600 feet. Two productive springs supply water to several holding tanks that capture it all winter, and a very large pond is filled by the second spring––taking the plants all the way to harvest in a new era of farming––one that is being operated with a specific set of values and attention to the health of the land and also the health of the people that ingest what’s produced from it. Ganja D is the man behind the brand, and with the help of a select group of tight-knit partners, they have been able to realize a dream that very few can imagine.
Providing high-quality cannabis and seeds on a commercial scale, while staying true to their organic growing practices, are the top priorities for the crew at Rebel. There is a lot of work involved when making an operation like this succeed. The plants are really well taken care of and enjoy a very aggressive foliar spray program that includes algae, kelp, calcium, and silica as well as microbes and fish hydrolysate. This is used to help provide the plants with a diverse source of macro- and micronutrients and to keep the biology balanced. Soil at the farm is made with great attention to detail and testing to ensure that the ratios are in check and able to take a healthy and hungry full-season plant all the way to harvest with the best possible growth. When asked about the things in the regiment that make a big difference, the reply was “Good quality worm castings and many applications of compost teas help these big plants stay vigorous and able to better fight off the potential dangers of the outdoors.”
Not only do they grow amazing plants, but the past few years have seen the Rebel crew increasingly getting into providing unique and stable crosses for the average person (aged 21 and older) and the cannabis critic alike to enjoy. They work with some well- known clones like SFV OG, Headband, and Girl Scout Cookies to name a few, along with promising examples of varieties that come from in-house breeding. “Part of my mission is to be able to help people grow really good weed.” Keeping a line going requires many generations of selection and big population numbers with special attention to checking the new seeds against the originals to maintain the best resin production and other desirable traits. Being open to other partnerships and projects has been promising for them, and look for some nice new things in the future such as Double Strawberry Diesel crosses and Lemon Sugar Kush projects. Speaking with Ganja D, you can feel how excited and passionate he is about cannabis, you can hear it in his voice. Creating quality seeds so that people all over can enjoy the plant and grow their own is part of the fundamental values that set them apart.
The seasonal work on the farm is happening almost year round in order to stay on top of all the necessary tasks to have happy and healthy plants. Full-season planting times for large pots is somewhere between May 7-21, so that means cuttings are taken from mothers that were started about March 15-25, and they like to have vigorous seed plants go in the ground early.
After putting in the time to grow these big plants and seeds the team uses special care to ensure the flowers that are harvested come October are treated very well. “When it’s time to chop, the lovely branches are placed carefully in bins with the tops up, not all compacted and smashed together.” They are quickly plucked of their fan leaves and hung in a climate-controlled environment with the ability to precisely dial in all of the important factors like temperature and humidity. Keeping the temps between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity hovering around 52 to 55 percent helps keep the process moving along. It also retains all of the potent aromas in the form of mono and diterpenes that are easily lost to the air if the temps get too high or the humidity is too low. As the industry grows in size the quest for efficiency becomes more important; they have been experimenting with a new type of storage system that uses barrels to hold bucked down and cured material on a pallet that is stored on racks. The flowers are kept cool and not exposed to light, and this allows the material to be trimmed to order, keeping it fresh and maintaining the very important aroma and flavor profile of each variety.
Extracts have been increasing in popularity and have become a fast-growing sector of the market, and Rebel Grown has been all in with the changing environment. They have been collaborating with several different companies and putting out top-notch concentrates in the form of award-winning live resins, and will have CO2 vape cartridges available soon so that more people will be able to enjoy these strains.
One theme that kept coming up in my chat with Ganja D was his gratitude; he not only lives in a very beautiful part of the state of California, but chooses to put in countless hours developing meaningful relationships with the people around him. There are between four and six people that run the farm full time, and they employ many more hands when it’s time for harvesting the summer’s bounty and sorting and packaging thousands of quality cannabis seeds. Maintaining over four hundred accounts and keeping the dispensary owners stocked and up on the latest varieties requires several people in retail sales alone.
Creating memorable cannabis experiences that are unique and stay with you for years to come is a very important part of why Rebel Grown exists. “Spreading the love and having as many people as possible be positively affected by the smell of their favorite strain or the taste of Double OG Sour, for instance, keeps the hard work and dedication coming.” Do yourself a favor and check out some of their gear, it is available in many clubs throughout California, and we look forward to the future. I’m sure it will be very tasty!