MountainTop Grow 2021 Part 3

Things keep happening up on the MountainTop Wine-and-Weed Tour site! We're about 3 weeks away from 20,000 auto-flower clones hitting the dirt! Here's today's update of the MountainTop Grow 2021 Part 3.

We'll Climb a Mountain

As we've mentioned in the past, our MountainTop Wine and Weed Tour is located at about two thousand three hundred feet above sea level in the heart of the Mayacamas Mountains. On a clear day, we can see San Francisco as we wind our way up and down the scenic route. Come for the Cannabis and Stay for the Views!

Here's the Yard

Here's a shot of part of the Yard where we store the materials and equipment we're using as we transform the field into a 3 acre, raised bed, cannabis grow site. We've got two bobcats working, plus a small tractor and various other pieces of equipment, from rototillers to chainsaws.

While the plants and cultivation methods are 'very green', the process of getting the site ready is absolutely dependent on machines and fuel.

Happy Travelers Tours owes a huge debt of gratitude to our grow partner, A Gardner's Dream.

These Rows are Ready!

This photo shows rows which are ready for plants! Basically, we've got 36 more rows to go! These rows run north south and are about 200 yards long each. The other 36 rows will run east west and are at least 200 yards long, possibly a bit longer when finished, we'll see!

Camp Cannabis

Get a Birds-Eye View of 3 acres of sun-drenched cannabis plants from our Camp Cannabis. Located outside of the chicken-wire fence, our campsite offers a tent for privacy, tables and chairs for food and activities and a portable restroom with easy access.

This last picture shows THE most important piece of equipment: the PortaPotty! This unit has a built-in hand washing station inside and is ready to provide comfort relief for both our Guests and Staff.

From Camp we can see the entire grow, have access to water and a restroom and enjoy an afternoon of Happy Travelers Tours activities and experiences.

Book a Happy Travelers Tour

Come on up the Mountain this year and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis as we explore the plant. As we said, come for the cannabis and stay for the views!

 


MountainTop Grow 2021 Part 2

More improvements at our MountainTop Grow site as we continue to prepare for the 2021 season and the debut of the largest permitted grow site in Sonoma County!

It's True - You'll Come for the Cannabis and Stay for the Views

Situated 2,300 feet above sea-level in the Mayacamas Mountains in Wine-and-Weed Country's Sonoma Valley the grow site is a little slice of cannabis heaven. As we say, you'll have come for the cannabis but you'll want to stay for the views, which, on a perfect day, allow us to see all the way to San Francisco! It's absolutely breathtaking.

Mobile Milling Machine

This is a Mobile Saw Mill and it's on site this week milling the fire damaged trees into the lumber we're using for the raised beds and infrastructure. The trees were burned during the 2017 Nunn's Fire which 'created' this mountain top meadow!

Using these logs in the site's infrastructure keeps development costs down and keeps the grow as green as we can; it's about using what nature provided to use nature to provide back!

Happy Travelers Tours owes a huge debt of gratitude to our grow partner, A Gardner's Dream.

Bobcat on the Job

This photo shows the Bobcat moving a felled and prepped log to the milling machine. The dirt track runs along the fence right in front of our soon-to-be-built-out Camp Cannabis!

Camp Cannabis

When Camp Cannabis is built-out it will be our base of operations on Tour. Located immediately outside the fence, our camp features a 10' x 15' enclosed tent with tables, chairs and a birds-eye view of three acres of Cannabis. You'll get up-close-and-personal with over 20,000 cannabis plants this year!

This last picture is from the far side of the grow site looking back up at our Camp Cannabis site., which is located to the right side of the green water tank in this photo.

From Camp we can see the entire grow, have access to water and a restroom and enjoy an afternoon of Happy Travelers Tours activities and experiences.

Book a Happy Travelers Tour

Come on up the Mountain this year and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis as we explore the plant. As we said, come for the cannabis and stay for the views!

 


MountainTop Grow 2021

Our MountainTop Grow site is being prepared for the 2021 Season and we're super excited to share we've ordered over 21,000 starts. We do expect this MountainTop Grow season to be the best we've produced and we can't wait to share!

Preparation Work Continues

With our opening day approaching on 4/20 we are busy on the mountaintop preparing over 3 acres for planting; this year we're building both raised beds and using grow pots - two strategies to help us refine how we do what we do.

Come for the Cannabis, Stay for the Views

Our MountainTop Grow site is located at 2,300 feet above sea-level in the Mayacamas Mountains in Wine-and-Weed Country's Sonoma Valley. When we arrive at the site, you'll have come for the cannabis but you'll want to stay for the views, which, on a perfect day, allow us to see all the way to San Francisco! It's absolutely breathtaking.

Let's Look at Some Pictures!

Here we are seeing Row #1 of 40 almost ready for amended soil. You can see the spacing between rows and the rough-hewn lumber we're using which comes from the trees which once occupied this meadow. The Nuns Fire from 2017 burned the grow of trees which was in this space and created the opportunity to convert it.

It's taken several years to get through the permitting process, primarily because of the aftermath from the 2017 fires. And, sadly, from the 2019 and 2020 fires as well. Given the grow site is part of the county, and that the fires have impacted Sonoma County at the macro level, getting ANY permit through the County's process has been significantly delayed.

Housing comes first and, at this point in 2021, there are only a half-dozen permitted outdoor grows in Sonoma County and this grow is the largest with a permit allowing almost 4 full acres of grow.

Happy Travelers Tours owes a huge debt of gratitude to our grow partner, A Gardner's Dream.

This photo shows some other rows we're working on now. To get to this point we've had to:

  • remove the burned, diseased and dead trees
  • hand mill the wood
  • place fence posts around the 3 acre perimeter
  • put up the chicken wire and prepare the gate
  • bring in the water tanks (two 50,000 gallon tanks filled by a natural spring on the property)
  • prepare and re-enforce the access road

This last picture is from 'our' side of the fence. As you can imagine, we don't go into the actual grow during the Season, instead, we have a birds-eye view of over 3 acres of cannabis. If we pan to the left, we see the grow extends a long way!

Book a Happy Travelers Tour

Come on up the Mountain this year and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis as we explore the plant. As we said, come for the cannabis and stay for the views!

 


Bad Cannabis and Good Cannabis

How can you tell Bad Cannabis from Good Cannabis? In this day and age of legal, grey and black-market cannabis, how does a consumer know the good from the bad?

And, what do we mean by “good” and “bad”? For the purposes of this post, there are three definitions we’re working with:

  • Effect: Good cannabis will provide the effect you want. Pretty much a subjective experience.
  • Quality: There are measurable metrics which can determine if the cannabis is “good” or “bad”. These are objective experiences and typically require a testing lab.
  • Health: While cannabis is considered a medicine, how you use it will impact your health in either a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way. Too much of anything is excessive, however, this metric is, again, subjective.

Track and Trace

In legal markets, ‘track and trace’ systems ensure the cannabis which is being sold at licensed dispensaries is in fact free of heavy metals and minerals and is as ‘pure’ as it can be.

This does NOT mean the cannabis is “good” in the qualitative sense; I’ve smoked plenty of cannabis from dispensaries which was just “bleh”. Most times, ‘curing’ the cannabis is as important as growing it pesticide free.

If cannabis is not cured correctly, the flavor profile (and the effect) can be diminished.

Trichomes, Terpenes and Flavinoids

These component parts of the cannabis plant are key when looking at ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cannabis. The trichomes produce the resin which provides the THC – so, strains which generate healthy outputs of trichomes are ‘good’ (when you’re measuring THC).

The terpenes are what make up the aroma and taste of cannabis (when you peel an Orange, what you smell and then taste are terpenes). Again, an indicator of ‘good’ cannabis is the presence of terpenes.

Flavinoids are what give the cannabis flower it’s visual characteristics. So, vivid colors and hues are positive indicators.

Indoor versus Outdoor

You can have ‘good” indoor and outdoor and ‘bad’ indoor and outdoor grown cannabis. One thing about growing indoors: at some point, the grower’s grow room development, they will be working with a stable strain and will have “dialed” in the grow room so it’s optimal for the strain they’re growing.

There are significantly more environmental factors to consider when growing outdoors, however, sun-grown cannabis plants often reach spectacular heights and diameters.

Both indoor and outdoor growing can produce ‘good’ cannabis, but, as the saying goes, the bad stuff is being grown somewhere too!

The Ash Test – Butterfly Wings

One way to tell how carefully your cannabis was grown is the “butterfly wing” ash test. When cannabis is grown properly, the last three weeks (or so) of their grow cycle is spent feeding the plants only water. While flushing doesn't change the inherent structure of the plant, it will provide the plant with a cleanse, as it were.

One way to know how well your plant was cared for is to burn a bowl to ash. You should see what looks like a burned butterfly wing – just a light pile of almost white ash.

If you see dark ash, or, the ash doesn’t burn away cleanly, that is an indicator the cannabis plant wasn’t flushed properly and may contain by-products which are not healthy.

It is unlikely that well-grown and prepared cannabis would do much other than burn to gray or white ash. Conversely, you probably don’t need to be a snob about having ash as white as driven snow. So long as the smoke is smooth and flavorful, it’s probably good bud.

This is one way to see if your stash is good.

Bad Cannabis and Good Cannabis

It comes down to a combination of factors, including: does the cannabis you consume “work” for you?

In my use case, the cannabis which I use to manage chronic pain is a potent indica strain which provides me with a ‘body high’ enabling me to move easier. This is my “good” cannabis.

However, it could be someone else’s ‘bad’ cannabis if they do not enjoy the experience!

How to Learn More

Book a Happy Travelers Tours cannabis adventure and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis plants on our MountainTop Grow!


Cannabis – the Good, Bad and Ugly

Different kinds of good, bad and ugly are showing up within the cannabis industry. Everything from ‘good’ access to ‘ugly’ inequities in industry business ownership to ‘bad’ players gaming the system to, well, you name it.

Perspective and Opportunities

When we look at the good, bad and ugly from different perspectives we gain a deeper understanding of where the cannabis industry is and what the challenges and opportunities are going forward.

Good: Access to Cannabis seems to lower opioid Deaths

Researchers from Yale and the University of California, Davis published a study last week in The BMJ showing that access to legal cannabis stores in the US was found to be associated with a reduction in opioid-related deaths. The study found a particular link between access to cannabis stores and deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Source

Good: Cannabis is a growth driver in Canada

Cannabis emerged as a growth driver, contributing $8.26 billion to Canada’s economy as of July while accounting for 9,200 people currently working in the sector, according to Statistics Canada. Legalization also opened the door for research funds to fine-tune how the cannabis plant’s various cannabinoids can be used to treat pain, anxiety, and cancer, among other ailments.

Source

Bad: Frequent Use as a Youth isn’t Good

When you dig into the research about chronic use among pre-teens and teens (up to young adults, you’ll find continued discussions about the negative impact cannabis use has, which is, frankly, to be expected. Just like with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, excessive use starting young tends to lead to addiction, behavior and life issues later on.

Ugly: Cannabis Stocks and Entrepreneurial Access

The only stock market currently supporting cannabis stocks is TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) and, based on a BNN Bloomberg story in October 2019 (after 1 full year of legalization), cannabis stocks took a bashing.

On top of this, in both the Canadian and US cannabis markets, cannabis dispensaries are disproportionately owned and operated by whites.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, approximately 81 percent of cannabis business owners or founders are white, while only 4 percent are African American. This begs the questions: Why are there so few African Americans in the cannabis space? What is it that's keeping them out of the industry, and how can they succeed ever in this changing environment?

Source

What Does it All Mean for Cannabis?

Different types of Good, Bad and Ugly mean there will be different solutions. Many of them fall back to education, social justice and economic issues which won’t change over-night but which are in the process of changing.

What To Do

If you’re interested in learning more about cannabis, cannabis production and the cannabis industry, come on Tour with Happy Travelers Tours and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis.


Weed Edibles

Weed edibles cover a wide range of cannabis products, from gummies to cookies to beverages, you can eat cannabis in an ever growing variety of ways.

Ways to Consume Cannabis

There are a variety of ways to consume cannabis:

  • Smoke
    • Traditional – Joints, Blunts and Pipes
    • Flower Vapes – ‘Volcanos’
    • Water cooled – Bongs
    • Concentrated – Dabs
    • Oils – Vape, Smoke
  • Eat
    • Concentrates – Gummies
    • Decarboxylation – Butter for baking
  • Drink
    • Infused Beverages – Soft Drinks, Beer and Wine
    • Infused Tea – Green teas, Black Teas and Flavored Teas
    • Powered – Mix with anything

What to Expect When Eating Weed Edibles

The first thing to expect is nothing, for at least 90 minutes. Unlike smoking (or vaping) cannabis, when you eat marijuana there are several steps your body goes through before you’ll feel the affect:

  • Digestion – through the stomach
    • How long this takes is dependent on your metabolism and how ‘full’ your stomach is when you eat your cannabis
  • Absorption – through the liver
    • This means the ‘high’ you’ll feel is different than what you’d feel if you smoke or vape weed
  • Duration
    • Consuming weed edibles takes longer to feel the affect and lasts longer than if you smoke or vape your cannabis

Best Ways to Consume Edibles

Chose Wisely! First up, start with small doses and easy activities, like sightseeing or window shopping. Don’t, for example, eat two 10 gram gummies and take a 10 mile hike – you most likely will not have fun!

On the other hand, eating half a gummy (5 grams) and sitting by the pool enjoying conversation with your friends will very probably produce the cannabis experience you’re looking for.

Learn More

Come join Happy Travelers Tours and learn more about weed edibles. You can take a Tour, enjoy our High Tea Experience or just ask questions!


How to Talk with Kids and Teens About Legal Cannabis

Legal Cannabis. Weed. Pot. Marijuana. Ganja – whatever you call it, the real question is: how to talk with your kids and teens about legal cannabis use.

As we researched this topic we found there are several best practices which keep showing up:

  • Honesty
  • Personal Experience
  • Age Appropriate Responses
  • Legal Use Rules

We’ll take these topics one-by-one and relate them to our experiences of raising three kids while using cannabis for pain management.

Honesty

The first step of talking with kids and teens about legal cannabis is to be Honest. Keep it age appropriate (more on this below) and keep focused on your experiences and reasons for your experiences.

If you have limited experiences with cannabis, be honest when speaking to children and teens about your experience. If you’re a chronic consumer, be honest about your use, even if it’s difficult to discuss.

Remember: keep it personal. Don’t veer off into hearsay or myths.

Personal Experience

This is paramount. Most people have what I call a “recreational” relationship with marijuana. For me, while it may have started with recreational use, I was in an accident in 1993 and crushed 12 Vertebra in my spine; when I left the Hospital I was offered the ‘opioid of the day’ and told to “take it easy”.

Fortunately, I had previous experiences with cannabis and I knew it could be beneficial so I threw away the prescription for the narcotics and began using cannabis for pain management, which means: consuming ‘on-demand’ throughout the day.

My kids grew up with me using cannabis for pain management and, while I was as discreet as I could be, by the time they were in Junior High they were very savvy about it and I knew we were going to have to have the “weed talk”.

Age Appropriate Responses – The Weed Talk

My children were in middle school when we had the pot talk and so I kept it age appropriate for their situation. Of course, over the years, I had other versions of the marijuana conversation with them, all age appropriate, so when we got down to brass tacks, they were well educated about MY use case – but, we had to talk about recreational cannabis consumption as well.

To frame the conversation I had with my teens about recreational use I used the opportunity to talk about ALL the ‘taboo’ subjects:

  • Alcohol Use
  • Tobacco Use
  • Cannabis Use, and
  • Safe Sex

At the time we had our “weed talk” my boys were old enough to understand and have adult level conversations about this list and, as best I can tell now that they’re in their mid-20’s, this conversation (and subsequent ones) served the purpose.

Rules – Like Alcohol and Tobacco

Rules, like for alcohol and tobacco, were the foundation for the conversations which I’ve had over the years regarding consuming pot for recreational purposes, especially when my kids were minors.

They understood the idea of rules for alcohol and tobacco and they also understood the difference between prescription medication and street drugs.

As they grew up, we refined these broader concepts with more specifics and, while they did experiment, all my children made it to adulthood (and, in the case of my eldest, parenthood) successfully.

Now, when we’re visiting or having a dinner, when we toast with some wine we also enjoy a bowl!

Get Educated, Stay Educated

The bottom line: get educated about cannabis (even if you are a chronic user) and stay educated. There is always something new in the world of cannabis which can impact how we talk with kids and teens about legal cannabis.

Find the resources which work best for you. There are articles in parenting publications, news websites and cannabis-advocacy sites.

Learn More about Talking with Kids and Teens about Legal Cannabis

To get up-close-and-personal with cannabis plants or talk first-hand with our Staff about cannabis, Book a Happy Travelers Tours Experience today!


As Seen on SensiMag.com

As seen on SensiMag.com” …

has a nice ring to it, eh? We love being written about and we're excited to start 2021 by sharing the link to a new story in Sensi Magazine about the Happy Travelers Tours High Tea Experience.

The High Tea Experience brings a CBD-infused British-style Tea Service to your location in the Sonoma or Napa Valley as well as the Greater Bay Area. Enjoy CBD-infused Tea, Finger Sandwiches, Scones and Desserts all in the comfort of your location.

For more information, email [email protected]

https://sensimag.com/norcal/the-buzz-norcal-january-2021/

If you want to read more of our Media Coverage check out the interview on Ganjaprenuer.com or the write up on Forbes!

Book your High Tea Experience or other Happy Travelers Tours Cannabis Adventure Today!


Cannabis Terroir and Appellations

Cannabis Terroir and Appellations are as important to the cannabis industry as they are to viticulture. When growing outdoor, sun-grown cannabis, terroir is key and appellation is the edge.

From Wiki

Terroir is a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop's specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.

Some artisanal crops for which terroir is studied include wine, cider, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops, agave (for making tequila and mezcal), tomatoes, heritage wheat, maple syrup, tea, and cannabis.

Cannabis Terroir defined by the Cannabis Horticultural Association (CHA)

“...[T]he set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant's genetics, express in terpene profile and cannabinoid percentages....that is cannabis terroir.”

Cannabis Appellations

One group in the Sonoma Valley which is working on the Cannabis Appellations project with the State of California is the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Enthusiasts a non-profit based committed to promoting Sonoma Valley’s distinctive and unique cannabis.

State of California Cannabis Appellations Program

From the State of California’s website: An appellation of origin is a protected designation that identifies the geographical origin of a product and how that product was produced. CDFA’s Cannabis Appellations Program will promote regional cannabis goods and local businesses, prevent the misrepresentation of a cannabis good’s origin, and support consumer confidence about a cannabis good’s origin and characteristics.

How Do Terroir and Appellations Intersect?

The idea is simple: the unique soil and environment conditions which exist in a cannabis growing region create cannabis varietals which are unique to those conditions. When an Appellation is associated to that same cannabis growing region, then, Craft and Artisanal Cannabis Grows can label their products as grown in that Appellation (think Emerald Triangle or Sonoma Valley)

As cannabis consumers become more sophisticated about how their cannabis is grown and produced, they’ll begin to pay more attention to the Appellation where the cannabis is grown (especially sun grown flower versus indoor grown).

The ability for craft growers to differentiate via appellations is a significant marketing advantage, just like it is for wine makers and vineyards.

MountainTop Grow Tour

The Happy Travelers Tours MountainTop Grow Tour takes Guests up to the 2,700 feet about sea level summit of a local Sonoma Valley mountain to view 3 acres of cannabis.

In addition to viewing the largest permitted outdoor grow in Sonoma County, we’ll take in the amazing views from the Mountain Top!

Learn More About Cannabis and Terroir

Join Happy Travelers Tours on our MountainTop Grow Tour (aka Wine-and-Weed Tour) and learn all about cannabis terroir while getting up-close-and-personal with 1,200 cannabis plants!

Book your Tour today, email [email protected] or call 707-386-9859


Cannabis Farming

Cannabis farming is complex, challenging and rewarding; however, the first thing is terraforming, also known as, preparing the grow site.

What is Terraforming

Terraforming or terraformation (literally, "Earth-shaping") is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying the atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology of a planet, moon, or other body to be similar to the environment of Earth to make it habitable by Earth-like life.

In this case, we are referring to transforming the grow site from a tree-stump and rock-strewn field into a grow site suitable for cannabis farming.

Is Higher Better?

Happy Travelers Tours grow site is located near the summit of a local mountain in the Sonoma Valley and is situated at 2,700 feet above sea level. The question of being ‘higher’ gets to these factors:

  • Quality of sunlight
    • Not only is the sunshine above all the haze which fills the Valley, it shines on our grow site all day long, provide the cannabis plans with a full day’s worth of sunlight during the grow season (late April through October)
  • Above the Fog and Haze
    • Since the site is 2,700 feet up the mountain, it’s above the fog and haze which fill the Valley during the Summer months. This means better seasonal sunlight more consistently through the grow season

What does it all Mean?

For cannabis farming, it’s all about the ‘micro-climate’ and ‘terrior’ of the grow site. The more sunshine and the healthier the soil the better for cannabis farming.

Join a Cannabis Farm Tour

Come join Happy Travelers Tours as we explore our MountainTop Grow on our “Wine-and-Weed” Tour this year! We will put you up-close-and-personal with cannabis plants, provide an educational experience and have some fun with Cannabis Farming!