Every afternoon the proprietress of Reverend Mother Gardens calls each of her dozen dairy goats by name, and they emerge from the surrounding redwood forest and trot into their pen. The goats provide milk, cheese, and manure, and are an essential element of life on this remote Northern California homestead. For over a decade, visitors have been coming to this idyllic sanctuary to practice the art of living off the land.
I am here at Reverend Mother Gardens, not to make my own cheese, kombucha, or compost, but to see how premium artisan cannabis is grown. I’m already a devotee of Reverend Mother’s Holy Diver flowers, which have recently become available at a handful of dispensaries through PremaFlora, a new line of boutique sungrown sourced from small farms in Northern California.
Founder and executive director Jeff Jones describes PremaFlora as a “triple bottom line enterprise,” meaning that environmental and social impacts are prioritized alongside the economic bottom line. Jones, who comes from a background in microenterprise development and microfinance, created PremaFlora with an emphasis on fair trade and sustainability.
“We see small businesses as being key to local living economies,” he says. “Small businesses keep more money in their communities, offer economic opportunities to marginalized groups, and they tend to take better care of their environment. So by focusing on small businesses we hope that cannabis can positively affect some of the most intractable issues of our time… things like income inequality, corporate consolidation, environmental degradation, and global warming.”
“Aside from all of our ‘change-the-world’ stuff,” he adds, “plain and simple, small farmers using organic production methods grow outstanding cannabis. Vibrant flowers with beautiful hues and iridescences, complex bouquets, robust flavors, super clean effects — that’s what initially attracted me to this. I was just blown away by the quality.”
Having sampled several of PremaFlora’s offerings, I wholeheartedly concur. My personal favorite, Holy Diver, has the crisply sweet texture of sauvignon blanc with a peppery bite, and imparts a stimulating, creative, functional high. This cannabis conveys true terroir, a taste of the 100-year-old apple orchard on a lush coastal hillside where goats and chickens roam.
Patients in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley can now order directly from PremaFlora’s online farm stand.
“With the farm stand, our focus is on telling the story of craft farmers, and helping folks really appreciate cannabis flowers the way they might fine wine, or coffee, or chocolate,” Jones explains.
The online shop offers a selection of organically and sustainably-grown flowers from nine different farms, perfectly packaged in thick glass jars labeled with tasting notes, batch numbers, lab results, and farm profiles. Curated trios of eighths highlight female farmers, energetic or relaxing effects, citrus-scented strains, flowers from a single appellation, and connoisseur genetics. For those who want a little bit of everything, there’s the 9-gram sampler pack.
“It’s not what retailers are used to carrying,” Jones acknowledges. “It’s not what consumers are used to buying.” But he’s excited for the opportunity to change the conversation. When you evaluate wine or coffee, he points out, “it’s not all about the alcohol percent, or the caffeine percent… it’s usually about other, less tangible attributes. It’s about feelings and effects. It’s about who produced it. It’s about the love and attention and artisanship that went into it.”
“What’s been so heartening about this entire journey has been when we’ve gotten it into the hands of consumers,” he says. “It’s really been a phenomenal reaction.”
Have you sampled any strains from this year’s outdoor harvest yet?