Friday, September 29, 2023
Strain Safari BY IAN STUART

Photography by Matthew Bourgeois

Strain Safari BY IAN STUART

Maine Made Greens: Gelly Milk


I had to shoot an episode of the comedy web series I write and co-star in called “Welcome to Maine” in the ever-charming Old Orchard Beach. I knew it was sure to be a day of dehydration and alcohol poisoning, and I needed a pre-roll to throw in my back pocket to break out like an axe during a fire...take a stroll on the beach perhaps and send a couple smoke signals to the Jägermeister gods. A friend told me to check out Maine Made Greens, across from the Clam Bake. The store is situated in the back of a nondescript building. I truly enjoyed it — a cool little hidden shop. They had a wonderful selection of in-house strains, edibles, and other goodies. I was able to check out multiple strains before making my choice. Even though I had only gone in looking for a pre-roll, the bud was too nice to pass up, and I quickly asked for a slice of their Gelly Milk. They had no idea what a "slice" was. Maybe it's because I grew up smoking schwag in suburbia as a teenager, but we always called an eighth of weed a "slice." Much like the eight slices of a large pizza, it was perfect slang for a chubby nerd with a bong and an original PlayStation.

Maine Made Green's Gelly Milk is exactly what I needed. A mix of Milk and Cookies and the Why U Gelly strain, this lil' fucker packs a punch like Bruce Lee fighting mirrors at a coke party. The buds are expertly grown and trimmed, like a poodle about to win a dog show. Dark purple and army surplus green give this crystalized flower a haunting, menacing look — in a cool way, like a muscle car or a dominatrix, it looks unforgiving, and that's half the fun. Smokes like the tires of said muscle car outside an auto show sponsored by Goodyear — bold, thick, and incredibly sweet and tasty. Cookies, toffee, coffee, and gas — it’s like getting breakfast at a station that changes your oil and serves you food with the same hands. It was a perfect strain for an afternoon of day drinking and falling over trying to walk through sand and cigarette butts next to the pier. A top-notch strain grown and cultivated by top-notch people, if you are in OOB, do yourself a favor and visit Maine Made Greens.


Viridi: TM 22 Solar Beam 


First off, I absolutely love the fuckin' name — it sounds like the answer to an Earth space science exam. It sounds like a Wilco song title. It sounds like the factory name of a mass-produced assault weapon. I like it. I was able to get my paws on a sampling of this fun strain, grown in live soil, right before I was about to take my two dogs on a little hike. I packed the Solar Beam, a bowl, and my two dogs and headed out to a nice little spot, mostly used by mountain bikers, on the outskirts of Portland. We get to the parking lot, and I find that I am the only one there. Great, I can let the dogs off leash, and I can follow behind sampling the Solar Beam. The dogs take off, and I pack a bowl of the light green nugs with a purple tint. The bud is earthy and fruity on the nose; think organic blueberries being sold out of an old wooden farm stand sitting on freshly mowed grass. The smoke was light and smooth, easy to pack the bowl a few times as I watch my dogs jump into the river next to the trails, covering every inch of their bodies in thick, gross river mud. I pack another bowl. The high is pleasant and nice, perfectly complementing the leisurely stroll through the woods. The sun shining, the birds chirping, and my dogs covered snout to tail in mud that smells like death, I smoke another bowl.


Burn Crews: Apple Turnover


I am down to try anything named after a dessert. The guys over at Burn Crews absolutely crush it when it comes to on-the-go pre-rolls. I love their "Bats," and I know it's probably a no-go during a pandemic, but they are so good it's hard not to pass ‘em around after the comedy shows.  But I don't want to be a super spreader, and honestly the shit’s so good, I don't mind just keeping it to myself. Pre-rolls aside, they also have some fire flower. I enjoyed their Apple Turnover strain a great deal. The bud had the aroma of a sweet tree bark mixed with a floral spice and lilac. A bright and bountiful bud, it smelled like a late spring morning and the inside of a logging truck. Let's just say this strain would wear flannel if it could. It tasted like name brand fruit leather — the kind that soccer moms buy in bulk at a food co-op. The strain made me feel incredibly relaxed; not a great strain if you need to write a book report or a strain review, but ideal  if you’re looking to stare out your kitchen window for a few hours like a chia pet with a broken face missing half of its seeds. This strain made me feel dumb as shit, but honestly, that's pretty much business as usual. Would recommend it if you don't have any responsibilities and you're looking for a strain that pairs perfectly with losing a TV remote.


Upta Camp: Chocolate Cookie Balls


Upta Camp makes a variety of delicious edibles. I was given a sample pack and dove in like a fisherman after a sea monster. Their chocolate chip cookies were great, and their peanut butter balls were so good I needed to stomp on my own foot from yelling out loud while my family was asleep on the other side of the house. But my favorite were the chocolate cookie balls — almost like an Oreo version of the peanut butter balls — soft, sweet, and decadent. I shoved those balls in my mouth like a chipmunk under a walnut tree...or a pornstar with a mortgage payment due. They were better than any of those overpriced baked goods you buy at the counter of a rural convenience store, better than the treats you'd find in an overpriced gift shop aimed at diabetic tourists. An actual dessert with weed in it — so many edibles lack any real delight, and these were fuckin' packed with it. My compliments to the chef! I couldn't help but devour the entire sample pack (400 mg) in a single sitting. Like that fat dude at the restaurant in the Monty Python sketch, I exploded. My mind shattered and my belt broke, but I was higher than a cliff diver hand-feeding baby eagles in a nest.


Maine Homegrown: Cheese


I love the classic Cheese strain, a unique strain with a perfect high. I was more than excited when Amy from Maine Homegrown threw an eighth of their Cheese at me. The bud was a lively green color, with a sharp sour note that hit the nose as soon as I opened the bag. You can tell it’s Cheese just by the smell. Funky and bright, it was a smooth smoke and a relaxing high. My shoulders felt like a GI Joe's that had been microwaved on high for eight minutes — gooey and limp. The Cheese was much better than the broken backscratcher I had been using as a poor attempt at knocking out my stiff neck. I cooked dinner while listening to Steely Dan, burning my dinner so badly that I had to order a pizza. I was jamming out too hard and not paying enough attention to my stove top, pan frying my chicken to a blackened death. But with a strain and a band that good, it was completely worth it.


Shamrock Farms: Banana OG

The guys at Shamrock are the kind of dudes you want to light up a joint, crack open a cold one, and watch a football game with. Good ol' fashioned dudes, putting their positive mental attitudes and hard work into a garden that is currently crushing it. They are constantly cutting down phenomenal strains — their Mimosa was straight-up magical. My current favorite is their Banana OG, a potent light green nug, fluffy as it is potent; a bud that produces well in a grinder, if that makes sense. The bud smells like banana-flavored runts, the candy you can only find at movie theaters and dollar stores for some reason. That candied banana smell is so strong, it'd start a riot in a zoo. The beautifully grown buds smell like a candy store when you break them apart; a sweet heavy smoke that tastes like a tropical drink crafted by the weathered hands of a York Beach bartender. The high was relaxing, alleviating the pain and stress in my shoulders. I felt like I was wearing a cape made out of good vibes and My Morning Jacket guitar riffs, higher than a window washer dropped out and high on a window pane. This is a perfect strain if you're looking to unwind after a long day of doing tough work or running from game wardens — hey, that's a story for a different time.


Green Bear: Grateful Dead


I went up to the infamous Green Bear 420 to perform at a killer party they were having. Food trucks, glass blowing, live music, and a bunch of people smoking awe-inspiring marijuana. I was the headlining comedian for the evening. Most of my set was spent talking to a man who had rushed the stage in a drunken haze demanding to use the microphone. After a few minutes of roasting the poor guy, he retreated to the middle of the dance floor and proceeded to pass out. Who knew I was a comedy hypnotist?! The show was fun, weird, and filled with a purple haze. They had a multitude of different, powerful strains, but my favorite was their in-house Grateful Dead. A nostalgic-tasting strain that would make a fan of anyone who likes smoking and listening to Incubus, it offered a classic taste and high, and it was hard not to smile harder with each hit. It reminded me of smoking good weed for the first time, an explosion of citrus and gas. The high had me immediately moving and shaking my body after my set to the third live version of Shakedown Street we heard that evening from a local jam band. The Grateful Dead strain was much like the party at Green Bear: fun, heady, and (for me) free. One love.


Crop Stop: Dolato


Crop Stop stopped over with a nice four-pack of some of their strains. The box they came in was dope: a picture of the state of Maine printed on the inside, perfect for someone who wants to get stoned and spend half an hour looking at all the weird town names up in the county. The strains were all great — well-grown and perfectly trimmed. I loved their GG4 crossed with Sour Sunset, a nice tropical fruit punch-like smell and taste. But my favorite was their Dolato, a well-grown hybrid that smelled like Hubba Bubba grape bubble gum. I know that's a weird reference, but it's all I could think about. I almost threw the buds in my mouth and started chewing. Nice, tight buds that exploded with crystals while grinding up the light green flower, with a mellow smoke and a mellow high. I found myself deep in a meditative game of computer solitaire after a joint of the Dolato. I didn't win a single game, even on easy mode, but I didn't care. I was too high and relaxed to care.


Lit House: Northern Lights Kush


Lit House grows some amazing flower, and their Northern Lights Kush is no exception. The bud was straight off the cover of a weed magazine, glistening like a sexy model fresh out of a lap pool. A sweet and sour scent wafted from the manicured flower; overripe berry and melon bowl both come to mind. Think of a fruit salad served on Ken Kesey’s Furthur bus. With dark, smooth hits, you could taste how high you were about to get. After smoking a joint of the Northern Lights Kush, I felt like I was moving around my house in slow motion. Like the star of an OK Go music video, I waltzed around my kitchen doing the robot to absolutely no music. I was stoned. Stoned as a boulder with front row tickets to see Tribal Seeds. I would pair the NL Kush with a long night of video games and Chinese take out — not a great strain if you're trying to meet new people, as it'll render both your mouth and brain useless. So throw on some sweatpants before you toke this haymaker of a strain.


Cure: Lava Cake Badder


There are few things in my life that rival my love for weed, and one is shoes. I collect Jordans and SBs — spending much of my free time watching videos and reading articles on the newest shoes coming out. I'm obsessed. I was in good company when I met the two Johns from Cure: Big John with some Gucci shoes and the younger John in some absolutely fire Jordan 1s. I was able to interview each of them and enjoyed my time talking with both. Hard work, dedication to the craft, and good customer service were values they both echoed in their interviews. Solid dudes making solid concentrates, by the way. I was able to liberate a gram of their Lava Cake Badder — good god is this shit nice! Pale and crumbly badder, looking like pottery moments before it hits the kiln. An amazing floral hit on the nose, sweet and slightly sour like a box of SweeTarts left in the van on a Phish lot. Melting like cheese on a nacho chip, my banger filled with a golden haze, tasting like Skittles handcrafted in a tree fort occupied by anarchists. A smooth hit, I breathed in the sweet smoke and breathed out any sense of sobriety I may have had. Potent and strong, a few dabs of this and I was on my phone, perusing the many sneaker resell apps trying to find the shoes I saw the younger John rocking. No luck, but I did find something else. One more dab, a few hundo on the card, and I'm another pair deeper into my collection.


Becky's Buds: Slurricane


Becky's Buds stopped by with a whole slew of goodies — some edibles, some bud, and some concentrates — my favorite being their Slurricane wax. It’s golden and soft like cookie dough made out of yellow diamonds and shines like a yellow beam of light during a game of flashlight tag. Sweet and gassy on the nose, it smelled like an oil change that was recently done on an ice cream truck. The golden dabs melted like butter on a hot driveway, bubbling slowly in my banger. Tasting like sour candy and gas, it was like eating a Skittle that had been dropped on Cumberland Farms’ floor, in the best way possible. With a head high that had me almost dizzy, this is not a strain to use if you plan on going out to do something physical. This is a Where's Waldo and chill kinda' strain.


Blue Sky: Inzane Live Batter

I'm a low-temp dab guy. All about the cold start when it comes to dabs and my banger, the Inzane Live Batter from Blue Sky was a perfect concentrate for a nice low-temp dab. With notes of citrus and candy, the sleek, white dabs hit with such a smoothness, they could have been a saxophone solo in a laid-back jazz song. It was easy to take multiple hits of the powerful dabs; even after a few hits, my chest still felt somewhat intact — uncommon when it comes to shredding dabs like damning evidence during a raid on a corrupt financial office. I sat and finished my dabs, knowing full well there were other people around the world with no dabs at all. Clean Bowl Club over here.