It’s a cloudless late September day on the Humboldt Seed Co. near Orleans, which sits tucked above the Klamath River in the eastern-most stretches of Humboldt County. As a small group walks up a hill, past a vegetable garden and a small creek, the farm’s main cannabis cultivation site comes into view, with large plants in full bloom, their colas stretching toward the sky and their pungent scent filling the air.
But this isn’t the typical grow scene. Instead of hundreds and hundreds of identical plants — grown from clones or seedlings designed to produce indistinguishable cannabis flowers of the same strain — virtually no two plants at the site are the same. Instead, the garden is a showcase of cannabis diversity. Tall spindly plants intermix with short squat ones. The plants’ foliage varies from deep purples and seaweed greens to almost mossy, florescent chartreuse. The buds range in size from footballs to golf balls and their scents cross the spectrum from vibrant fruits and florals to biting odors of cheese and gasoline. Even the plants’ origins are wildly diverse. Some were grown from seeds long tucked away in sock drawers and hidden compartments, or brought back from Jamaica, while others are crosses or modifications of popular strains. It’s a giant, raw, cannabis buffet.