On January 27th, 2024, cannabis breeders from around California converged in the small town of Hopland in Mendocino, CA for the second annual Jerry’s Seed Swap hosted by the eponymous Jerry Munn. Seed swaps are a crucial part of how cannabis genetics changed hands in the past and still hold that sacred spot in cannabis culture today. In the view of many of the attendees, anything that increases the amount of cannabis sold on the market that was grown from seed is a win for the industry both legal and legacy. The purpose of the seed swap is simple: Swap seeds. To that end, attendance was free.
Jerry’s Seed Swap one day takeover of the Solar Living InstituteI’d driven past the Solar Living Institute dozens of times in the last few months but never stopped. After all, the gate was always closed. When Jerry of First Cut Farms announced that Jerry’s Seed Swap was happening at an undisclosed location in Hopland… I was excited because I had such a blast last time and something just told me that the “Solar place” is where it’d be. In fact the event’s address had to be kept secret until the day before the event for security reasons, and unfortunately these measures did stop at least a few people from attending. On Saturday morning, I drove four hours down from Cal Poly Humboldt with a car full of Cal Poly Humboldt Cannabis Studies majors to attend Jerry’s Seed Swap the second. If you missed the first Jerry’s Seed Swap in 2023, here’s a recap article. On that drive down, we identified specific rare cultivars we were keeping an eye out for, and wanted to find seeds of: Skunk topped the list, as did my yearly quest for Cheese on the west coast. Such are the thoughts on the way to a seed swap. At the gate, securitah let me in after I said the secret password, an answer to the query: “What event are you here for?” I barely found a parking spot because the lot was packed. While circling around I saw a group of Ganjiers seshing near the entrance. A good sign in my book. This year, the venue was a highlight for everybody that brought family that might have needed something to do besides talk cannabis genetics for hours on end. The Solar Living Institute offered plenty of things to look at if you got bored of cannabis seeds. I saw many people go and take walks around the grounds but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the hubbub for even a second. I’m still a seed swap noob, prone to faux pas, but this is the first time I showed up with seeds I’d made to share. Seeing people that I’d met at the previous year’s seed swaps was straight up cathartic. Unfortunately, the person I’d bought the seeds from which I’d expanded was not in attendance. I quickly realized that many of the other attendees only saw each other but once or twice a year – and as such each such meeting carried a lot of weight. A pack of seeds bought from a table at an event like this could end up going through a phenohunt that yields THE next big cut. Talking with the breeders there, it’s clear there’s a desire to not just match the market demand, but to lead it. This is true whether the breeders are focusing on bringing the best out of known heavy hitters like Rarebreed Humboldt does with Blueberry Chem91 or if they’re focused on bringing landraces from a certain region of the world to combine and search through like Ital Foundation does with the Ethiopian. Furthermore, I can’t help but be in awe of the breeders that have no interest in the legal market, that refuse to touch “cookie genetics,” and let me tell you there were some purists there.
A high time collecting seeds at Jerry’s Seed SwapWhen I buy seeds, I can’t help but have the little pokemon card collector in me run wild. I’m instantly drawn to the rarest stuff – the things that are only going to be available then at that moment on that table. Landrace rarity is always a relative thing. There are some quantifiable factors though. Here are a few (unranked) to put in your pipe and smoak:
- The longer ago seeds were brought over, the rarer
- The more de facto or de jure prohibition that has happened in the country, the rarer
- The less colonized by Chinese and Europeans the country is, the rarer.
- The closer to Central Asia, the rarer.