November 22, 2019 • 30:18 minutes
#109 – The Emerald Cup Cannabis Contest in Northern California
Taylor Blake grew up amidst a social revolution and kin to northern California, who better to assist Tim Blake (Father) with taking the Emerald Cup to the next level? Taylor graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with her Bachelors degree in Psychology. She has assisted in putting together the Emerald Cup since 2008 and has been extremely proud seeing it develop to where it is today. Taylor joined the Cup as Associate Producer in 2014 and has already managed to put a smile and thoughtful touch on the work of the entire executive team.
Victoria Adelus is an IFBB Professional Athlete, Team ABC Fitness Coach, Former TV News Reporter turned YouTuber! She posts about fitness tips, food, and fun.
The Emerald Cup is Northern California’s premier cannabis destination. While advancing the concept of sustainable, outdoor farming, its reputation is firmly solidified as the largest, most respected, outdoor cannabis competition in the world. As a group, The Emerald Cup prides itself in bringing together experts and educators in the cannabis industry to our fellow farmers, patients, and patrons each year.
It is a community celebration that has grown to become a global movement honoring the year’s finest, organic, sun-grown, cannabis harvest.
Links of Interest
people, cannabis, entries, emerald, year, cup, category, california, enter, question, cbd, event, contest, judges, grown, hemp, flower, plants, festival, taylor, blake, victoria, adelus
Vadim Fedorovsky, Host, CBD School Podcast
Taylor Blake, Associate Producer, The Emerald Cup
Victoria Adelus, IFBB Professional Athlete
Do you want two free passes to one of the greatest events in cannabis history? Oh, you do? Well,l then listen up. All right. And we are back in class. This is Vadim, the CBD professor from cbdschool.com: Your school to learn all about cannabidiol. Hey, everyone, this is Vadim, the CBD professor here and this episode of the CBD School Podcast was one of the coolest ones I ever did. I got to sit down with Taylor and Victoria from The Emerald Cup, which is –if you don’t know already– one of the greatest cannabis events, competitions, conferences in the world. It’s one of the oldest. It’s a grassroots, sungrown, which means outdoor cannabis cup competition. It’s just a super awesome environment with very humbled people and just great vibes in Northern California.
Taylor is actually the daughter of the man who started The Emerald Cup. I believe this is the 16th year. Don’t hold me to that. But I know it’s double digit years in age that this cup has been going on. And I’ve got a surprise for you. Do you want two free tickets to The Emerald Cup happening in December? This year, The Emerald Cup is happening on December 14th and 15th in Santa Rosa, California. There’s going to be music, there’s going to be events, obviously there’s the whole contest with all of the outdoor sungrown marijuana that they’re going to be having on display there. It’s just a great experience. It’s such a grassroots festival. It’s been going on, like I said, for over a decade. And if you want two free passes, one for you and for a guest of your choice, one lucky guest, then all you have to do is answer these 10 trivia questions about The Emerald Cup. Email the answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. So if you want to go to The Emerald Cup and you want two free tickets, make sure you email me at email@example.com with the answers to the following 10 questions.
All right, here we go. Question 1. Who is the founder of The Emerald Cup? Question 2. What county did The Emerald Cup start in? Question 3. Fill in the blank. This will be the blank Annual Emerald Cup. Question 4. What counties make up The Emerald Triangle? Question 5. What year did The Emerald Cup come to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds? Question 6. Who won The Willie Nelson award last year at the 2018 Emerald Cup? Question 7. What was the winner for the 2018 Tim’s Choice category for flowers? Question 8. Is the Emerald Cup contest an indoor or outdoor cannabis competition? Question 9. Name one new category that’s going on this year at the cup. And last but not least, question 10. And this is an important one. When is the deadline to enter The Emerald cup contest? Hint: They did just extend it. So if you want to enter, you still can.
So that’s the 10 questions. Email me the answers at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will hook you up with two free tickets to The Emerald Cup 2019. That’s it for the intro. And I really hope that you enjoy this podcast with Taylor and Victoria from The Emerald Cup.
Today is an extra special episode of the CBD School Podcast. I’m here with Taylor and Victoria of The Emerald Cup, quite possibly the most famous cannabis cup in the world, at least one of the most historic ones. And Taylor is the daughter of the founder of the Cup; Victoria is their secret weapon. And I’ll let her introduce herself in about a second. But let’s actually start there Taylor and Victoria, please take turns introducing yourselves and telling us a little bit about yourself. So Taylor, you can go first.
Thank you so much for having us. We’re really excited to be talking with you today. Like you just said, I am Tim Blake’s daughter, the founder of Emerald Cup. I’ve been working on Emerald Cup for years, and I’ve done a lot of things along the way with the Cup. But the thing that I focus on primarily now is the competition side of things. But we’re all based out of Northern California. My dad and I live in Mendocino County, and then The Emerald Cup takes place in Santa Rosa, California.
Oh, cool. Okay.
Yeah. Thank you for having us, Vadim. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Victoria. This is my fourth year with the cup. I helped Taylor oversee the contest, and do some various odds and ends around the cup as well, whatever needs to be done.
What is The Emerald Cup?
Awesome. So for anyone that’s listening, that doesn’t know what The Emerald cup is. And you know, normally on this podcast, we’re covering CBD related stuff, not so much of the marijuana, cannabis, THC stuff. But what is The Emerald Cup for people that don’t know anything about it.
So The Emerald Cup was started, this will be its 16th year, at my dad’s property in Louisville, California. We actually just started as a friendly competition amongst sungrown growers. Because as we know, most every grower thinks that they grow the best cannabis or CBD. So it just kind of came around as a friendly farmers party where they sort of just wanted to see who had the best in their friend group. And then every single year sort of expanded and gained more traction. Like I said, since it started out as like a very small party, there wasn’t the big dream for it to be where it is now. It’s really beautiful, and just the organic traction, that’s how we’ve grown. And it went from a very, very small event in a private place to now it’s a 20,000 person event that takes place in Santa Rosa, California at the Fairgrounds. And the best thing about our competition is that it really focuses on sungrown cannabis. And we only started out as just a sungrown cannabis competition, but now we trudged into having 28 separate categories. We have a whole category that goes across a bunch of different types of products, from flower to topical, concentrates, tincture. This year we also have a hemp-derived CBD topical category. That’s the first time we’ve ever done that. So we try to kind of keep our finger on the pulse of where the cannabis industry is going.
Wow, cool. So this is the first year you have a hemp-derived?
Wow, that’s awesome. Before you had that, were there other entrants that were focused on high CBD strains like ACDC or Harlequin?
Yeah, we have a good amount of people entering into our CBD category. I don’t know if any of you have any idea of a guesstimate of entries over the years. But we definitely get a large amount of contestants that enter their products, whether that’s a flower. But usually I feel like the more exciting stuff is to kind of see the progression of other methods of consuming CBD in particular. But we have a ton of really great strains that are, like you said, ACDC or Harlequin. So we have been getting more interesting last year this year about people wanting to enter with hemp. So we thought it was a good idea to create its own category.
Oh, yeah. I think it was a great idea. And for people that want to enter, is there still time?
Yes, there is. We’ve extended our entry deadline until next week, Wednesday, which is November the 27th.
Okay. And how can people enter if they want to enter?
We have an online entry form through the Cup website under the Contest page. And once that’s completed, all legal licensed entities can utilize their distro or distributor to drop off in Cloverdale, Northern California at the Seed 2 Soul retail location.
Okay, cool, cool. So yeah, we’ll leave all this information in the show notes for everybody. After the show, you can check all that out. And also they can get in contact with both of you, I’m assuming, if they have questions or anything like that.
Taylor & Victoria 09:21
Okay. Great, great. So what do you see among the winners typically? What are some of the characteristics?
One of the more interesting things because this will be our 10th year working with SC Labs, which is a testing laboratory based out of Santa Cruz, we started working with them just to kind of test the potency and make sure that the micro and peptide levels are safe to consume. And one of the more interesting things once we started doing terpene testing with them for the entries that we realized that there was a pattern between the highest THC flower was never the winner. It always was that entourage effect between the cannabinoids and the terpenes gave us an interesting one that won. So we thought that that was kind of an interesting distinguishment among the stereotypes. People always think that it’s the highest THC that probably wins or it’s the one that gets you the most stoned. But that’s actually never been the case for our traditional sungrown category. It’s definitely always been a combination of the entourage effect.
Cool. That is very much in line with what I would have expected. You know, people are looking for that entourage effect, because it’s not just the medicinal component or the therapeutic component, but the flavor. My personal favorite is the diesel or the Chemdog type strains. And I just love that flavor. It’s almost like a class of its own.
Yeah, that’s great. So have you had a lot of hemp entrants already this year?
Vicki, how many hemp topical entries do we have? I think we definitely have a handful. I know that. But it’s interesting, we kind of get into this sort of strange thing every single year where we try to have a very long window for entry. And then of course, the entries always come in the last week. Even though we’re trying to kind of get people into entering earlier, they just always entered the last week. But we do have a handful of people entering, and what’s so interesting about it is that since hemp had to go through the traditional testing regulations and stuff. So we’re definitely excited to see what entries are submitted this year.
Competing in the Contest
Okay, yes. Can you tell the listeners a little bit more about it or maybe how it works? Because it’s in California, so it’s subject to the California laws, I’m assuming?
Yeah, absolutely. So the one thing that’s very interesting about the contest is that I think a lot of different people in the industry say this a lot. But we definitely missed the good old days sometimes. We sort of ran the contest as we thought was the most organized as we saw fit. But now with regulations in place in California, it’s definitely a more stringent process to enter into the contest. So it has to go from basically a licensed producer. So you’d have to have your license to either manufacture a product or grow a product, extract into a concentrate, you have to have your license. And then you’d have to have your product distributed by your distributor. It has to go through a compliance test, which is very stringent in California. It has to pass that testing, and then it would be able to come to us through a distributor to our facility that we’re using and partnering with in Cloverdale. And then we would then take the product to submit it to our judges.
There’s like a lot of steps along the way in which a licensed California cannabis company would have to submit their entries. And what’s so different about that is that if you’re a hemp company, though, you don’t have to go through a distributor, you don’t have to go through the same testing procedures. Just because obviously hemp and cannabis are separate. So it’s just a totally different way with them.
Okay, cool. Cool. So, actually, the hemp entrance have a bit of an advantage there.
Okay. But the cannabis entrance, it has to be California licensed companies, did I hear that correct?
Okay. Yeah. Until I guess we get the federal things moving along, which I’m hoping 2020 might be that year. But I don’t know. What do you two think of that?
That’s a tough one. Hopefully, it’s 2020. But I don’t know. It doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon. And yeah, we’re just fingers crossed for 2020, I’d say.
I think the Banking bill that was instituted as well on a federal level, I think is a good sign hopefully in the right direction. And I think it’s really interesting to think about and 2020 is obviously a presidential year for running. So I think we might see a lot of interesting talking points around the issue of federal legalization with cannabis.
Yeah, exactly. And I don’t know, I might have missed it. But to enter the contest, it has to be all sungrown outdoors?
We have sungrown outdoor and mixed light flowers in addition to CBD flowers.
Okay. And what is that mixed light? How does that work?
Mixed light is the use of any kind of supplemental lighting in your cultivation process. So traditional sungrown is no supplemental lighting. So you just have your plants outside the sun. And then mix lighting would be in a greenhouse or what they call simply light deprivation, where you’re using supplemental lighting to kind of trick the plants into thinking that it’s a different time of the year. So you can actually get more harvests in one year than the traditional sungrown farm.
Why Go Sungrown?
Yeah. And what made you want to focus on sungrown? Is that because that’s the natural way cannabis grew historically, like in agriculture?
Yeah. My dad’s ethos definitely surrounds, you know, his entire lifestyle of how he sort of lives with The Emerald Cup. So he’s very regenerative farming conscious, organic food conscious. So he definitely thinks, you know, that’s kind of what the whole conversation has started with sungrown, is that people used to think it was a subpar flower. There was always that kind of hype around indoor versus sungrown and so that’s one of the reasons why he thought that this is a great way to kind of increase the awareness around the awesomeness and diversity of sungrowns. It’s also the more responsible way to cultivate, which is the extreme power needs used for indoor cultivation.
That’s a controlled environment. For the sungrown, you know, you’re subject to the weather and all of the environment that you’re going in. Whereas indoors, it’s more of a highly controlled situation. So sungrown, it’s more challenging and rewarding to come up with a really beautiful plant at the end of the season.
Oh, yeah. I mean, this year, my dad and I, we grew an acre of high CBD hemp, and I don’t even think we would have had a facility with tall enough ceilings to get the height that we got. I mean, these plants were 15 feet high.
Yeah, yeah. So it’s all processed now. But yeah, it was a fun experience. It was my first time growing actually like that. So really fun. And I think cannabis, it just loves to grow outside more. I visited indoor facilities and the plants just don’t look as happy.
Yeah, that’s like it’s so funny. We always use the example of a tomato as well, in some kind of way, you know, but like that tomato that you get at your farmers market is always going to be so much more delicious than the tomato that you get at, you know, possibly SavMor, just because the love has gone into it more.
And it soaked up all that great sunshine and had all the natural chemical reactions from that.
The Cannabis Festival
And people who come to the event, what kinds of things can they expect? Can they expect like samples, things and leave with any kinds of opportunities to purchase cannabis? Or what kinds of perks, certain things can they expect? Just for the visitors not the entrants.
Oh, there’s many facets to our festival. There’s music and speaker panels and definitely vendors. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 vendors on site for both days of the festival. And people are more than able to do their pre-Christmas shopping and get all their cannabis goodies there.
Yeah. And there’s vendors, I’m assuming, from the industry?
Yeah, we have. And it’s across a bunch of different kinds of companies. So, you know, it’s a huge seed breeder event. I mean, we have a lot of interest in people purchasing seeds there. There’s definitely businesses there, too. We have like clothing companies and organic nutrient companies and glassware. Like we said, we have three different speaker stages. There’s a lot of education that goes on. We have a whole area dedicated to regenerative farming with classes and workshops, and we have music and we kind of try to make it as fun of an all-around event as possible. All the food vendors that are there using organic ingredients and the food that’s been sold. But the marketplace is definitely always the biggest draw. It’s definitely the thing that people come to look up to really focus onto.
The marketplace of purchasing?
Like for their personal use?
Yeah. I mean, there are certain obviously limits regulated by California. But if you have a medical card, those limits are a little bit higher as well. So yes.
Okay. And because California is a wreck state, though, you don’t need any kind of special court to get in, correct?
No. It’s a 21 and over event.
21 and over. Okay, okay, cool. Is it pet friendly?
Service animals only, but yeah.
I’m sure people bring their service animals that also use cannabis. And how many years has the event been going now? Did you say the 15th year?
The 16th year.
16th. Wow. And for people listening in, if you’ve been to the MJBizCon in Las Vegas, The Emerald Cup is kind of like the… how do you say, grassroots version of that? Would you agree with that assessment?
I’d say it’s the more celebratory version of that.
Okay. Yeah, yeah, less business, more just celebrating this amazing plant.
Correct. And we also have display cases with all of the contest entries in there. And attendees and contestants have the opportunity to interact with the judges throughout the festival as well. And also, attendees get to interact with the contestants because they have kind of identifying laminates that judges and contestants get to wear. So people are able to approach them and discuss their product.
How to Judge the Best Cannabis
Oh, that’s beautiful. And I bet you get this question a lot. How do the judges — after they’re trying so many different kinds, how do they tell the difference? Are there certain techniques? Such as what’s used in the wine industry for sampling for people to be able to differentiate the different entries?
It’s interesting. We try to have a very diverse — It depends from category to category because most entries that we receive are hands down the sungrown flower entries. So some of the other categories don’t have as many entries they have to go through. So their techniques are kind of for only a few entries a day, you know, you don’t have conference calls, and the majority of our judges go over all that before they can, you know, kind of give feedback for each one. But the flower category, we have still traditionally oils that don’t take place at very one-on-one, you know, 12 judges from around the state come up to get the well, diversity, variety and send a variety of people that can participate in the judging. So it’s interesting because they each kind of have their own techniques of how to go through the entries. But the most interesting part, and I get to witness that every single year, is just a conversation around the scores. And somehow, when they go back through, they can sort of like through conversation kind of bluffing with what someone else likes and get the depth of analysis kind of come down like the top 50. And that’s really like the big capital and then placing them.
Yeah, it’s really fun to watch them. We go through the process of anonymizing all of the flower entries, giving them just a judging number. So everything’s on the same level. And then watching the judges,, they look at everything. They look at the trim, they look at the smoke color, they look at the ash color, the nose of it. I mean, every aspect of it. It’s really amazing to watch the judging team scales for everything.
Yeah. I’m curious. Is there a judgment for like the level of dryness? Because I personally love really, really dry — not to the point where it hurts your throat, but I like when it crumbles in my hands like a really dry bud. Is there a category for that moisture?
They definitely look at the cure, the overall cure of it.
Yeah, the cure. Because that perfect cure cannabis, you don’t even need a grinder, you just kind of squeeze the little bud in your hand, and it just breaks out.
Absolutely. And one really cool thing too, that we have, I just realized we haven’t even mentioned because it kind of goes into that judging process, is we do have two separate categories this year for personal use categories. So you can not have to have a cannabis license. Because of course, everybody in California can cultivate a small amount of plants. So we have this personal use category where anybody can technically enter it. And so last year, I think we had 70 entries, Vicki? And we were blown away by the quality of the personal use growers and so we’re excited to see what they submit this year.
Oh, cool. So people who are just growing their legal limit that they’re allowed for themselves are entering?
And how many days is the event? Is it a one-day festival?
Two days, Saturday and Sunday? This year, it’s December the 14th and the 15th.
Oh, perfect. Right before Christmas.
Right. And our award ceremony is always on Sundays. So people get to come in and witness who is the best in each of the categories and receive awards for those.
Oh, that’s beautiful, beautiful. Cool. I think it’s going to be an exciting event. How many people are you expecting this year?
Roughly between 20 and 25,000. We have good weather on the forecast. So that’s always really exciting for us. Because the December event can go either way, but we have great weather. And yeah, so it’ll be very fun.
Great weather in California. Are you serious?
Yeah. Well, you’re you must be getting really lucky this year. How are you doing with the fires? Is it okay?
Everything seems to be under control now. It is this time of year when people are harvesting and to have wildfire breakout is always an incredibly stressful situation.
I imagine last year that affected a lot of growers.
Yeah, especially two years ago.
Wow. Yeah, it’s very sad. But I’m glad this year, it’s not as crazy as it was then.
So people, everyone listening, you still have time, you can enter up until next Wednesday, is that correct, ladies, that’s up until the 27th?
Wrap-up and Contact Information
Okay, okay. So I will put in the notes everything that people need to know just to attend, to enter, how to get in touch with Taylor and Victoria. And I’ll also leave it up to you two right now. Anything else you want people to know. The soapbox is yours. Feel free to say anything you’d like.
Just that we hope to see people there. I mean, we’re definitely excited about it. Thank you so much for having us on to talk about the contest. Vicki and I talk about it a lot internally with ourselves. So it’s great to have somebody else to talk about it.
All day, everyday.
So it’s great. We appreciate you’ve given us the time. And yeah, theemerald.com is the website and all the details for the competition and the music and the speakers and where to buy tickets. They’re all on the website.
Okay, great. And what are some — we didn’t need to But the music acts people can look forward to. What are some of the big music acts that are playing?
We have Santigold, Emancipator. I think Santigold is what I’m so excited about. Emancipator. Tommy Chong is coming to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Polish Ambassador, Steel Pulse. We have this festival called Northern Knights. They’re like an electronic music festival in Northern California. They’re doing their own stage to be, I think, their third year doing that. And we are always really excited to see what their little lineup is. They’re announcing that today or tomorrow. So we just try to keep the music as eclectic and inclusive as possible. So a little bit of everything.
Awesome. That is great. Well, thank you two for being on the podcast today.
Thank you so much for having us.
Have a good day, everybody out there. That’s it for today. And I will see you next time.
Allright, everybody, I hope you’ve really enjoyed that podcast episode as much as I did. Taylor and Victoria have been working hard all year planning for this year’s Emerald Cup. And it’s going to be one of the greatest Emerald Cups in history. So I really hope you attend. I know that you are trying to get those two free passes. So I am going to repeat the questions that you have to answer in order to win those two free passes. Once you have the answers to those questions, please email the answers to me at email@example.com and I will hook you up with those two free passes to The Emerald Cup. So here we go again, with those trivia questions. You got to answer all 10 questions to get the free passes.
So number 1, who is the founder of The Emerald Cup? Number 2, what county did The Emerald Cup start in? Number 3, fill in the blank. This will be the blank Annual Emerald Cup. Question number 4. What counties make up the Emerald Triangle? Question number 5. What year did The Emerald Cup come to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds? So what was the first year that The Emerald Cup was held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds? This is question number 6. Who won The Willie Nelson award last year at the 2018 Emerald Cup. Question number 7. What was the winner for the 2018 Tim’s Choice category for flowers? Question number 8. Is The Emerald Cup contest an indoor or outdoor cannabis competition? Question number 9. Name one new category this year for The Emerald Cup. Question number 10. When is the deadline to enter The Emerald Cup contest? And guys and gals, they just did extend it. You can still enter The Emerald Cup. They extended the deadline. So that’s a little bit of a hint on that question.
I’m going to be posting all these questions in the show notes in case you missed any of them while listening to the podcast. Make sure you email me as soon as you hear these questions and you know the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first person that answers all the questions correctly gets two free passes to this year’s Emerald Cup. And even if you don’t win the contest, I encourage you to check out The Emerald Cup. It is one of the coolest events in cannabis history, if not the most cool grassroots vibe. It’s happening. Santa Rosa, California, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, December 14th and 15th, 2019. I don’t know if I’m going to be there yet. I’m going to do my best. I might have a scheduling conflict for those dates. But I am going to do my best to be there. And of course I will let everyone know if I’m going so that we can meet up in person, but this is going to be a great event. There’s music from Santigold, Emancipator, Polish Ambassador, and more. Make sure to go to The Emerald Cup this year. It’s happening. December 14 and 15th, 2019 at Santa Rosa, California at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
That’s it for today’s podcast. I love and value each and every one of you thank you so much for your support of the CBD School Podcast and website. And until next time, this is Vadim, the CBD professor from cbdschool.com, signing out. Thanks for listening. Bye for now.