The inaugural marketplace and block party aims to showcase local equity and legacy talent within and beyond the cannabis space.
Navigating California's cannabis industry since the enactment of Prop 64 in 2016 has been riddled with challenges, including the influx of corporate funding, flawed legislation, organized crime, and economic hardships. Despite these substantial obstacles, numerous legacy and emerging equity operators persist, instilling hope in the industry's future, which brims with untapped potential. Over the past weekend Oakland's HomeGwn made its debut with the Garden of Trees Market, drawing a supportive community eager to back these equity and legacy brands.
HomeGwn began as a delivery service but has since evolved into something much bigger. It's founder, Quintin, wants to use the event series as a way to educate the public about organizations such as the The Equity Trade Network. Additionally, he seeks to spotlight local creatives eager to showcase their talents and connect with customers in a vibrant, party-like atmosphere. With panels hosted by Pastor Weed of the Smokin At Church podcast, local leaders had the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation regarding the current state of our industry.
While Alphonso "Tucky" Blunt of Blunts & Moore, who's East Oakland dispensary has been the target of numerous robberies, encourages people to vote for change, others emphasize the significance of voting with our dollars. Bryce Savoy, co-founder of Euphorium, a delivery service he runs alongside his mother, underscores the profound impact that each dollar has on supporting small businesses. "You gotta know that that dollar is going to something bigger than yourself. America is good with making us pay for shit we don't necessarily believe in. So if you believe in something, and you can have an impact with your dollar, then that's what you should be doing."
Teaming up with Road Runner Co. as the retail partner, customers had the opportunity to seize holiday specials from some of their favorite equity brands including Oakland Extracts, Masion Bloom, and Queen Mary to name a few. Terryn of Oakland Extracts was stocked up with a variety of Puffco devices and sharing hefty dabs with those brave enough to try. The Zatix team was also in the building highlighting their award-winning Blue Guava alongside their sweeter Grape Guava and their elusive OG Diesel. 1 of A Kind, a local producer of psilocybin mushrooms and capsules, also joined the event, conveying their message about the therapeutic potential of these sacred substances. Alongside artists like Stoner Baby Nails and designers like Opulent Perspective, to name a few, the marketplace was the perfect place to discover new local talent and support some of our favorite legacy operators.
The event took place at Bloc15 in Jack London Square. A large 10,000 square foot venue with plenty of seating and space for people to mingle and dance to the music. The crowd was full of creatives, fostering a symbiotic energy where each individual served as a source of inspiration for one another. Everyone present became both a contributor to and a beneficiary of this collective inspiration. Emphasizing the spirit of community and coming together to celebrate and uplift each other. The evening ended with live musical performances from local rappers Boss Life Spence, 10 Piece Tone and Kamaiyah, who definitely got the crowd up and moving. You know how we do it in the bay!
Quintin's goal is not only to keep throwing cannabis events, but to connect with and continue to uplift the local community. "We are just going to be really focused on being Home Grown and connecting to the areas we throw events in." He plans on taking HomeGrwn events all over the state in hopes of connecting with the local equity community and highlighting them. With his co-producers Taulib and Sean, Quintin thanks his corporate sponsors Uncle Arnie's and Nug who's allyship really helps make events like these possible. "We are definitely going to have a lot more events in the future" he continues "I just really want everyone who's like minded and wants to learn about cannabis, even if you don't smoke, and just want to come out to an event with good vibes, to joins us at the HomeGrwn events."
Calibaba is a brand new cannabis subscription service available in the San Francisco Bay Area, securing consumers with wholesale pricing and saving on average over $100. Sign up is easy you can pause anytime. Just fill out a short survey to get a better understanding of your cannabis use and the geanies do the rest! Let's see what I got in my first box.
The Good Stuff Beverage Company 100mg Cannabis Infused Honey Lemonade.
With a potency of 100mg, this is like summer in a bottle. No need to be intimidated by the high amount of THC. Something like this can be enjoyed over and over. Adding bits to mocktails or your favorite juice, this bottle can keep you happy for a long time. Unless you are like me, I'll have mine all at once.
Legacy brand Yummi Karma continues to provide The Bay Area with wonderful products aimed at women looking to elevate their life. From great tasting tinctures to skincare and more, this sister led company has been making waves for almost 10 years.
Laurie & Mary Jane Fudgy Brownie Bites
Developed by classically trained chefs, these decadent fudgy brownie bites leave you feeling satisfied in more ways than one. Another amazing women owned branded aimed at creating safe, reliable and approachable edibles for all who need.
West Coast Treez 5 Alive 3.5g
Sativa dominant 5 Alive is great for starting the day right. Full of energizing terpenes and a modest THC potency, you can easily smoke this all get and accomplish a ton.
Simply Cannabis Fasto 3.5g
Indica leaning Fatso smokes smooth and is great for relaxing after a long day. Either rolled in your favorite hemp blunt wrap or stuffed into a bowl on your favorite pipe, you'll need this if you are looking for a little relaxation.
There's something to special about surrounding yourself with strong women. The air smells fresher. The vibes are just different. It feels like home, even when you are surrounded by strangers. That's what I felt at Haejin Chun's Big Bad Queens dinner, hosted at the stunning Four One Nine community studio in downtown San Francisco. I arrived early and was lucky to be able to take in the beauty of the space. Guests began to trickle in, everyone dressed to impress. It was comfortable though. I felt like a friend in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Everyone was just so happy to see each other, to celebrate each other and appreciate each other.
Along with a badass women chef behind the counter, the event also highlighted other women owned brands making waves in their own way. The Garden Society provided pre-rolls for guests to enjoy while we mingled and dined. Elevated Jane added style and elegance to the tables with their smoking accessories. Libations came in the form of a traditional Korean rice-based beer by Makku. The taste was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Creamy and sweet but light and refreshing. The dinner was infused with Wellfounded Botanicals THC tincture, which is flavored with pomegranate syrup and absolutely delicious on its own.
The first course was served outside as we prepared to settle in for the evening. Puffed rice topped with kimichi bacon compote, cured egg yolk and microgreens. Titled Did You Eat? Haejin reminds us that this is one of ultimate expressions of love. As a first generation kid myself, this sentiment resonates deeply. My family came to this country in the early 60's, they settled in the Napa Valley to work in the wine industry. Some of my aunts and uncles had to leave their parents behind. Coming from a tiny little ranch in Northern Mexico, my family was already very close. Cousins were more like siblings, and my grandmother acted as mother to them here in the states. On any given day there would be upwards of 10 people gathered around her dining room table at lunch. She would make fideos, refried beans, chile verde and her famous 'sopa loca' which was something like a soupy mac and cheese made with monterey jack, penne pasta and chicken stock. A true visionary she was, adapting to the ingredients that were available to her here. At the end of the day, that's how she knew she could make a difference here. She didn't speak English, she had little advice to give in a world that was new to her, but she could always make sure you had something to eat.
Once it came time for dinner we eagerly made our way to the dining room. I found my place at the table and started looking at the menu, growing more hungry with each second. The meal began with an epic sound bath by AstraLogik, a Bay Area based Queer Pinay dou, followed by some eloquent words by Haejin. She explained that each dish would be paired with a piece of spoken word where she would tell us a piece of her story and how it connected to that particular dish. I have always felt that cooking is one of the most honest forms of expression. She literally put herself on a plate, it was truly an honor to be there.
Humble Beginnings: Then & Now
burrata whipped potatoes, caviar beurre blanc, 24k gold leaf.
This dish was an homage to her grandmother, a woman who loved potatoes. A humble root vegetable, a staple in any working class home. Something that satisfied not only the tummy, but the soul as well. Topped with 24k because even a potato, and those who survive off them, deserve their flowers. The potatoes were hearty yet light, whipped to perfection and contrasted perfectly with the briny beurre blanc sauce. I was reminded of a dish I had at La Marea Alta in Barcelona years ago, a plate of parmesan whipped mashed potatoes topped with uni. Seafood, cheese and potatoes, it sounds like an odd pairing but trust me - it works.
Bridging The Gap & Growing Up Too Fast
black sesame bini with cured salmon, shiso-yuzu creme fraiche
There is a responsibility on the shoulders of first generation kids to bridge the gap between their parents and the world around them. We are told a story of a little girl who carried that weight and who couldn't understand why there were things that seemed to be just out her reach. Like pancakes. The perfectly cured salmon, crispy red onion and tangy creme fraiche made for the perfect bite. I ate as slow as I could, savoring each bite. Imagining the joy that little girl felt when she was finally able to make pancakes with her grandparents.
steamed egg custard with dungeness crab
We all have that dish that reminds us of home. Something warm and comforting that you can toss together without a second thought. For Haejin, this is it. I had never had egg custard but add dungeness crab to anything and I am in. It was one of the dishes where you felt compelled to pick the bowl up and hold it up to your chest. Like for some reason the food and your mouth need to be as close they can be. It was light yet rich, something you could eat your weight in. The definition of comfort food.
jook - porridge with spot prawns
One of my favorite dishes of the night was inspired by a time when Haejin's mother was sick. Seeing her mother hurting sparked the caretaker in her and this was a dish she would often make her. I love prawns, especially served head on like these were. The soft porridge and perfectly cooked prawns came together to make a hearty and savory bite. Finished with the slurp of the head, nothing better.
The Life You Are Born With vs. The Life You Chose
ddukboki - rice cakes with umami stewed pork, mozzarella
a textre Conceptually, this dish was one of the most fun. This dish represented the breaking of generation traumas, living unapologetically, being non-traditional and giving two fucks what anyone else thinks. This dish was full of salty, savory, porky goodness. Paired with gooey melted cheese and chewy dumplings made with rice flour, similar to mochi. Another pure form of expression, the dish screams originality.
I Love You, But Fuck The Patriarchy
samgyetang - chicken roulade with sticky rice, kabocha, jujubee, black truffle pine nut purée
This dish was an homage to her grandfather, a man who laughed in the face of feminism. Although the patriarchy permeates all aspects of society, I think immigrant families can struggle with it a little bit more. Being raised in the United States means that will undoubtedly see things differently than those who raised you, and that can cause conflict. Especially when you are the type of person who will not compromise their values for anyone. Still, the dish was beautiful. Savory in rustic and earthy way, delicately balanced with a punch of tangy jujubee.
Becoming: Choosing Yourself Over and Over Again
miso strawberry cheesecake, pecan crumble
The sentiment behind this sweet, umami packed dessert was accepting that, regardless of what anyone says, Haejin is a chef. She has created a name for herself in a way that truly sets her apart from the rest. This dinner was unlike any meal I have ever experienced. The way everything was so well executed and so carefully thought out. The way the music and the spoken word gave context to the meal in such an elegant way. Truly a work of art.
I have been working in kitchen since my early 20's and to this day, I still don't know what it means to be a chef. All I know is that feeding people makes me the most happy. For so many of the reasons shared in Haejin's story. When you have to focus on survival and assimilation, there are certain familial aspects that can become compromised. As immigrants and kids of immigrants, sometimes the only thing we can all agree on is what to have for dinner. Sometimes that's all you need to see past your differences. As we grow, we find ways embrace our culture and express it in our own way. I certainly know that I have struggled with my identity as a Mexican-American. As the type of person who like to get tattoos and piercings that my parents can't stand. As a cannabis user who was demonized by my family and called a 'bad influence.' Look at us now. I am beyond grateful to be able to live in a time and a place where we can gather and share these stories. So we can feel a little less alone and little more free to be ourselves. I am blessed to know such talented individuals that not only inspire me, but leave me in awe. Never stop being a Big Bad Queen.
In case you couldn't tell, food and cannabis rule my world. For the last 10 years I have been refining my palette in hopes of becoming not only a better cook, but a better consumer as well. As a child I was glued to the Food Network, rushing to write down everything I saw in hopes of someday creating dishes that were just as exciting. I was in 1st grade when I bought my first cookbook, Cooking With Pooh. I still have it and I still use the sugar cookie recipe found in it. Cannabis didn't enter my life until much later, but as a young adult you know I always had a jar of homemade cannabutter handy in case I needed it.
As we settled in at the table there was a common sentiment floating around, 'can you believe this shit?' Sitting 12 stories high over downtown Los Angeles, we quickly realized that this was going to be a very special event. I couldn't help but relish in moment and truly appreciate how far we have come. Being born and raised in Northern California, there was never a shortage of fine cannabis products to choose from. When it came to edibles though, that was a different story. What was once just brownies and cereal bars has evolved to the level of a world class meal.
On April 20th, 2021 Discovery+ premiered a new cooking show, Chopped 420. If you are familiar with Food Network's Chopped you will have an idea of what to expect, just add cannabis. Haejin Chun, also known as Big Bad Wolf, was brought on to the show as an expert. Assisting competing chefs with infusion techniques and proper dosage. Haejin is known for her own cannabis infused dinner parties and catering services, as well as her association with title sponsor Permanent Holiday. Honestly, there were so many good reasons to attend this dinner but I have always heard that Haejin knows how to throw a party and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
Upon arrival Kansas City based Curtis Hayes hit us with our first drink, the 'Affamata'. Made with non-alcoholic 'gin' and sweet 'vermouth', Giffard's Aperitivo, raspberry nectarine peach syrup, and adjusted with CBD. It was bright, fresh and just the right amount of bitter to start the evening. I talked to Curtis briefly about his use of non alcoholic spirits and getting creative with zero ABV cocktails. Alcoholic spirits have such a unique flavor and removing them from the equation leaves a lot of room for innovation. Creating an exciting drink that still feel like a cocktail is a true art and Chris is a master at it. I stopped drinking liquor a long time ago so it was a real treat to be able to enjoy such well crafted drinks without any apprehension. At the end of the night I even said to my friend "wait, I have to finish my alcohol" before I remembered that there wasn't any.
The dinner consisted of 9 courses paired with 5 cocktails. Each dish either used cannabis as an ingredient, was infused with THC or paired with a Permanent Holiday pre-roll, while the drinks were infused with CBD, CBG or CBN to keep everything nice and balanced. As a long time cannabis user with a pretty high tolerance, sometimes I forget that we don't need to push the envelope so much when it comes to dosage. The dishes and drinks that were infused were only about 5mg each but when you go slow and take the time to enjoy it, you can really feel it.
The meal started off light with our first offering from Michelin Star Chef Chris Binotto, a smoked Kumamoto Oyster with caviar and bacon, paired with a Kushmintz pre-roll. I was surprised at the richness the smoking processes provided. Plus the addition of bacon definitely turned it up a notch while the caviar reinforced that briney ocean element we love in oysters. Now, I will be honest, the notion of pairing cannabis with food was a concept I was never really sold on. Mostly because I don't like smoking while I eat, but this meal changed all of that for me. The smokiness of the dish was complemented perfectly by the dank, earthy Kushmintz pre-roll.
Chef Chris is no stranger to pairing his food with cannabis, as he runs a Cannabis Supper Club where he does just that. He also has runs Embers & Ash, which he calls a 'rustic fine dining experience.' As a Los Angeles native Chris let's his love for the outdoors, ancient cooking methods, and the abundance California has to offer inspire him in the kitchen. In this first course chef Chris sets the tone of the evening with a decedent appetizer along with his playful, yet sophisticated, plating.
Our second starter of the night was crafted by Chef Wendy Zeng. A Mala Tuna tartare covered with a layer of sliced celtuce, made with her own Sichuan Oil infused with Grape Pie. Easily one of my favorite dishes of the night, it was spicy, rich and perfectly balanced by the brightness of the celtuce. As a cook myself noticed the caliber of knife skills and appreciate the attention to detail in that regard. Inspired by her home in the Sichuan province of China and her time as an adolescence in Memphis, Tennessee. She realized that, across cultures, food was about family, history and the dishes that bring us together.
Chef Wendy is also owner of Drizzle Catering. With a focus on and quality, local ingredients and the flavors she has picked up along the way, Chef Wendy aims to bring the values of her childhood to every table. Fostering community among cannabis and food lovers alike, she utilizes elevated techniques and classic flavor combinations to create for us a dish that was beautiful, luxurious and comforting. Paired with Curtis' CBD adjusted 'Seaworthy' made with yuzu, honey, blanc verjus syrup, nori stock, lemongrass foam and non-alcoholic 'tequila' the briney, ocean flavor carried throughout.
Next up was our first offering from Seattle based Chef Derek Simcik. Heavily influenced by the bounty the Pacific Northwest has to offer, Chef Derek treated us to delicate Geoduck sashimi over grilled endive. Dressed in a ginger ponzu sauce infused with Citrus Heights and topped with caviar for that extra layer of luxury. Chef Derek is a regular contributor to Kitchen Toke Magazine and pioneered the Washington State infused dinner scene. The Pacific Northwest is known for resinous, terpene heavy cannabis that can easily be paired with food, similar to a fine wine. Chef Derek continues to use his refined cooking skills to enlighten those looking to combine their love for food and curiosity for cannabis.
For the intermezzo Chef Wendy created a non-infused celtuce, honeydew and yuzu sorbet meant to cleanse our pallets for the next set of dishes. The texture was so smooth and luscious. Not one single flavor overpowered the other and the everything complemented each other perfectly. Chef Wendy has always used cannabis as a way to boost her creativity, expand her consciousness and simply have a good time. As an Asian American in the cannabis space, Wendy hopes her cannabis infused recipes will help break the stigma our elders may still have in association to cannabis.
As you can see this dinner brought together chefs from all over the country. Aspen, Colorado based Chef Emily Oyer was next to showcase her cannabis infused dish, our first sizeable dish of the night. A Platinum OG infused tagliatelle with a spring pea ragu, tons of parmesan cheese, meyer lemon zest and crispy prosciutto. The pasta had the perfect bite to it while the freshness of the ragu flawlessly complemented the sharpness of the cheese and the lemon zest added the right amount of brightness to tie it all together.
Chef Emily works as a private chef where she combines her love for cannabis with her passion for food. As a gay, female chef who advocates for mental health and the medicinal properties of cannabis, Chef Emily hopes that her elevated yet approachable dishes will help shape a healthier conversation around cannabis and the ways we consume it.
Curtis' next cocktail was the CBG adjusted 'Farmyard Appeasement' made with snow and snap pea syrup, prosciutto stock, lemon juice, soda water, balsamic drizzle, non-alcoholic 'gin' and a ton of fresh mint, which was my favorite drink of the night. As the drink came to temperature the richness and saltiness of the prosciutto came forward while the balsamic drizzle added a much needed sweetness. If you positioned the glass just right you were hit with a big whiff of mint to tie it all together. A truly brilliant drink.
One of the more visually appealing dishes of the night was Chef Maverick Kelly's herbed polenta with oyster mushrooms, infused with Ice Cream Cake. Garnished with a delicious tempura cannabis leaf, I loved the way Chef Maverick used cannabis as an ingredient as well as the infusion. Supple oyster mushrooms paired with soft polenta over a bight yet rich tomato sauce. The unique combination of flavors and textures set this dish aside from the rest. Accompanied by our next beverage crafted by Curtis Hayes, the light and bright 'Daylight' which consisted of aciculated blanc verjus, orange blossom water, soda water and Red Belly Honey. Infused by bees, Red Belly Honey is the world's only full spectrum, whole plant hemp honey.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Maverick has led a life that has taken her up and down a variety a career paths between here and Atlanta which ultimately landed her back in Los Angeles where she flourished as an entrepreneur creating products like Mavsauce and Mav Snacks. After being diagnosed with MS and Crohn's Disease in 2006, creating her own line of cannabis products was crucial in her managing her symptoms. After over 10 years of soul searching Chef Maverick has found a home within the culinary arts and sharing her cannabis infused vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO free products is her passion.
The second offering from Chef Chris Binotto was another smoked dish. Instead of rare Japanese coal as his smoking element, this A4 Wagyu Ribeye was smoked with Kushmintz and served over tempura fried fingerling potatoes with a pickled corn salsa. The beef was delicious and tender with the perfect amount of fattiness. The corn salsa provided some relief from the heaviness of the dish and overall, I would have called this one perfect. I was almost certain I was going to hate the potatoes but I think this is going to be my favorite way to make them going forward.
The second offering from Chef Maverick was an incredible African Spiced Lamb with roasted carrots and a pomegranate reduction, infused and rubbed in Kushmintz. The sweetness of the pomegranate and carrot cut the gaminess of the lamb. Tasting the cannabis on the lamb itself was also a real treat. There's something so primal and honest about bone in cuts which I really respected. It's no surprise her line of infused condiments are a hit.
Named one of People Magazines 2017 Sexiest Male Chefs in America, Chef Derek Simcik crafted one of the most creative and downright sexiets desserts I have ever seen. Shattered foie with peanuts and sliced grapes, paired with a Grape Pie pre-roll. Inspired by a childhood classic, Dip'N'Dots, Chef Derek created whimsical and elevated version of a frozen peanut butter and jelly. Funky and sweet and all over the place texture wise it was hard to pin this dish as a dessert, but it was still an amazing way to end such a spectacular meal. Paired with our final drink of the night, 'A Very Extra Fizz' adjusted with CBN and made with cinnamon nutmeg white chocolate syrup, rice milk, egg whites, soda water and non-alcoholic 'bourbon.' As I sipped what felt like an adult milkshake I truly could not think of a better way to end the night.
Sleep was impeccable that night and for the next few days, it was hard to shake the experience. I felt an overwhelming sense of hope afterwards. Not only for the future of cannabis and its place alongside fine dining, but what that means for people like me. People who have thrown themselves headfirst into the heat of the kitchen and came out with a few scars to show for it. People who want their passion to flourish in an environment full of the love and compassion that cannabis provides. I hope we are able to continue to meet at this table where our struggles don't weigh on our shoulders quite so heavily. Where we are met with more understanding and less judgment. Where there is more love than anything else.
In the end, you're just happy you were there - with your eyes open - and lived to see it.
stoneyxochi. 33 year old California native. proud pothead, Mexicana and woman.