In these days of growing industrialization in our beloved cannabis industry, it is heartening to find a farm holding steady to the high ideals of community commerce and environmental stewardship. Casey and Amber O’Neil are the proprietors of HappyDay Farms, an artisan food, flowers and cannabis farm in Mendocino County, CA. HappyDay intermingles cannabis and food crops as companion plants while adhering to permaculture and other holistic growing principles. While many poseurs slap the “beyond organic” description onto their products, this is truly the case on Casey and Amber’s farm.
I asked Casey in what ways they integrate these vital probiotic growing techniques.
“We consider ourselves holistic farmers. Trying to look at the farm as a whole organism, we try to sequester carbon by building pasture and incorporating cover crop rotations. We store rainwater, brew teas from farm compost, and are excited to begin making fermented plant juice teas this year with comfrey, alfalfa, horsetail and other plants we will harvest on-farm. We’re big believers in providing food for soil biota through cover crops, compost, companion plantings and maintaining wild spaces for native habitat, beneficial insects and pollinators. Creating a thriving, regenerative farmscape is of utmost importance to us.”
The Ganjapreneur review team was able to enjoy HappyDay Farms’ cultivars “Sour Strawberry,” “Ogre Berry,” “Chem Valley x OG Strawberry,” and “Ogre Berry x OG Strawberry.” You can taste all the extra effort in HappyDay flowers.
Flowers from HappyDay don’t have the glossy centerfold look of the most extreme indoor crops, but these award-winning flowers drip with the sacred beauty of the plant at its happiest — outdoors in the California sunshine. Their flowers are gentle and brilliant and patiently urgent. They are a pleasure to look at and handle and they give you a great high without any suspicion of them containing synthetic nutrients. Knowing that your cannabis is so clean really increases the enjoyment of their flower by adding peace of mind to your “set and setting.” This is a level of confidence in flower truly for connoisseurs. To drive that point home, HappyDay Farms is Clean Green Certified.
Brand licensing has become a huge part of the cannabis industry. Many of the popular brands simply purchase cannabis from producers, slap their name on it and now they say it is their “craft” product. Be clear about this. Growers like HappyDay Farms are entirely the reason that there is a “craft cannabis” category: smaller runs, bigger hearts, extra servings of nature-loving care in growing flowers for you. True craft.
“Asking folks if they like ‘Fruitys or Fuelys’ at the farmer’s market is an opening icebreaker,” said Casey. “About a third of the time, the person will answer either ‘fruity’ or ‘fuely.’ About two-thirds of the time they say, “What?” This gives me the opportunity to talk about the different scents and flavors present in the various strains. I note that most of what we do falls into the “fruitroleum” category, but that we have defining cultivars in each direction. While they are smelling the jars, I let them know that they are welcome to sample, and I describe the effects of the various offerings.”
This kind of personalized farmer contact and down-home vibe is being threatened by the new regulatory structure — but, at the same time, the new, “more legal” licensed market will allow for distribution never seen in the days of Prop 215 medical and is probably the only reason you might find HappyDay flowers outside of their immediate locale. There will likely not be much long-term middle ground. The Prop 64 licensed cannabis industry will either offer much-needed sustainability and regularity to California’s artisan cannabis community or it will plunge California into a morass of corporatized cannabis fighting against long-time heritage cannabis growers on every level.
Leaving Casey and Amber’s farm ends with a bit of fun as they cheer “Great Success!” in parting.
“It’s a constant saying on the farm, we started printing it on stickers and t-shirts in 2012 and in 2016 we entered a strain of ours in the Emerald Cup and gave it the name Great Success and it won 11th place. It sorta captures what we’re all about, my Grandfather always said: “Let us be happy in our work” and we strive to maintain an upbeat positivity. Good energy is cyclical and creates positive feedback loops, and “Great Success” exemplifies that potential. Words have power and we strive to always create the best possible interactions and processes that we can.”
HappyDay Farms is distributed in California by Flow Kana in beautiful glass jars, so ask your local shop if they carry these wonderful flowers. Check out the HappyDay Farms website for more info, or visit their Instagram or Facebook to get in touch!