After years of mastering the Art of Cultivation and studying the Science of Dank we were ready to make our dream reality. Working closely with our good friend Subcool over the past few years we had been talking about creating a strain called “Mendo Dope” but we didn’t know where to start. When it comes to creating a new strain you want it to be the best. You want to capture every grower and smoker with something new and unique that they will remember.
In 2015 we found a very special pheno of “Locomotion” that produced pink hairs and had a strong smell of burnt rubber and tangerines. This was just one of our extra seeds growing in a 1 gallon pot on the side of our garden. Bleezy noticed that it began flowering and realized it was something very special so we quickly transplanted and gave it some love. After a few weeks the plant began to re-veg and we were able to take a clone and keep her alive in our mother room. We are very picky when it comes to what we really enjoy smoking. For us it is all about the flavor so that is what we really wanted to make shine in this creation.
In 2016 we were able to put this special pheno of Locomotion to the test and find out how well she would perform in a full outdoor season. This Locomotion pheno became an instant hit in the garden. Everyone that came to visit our farm was instantly drawn to this beautiful plant because of its amazing purple and pink colors. Not only was it colorful but the plant was amazingly strong with every branch towering in the sky holding up massive spear-shaped buds without a problem. Locomotion has a strong resistance against mold and the end product is a definite eye catcher. Once we were able to roll up the first dry bud and give it a real taste test we knew it was fire! The smell was beyond delicious and the taste was absolutely mouthwatering. It was packed with an insane fruity flavor that you could enjoy smoking all day. Every inhale coats your taste buds with a tropical explosion of terpenes.
Throughout the season Subcool had been watching the Locomotion perform outdoor and we all had a good feeling about using this in our new creation. The next step for us was to figure out what we could combine with this unique pheno. We needed something that would not only compliment the flavors but also add more resin to this amazing flower. Long time grower and Award Winning breeder Subcool had an idea of hunting for a new Querkle male and using it to cross with this pink hair Locomotion. Subcools “Querkle” is a cross between Purple Urkle and Space Dude. By breeding this with the Locomotion we were hoping to increase the overall fruity flavor adding the grapes, cherries and lemons into the mix and increasing the resin production with the Space Dude. It was finally time to start the mission and create our very own strain.
Subcool cracked the Querkle seeds and we got our Locomotion clones cut ready to make a one-of-a-kind cross that was sure to blow people away. It was such an amazing experience for us to visit Subcool’s garden to see and learn the process of indoor breeding. Walking into the famous Weed Nerd grow room and witnessing “Mendo Dope” come to life was history in the making. Pollen was floating through the air like a snowy winter day and the Cannabis Hunter was creeping under the canopy of the plants. We were immersed in a jungle of Locomotion that would soon be packed full of fresh new seeds. Harvest couldn’t have come any faster, next thing we knew we were down in Subcool’s vault shucking seeds for the first time in our life. I can still hear the sound of all the seeds falling into the bowl as we collected them, it was music to our ears. After carefully sifting through the crumbled buds and leafs we had a mountain of Mendo Dope seeds ready to package and get out to the testers.
Right away everyone was anxious to get these new seeds sprouted and find out if they would pass the final test. All of the testers seemed to have extremely fast germination results and a great female to male ratio. Vigorous growth was shown by numerous phenos of the Mendo Dope strain and it was performing great in both indoor and outdoor environments. Testers from all over were sending us nothing but positive feedback. As these testers began flowering, the smell of burnt rubber and rotten fruit was the first sign things were on track. We were also very excited that the pink hair traits of the Locomotion were carried over to this new creation. Everyone knows that if it doesn’t have the look it most likely won’t be a top contender. With the pink hair trait shining through people were excited. After months of researching the plant’s growth patterns, structure, smell and overall performance we were confident on passing Mendo Dope.
With packaging ready to hit the market and the anticipation high the release date was set. We planned to drop the Mendo Dope strain with Subcool at the 2017 Hightimes Cannabis Cup. We were all so stoked and ready to celebrate the release of our very first strain when the unimaginable happened.
On October 9th 2017 Wild Fires engulfed Northern California in the dead of night during the most powerful wind storm we have had in years. California was in a State of Emergency. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate with little or no time to grab anything as they ran from their homes trying to escape this out-of-control wall of fire. Caught in the middle of the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, Subcool barely managed to escape his house before flames exploded down the mountain straight for his neighborhood. While Subcool was stuck in the middle of the Sonoma County fires we were being evacuated from our home threatened by the Redwood Complex Fire. Our close friend Mr. Bond had traveled up to wash live resin with us and Subcool but ended up being caught in the middle of the chaos. Standing on our roof top we could see the flames moving extremely fast over the mountains from Potter Valley and heading straight for us. It looked like a war zone. The sky was lit up with an orange glow from the flames and we could hear propane tanks exploding up the street like bombs. In a frantic rush we packed our cars with as much as we could fit. Grabbing irreplaceable mother plants, studio equipment and more we were evacuated at 5am that morning. We spoke with Subcool over the phone the next day and he didn’t know if his house was still standing. The smoke was intense, there were so many fires going on at once that no matter where we went it was hard to breath. We tried going back home but roads would be closed for the next 7 days. Standing at the edge of one of the many road blocks we watched helplessly as the fire continued to burn. We tuned into local news coverage and listened to the scanners but we couldn’t wait any longer for roads to open. We planned to sneak back home to check our property and garden. Growing up in Redwood Valley all of our lives we knew how to avoid the numerous road blocks. Walking the railroad tracks we hiked our way through the valley and we were able to make it to our house. It was such an eerie feeling walking down the empty streets of our neighborhood in the thick smoke and ash. The fire had reached just one block away from our home and we could hear the fire trucks and police cars flying up the road past us. The second time we snuck back home the fire was still burning and even more road blocks were in place. We got in our stealth mode and found a new route. Creeping through vineyards, ducking under the grape vines and hopping fences through back yards, we managed to make it home once again so we could water our garden. We were right in the middle of harvest time and most of our plants needed to be picked when this fire broke out. With roads still blocked and no talk of them opening any time soon we decided to stay and harvest one of our plants that day. It felt sketchy just being there, helicopters and fire planes were flying right over us as we picked our 12 ft tall Locomotion. We were harvesting in the middle of the worst fires California had ever seen.
A couple days later we got the news from Subcool that his house was completely burned to the ground and he had lost everything! The news was so devastating we couldn’t even wrap our heads around what had just happened. So many people had just lost so much it didn’t even occur to us yet that just weeks away from releasing the “Mendo Dope” strain everything had burned to ashes. Thousands of seeds and mother plants were now gone but, much worse, numerous people had lost their lives. This fire will go down in history as one of the biggest natural disasters California has ever been through.
Once roads re opened we were thankful that our house was still standing but the damage around California was hard to look at. The Cannabis Culture and our strong surrounding community came together to help the people in need and we are still rising from the ashes. We will rebuild our foundation and continue to move forward.
After weeks of dealing with the tremendous losses we talked with Subcool and he was ready for us to get the Mendo Dope strain back in motion. On November 15th we germinated new Querkle seeds thanks to TGA Will and began our hunt for a new male to re-create “Mendo Dope”. We are working hard to make sure this strain is going to be nothing but flavor! The smell will resemble burning rubber on a pile of tangerines, oranges and grapes. The resin will be sticky and the flowers will be gorgeous. We are so excited to bring the world Mendo Dope in 2018. Follow us on instagram @MendoDope for more updates on this breeding project and check out our YouTube channel to watch the “Making of Mendo Dope”.
Photos by Ocanabis & Mendo Dope
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 133