Let’s welcome the season that awards us with bountiful fruits—today is significant as the start of autumn.
And with it, the symbolism of seasonal transition this month is undeniable. At CULTURE, one of the most anticipated (and delicious) awards of September is harvest-time, and more specifically—apple season. (Feel free to tune into our Recipes column this month for tasty cannabis-infused apple dishes.)
September is reminiscent of driving along the windy roads that lead into small, local apple-growing villages that are nestled within the mountains. These small, family farms remind of how different past times used to be. In small apple-centric villages, time has essentially stood still—there are but few apple farmers left who pride themselves in growing the most organic, heirloom apple varieties that help to preserve biodiversity.
Many age-old agricultural practices still remain in these small villages, whereas other local agriculture has largely been replaced by high-density corporate farming. For those who are unfamiliar, high-density farming is a modern, profit-driven technique where the highest yields of produce are cultivated at the lowest cost possible. Little towns like these remind us that we should value quality and tradition more than turning the highest profit possible.
As we embrace fall, we can’t help but reflect on the ways that high-density farming also impacts the cannabis plant. While large indoor grows are inevitable and also impressive, let’s not forget about the small-scale family farmers who have sustained our cannabis habits for decades. While high-yield indoor farming serves a need for products and as a competitor by offering lower prices on cannabis, smaller growers can still stand a chance to flourish by differentiating their products from the competition.
As wines from vineyards in France or Napa Valley are in high demand, small scale cannabis farmers still make a fine living by producing artisan-quality cannabis. Similar to wineries, smaller-scale famers differentiate their products by not only dedicating themselves to serve niche markets, but by capitalizing on well-known regions in which the cannabis is grown. We saw it happening two years ago when The Mendocino Appellations Project began working to develop an appellation for agricultural products grown in Mendocino County, California. In Oregon, many cities like Bend are known for their small-scale farmers who are dedicated to perfecting the art of natural outdoor cannabis cultivation.
While we appreciate the large-scale cannabis grows that ensure the supply of cannabis meets the growing demand, let’s also continue to nurture and support the success of small-scale artisan cannabis cultivators, both on a consumer level, as well as on the regulatory level.
Happy harvest season, and may you celebrate by indulging in nature’s finest offerings.