By Spencer Winans

A couple years back, you could have said I was an oil man. During a stint in Colorado, I'd come to appreciate the convenience of cartridges, loathe to roll a messy joint and tar my lips or pack a dirty bowl.

But then I got to Portland.  And I found Mount Hood Magic at my local dispensary, Terpene Station. I've been back to flower almost exclusively ever since.

Maybe you've heard of Mount Hood Magic, a strain created by Five Zero Trees, a dispensary farming operation that crossed Northern Lights #5 with the pure South African sativa Durban Poison. The problem? Well, aside from its price, it's basically impossible to find.

To make sure I always have some, I rarely share it, savoring a tiny pinch once a day. For the past year, the Durban-dominant phenotype of Mount Hood Magic is all I've wanted. I'm not alone. The frenzy around this strain is so great that within 24 hours of its availability being announced via Zion Cannabis' Twitter, the shelves had been cleared of a dozen pounds.

This is unique, says Nicki, the receptionist at Zion, who sees Mount Hood Magic disappear faster than anything else they sell: "This one is sought after."

What makes Mount Hood Magic Durban so special? Since this issue is in honor of Mount Hood, I decided to ask the grower, Joel Jennings, co-founder of Five Zero Trees.

"It's really a well-balanced hybrid. In terms of indica and sativa, you get the full effect, on both spectrums," he says.

The varietal we now know as Mount Hood Magic Durban was born as "seedling #26" of a cross of Durban Poison and Northern Lights #5 he had been working on for years.

"It was the star child," he says.

Durban Poison is a sativa prized for its medicinal use to combat pain, anxiety, inflammation and nausea. Northern Lights #5 is a classic "heavy" indica, which here balances it out. Leafly's tasting notes of "sweet," "citrus lime," and "sour berry" are as apt descriptors as I've seen.

Its effect is euphoric, calming and uplifting, and can be a wonder potion for those struggling with those aforementioned conditions. As such, it has developed a cult-following, especially among artists and creatives.

Pudding River Farm, which owns the dispensary Five Zero Trees, is the exclusive grower of clones outdoors. They've set up an arrangement with Southeast Portland-based indoor grower Resin Ranchers, which works to diligently supply the indoor-grown product many Portlanders grab by the ounce.

Other fans of the strain might be excited to know that the outdoor version is only about a month away, as Jennings and business partner, Case Van Dorne, get ready to harvest and cure this summer's crop, which includes both phenos.

I've never had the outdoor-grown version, as far as I know, but I'm excited to try it come harvest. It's grown at Pudding River Farm, in Canby, just off of the Pudding River, a tributary to the Molalla River. There, the growers employ all-natural, fully sustainable methods with no mineral salts. They fertilize the soil in the Korean tradition, using fermented fish they catch with a hook and line out of the river.

As for the name? I had to ask.

It was a beautiful day, Jennings says, and the mountain was ablaze.

"I was driving, actually," says the lifelong Oregonian, "When the mountain came up on the horizon. As it does. And there it was, like a beacon. Like, it was glowing. I love that mountain."