The Emerald Exchange: Inside A Cannabis Farmer’s Market

By Ben Berkowitz

Emerald Exchange
Photo courtesy The Emerald Exchange

Like most people, I grew up with food bought from a vast supermarket. Then, farmer’s markets began to pop up everywhere. They may have always been there, but in recent years they’ve become part of our every-day routine, growing in abundance in both urban and rural areas. So it makes perfect sense that this now-ubiquitous, social and local/sustainable type of event translates to the rapidly growing world of cannabis supply and demand.

Last Saturday we set off for Malibu, CA., to experience the second installment of The Emerald Exchange, a farmer’s market for top-of-the line Northern California cannabis. Truly beautiful sun-grown flowers of all strains, and innovative 100-percent organic concentrates and extracts were all on display, with the benefit of one-on-one discussion and pro-tips from the farmers themselves.

Just A Day At The  Market

On this overcast, but bucolic day by the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains, 25 vendors from Trinity, Mendocino and Humboldt counties (a.k.a. the Emerald Triangle), showed their wares to over 500 attendees during the daytime event. Then 250 guests stayed for a ticketed private dinner.  Los Angeles is by far the largest market for consumers of cannabis in all shapes and types—and whatever your heart desires, from female and sexy products to cannabis-infused wine, the Emerald Exchange has got you covered.

Check-in services were provided by LoudCloud —as CEO and founder Robert Gillet checked our medical recommendation cards using his system, he seemed like a welcoming, chill guy, making the verification experience easy and streamlined for consumers. Once we were checked in and given swag bags containing a generous and wide variety of samples, we began to explore the majestic farm hosting the event—a perfect place to meet vendors and activate some of their wonderful wares.

The afternoon was spent with guys like Patrick from SuperBaked, who makes delicious baked goods with the motto “From Seed to Cookie, Organically,” and is branching out into low-CBD dog treats. And it was a fascinating benefit for me, as a supporter of innovation in cannabis tech, to meet farmers and manufacturers like Roxanne, whose company Legion of Bloom’s high-tech but affordable Terrapen setup creates a user experience that focuses both on the purity and strength of the vape pen, and on flavors that are a unique (and really cool) alternative to smoking.

On To Dinner

We have huge respect and appreciation for strong brand identity such as the all-female owned and operated Deviant Dabs. I felt the power in the mild but satisfying CBD rip I partook of with gratitude and enthusiasm. And as if all that wasn’t enough in one day, when the sun began to set, the DJs kept playing and the much-anticipated private dinner began. The food was delicious—focused on fresh local produce, and the option to infuse with cannabis or not. I most definitely adopted a “when in Rome” attitude and enjoyed the rest of the evening immensely.

As we are on the cusp of a great change in how our culture views cannabis, we need to remember: the real true OG are the folks who have been farming and creating outstanding products for generations. Getting to talk with second- and third-generation farmers like Matt from StarSong farms in Mendocino, who besides his great marijuana flowers also creates delicious cannabis-infused honey, is truly remarkable. Much like the folks at our local farmer’s markets want to ensure that we have fresh, sustainable produce and take pride in the protection of quality standards, we need these cannabis farmers to make sure the amazing opportunities and excellent products they have been cultivating remain available and sustainable for all of us to enjoy and support.

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