For some cannabis consumers, the grass is always greener across state lines. Here’s how Ganja Berry lures heads to Vacationland.
This is a short story about cannabis concentrates, but something bigger too. It’s also about Maine, but not entirely. I guess it’s kind of about business, but that description hardly does justice to the literal grassroots nature of the subject.
When I think of Ganja Berry, the micro Maine grower and melt maker, I think of Heady Topper lore. Like the iconic Vermont brewery the Alchemist, which famously had people bottling those much beloved beers in the bathroom of their taproom before they started selling cans to go, craft concentrate aficionados in the commonwealth are clamoring for Maine creations such as Ganja Berry’s Guava’Nana. There are a million differences between the companies, as well as between the present and a time when nascent online beer forums spurred drinkers from across the country to drive all the way to Stowe for a few four packs. At the same time, a handful of inventive producers certainly have people on the edge of their seats waiting for fresh drops.
I promise, this is not a testament to how much better products are up in Vacationland. Such claims are trite and truly silly in light of the countless top-notch craft as well as larger cultivators in the Massachusetts market; for starters, the Bay State is home to eponymous strain icon Chemdog and his Smash Hits flower, as well as dab stars like Tony Verzua from Blue River Terps. But with so much variety and volatility in Mass at the moment, it seems notable that people are making long pilgrimages up north for more than just a discount.
Though Ganja Berry flies under the radar by nature of the minor quantities that it produces, they have been recognized beyond forums where hardcore heads trade tips and the social accounts their followers patrol for new releases. Last November, they were praised by Northeast Leaf for linking with Maine’s Pamolab to win first place in the solventless live rosin category at Portland’s annual Hash Bash. The magazine wrote, “Several of the judges felt it was the best tasting group of concentrates they had ever sampled,” noting the Guava’Nana “was from a batch of flower cultivated by Ganja Berry … before it was processed by Pamolab. The grower and processor closely collaborated on the project, contemplating the optimal terpene profile before deciding on … a mix of Guava Pie and Banana Punch strains.”
“People mostly know us for our fresh-pressed rosin.” I met up with Ganja Berry founder Gavin Scott at the Boston Freedom Rally a few weeks ago. “We specialize in fruity cannabis; the fruit characters are kind of our mascots.”
Standing inside of a tent covered with illustrated stoner lemons, berries, and bananas, he explained why every fifteenth person who walked by either seemed to know him from way back or reacted like they spotted a rock star upon seeing this young dude with shoulder-length curls standing over a colorful live-rosin smorgasbord.
“We are originally from Watertown, but we’re based out of Scarborough, Maine,” Scott said. “We’re caregivers up there; we grow it all on our own. We do our growing in-house, and we do all of our processing in-house as well. It’s me and my girlfriend [Meghan Rice], she’s the head of cultivation.”
Medical marijuana caregivers in Maine can grow a maximum of 30 mature and 60 immature cannabis plants. Registered patients (Mass medical cards are accepted) can purchase directly through the Ganja Berry site, or at one of the two to four dispensaries where their rosin “hits shelves at a specific, preset time” announced via Instagram and email.
“The ecosystem is vast, there’s a ton of incredible producers.” Scott spoke highly of other sought-after Maine brands, saying the camaraderie helps lift all boats. “I couldn’t say enough about Helios, for example. They’re a beast in the game and great friends of ours, we’re huge fans of their product.”
He continued, “Concentrates are getting bigger in the Maine market. Rosin especially is getting bigger; it’s historically taken up a smaller part, but the scene is huge right now.”
At the Freedom Rally, the Ganja Berry team loaded me up a sample of their Melted Strawberries #15 cured rosin, a GMO x Strawberry Guava cross Scott said heavily reflects the Girl Scout Cookies and Chemdog in its lineage. The sweetness and sensory overload were something to savor; with that, I understood why some groupies would motor all the way to Maine for a taste.
Asked about the buzz surrounding Ganja Berry, Scott pointed to the care and attention put into every detail, from the plant to the press. It’s a rather vague response, but it sounds like the Alchemist co-founder John Kimmich explaining how Heady Topper became a top choice for hop heads: “It is the way the beer is handled. It is the energy surrounding that beer at its moment of creation that gives it that special something.”
“We’re a small producer, so you can expect drops once a month,” Scott said. “It’s simple—we harvest once a month, and we drop roughly once a month. Keep an eye on the ’Gram. We’ll do a couple of posts and a story in advance.”
Of course, by the time the next Banana Punch or Rainbow Guava rosin release shows up in your feed, Ganja Berry’s diehards will already be in hot pursuit.