In its thirteenth rendition, the Emerald Cup was bigger and stickier than ever with big winners, huge dabs, and the newest interpretations of many old-school genetic lines.
Since leaving its ancestral home of Mendocino a few years back, the growth of the Emerald Cup has mirrored that of the industry as a whole — setting new records every year. This year saw the event’s largest musical act ever in Damian Marley and the largest number of entries to the competition ever.
“It’s been humbling,” said Emerald Cup Founder Tim Blake, “There’s a lot of love and everyone feels like this is our show. I was never making money so it was never about money to begin with. So it’s just a show we’re all putting on and everybody feels that.” He went on to note the grassroots effort provided all those involved with a feeling of inclusion, “so you feel the vibe here.”
The big winners would be taking home their second award of the season. This past summer, the Dookie Brothers decided it was time to hit the competitive circuit for the first time at the Golden Tarp Awards. It’s a good thing they did, they ended up taking home the top honors with their fantastic light deprivation grown rendition of the new NorCal insta-classic Zkittles. This set the scene for a dramatic finish Sunday night.
As Co-head Judge Nikki Lastreto read through the final three, the first two names were no surprise. Greenshock Farms and 3rd Generation Family were some of the best-known competitors in the event. But when Lastreto hit number one and told the crowd that the strain and grower had already “won this year’s Golden Tarp,” you could feel the energy leave the room as hundreds of folks realized their night had ended, but the momentary void was quickly filled with elation as folks realized the Dookie Brothers had done it again. The scale of the feat had many simply in awe. The Dookies were now alone at the top of 2016 harvest by winning its two most cherished contests.
To add to the madness, the Dookies also placed with another version of Zkittles inside the top 20, an accomplishment unto itself that would send many growers home in tears of joy.
There were plenty of achievements to go around. With their runner-up finish, Greenshock Farms returned to the podium. The crowd erupted as Greenshock head cultivator Mark took the stage for the second time in as many years thanks to the Purple Candy Cane pheno he grew from a clone.
However, it was tough to top the tale of Newell Taylor. The topical oil she developed for her grandfather ended up taking first place.
The bubble hash and rosin categories were an absolute slaughter with 3rd Generation Family improving on their 9 out of 10 places in the rosin category last year to make the full sweep.
The bubble category was a bit more competitive with 3rd Generation genetics or hash only taking 6 of the 10 places with their Banana taking home first and Z taking second. Mendocino recording artists Mendo Dope also made the podium with their Grease Monkey taking the bronze.
Beyond the cup itself, many less-competitive breeders who survived the dark ages of cannabis were in attendance to greet their fans. JJ of Top Dawg showed off his new wares as the Swamp Boys’ new crosses of their Nigerian were some of the most coveted seed packs at the cup.
DJ Short, the father of blueberry and chief at Old World Genetics, previewed a sample of his new phenotype Happy Pussy. The jar had the smell of a Massachusetts cranberry bog in late summer — the aroma and its unique terpene profile transitioned to an equally flavorful smoke.
“We’re at the point, especially with a lot of young breeders, where they think they have to use the whole spice cabinet,” said DJ Short, “When you’re coming from a bland environment even too much spice is inviting but really when you get that blend perfect, those amounts, those ratios, that’s when we’re talking about what a chef would do for a gourmet product.”
Some popular extract artists threw their hats into the flower ring this year. However, few pulled it off to the quality of the team at Benson Elvis. After being refugees in Oregon due to the Shasta County cultivation ban, they returned to a small plot in California with expansion on the horizon. Their cup entry was a notable rendition of Cherry Chem from the folks at South Fork Seeds. When popping the mason jar, a sweetened gasoline aroma hits that you can taste in your sinuses.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.