OG Heaven is a Place on Earth
Northern Emeralds offers two premium takes on the classic kush.
Some people are just OG Kush people.
The strain basically tastes like the exhaust produced from a diesel truck that’s shipping crates of lemons over the Grapevine to Los Angeles, which meets a certain sector of cannabis enthusiasts in all the right places.
This is the case for longtime cannabis activists and noted OG Kush lovers David Goldman and Michael Koehn. The couple hosts regular OG Kush tastings in their San Francisco home, where friends each bring a variation of the classic strain for a taste off. Sometimes these parties can include as many as 13 different varietals.
Goldman, caught over the phone one morning, can’t say enough about the Titan OG from Northern Emeralds.
“The buds are beautifully, tight and dense,” he says. “The trichomes are plentiful, evenly distributed and milky white.”
The Titan OG ranks among the top five of all the OG phenotypes he’s ever tried. After sampling more than 30-40 different types of OG Kush, that’s saying a lot.
Cody Stross, 32, Founder and CEO of Northern Emeralds, understands a passionate love of OG. He tells me some people drink tequila or whiskey, “and there’s people who smoke OG and that’s their strain.”
Despite the fact that the the strain is low-yielding and difficult to grow, Stross says his grow rooms — and much of the reputation of his Humboldt-based operation — is built around the Titan OG.
“We have to ration our product out,” he says.
Stross has been growing cannabis for seven years. He now heads a cultivation company that’s so successful in producing and brokering high-quality flowers that it’s able to go the extra distance for patients, as well its its own employees — Stross says he’s able to offer his 40 staff members Workers’ Compensation and health benefits.
Northern Emeralds partners with about 50 California dispensaries and 150 small cannabis farms. Their brand is largely built on two flagship strains: the Titan OG and the Sapphire Kush, a Titan OG and Pink Panties cross.
Stross says the quality standards at Northern Emeralds are so high that not all of the indoor strains he grows — alongside two other cultivators with 30 years of combined experience — make the cut to be branded as Northern Emeralds.
The Titan OG has an impressive wide bud shape, the nugs are dense and wide and resemble the structure of a cauliflower.
Stross says the smell of this strain “comes out and smacks you in the face,” and when I crack open a hefty jar of buds the fragrance — orange blossoms with just a bit of the vegetal elements of branches and leaves — immediately fires up my senses. Like the uplifting effects of citrus in aromatherapy, the terpenes coming off of this strain are mood enhancers.
When smoked, the Titan OG delivers an extremely balanced and satisfying stone. In an office wide tasting we joke about the clinical terminology of saying the strain brings about homeostasis, but the Titan OG truly brings on an optimal full body stability. Homeostasis originates from the Greek words “same” and “steady” and if this strain originates from one of the Titans of Greek myth, our expert tasting panel decides it’s Prometheus because he brought the fire.
The Sapphire Kush, which possesses a deep purple hue interspersed with auburn hairs, also exemplifies the classic OG piney citrus mix. But its citrus note is more comparable to a fresh grapefruit, in that it’s more bitter and herbaceous than a sweet orange.
These buds are taller and looser than the Titan, with which this strain shares the classic tastes of OG Kush, with an additional hint of sugar cookie sweetness. The Sapphire Kush is a delightful, calming smoke.
Stross said he first discovered the tranquility that cannabis can provide after a late night phone call from friends in California convinced him to abandon the successful high-end home renovation company he began as an 18-year-old in Austin, Texas and come out West.
He describes his friend’s garage-based grow as the “most tranquil, calming and alive space I’d been in a long time.”
“I didn’t expect to be in this business,” he said. “It felt so right to be here.”
Nowadays he prides himself on providing clients with a reliable chain of supply for a high-end indoor flower.
“It’s hard to get it because it’s an organic product that you really don’t have that much control over,” he says, adding Northern Emeralds is always listening to the feedback of dispensaries as to what patients are looking for. “The only way you can be a specialist is if you have all the information.”
And, as the company moves forward in a dual system of adult and medical-use cannabis in California, Stross is hoping the laws of Proposition 64 — which unlike the state’s medical regulations, allow for cultivators to also distribute their products — will permit Northern Emeralds to continue to have a direct connection to its client base so it can continue producing exceptional indoor marijuana.
“We take a lot of pride to really get to know our patients and give them what they prefer,” he says.
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.