Welcome to Flower Picks, our new monthly cannabis feature that smokes all the weed so you don't have to—because, let's be honest, there's a ton of herb in Oregon and it's not all worth your money.
These days, the Beaver State is host to more than 900 recreationally licensed cannabis farms and another 1,100 or so that currently await the Oregon Liquor Control Commission's green light. With dispensaries dotting the landscape and more product options coming to market by the day, you can afford to be choosy when it comes to the contents of your pop top.
To help you parse the bouquet, each month we inspect hundreds of flowers—sampling scores of unique cultivars and shortlisting only the most decadent and efficacious of the pack.
And then we pick three to tell you about. Think of it as a filter for forgettable fuego. A podium for the best trees cash can stash. Your new monthly shopping mission, should you choose to accept it.
About the farm: Over the past year, Vagrant Hill Farm has taken the micro-batch, no-till model of organic indoor gardening from the basement to the warehouse. The five-member, owner-operator team has managed to scale up a six-plant medical grow into a 500-square-foot commercial facility while maintaining a level of care and quality control that's usually reserved for personal-use gardens. They harvest between 8 and 10 pounds of herb every two weeks, ensuring always-fresh releases of their carefully curated and delicately expressed cultivars—those selected and crafted with the flower fanatic in mind.
Aroma and flavor: Vagrant Hill's Banana Cream OG is a sativa-leaning hybrid with a creamy, banana-and-tanned-leather scent, folding Blue Dream's sweetness into the wood and fuel of its dueling kushes. These flowers burn smooth and clean, tasting of sugared rose water and diluted honeysuckle that lingers in the back of the mouth for a wet-bamboo finish.
Effects: A red-eyed, psychedelic hybrid high takes after the haze and kush branches of Banana Cream OG's parentage. It's a heavy-hitting creeper, opening with subtle euphoria—restoring and enhancing a sense of well-being—before ballooning in intensity to incorporate that classic OG body stone. At its peak, the high is foggy and giggly, a potentially day-erasing experience in large doses. I found it best for alone times, as it's more an introspective or consumptive high, and quite strong.
Purple Hindu Kush x Pineapple Tsu
Grown and bred by East Fork Cultivars
About the farm: East Fork Cultivars is a CBD-focused sungrown operation in Cave Junction. The farm splits its time between the production of classic, cannabidiol-rich strains and the development of new, medicinally relevant cannabis varietals. The very finest of the yearly outdoor harvest makes its way to market as trim-to-order flower, and the rest is processed for the CBDs that power a growing number of extract, edible and topical manufacturers, like chocolatiers Grön, cartridge makers O.penVAPE and tincture tinkers Cascadia Herbals.
Aroma and flavor: Wesley's Wish, named after East Fork founders Aaron and Nathan Howard's late brother, is the farm's flagship strain: a happily weathered, lavender- and emerald-hued flower that smells like cherry cough syrup served in an overripe orange. When smoked, it sheds the medicinal, syrupy elements for a flavor both spiced and herbaceous. Disparate elements bound by a nebulous, everyfruit opening and hashy backdrop.
Effects: If you're looking for a clear-headed, feel-good experience of the mellow variety, I'd strongly recommend Wesley's Wish (or its sister strain, Pineapple Jager). Experienced consumers and patients probably won't notice much intoxication from the strain, as it contains less than 5 percent THC by weight—the psychoactive impact of which is in part ameliorated by the nearly 13 percent CBD concentration. The traceable effects are uplifting, conversational and anxiolytic—well-suited for the treatment of conditions like social anxiety and depression—making for an exceptionally functional high.
Black Lime Reserve x Limepop
Grown by Liontree Farms and bred by Mean Gene from Mendocino
About the farm: Taking a page from wine country, Liontree Farms is located on a fully exposed, south-facing Applegate Valley slope, where the days get hot, the nights cool and the weed terpene-rich. Terpenes, aromatic compounds responsible for the wide spectrum of scents—and, in part, effects—expressed throughout the cannabis kingdom, are in uncommonly high concentrations across Liontree's 2017-18 lineup, topping out at an 11.2 percent Lemon Head. And while Liontree's numbers are impressive, it's the farm's exotic cultivars that will captivate connoisseur attention—cultivars like the Black Lime Reserve x Limepop.
Aroma and flavor: Black Lime Reserve x Limepop has a wild nose: an unmistakable Tiger Balm—cool, camphorous and minty—that accurately translates to flavor when smoked. At the pipe, secondary notes are detectable in a gustatory territory shared by lime and copper—a metallic, citrus quality that weaves in and out of the VapoRub, licorice and menthol façade for a flavor profile that's anything but common.
Effects: Find here in this Tiger Balm weed an indica-leaning experience composed of drowsy mood enhancements and mild cognitive stupifications. BLR x LP delivers relief from muscular inflammation and body aches, while stopping short of the sedative slouch. In small doses, the cultivar pairs just fine with low-energy social activities, and in larger servings provides a gateway to restful sleep.