There aren’t many industries where having your product described as tasting like “Skittles from the vending machine at a high school football game” is a compliment.

But for the Dookie Brothers, whose marijuana flowers were awarded top honors at this weekend’s Emerald Cup event, it was apropos. Their cannabis strain, called Zkittles, is described as having a sweet, tropical fruit flavor and smell. The Humboldt County grown marijuana was one of dozens of big winners this weekend in what many consider the Oscars of the cannabis industry.

The Dookie Brothers won for best flowers at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

The Dookie Brothers, left Greg and center, Jason, with Flowers Judge “Pearl” won for best flowers at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

“I knew when I smoked it, that was the winner,” said Pearl, a judge for the category of “flowers”, which had more than 650 entries. She and other judges at the event sampled each of the entries over several weeks for taste and effect, narrowing to several hundred entries, and then the top 20.

“This one, Zkittles, gets you really high,” she said, dressed in a green robe backstage.

Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup, in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Tim Blake, founder of the Emerald Cup, in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Getting tapped as an Emerald Cup winner out of the 1200 total entries this year can bring instant notoriety to farmers and producers who have, for decades, remained hidden in the shadows due to state and federal laws. A winning product can command premium prices at dispensaries, according to organizers, and growers or producers are often sought out for their expertise.

Though Northern California’s growers have long been revered by industry insiders, the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in California, is starting to open the door on this multi-million dollar agricultural industry.

Swami and Nikki, judges for the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Swami and Nikki of Swami Select were judges and announcers for the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

“This was only our second event,” said Jason “Dookie” (who declined to give a last name). “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and I’m just so passionate. It’s all kind of surreal,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable,” he added, standing among photographers and media. “I just wanna get high now,” he said. Zkittles is an indica-dominant strain bred by 3rd Gen Family and Terp Hogz.

Held over two days at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, the Emerald Cup is one of the nation’s largest marijuana competitions. The event began more than a decade ago as a celebration of Northern California’s annual outdoor cannabis crow, held secretly at remote family ranches in Humboldt County.

Todd Franciskovic of Resin Ranch at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Joey Burger (left) and Todd Franciskovic of Resin Ranch at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

The event has grown into a festival attracting an estimated 30,000 participants this year for a weekend of music, speakers, and vendors selling everything from pre-rolled joints to state-of-the-art trimming and processing equipment.

“I’ve seen more change in the last two years, than I have in the last twenty or thirty years,” said Tim Blake, the organizer of the event. Currently only adults with medical marijuana recommendations are allowed to legally buy or smoke marijuana at the event. But with the passage of Prop. 64 in November, Blake anticipates even bigger crowds for future events.

Entrants to the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Entrants to the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

“People just don’t understand the size and scope of all this,” said Blake.

Another winner was equally excited to win first prize for his entry.

Under a cloud of purple smoke hanging inside the Pavillion, Todd Franciskovic of Resin Ranch nervously held a glass award for “Best Dry Sieve”, not quite knowing what to say.

“This is such a huge personal accomplishment. I’ve only been out here (in Northern California) a year. And it’s been a rough year,” he said, standing next to Mendocino Farmer Joey Burger, who grew the cannabis Franciskovic distilled into a powerful concentrated form of marijuana. Franciskovic moved from Wisconsin to Northern California this year to pursue concentrate making.

Entrants to the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Entrants to the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

“This is huge for me,” he said. “But unfortunately you have to win one of these,” he said, holding up the award, “to be able to sell at this price point,” he said of the $120 per gram concentrate that is grown organically in Northern Mendocino County.

Other winners of awards for topicals, edible cannabis products and several other categories thanked parents and friends, tearfully making tributes.

“I made this for my mom and grandma,” said a winner, tearfully, in the topical category, waving at her parents in the audience.

The awards weren’t without some challenges. Testing of the cannabis products for a variety of contaminants by Santa Rosa’s SC Labs was one of the promises for this year’s awards after a large number of contestants failed contaminant tests in 2015. Organizers planned to reveal the results of the tests online and disqualify any product that did not meet testing standards for pesticides.

“We had a 50 percent increase in entries, and we extended the deadlines a few extra days. We can say no one failed in the top 20 flowers,” he added.

Blake also said the event may be outgrowing the fairgrounds space after several hundred attendees were turned away from a music performance last night by Fire Department officials.

“Adversity is tough,” he said. “But it makes us grow. I’m proud of what we’ve done,” Blake said.

Full list of winners:

 

Place: Entrant: County: Strain: Clone/Seed: Sativa/Indica:

1

Dookie Brothers Humboldt Zkittles Clone Hybrid

2

Greenshock Farms Mendocino Purple CandyCane Clone 50/50

3

3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Mendocino Strain #8 Clone Sativa

4

Gold County Cannabis/EFF Yuba Jack Clone Sativa

5

Silver Dragon Farm Mendocino Golden Dragon Seed Indica

6

Holistic Farms El Dorado Fossil Fuel #7 Seed Sativa

7

High Mountain Holistic/Emerald Family Farms Humboldt Durban Poison Clone Sativa

8

Cut Creek Farms Humboldt Banana Split #7 Seed 50/50

9

Bay Area Kush Masters/BAKM Nevada Gorilla Glu Clone 50/50

10

Sunnabis Humboldt Mango OG Clone Indica

11

Happy Day Farms Mendocino Great Success Seed Hybrid

12

Essenciere Nevada Black Lime Reversed #36 Seed Indica

13

Bon Vivant Mendocino Chocolate Hashberry Clone Hybrid

14

PUSH Farms/Caviar Puff USA High Country Genetics “Candy Apple” Seed Sativa

15

Esensia Mendocino Lime Juice Clone Sativa Dom

17

Humboldt Heirlooms Humboldt Zephyr Seed 60% Sativa

18

Sunnabis Humboldt XJ-13 Seed Indica

19

Dookie Brothers/King Dookie Humboldt Zkittles Clone Hybrid

20

Derek’s Anderson Valley Organics Mendocino In The Pines Clone Sativa

21

Freeborn Seletions/Aficionado/Mean Gene from Mendocino 50/50 Lime 51 Seed 50/50

22

Sunboldt Grown Humboldt Redwood Summer Seed N/A

23

Aficionado Estates Humboldt Grown/Mendocino Dried & Cured Mandarin Lime Clone Indica

24

RxC San Diego 50/50 Sour OG Seed 50/50

25

NorCal Cannabis Company Indica Blue Dynamite Male created by Next Generations Seeds x Lavender #2 Seed Indica 

 

CBD: Ranking Name: Product:

Flowers:

First Molecular Farms, LLC Rainbow Gummeez
  Second Chalawa Farms CBD Nordle
  Third Abatin Wellness Center Tropical Punch
       

Extracts:

First Legion of Bloom Terra Pen RE:Zen 1:1 Vape Pen
  Second Camel The Ringo’s Cure Dry Sift/Ringo’s Gift #1
  Third PURE CBD from Tea House Collective Cannatonic CO2 Oil
       

Tinctures:

First Treatwell Treatwell CBD-A Tincture – Ringo 2012
  Second Treatwell Treatwell 20:1 Tincture – Ringo 2012
       

topicals:

First Molecular Farm Strawberry Cough (Type 1) x Rainbow CBD (Type 3)
  Second Humboldt Harvest Pain Relief Balm 2:1
  Third Legion of Bloom Zana: Ayurveda + CBD Transdermal Roll-On
    HighRoad Farms Fire & Ice Liniment
       

Edibles:

First OARA Chocolate OARA Probiotic Cannabis Chocolate – Dark
  Second Native Seed Native Seed Lift Bar 1:1
  Third La Vida Verde Mediroon CBD
       
       
Topicals:      
  First Newell Taylor DEEP SKIN – Penetrating Topical Oil
  Second Whoopi & Maya Lavender Epsom Salts
  Third Deborah Caldwell Topicanna Synergy THC(a)
       
       
Tinctures: First Russel Honey’s Healing Tincture Royal Purple High THC Tincture
  Second Awakened Topicals Raw Cannabis Sublingual
  Third HerbaBuena Rock & Roll Uplifting Elixir
  4 Susan Cleverdon/Gillian Levy Love Potion #7
  5 Whoopi & Maya Relax THC Herbal Tincture
       
       
Edibles: First Utopia Farms Macaroon
  Second Derby Bakery Peanut Butter Cups
  Third MoonMan’s Mistress Pumpkin Pecan Mini Space Cake
  4 Beezle’s Creamery Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Bar
  5 Buena Leaf Popcorn
  6 Whoopi & Maya THC Savor Cacao
  7 Fruit Slabs by Munch More Corp. Organic Grape Fruit Strip(fruit leather)
  8 Lucky Lemon Cookie Lucky Lemon Cookie
  9 Canapa Brands Cocoa Nuts Cannabisinfused chocolate covered nuts
  10 Uncle Ronnie’s Inc Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
       
       
Concentrates:      

Bubble:

First 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Banana
  Second 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Z
  Third Mr. Bond/Mendo Dope Family Farms Grease Monkey
  4 No Info  
  5 Holistic Farms/Dabiscuits  
  6 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed  
  7 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Peach Rings
  8 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Strain #7
  9 No Info  
  10 Shiloh Massive Zkittles
       

Rosin:

First 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed hindu Z
  Second 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Zum
  Third 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Oz #3
  4 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Sap
  5 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Muffinz
  6 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Banana
  7 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Lem
  8 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed Candyland
  9 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed GG4
  10 3rd Gen/Terp Hogz/Dying Breed OZ #1
       
       

Dry Sieve:

First Dry Sift Jedi Resin Ranch Extraction Berry White
  Second Dry Sift Jedi of Resin Ranch Extraction w/ The Humboldt Local of The Mendohideout Platinum Cookies
  Third No Info  
       

CO2:

First Gold Drop Co/Blue River Extracts Cookies & Cream
  Second Beezle Honey Lemon G
  Third THG/Bamboo Dawg Waltz
  4 THG/Bamboo Christmas Breakfast
  5 Sonoma Cannabis Company Banjo
  6 Gold Drop Co/Blue River Extracts Lemon Tree
  7 Legion of Bloom/Brandt Collings Juicy Fruit
  8 Bhang Dutch Treat
  9 Gold Drop Co/Blue River Extracts Island Girl
  10 The Humboldt Cure Nectar Stick Tangie Closin Cart