This article is sponsored by Honey, a California-based cannabis company specializing in high-quality cannabis oils that reflect and respect the strains they’re derived from.
Change is a constant in most industries, but there are few places where things evolve faster than cannabis. As legalization becomes the new normal across North America, farms, processors, and dispensaries alike are working full-time to keep up with the developing market.
The team at Honey—a California-based crafter of cannabis oils and distillates for vaping—made their debut in 2013, and they’ve witnessed first-hand just how much things have changed for the cannabis world in that brief time.
“It’s only been five years, but it has been a transformational five years,” says Honey CEO Peter Tejera. “The regulatory market has been established, there’s been a dramatic expansion in the number of brands in the space, and institutional money has arrived in earnest.”
While the industry is moving fast and showing no signs of slowing down, the Honey team remains devoted to supporting farmers in one of the world’s most storied cannabis cultivation regions: Humboldt County.
“Humboldt farmers have led the way in growing and developing high quality cannabis, and the industry is indebted to these individuals for their dedication to cannabis cultivation as a way of life,” says Tejera. “Unfortunately, the boom in cannabis grows around California means that many of these family farms are now in jeopardy. That’s among the reasons Honey exclusively supports Humboldt farmers. We’re committed to turning their superior product into superior cannabis oil.”
Mr. D of Happy Dream Farms gets a close look at his crop of Purple Punch of a Humboldt County cannabis grow.
(Courtesy of Billy Ellyson)
Respecting the Roots
As part of that support, Honey partners with the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild (HSSG), a consortium that represents dozens of cannabis farms from around the Humboldt County community. It’s a long-held agricultural model, and one that allows small, independent farmers to market and distribute their goods to customers more efficiently than they might be able to on their own.
“Four years ago, the founders of the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild set out to build a company for farmers and by farmers with the intention of keeping the traditions and heritage of Humboldt County cannabis going strong into the 21st century,” says HSSG lead botanist Billy Ellyson. “We started enrolling farmers in 2015 and have been distributing Humboldt sun-grown cannabis around California ever since.”
The ease of distribution provided by consortia like HSSG make it easier for companies like to Honey access a diverse selection of sun-grown flower produced by family farms that have been in the business for generations. That access makes it feasible for Honey help preserve Humboldt County’s cannabis legacy—and help shape its future, says Tejera.
“Honey reaches a diverse audience of consumers who are coming to cannabis for a variety of reasons, many for the first time,” Tejera points out. “It’s critical to ensure our products are pure and of the finest quality, and that starts with us relying on the consistency and potency of Humboldt cannabis.”
A beautiful example of OG Kush, produced by a Rambling Rose Farm in the Humboldt Sun Growers Guild and headed for extraction by the team at Honey.
(Courtesy of Billy Ellyson)
Turning Flower into Honey
While California is in no short supply of cannabis connoisseurs, the market for flower is not the hottest one in the Golden State. Increasingly, consumers are looking to vape pens and cartridges for discreet, on-the-go cannabis consumption that doesn’t necessitate lighting up.
“We see more and more people every year turning to cannabis oils and distillates as their primary consumption method. And as they get more experienced with these products and see more options available, they’re also learning more about what to look for in a cartridge,” says Tejera. “One of the things they’re looking for is clarity about what they are buying, so transparency around ingredients and origins is more important than ever.”
That sort of transparency is a specialty of the team at HSSG, where every batch of flower is thoroughly tested for safety and graded for quality.
“To ensure only the best oil is incorporated into Honey, our science teams takes a sample of each strain extracted on a very small scale. That lets us do thorough screenings of every batch for things like pesticides, heavy metals, and mycotoxins,” says Ellyson. “Once we have a product we know is safe and clean, we proceed with extracting the entire batch. Then, we send off even more samples to confirm the final product will pass compliance testing.”
For their extraction efforts, Honey buys loads of small flowers, trim, and sugar leaf—material that’s rich in trichomes but doesn’t always look appealing to consumers. It makes a great base for the cannabis distillate and oil that fills Honey cartridges and disposable pens, though. And, says Tejera, it’s a great way for farmers to diversify their offerings, sell more of their crop, and improve their bottom lines.
Combining fabulous Humboldt County cannabis with Honey’s painstaking extraction process results in top-quality cannabis oils and distillates that reflect and respect the flower they’re sourced from. (Courtesy of Honey)
As Fresh as Flower
One key to Honey’s process and philosophy is crafting cannabis concentrates that reflect—and respect—the flowers they’re derived from. To create oils and distillates that are true to the strains and effects of their not-so-humble Humboldt origins, the Honey team employs a proprietary technique called Fresh Mapping.
“Each plant has its own fingerprint, and Fresh Mapping lets us explore the live plant to understand its phytochemical formulation—its unique fingerprint,” Tejera explains. “That provides us with a recipe we are able to replicate consistently with the help of dozens of terpenes and thousands of other canna-chemicals, protecting the integrity and essence of the original plant.”
The only difference is that instead of flower that can crumble or dry out in a pocket or stash jar, Honey’s oils stay safely stashed in a cartridge or disposable vape pen for discreet consumption and customizable dosing.
“For decades, Humboldt farmers have been producing and protecting incredible flower that has set the standard for the cannabis industry,” Tejera said. “The Honey team is proud to lean on their history and expertise and help promote the great work they’re still doing every single day.”