While you’ve probably never encountered strains like Gorilla Grip or Nightmare Cookies, Goldman and a select group of other growers have been diligently laboring over trial gardens scanning them for anomalies and difficulties — or possibly the next cannabis superstar like Northern Lights or Jack Herer.
“I really like pushing the boundaries to get plants to reach their full genetic potential,” he says.
A cannabis cultivator with over four decades of experience, Goldman’s initial farming experience began as a grower of greenhouse produce in the 1980s. More recently, his talents have been sought after by a number of marijuana seed breeders looking to test out new creations.
“The same way that most manufacturers put their products through rigorous testing,” says Goldman, “cannabis seeds need to be tested too before they’re released to the world.”
Because breeders are basically putting their reputations on the line every time they release a newly developed strain, testers like Goldman are absolutely essential to the process. The seed sellers that he consults for want to hear all the pros and cons of their new strains — how they handle heat, synthetic versus organic fertilizers or small versus large habitats. They want a full picture of the plant’s inherent strengths, weaknesses and peculiarities to know whether it’s back to the drawing board or ready for consumer release.
With every trial run, Goldman creates a detailed “grow log” from the time seeds germinate all the way through harvest. Being an avid photographer — and a teacher of photography besides — all of his very detailed scientific methodology is accompanied by close photo documentation week after week as the plants mature.
“I’ll document the structure of the plant and flowers. Looking at things like flower density and calyx to leaf ratio as well as yield and cannabinoid levels.”
Some of Goldman’s most recent work has been with Sin City Seeds, testing potential new releases such as Nightmare Cookies, a cross of White Nightmare and Platinum Girl Scout Cookies. He says it’s not only a “beautiful plant with rich colors but at 26 percent THC, it packs a potent punch.”
With Washington state now allowing medical and recreational cultivation, says Goldman, “I can legally put together my passion for photography with my passion for growing.”
The following photos were all taken from Goldman’s medical cannabis test gardens and are strains we hope the public will soon have a chance to sample.
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