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Pheno Hunting Honey Bunny in The Hills of Santa Barbara with Sugar Magnolia Farms

Pheno Hunting Honey Bunny in The Hills of Santa Barbara with Sugar Magnolia Farms

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Out in the 805 region of Southern California, Sugar Magnolia Farms is producing some of the finest hash “pon’ di’ mountain” that is all single-source and grown organically from seed. Lately, founder Judd has been working through a pheno hunt of Honey Bunny — a cross of Honey Bananas x Tropicanna Cookies F1 he picked up from Oni Seed Co. about two years ago.

He shared some terps and sat down to sesh with me, chatting through his hunt at the greenhouse up in the hills plus the inspiration behind the Sugar Magnolia artwork and what’s in store for the brand next. Let’s get into the conversation and my thoughts on this Honey Bunny jar from Santa Barbara’s jamming resin farmer…

Q&A With Judd of Sugar Magnolia Farms

Tell me how this Honey Bunny pheno hunting project has been going!

We’ve been working through some batches this season and all those releases so far have been mixed pheno grows, which are typically two or three phenos in a blend. Right now we have one full greenhouse crop left of it, which is from the last of the seed packs I could pop that were female. I saved the males from those, collected the pollen, and pollinated everything in that greenhouse. There are 10 different phenos or so in there and I’m hoping all of them took the pollen they got because each little side branch got some. That would open the door for a pretty huge pheno hunt next season.

On top of that, I’ve taken clones of all the varieties I have right now. So one of those might just be the winner, too. I’m really looking for the pheno that gives more of that candy banana or banana bread-esque smell. It’s been fun to hunt through this one — she’s one of my favorite all-day hash smokes and I just can’t enough of the flavor.

cannabis world news interviews image of cannabis plants growing in greenhouse

How much does that flavor profile vary between phenos?

The particular batch that I sent you was a bit more on the honey coconut side whereas the blend we did before that was way more on the sweet banana side, so there’s quite a lot of variation. The phenos in the greenhouse now are a pretty big spectrum of all that. There’s even some of that banana bread smell I’m looking for happening in a few patches, so I’m super excited to see how that translates through to the taste.

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What’s your growing style on the farm?

100% organic soil and that is in the ground typically. We mend with fresh compost that we make and do weekly compost teas, switching out the inputs for those teas as the batch progresses. We just try to focus on growing 100% organic and go above and beyond in following those rules because that’s where my mentorship came from — the agricultural world of organic fruits and veggies.

How does the Honey Bunny grow?

She’s a beast! This is the first time I’ve gotten her to turn purple because it’s been pretty cold up here lately. I’m really interested to see what this batch finishes like and how it compares to the others.

cannabis world news budding cannabis plants

I love your branding — the bright orange and pink reminds me of a California sunset and Sugar Magnolia just so happens to be my favorite Grateful Dead song. Where did the inspiration for the artistic style come from?

First of all, I have to give 100% credit on the artwork to my good friend Skyler Kenny, you can find his Instagram at @theforeignorange. He and I have been friends for a long time, and he’s always been honing his craft on this incredible cartoon style. A couple of years ago, we decided to redo the logo because the face of the industry had kind of changed. We always wanted to be discreet before so it was just a flower, and then when it was time to get loud again, it was back to Grateful Dead inspiration obviously.

When we had originally made slabs back in the day of BHO, we would call it sugar magnolia as a joke and code name, and that just evolved over the years into the brand name. I do love the Dead’s music, but I think more incredible than the music is the community and the closest thing to that community traveling around is the kinship of potheads. Especially before it was so popular, it was like this little secret. You’d see businessmen and they’d have a pin on with the lightning bolt or whatever, so even when they’re in their business setting other people would know, “Oh shit, this guy knows what’s up. There’s a Dead Head over there that’s undercover.”

To me growing up in the Midwest, that was like pot. You would spot somebody with a lighter that had resin on the bottom or something only a pothead would know, then you’re like, “Here’s my community, here’s my people.” It’s just really evolved from there to be able to open the door for Skyler to go nuts on the artwork. He and I will spend hours on the phone together — he’s rolling up spliffs and I’m taking dabs, and we’re just talking about Grateful Dead-inspired art themes that would fit with the farm. He’s really gone crazy with it the last couple of months and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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Speaking of, anything exciting coming up?

We’re just coming off a wonderful high from Puffcon weekend. It was incredible to see the turnout, I think I met people from seven or eight different states at our booth that day. The next thing for us is Legends of Hashish III out here in Los Angeles in December. We went last year and can’t wait to be back to compete and see everyone again this time.

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Honey Bunny Strain Review

As Judd mentioned, the jar of Honey Bunny I got to try definitely had more of that honey coconut terp. I personally prefer that over a banana flavor so this blend was right up my alley. It had an aroma of tree fruit and floral honey and that smooth, creamy coconut milk note came through on the exhale and left a coating on my tongue.

The perfect balance of earthy and sweet in both smell and taste, she had me feeling energized and creatively inspired at first but settled into a hazier head high over time. I’d have to agree with you, Judd — Honey Bunny has been added to my list of favorite all-day hash smokes.

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Photo credits: Sugar Magnolia Farms

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