Phenotype “Bounti Hunting” With An Award-Winning Mass Cultivator 

An opportunity for consumers to participate in “a smaller version of the sampling process that takes place when cultivators are developing new cannabis strains.”

You don’t have to take our word for it when we extol Bountiful Farms and its top-shelf selections. You will hear the same thing from any number of hardcore heads across the commonwealth and beyond, as well as from judges at competitions including the Massachusetts Cultivator’s Cup, where the Lakeville-based grower cleaned up last year.

With a slew of strains in their wheelhouse that are already crowd favorites, Bountiful’s Head of Cultivation Zach Taylor is looking for new gems to add to the menu—and his team is soliciting actual help from the public to find them. With their new Bounti Hunters initiative, they’re “working with select retailers to offer the first-of-its-kind custom at-home pheno(type) hunt kit which will allow consumers to sample different variations of some of their most beloved strains, provide feedback and choose their favorite.”

The program, Taylor said, “is essentially a smaller version of the sampling process that takes place when cultivators are developing new cannabis strains.” The hunt began “with 4,000 seeds with superior genetic lineage from 30 breeders to help to select the best strains to release in the market,” and “now consumers have a chance to be involved and learn what goes into the extensive process.”

Starting this month and all through October, Bountiful Farms will “offer two different variations of five of their carefully curated strains, with a new drop each week at a different retailer.” You can find all those details at the bottom of this post, but first, we got Taylor talking about Bountiful’s approach and how it’s playing into this particular campaign. The responses below have been edited for clarity … 

On the local market … 

One of the challenges we have in Massachusetts is that terpenes are not a required test—we choose to terpene test. It’s part of that education process; we’re trying to show people that the efficacy and the effects are correlated with your favorite strain. Certainly it is the macro-micro cannabinoid to a certain extent, but it’s that [combination with particular terpenes] that makes for that couchlock effect.

Understanding genetics and delineation of genetics and how the breeder that you’re working with deals with those accordingly [is important].

On Bountiful’s mission … 

We’re certainly not the only ones to be doing pheno hunts out there, we just wanted to shine a bit of a different light on it. We’re hoping that we can use education as a part of that light. We’re not here sitting here saying that we’re growing cultivars that others aren’t unless we really have proprietarily bred something, and even that is a slippery slope. 

We’re just trying to show that oftentimes, when you look at a lot of these sought after genetics, a lot of that is because of that particular pheno, which really took off and established that cultivar, that strain. There are a lot of parallels. Look at GG4; that Gorilla Glue cut is what made everything. That Girl Scout [Cookies] cut, that clone only, that’s what made everything.

About the hunting process …  

We’re doing five different drops and we’re pheno hunting, so to get to this point, we are 10 to 12 months in. When you’re hunting even across two or three seeds, you really see maybe five different variations. So it’s not like every one is drastically different. But those variations in how myopic and granular you can get really can have an impact on the overall efficacy. We are passionate stoners. We really try to focus on using our data and the scientific method; we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here.

Sometimes, if you want to change this and you want to change that, then you no longer have the dependent variable. From the moment of conception, if you drop 100 seeds, you can immediately kind of compartmentalize which ones you feel like—based upon their vigor, based upon their structure, based upon their inner-nodal distance—to see what you’re hunting for.

If you’re hunting for that pinene and limonene and dare I say sativa influence, [for example], then you’re going to have to sacrifice your inner nodal stacking, and you can tell that early on in the vegetative stage.

What Bountiful is generally looking for … 

I look at it a lot like a chef; if I only cooked what I wanted to eat, then I probably wouldn’t be running a successful business. I think it’s important to grow not only what you want to smoke, but to grow things that check multiple boxes.

It all goes back to the equator. All of our strains, whether they are indica dominant or sativa dominant, really what we’re saying there is that is their relationship with the equator and where they were grown and what their soil and their environment was indigenous to. And then we try to mimic that environment.

Anytime we’re pheno hunting, we are doing so with a box that we are attempting to check—whether that’s a profile that we might not have in our garden, or whether that is a highly sought-after strain like Rainbow Belts where it has the hype and hyperbole behind it.

What Bountiful is hunting for this time around … 

Rainbow Belts is probably one of the most sought after strains of the past two years. When you look at the Zkittlez terps and their dominance, as well as what they call a full-palate aroma, that terp stays there. I think the 3.0 is their best rendition of it; it has that nice balance of that Moonbo but has that Zkittlez back end. One of these Rainbow Belts [in the Bounti Hunters kit] hits more of the dessert terps, and I think one of them hits more of the exotic terps.

It’s a copycat league. It’s kind of like music in how when you were a kid, there would be a song on the radio and you either have heard that or never heard that based upon the differences in region. … It’s kind of similar to that and how the cannabis strains have evolved on the East Coast and the West Coast. I know everyone kind of has their favorites, so what we wanted to do with this particular pheno hunt is we’re looking for banana terps, we are looking for more of those Zkittlez-driven terps, and we are looking for more of those OG gas-forward terps. 

On the Bounti Hunters campaign … 

From a fiscal standpoint, our accountant probably doesn’t like these [drops], but that’s kind of the point. We didn’t do this for margins; we did this because cannabis should be fun, and we’re trying to pass along our love for this plant to the consumer. We also don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. I don’t think that any of us have truly mastered the craft that is cannabis, particularly on the cultivation side in the commercial sector. I just look at us all as if we’re stewards of this plant, and I want to share that love and be able to pass along that love.

Going back to a music analogy, if you are in a concert, you certainly have that love and you feel the music, but if you go backstage and you see the inner workings, and you’re seeing how it all comes together, then there’s a certain overall just love that comes with that. Or if you go to an amazing restaurant, and you have all of these amazing tapas, this is the chef coming out and sharing that passion with you about how they put this flavor with that flavor because they wanted this result. That’s kind of what we’re going for here, and adding some fun with it with the coordinates and the drops.

Features and availability:

-Custom informative box featuring two 1/8 Jars (one of each distinct pheno of the strain), rolling papers and lighters, stickers, magnets and custom Bounti Hunter pins.

-Video from Head of Cultivation Zach Taylor with descriptors for each strain and instructions on how to confidently navigate the selection process.

-Record Your Findings: The kit includes a QR Code with a survey to record observations and preferences of each pheno.

-The kits can be purchased for $70 (plus tax) at the locations below and medical card holders can purchase them at the Bountiful Farms medical dispensary located at 13 Mercer Rd. in Natick:

  • Week of September 18, Rise/Affinity will have the Strawberry Gary kit

  • Week of September 25, Botera will have the Sugar Shack kit

  • Week of October 2, SEED will have the Papaya Slapper kit

  • Week of October 11, ATG will have the Zeclair kit