Sneak Peek Inside Gold Leaf Gardens
By Christine Bryant
When you ask a Hashtag budtender, “What’s the best thing in the store?” our answer is, very often, “Gold Leaf.” We are all a bit obsessed with their flower, Diamond Tip infused joints, and rosin and ice wax. Gold Leaf’s gardeners use no pesticides at all in their indoor growing facility—which is very unusual for an indoor grow operation—and their fixation on quality is legendary in the medical marijuana community, where they began growing and selling twelve years ago.
So when Gold Leaf owners Nate and Anela invited us to tour their garden in Lacey, Washington in March 2016, we all jumped at the chance. We had a waiting list for spots.
We met owners Nate and Anela and gardener Caylen Wada in the lobby of their garden. They verified that none of us had visited any other cannabis facilities or agricultural sites in the last few days, since bringing in contaminants from our clothes or shoes would be devastating to their pesticide-free garden. Because Gold Leaf doesn’t use pesticides, they have no way to eradicate contaminants, which could overtake the garden and destroy their plants. We all passed inspection and began our tour.
First, we toured the soil room, where the gardeners keep the microbial-rich soil ready for new baby plants. When I walked in, I said out loud, “It smells like life!” That clean smell of real soil can’t be replicated—an organic vegetable patch, an old-growth forest floor, and that room all have the same kind of smell. I noticed a small aloe plant, sitting on top of one of the soil beds. I asked Caylen why they kept an aloe in there, and he replied, quietly, “It reminds us of home.”
Hawaii can’t be separated from Gold Leaf Gardens and the people who grow there. Gold Leaf’s slogan is “Grown with Aloha,” the well-known word that can be translated as compassion, peace, and mercy.
We went then to Room F7, where the plants are eight days old. The little baby plants were mostly Peppermint Cookies, with some experimental strains growing there as well, like Tahoe OG, Lavender, and Oregon Diesel. The gardeners talked to us about their hands-on methods—they water by hand, trim by hand, and mentioned that they don’t understand why growers would want to automate everything, because they love to see their plants every day.
Next up, we visited Room F6, where the plants are tall, heavy, and ready to be trimmed very soon. Peppermint Cookies filled the room, taller than eye level and so heavy with buds that whole plants leaned over the railings of the beds. As I walked past some far-leaning Peppermint Cookies with Caylen the gardener, some buds caught in my curly hair. I was startled and let out a small yelp—I didn’t want to hurt something I love so much! Caylen quickly said, “It’s okay! It likes you! You can touch it!” And so I did, very happily.
Nate then led us into the processing section of Gold Leaf. On our way to see Mr. Bryce make rosin with his heat press, we passed Ariel Payopay, founder of Leira Cannagars … making cannagars with Gold Leaf bud and rosin.
Nate showed us the larger sizes that Gold Leaf has now released--half-ounces and ounces of flower in limited, numbered editions of 100. Hashtag still has a few of each for sale, but they’re going quickly.
Finally, we toured the concentrates and packaging areas of Gold Leaf. Rosin-making master Mr. Bryce demonstrated how he makes each batch of Gold Leaf rosin, with his heat press, 14 gram bags of Gold Leaf flower, and time. Rosin uses no solvents at all, so the Gold Leaf concentrate is as pure as Gold Leaf flower, grown with no pesticides and with no solvents introduced. Mr. Bryce told us, “I feel good about what we’re doing here.” We couldn’t help but agree completely.
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, both Hashtag locations will release a brand-new Gold Leaf flower strain, Gaswerx. Redolent of diesel and funk, it’s a potent indica-leaning hybrid strain, perfect for a smoke sesh at Hashtag Fremont’s favorite spot, Gasworks Park! Gaswerx genetics cross Chem 91 and Ghost OG. Pick up an eighth for yourself on Wednesday in either Fremont or Redmond!