Huckleberry Hill Farms on what’s at stake for legacy cannabis growers

As cannabis becomes legal in more states, many growers are turning to blockchain technology to make the industry safer and more secure. However, there is some concern from these legacy marijuana cultivators that they may be left out of the loop due to their lack of understanding with modern technologies like blockchains.

Huckleberry Hill Farms on what’s at stake for legacy cannabis growers

Huckleberry Hill Farms has established a history in the Emerald Triangle’s fertile land.

John Casali and his partner Rose Moberly control the second-generation managed farm. Casali continues his mother’s profession and her long-standing skill. Casali prioritizes the Emerald Triangle neighborhood above all others because of his family’s extensive connections in the area. The Huckleberry Hill team is one of the Emerald Triangle’s first tourism licensees, providing a unique grow tour experience for anyone interested in seeing cannabis up close. Think Weed Country meets farm animals, with overnight glamping and two goats called Willie and Nelson.

Select and Dear Cannabis just joined with Huckleberry Hill Farms. They developed 8,000 units of full-spectrum oil from 345 pounds of cannabis flower, which will be delivered free of charge throughout California to eligible medicinal patients.

The sun-grown farm is also a part of a groundbreaking Columbia University study that shows how diverse and varied weed’s terpenes and cannabinoids may be depending on its terroir.


Terpenes (and sesquiterpenes) in sun-grown weeds: the whole picture

Colin Nuckolls, a scientist at Columbia University in New York, is working on a research that will compare the genetics of indoor and outdoor cannabis flowers. “In a comparison of genetically similar plants for two distinct strains,” Nuckolls informed me, “outdoor cannabis has a greater number and amount of terpenes than indoor cannabis.”

“The sesquiterpenes, in particular, are significantly more prominent in outdoor cannabis,” adds Nuckolls, who is in the midst of submitting this study to be archived shortly.

Whitethorn Rose, a unique and popular strain from Huckleberry Hill Farms.

“When looking at historical Humboldt strains, the terpene discovery is particularly fascinating. “Their terpene profiles are quite diverse, with many more terpenes and sesquiterpenes,” Nuckolls explains.

“The California COA seems to be similar to a number of other strains. However, when you look at the whole spectrum profile, you’ll see that it contains a lot of various sorts. In the graph, the sesquiterpenes will be on the right and the terpenes on the left.”

Nuckolls also warns that present lab testing isn’t giving cannabis firms the whole picture.

“We discovered that historical cannabis cultivated outdoors had around double the quantity of terpenes (in percentage),” Nuckolls explains.

“So, if the COA label testing indicates 3 percent total terpenes, it’s really closer to 6%.” This is due to two factors: (1) Some, but not all, terpenes, notably sesquiterpenes, are tested in laboratories. (2) The threshold for counting a certain terpene is often set too high. Lowering the detectable quantities would allow for a more realistic picture of cannabis in the wild.” Whitethorn Rose, a Huckleberry Hill Farms strain, as seen in the graph below.

More research will emerge if local governments grant colleges permission to investigate genuine cannabis that customers are consuming. Consumers should be able to view what is in the flower by pulling back the window shade, according to Nuckolls.

“Attempting to get a concept of what an image looks like by just looking at a tiny set of generic terpenes is like trying to get an idea of what a picture looks like by only looking at a small fraction of it,” Nuckolls explains.

“It’s like attempting to play a melody on a piano with just 3 or 4 notes,” explains Tina of Moon Made Farms.

Q&A with Huckleberry Hill Farms’ John Casali and Rose Moberly

Tell me about your tourist license and your cannabis-growing experience.

Casali, John: We were granted the county’s first tourist license. Unlike most other farms, ours is a little different. I want people to leave here with a new perspective on what the Emerald Triangle is, who the artisan, sun-grown farmer is, and why we feel we offer a product that is distinct from that of other corporations and organizations.

Tell me more about your genetics and your plan to spread them through seed pucks.

Casali: The seed puck is about sharing what makes the plant so special. When we came up with it, we smoked some Whitethorn Rose. First-time growers have no idea what kind of soil to buy, what kind of medium to use, or how to sprout it. We could make it simpler for someone to produce their own cannabis at home if we could solve a couple of those problems.

It has linked us with a large number of customers that are interested in the seed puck concept. Because the brand is so strong, it keeps the human relationship alive and true. It earned the Emerald Cup’s Innovative Product Award in 2021. We chose to build on this concept since, as you may have seen, a lot of people go out and buy various strains of marijuana. ‘Oh man, I wish I could acquire the seed of this,’ they remark. We came up with the concept of adding our seed puck on top of the jar with one feminized seed if we manufactured a production batch, Rose being creative with compliance. You may cultivate the seed if you like the weed.

Rose Moberly: Only with Margie’s Magic and Amalfi are we accomplishing it. Right now, we don’t wish to share our unique genetics, such as Whitethorn Rose and Mom’s Weed, or the strains that distinguish us. Our seed line is coming out, but for good reason, it will not include those agricultural favorites.

Casali: We may be able to accommodate them in the future. With no idea where the business is headed, it’s unique for a farm to be able to claim that its genetics are unique. My mother and I grew the DNA we have here.


15 seeds in soil pucks, in the strain Margie's Magic, by Huckleberry Hill Farms.

Tell me about these special Huckleberry Hill Farm genetics, particularly the origins of Mom’s Weed.

Casali: We came up here in 1976, to this same piece of land where I am now. It was associated with the Back to the Land movement. We rapidly discovered that there was nothing that could be done to earn a livelihood in the country. You have to do many tasks. In the winter, we chopped firewood, and I worked as a commercial fisherman, catching salmon, albacore, and Dungeness crab. We also had a small nursery, which we sold to local farmers. Cannabis was just a minor element of making a livelihood and getting through the year. Making a lot of money was never the goal. My stepfather was a logger and I was a saddler. We added more cannabis to make it to the following year as the forestry sector began to decline. We increased our cannabis production somewhat, and the long and short of it is that cannabis became our primary source of revenue.

My mother has always loved to garden. I looked at the cannabis plant the same way I looked at the tomato plant since she showed me how to produce fruit plants. It was only a plant, after all. We didn’t think it was unlawful back there. Maybe some of the bigger growers. But I’ve never heard of someone getting in trouble for growing out there. As long as you kept out of sight.

Each strain was being taught how to develop. They all need various amounts of TLC. My mother informed me that TLC is what would make cannabis beautiful in the end. You must establish a rapport with those plants. We were trying since we didn’t know much at the time. We’d put rusty nails in the water, crushed tablets, and other substances in the water, and see how the plants responded.

What makes the Emerald Triangle small farmers distinctive is that we communicate with one another. Because we were sharing, we were able to avoid making certain blunders. We have that edge because of our decades of trial and error experience.

My mother gave me her first 10 plants when I was fifteen years old. She battled with how to accept it as a Christian lady. We never told our city families about our adventures in the country. Except for our closest friends, we had to keep it a secret.


Huckleberry Hill Farms in Humboldt County, California.

‘You can’t spend this money for anything pleasurable,’ she said as one condition that made it acceptable for her. You must invest it or put it toward a college education.’ At the age of 15, I paid a down payment on 11 acres on the Eel River. She was a co-signer. I fell in love with growing my own plants because I knew that the more time, love, and energy I put into it, the more it would yield in the end. My mother earned a reputation as one of Humboldt County’s greatest producers. People would constantly come to us for information. If we could, we’d share it with them.

Things worsened when Ronald Reagan started the War on Drugs in 1985. I call it Southern Humboldt because the county is so large that we lived in two separate universes. Ronald Reagan established Southern Humboldt as the bullet point of a dart. They deployed aircraft and several multi-agency entities to spy on cannabis when he started the War on Drugs. They’d send in helicopters with men to remove the homegrown cannabis. They couldn’t establish it was ours if they couldn’t capture it in the garden.

As time went on, my companions saw a variety of helicopters, usually beginning in San Diego and working their way up. Several different helicopters would make their way up from Los Angeles to Southern Mendocino, but they would always run out of money in Humboldt. If you do not spend every dollar you are given, you will not be given as much money the next year. We were often fleeing from helicopters when I was 15, 16, and 17. It was strange; we didn’t realize you’d get into trouble. It had never occurred to me. That’s how we rationalized our actions.

My parents made the decision that they would no longer live in terror. We’d wake up wondering where the heck it was, and that was something we dealt with on a daily basis. They started fishing and spent most of the year on the sea. To cut a long tale short, an elderly guy down the road turned us in. One morning at 6 a.m., 30 federal agents arrived at my residence. They looked for me. They issued me a little yellow speeding ticket and added, “I’ll let you know if we need to contact you.” A federal arrest warrant has been issued. Our ignorance of local and federal legislation was exposed. We were facing ten years to life in jail as first-time, non-violent criminals. I couldn’t believe it. This can’t be right; I don’t get it.

Huckleberry Hill Farms in Humboldt County, California.


Every month, we went to the courtroom for discovery, and for the next three years, we attempted to explain to the judge that we didn’t want a jury trial, and that all we wanted to do was speak to a judge and explain that we just produce cannabis. My attorney warned us, saying, “This is true.” In 1996, at the conclusion of a three-year trial and three years in court, we had 100 individuals from Humboldt County travel down. ‘I don’t want to give you this much time, but I’m obligated by the law,’ Judge Henderson remarked. I was sentenced to ten years in prison and five years probation. The federal minimum wage.

My life was cut short by 17 years because of what we stand for as a community. ‘What’s at stake?’ they question. Everything is on the line. People must realize that all we want to do is cultivate the greatest cannabis we possibly can. We have no intention of making a million dollars. We want the customer to have an incredible experience growing the seed puck and growing their own. The magic is in being able to cultivate your own in your own backyard.

My mother came to see me a year ago today, while I was in prison. She died at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack. When I was in prison, it was the most difficult period for me. You’re completely alone. This community rallied behind me, sending me notes and showing their support. It was always this community that I considered my family. Money couldn’t get me out of this bind. In 2004, I was released from prison and returned to the property. Everything had been taken, and I was left with nothing. There are no plates or toothbrushes. I had 50 individuals from this community waiting for me, ready to assist me in getting my life in order. We adore one another. It’s pulling you closer together since they’re more like family than pals. We are reliant on one another. I couldn’t grow because I was on federal probation. I was released from probation and received my medicinal marijuana prescription the same day, thanks to the 215 statute. I started again since you could cultivate six plants. I’ve just rediscovered my passion for growing. I debated whether or not I should trust the federal government when the permission procedure arose.

We were provided the opportunity to begin the permitting procedure by Humboldt County. That was something I really considered. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with it. The true-crime of young people going to prison is for the families outside, not for the individuals in jail. We go in, everything is the same, it’s not enjoyable, it’s the same old routine. It was these individuals, my extended family out here, who suffered, anxious about our well-being and unsure if they’d ever see me again. In Humboldt County, I became the fourth farm to get a grow permit. We were granted the county’s first tourist license. We now have the opportunity to tell our tale about where we’ve been. I feel at ease telling my tale. It’s gotten me into problems. The majority of individuals disagree. I can tell you about my experience and the situation of small farmers in the Emerald Triangle.

The seed pucks were grown using my mother’s DNA. We developed a new breed here, which was a mix between Paradise Punch and Wishful Margie’s Magic. On a more positive side, Rose and I agreed last year that we always want to give back. Last year, we collaborated with Willie Nelson’s Sweet Leaf and gave merchandise to him in honor of Rose’s mother. Coming out for Mother’s Day, we contributed over 300 pounds of flowers. It’s an incredible project. I’m glad we can pay tribute to Rose’s mother and convey her tale.

RSO, according to Moberly. There are a lot of sponsors, and we’re working with Dear Cannabis. Select is the company that created and packaged the RSO. It’s entirely voluntary. It’s an incredible honor to be a part of it. After losing our mothers, everyone is banding together to support the town. It’s probably both the worst and finest thing that has ever occurred to me. It’s incredible that someone understands what I’ve gone through enough to name a cannabis cultivar strain after her. Because it happened so recently, I’m still reeling from it. The community that Johnny has created has been quite beneficial.

Casali: This initiative is amazing since it gives people another way to engage with Huckleberry Hill Farm. That is what makes it so great; due of this plant, I have met incredible individuals and made incredible friends. Money can’t buy happiness, but meeting individuals like you in the cannabis community can. I’m hope to keep these folks in my life for a long time.

So, tell me more about these sun-grown terpene discoveries.

Casali: Colin is a scientist from New York’s Columbia University. We’re learning that sun-grown terpenes come in a variety of types, and I’m always cautious to emphasize that one is not better than the other. They’re just two separate items. In flower that is cultivated in the sun, the terpenes are stronger. There are 469 different cannabinoids in Whitethorn Rose. What we’ve discovered is that the many heritage strains that have been growing here include terpenes that do not test positive in cannabis COA lab testing. As Colin has shown me in some of the graphs he has provided me, over 40 of those terpenes aren’t even tested for when Whitethorn Rose smells, tastes, and feels fantastic. It does a disservice to sun-grown plants. California should concentrate on altering the criteria for administering the COA examinations that we are all compelled to take. The terpenes in indoor cannabis are lighter.

Cookies strains were cut from the same mother and cultivated two different ways in a research I performed with Ridgeline Farms: the terpene profiles were day and night. It’s fantastic to be a part of a research like that, especially one that involves so many other farmers. We’re going to choose 6-8 different farmers to grow Mom’s Weed in the same soil medium, in various parts of the country, experiencing terroir, according to Tina from Moon Made Farms, who began with me from the beginning. The research demonstrates how terroir influences cannabis and terpenes.

He just completed a work that will be published shortly. It’s a strong and thrilling combination. I advised the crew that we needed to read slowly. We’re battling against huge businesses, so one isn’t better than the other. These are two distinct items. It’s all about personal preference. After 40 years, I’ve realized that a strain that makes me feel good could make someone else feel otherwise. We must investigate and realize that various terpenes have distinct effects on each of us.

Huckleberry Hill Farms

How can customers assist the Emerald Triangle’s sun-grown heritage farmers?

Moberly: Let’s start with the most basic: when you go to purchase flowers. You may start asking for some of these phrases, such as sun-grown and Sun and Earth Certified. With your cash, support what you believe in. That’s the simplest step; we can begin there. You may become active in local policy if you want to take it a step further. Join organizations that will help small farmers in the long term. Know who your farmer is and what he or she stands for. If people wish to get behind writing senators, we’re now battling the cultivation tax. That is something I urge my closest friends to do. To participate in policy discussions.

At the end of the day, we need individuals to urge stores to stock small farmers’ products. People are seeking for sun-grown yet are unable to locate it. People desire access to sun-grown farms, yet getting into many businesses is challenging. Consumer access is a significant issue. It would be beneficial if the customer could contribute to the creation of that demand.

Casali: You brought up the most crucial point I make to them. It makes no difference whether proportion of THC or terpenes are present. The most critical thing to know before entering the dispensary is who your grower supports. Understand how they grow their marijuana. If you can find out who that farmer is, what they stand for, and what their beliefs are, there’s a high chance their cannabis is beneficial for you. It’s then up to you to figure out which terpene profile resonates with you. It’s critical to know your farmer. I’m not sure why California has overlooked small-scale, sun-grown farmers. They’re aiming to suffocate us with excessive taxes and restrictions, and there’s a genuine danger that the majority of us will perish.

Which will happen within the next several years. We’ll find out whether we’ll be able to attend. Humboldt County is known as the “Amazon Jungle” of cannabis genetics. Wouldn’t it be a shame if this 45-year-old heritage strain perished? What if we discovered that a certain strain and terpene profile may aid in the treatment of diseases? With additional study, we will be able to determine how beneficial these genetics are in the future.

This may be as idealistic or as pragmatic as you want: where do you envision the cannabis market in five years?

Moberly: We’re hoping to get Mom’s Weed into the hands of soccer parents in Florida and New York. It may take a few years after federal legalization to smooth things out. From a policy viewpoint, I hope that taxes and tariffs are brought under control; if that is our goal, we must devote some effort to this. We want to live and keep breaking the stigma. My heart really hopes that there is enough room for all of us to perform in the business. Small breweries abound in Denver. There’s a tremendous gap between some of those major Colorado retailers and the little in-house companies in the artisan industry. I’m hopeful that we can stick to the same paradigm, where heritage is valued for its authenticity and distinctiveness in the marketplace. That will be desired by other states. To each his own, but I can’t wait till legal sales are available in other states and we can share it over state boundaries.

Casali: Personally, I hope Huckleberry Hill Farms continues to cultivate our heritage strains, participate in weddings and events, and share the incredible tale of the Emerald Triangle. We never want it to be about just one of us, but rather about all of us. Farmer’s mountain, which has 35 photographs and logos from farmers. People may go around and explore the countryside. I hope that in five years, most of us will still be doing something we’ve done our entire lives and sharing it with our customers.


You May Also Like