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Massachusetts’ Harvest Cup Enters its 8th Year

Massachusetts’ Harvest Cup Enters its 8th Year

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The Harvest Cup has announced its dates for 2024 (November 9-10), which will be its 8th annual event in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the next opportunity to gather its tribe of legacy growers, advocates, and reps from the regulated industry. Centered around a cannabis competition with a dozen categories, The Harvest Cup is locally organized by Jenn Blakeney Borjeson, Jeremy Borjeson, Hannah Jane, and Tony Ventura. Despite widespread concern about falling wholesale prices and flat demand, the 2023 event brought out a vibrant community of grassroots cultivators, and there was much joy on display at the many after-parties.

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Kayla Hanlon (RiverRun Gardens) and Jeremy Borjeson (The Harvest Cup)

Occupying one of the most prominent booths and on display around the necks of competition winners, Blingin’ Beads created by artist Kyle Camyre, has become the essential accessory for cultivators in New England. Growers also gathered at the booth of Boston Clone Co, which was selling exotic cuts (priced from $40 – $300) packaged in shippable humidity domes. Named after a Martha’s Vineyard town that everyone should visit once, “Menemsha Sunset” by Fat Cat Select Seeds was some of the best-smelling cannabis on the floor, in this reporter’s opinion. Representing the sun and soil growers, whose full-term crops are largely left out of the competition due to the submission deadline, John and Grace Sahagian of Neamat gave a sneak peek at their recent harvest. While the region’s premiere gathering of extractors probably took place in September at the Hitman’s “Best of New England,” some hashmakers making noise included the team from Fine Fettle with a new concentrate brand, Saus, and Ruben Marques of Erva with a new line of legacy hash on display.

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The climax of the Harvest Cup comes at 4:20 pm each day when the competition winners are announced, and awards are given out in the center of the exposition center. Saturday’s awards are focused on multiple categories of edibles, beverages, and topicals, while Sunday is reserved for flowers (awarded in five categories according to terpene profile), pre-rolls, and concentrates. On Saturday, Nova Farms was dominant, taking top honors in three categories of edibles. On Sunday, it was no surprise that Tower Three, a favorite among budtenders, was recognized for “Super Boof Cherry” in the Limonene Flower category. But at The Harvest Cup, independent and home growers are judged against commercial operators and often come out on top. “Duck Sauce,” by Gardens by GILF, took top honors in Caryophyllene Flower, beating out Sparq Cannabis, Springtime, and Mass Alternative Care, locked in a 3-way tie for Runner Up. A newcomer to watch was Pacha’s Select, who was Runner Up in the Other Terpene Category with “Stargazer” but fell to “Runtz” by Ripple Wellness, adding another win for the much-awarded strain that judges continue to value despite some overexposure.

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Jackie Crocco (Garden Remedies)

The Harvest Cup turns to community partners to keep the vibe going at a series of official after-parties around the city of Worcester. At Electric Haze, a no-frills but welcoming music venue, Mary Palmer and Shepheard presented “The Puff Down,” hosted by DJ Stenny, which sold out before doors opened at 8 pm on Saturday. Highlights included a live set by DJ Slim, an OG whose cannabis-flavored tracks reminded the crowd to “Don’t Blame Weed” and “Utilize Your High” before jumping into his hit “Flower Girl.” On Sunday night, Jim Belushi joined The Sensi Allstars on stage at the Palladium in a benefit show for Patriots Helping Vets. While Belushi showing his amble midriff ended the weekend in a frenzy, it had started on more a reflective tone on Friday night when The Harvest Cup recognized some of the legends of the local cannabis community lost too soon. Memorial plaques were presented in honor of Elaine “The Original Outkastt,” Red Blaza (Sugarhi Farm), Kyle “Elmo” Corrao, and Jo-Ann Bellanti (Pot Pockets & Stoned Dust). If the spirit, generosity, and passion of these beloved activists is carried forward, there is much hope for the New England cannabis community in 2024 and beyond.

Photo Credit: Troy Leatherbury

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