After tasting a few of Benno’s 40 flavors, I came up with some recipes that are sure to enhance the strains' tastes and are all natural …
Being Benno –
In today’s Medical Marijuana industry there will be winners and losers. One of those winners will be James Benno, a gruff, guarded man who keeps authorities and patients at arms distance. James Benno lets few into his world. Benno has an opinion and has no qualms of letting you know just exactly where he stands. To some he is a scary person who should be avoided … to others, like me, he is the gentler Benno – the one who really gives without recourse. A man who someday hopes to open a patient’s retreat where patients can receive treatment free-of-charge for their ailments with various forms of strain specific medications; from RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), capsules and salves to dabs or flowers for smoking, Benno does it all – all the while never mixing the strains in order to keep the results pure.
Recently, I had the great opportunity to sit down with James Benno and learn some of the reasons why this medicine man does what he does. Just like all of us there is a back story to James Benno – strained relationships, broken heart, divorce, alcohol, pain from years of abusing his body, deep depression – James had hit rock bottom … until his children, Logan and Jacob, suggested he start treating his depression with medical marijuana. If it weren’t for Benno’s sons, Benno would never have become the activist he is today. If it weren’t for the dedication and love of Jacob and Logan, their father, James, would not have made it through those dark times!
James has been in an epic battle with not only the City of Redding but also the county regarding his collective grow. Two of his past landlords have been pressured by government entities to not renew leases to Benno. Recently, Benno and his children have been targeted for collectively growing in an unincorporated area in Shasta County where Benno and his family now have to live behind locked gates and 6 foot high fences, yet James continues his mission to provide only the best medicines to his patients. Many of his strains tested in the twenties: God’s Gift and Cherry OG test around 22 %THC but have some of the best Terpenes; Pineapple Kush, Master Kush and Blue Dream test 24 %–25% range for THC; Grape Drink (smells like Welch’s) tested highest almost 26 % THC and it happens to be a strain which came from a Romulan Mom (testing 21% – 24% ) depending on the year and a “Lone Seed” in a 4 LB plant (truly a gift from the Gods) just like the legend behind God’s Gift. API tested over 14 % CBD & 6% THC. Some of my favorites are Silver Haze, Romulan, Red Cross, Jack Herer, Mile High, Rascal/Pure/Chronic/Banana OG and or course the Pineapple.
Benno has over 40 strains in his garden. Each one of his plants stands over 6 feet tall, with beautiful flowers weighting down each branch. They are all organically grown in soil that Benno claims he has been nurturing since 1997 by adding nutrients and teas every season. That’s right, he’s been growing in the same dirt for over 17 seasons! Benno has also started collecting the genetics of many of his favorite flavors; he recently struck a deal for distribution of the various strains of genetics he has collected. This year he will make Lemon and Redwood Kush, in addition to Costal and Mountain Thai available to the public!
After tasting a few of Benno’s 40 flavors, I came up with some recipes that are sure to enhance the strains’ tastes and are all natural …
Baked Pineapple Chicken Breasts
¾ cup canna-flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 chicken breast halves, skin removed
½ cup canna-butter
2 cups pineapple juice, unsweetened
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy
¼ cup granulated sugar
Mix together canna-flour, salt, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and nutmeg; dredge chicken in seasoned flour mixture. In a heavy skillet, brown chicken breasts in melted canna-butter; when chicken is golden brown, transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce and sugar; mix well and pour over chicken. Cover tightly with foil and bake in 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until chicken is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes longer, basting with pan juices several times. Serve sauce with the chicken, if desired.
Jacked Up Potatoes
7 small potatoes, such as Yukon gold
1 cup broccoli florets
2 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons reduced-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno chili’s
Salt and pepper
Canna-olive oil cooking
Chili powder, for sprinkling
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain. Finely chop the broccoli and place in a medium bowl.
Slice 6 potatoes in half. Scoop out half of the flesh from each piece and add to the broccoli. Peel and finely chop the remaining potato and add to the mixture. Add the cheese, 2 tablespoons yogurt and the jalapeno; mash coarsely and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425oF degrees. Arrange the potato halves, cut-side-down, on a baking sheet and lightly coat them with canna-olive oil; invert and season with salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing among the potato halves. Lightly coat with canna-olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon yogurt and more chili powder.
Canna-Blueberry Kush Vinaigrette
½ cup fresh blueberries or 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
½ cup water
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon canna-olive oil
½ teaspoon fresh lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir often. Cover and chill thoroughly. Serve over fresh salads, steamed asparagus, fresh fruit salads, or grill or poached chicken.
Banana OG Bread
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted canna-butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups of canna-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix canna-butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the canna-flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a canna-buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
If you are interested in knowing more about the strains James has available or you just want to get in contact with James Benno you can contact him via www.facebook.com/JamesBennoNorCalPatientsCoalition email him at [email protected] or follow him on YouTube at www.youtube/mrjimbigley
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 110