As she grew, the Strawberry Banana Goo was very odorous, permeating the summer air with the smell of grape bananas.
Every day is a treasure and every moment a wonder. Children know this without being told, but adult sometimes need prompting. I like to think I am not obliviously bungling through my life, but a series of experiences aided by the exquisite flavor and effect of Strawberry Banana Goo Cream have opened my eyes to the richer possibilities of my everyday existence.
Created in Sonoma County by Rolling Hills Farm, this Strawberry Banana female crossed with a Goo male is a wide-leaf-dominant hybrid that was grown indoors. The cannabis flower yield is low at harvest, though her flavor is massive; garnering a few awards to prove it.
1st place Norcal Medical Cannabis Cup – Strawberry Banana Goo CBD Concentrate (collab with Gold Drop)
1st Place NorCal Medical Cannabis Cup – Strawberry Banana Goo Sap (collab with Bubbleman and Blue River Terpenes)
2nd Place SoCal High Times Concentrate Cup – Strawberry Banana Goo Stardust THCa Sugar Sap (collab with Stardust and Blue River Terpenes)
These winning combinations manifested between undeniable stalwarts in the cannabis community. Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson is a 20+ year cannabis patients who is globally recognized for his experience in macro-photography, advanced extraction methods and hemp cultivation. With a deep and abiding love, Bubbleman has committed himself to learning all he can about cannabis. Through his Fresh Headies bubble bags, he popularized the art of bubble hash making and through new media he has taught thousands to grow, process and appreciate all forms of cannabis.
After a traumatic car accident 20 years ago, Tony Verzura turned to cannabis when opiates were no longer a viable solution. He sees cannabis as a major component to overall wellbeing
He popularized mainstream cannabis derived Terpenes with proprietary tech uses in brands including Prana Medicinals, Blue River Extracts, Bubbleman Brand, and Gold Drop. Over the last two years, Blue River Terpenes has been credited with over 30 awards in California for collaborations with innovated products using only cannabis derived Terpenes.
Mike of Rolling Hills farm has been growing cannabis for over 20 years. Not beholden to one particular method, he has learned from various cultures how to cultivate cannabis infused with love and compassion.
“What growing really means to me is connecting with your plants. If you know – you know. Those are always the best crops. Loved ones not ones pushed for more money. Quality is key. “
As she grew, the Strawberry Banana Goo was very odorous, permeating the summer air with the smell of grape bananas.
My mouth waters in anticipation!
I am sitting in the home of a fellow cannabis colleague and I am waiting for my grandmother to return from a trip to the hairdresser. She is staying with her sister just around the corner from me. Checking my watch, I figure I have fifteen minutes to have a short smoke. In my hand is the Trinity Pen, a sleek, reusable vaporizer that practically oozes class and prestige. It is already preloaded with the Strawberry Banana Goo Cream; a blend of freshly squeezed Strawberry Banana Goo flower rosin with Strawberry Banana Goo terpenes. The rosin alone tested at 84% and the final ‘cream’ product tested at 70% THCa and 17% Terpenes. Keeping in line with the extreme dedication to the health and wellbeing of patients, the Strawberry Banana Goo was triple tested for pesticides, potency, and terpenes on flowers, hash, hash rosin, flower rosin, and blended rosin and terps.
Although pure sweetness is my least preferred terpene profile, the puffing Strawberry Banana Goo Cream in my Trinity Vape pen immediately brings a smile to my face. There must be exceptions to every rule, and this terpene and rosin concoction, with its maddeningly light onset and extra sweet finish, fit the bill. Strawberry shortcake is the first thing that comes to mind as the initial mouthfeel is nonexistent, but the exhale is a thick tumble of fat, juicy strawberries topped with sugared whip cream. I should not like anything about this strain, what with it being wide leaf dominant, and seemingly made of syrup, but I shake my head in appreciation as its honeyed flavor coats my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Minutes later, I use my tongue to force air into my nostrils and I can still taste the plump strawberries. I take another puff, really relishing the berry flavor. Maybe I should take a closer look at the super sweet varieties. I sense that I am somehow lighter; like I am levitating. I chuckle and take a few more puffs and the chatter in my brain mutes significantly. I briefly worry that everyone is going to know that I am high, but push the thought away. They know what I do in California. Now is not the time for self-imposed stigma.
My cousin Kim texts me that my grandmother has returned and, taking one last puff, I hurry back around the corner. Seeing her tall silhouette, I rush towards her with my arms wide. For a horrible moment, she stares at me questioningly, and then warily as I exuberantly invade her space.
“Grandma,” I yell as I stop short. I feel tears coming and blink hard. She looks at me, quirks her head and proclaims, “You’re my niece!” At least she doesn’t think I am an absolute stranger. “I’m Erick’s daughter. Your eldest grandchild.” She looks me up and down and at that very moment, I am thankful that the cannabis has me feeling pretty good, or I would have surely bawled at that second. “What’s up girlfriend?” Oh yes, her familiar greeting that she has always reserved for me eases my pain slightly and I give her a big hug. Almost immediately she starts asking me questions and I answer them, patiently repeating myself whenever she trods over well-worn territory: Yes I’m doing well; No I do not live in Florida anymore; California; Yes California is where I am; The cats? Oh yes they are doing well; Yes, Grandma, I remember when you took me and Kim to Union Square; Yes I know how much you loved those cats.
I sit as she paces I notice her soft, thin skin with visible veins protruding. How long ago was it that grandmother was a 6 foot tall powerhouse; afraid of nothing that the East New York streets could throw at her. Now as I look at this most soft-spoken woman, eyes vacant, and spirit quieted, I wonder where the time has gone. Truthfully, the last time I had spent a significant amount of time with my grandmother was right before I left for college in 1996; determined that I, as a 17 year old, could handle anything and New York was no longer my home. She went back to Panama not long afterwards and I have only enjoyed her company for hours every few years when I visited. And now, what relationship we had is merely tattered pieces of cloth; packed away neatly like all of her prized possessions over which she now currently obsessed. Her persnickety attitude is a feature of her ever-increasing dementia and my heart breaks a little bit thinking about her mental decline. Truthfully, I have not been there for her. I have not desperately advocated for her upon hearing her complaints about being lonely living in a suburb of her home city of Colón. And now that she is back in Brooklyn, I have not called enough. Though I send her CBD from Tony’s lab, I just have not been around enough. And seeing her in this state, I am devastated. I sit with her for a while until she becomes concerned about something or the other and she walks away. I look to Kim and she gives me a poignant half smile. I collect my things, say my goodbyes, and walk toward the subway, emotionally spent, but somehow also mildly hopeful. As I turn the corner, I take out my pen and, keeping my eyes straight ahead, walk determinedly; enjoying the saccharine taste and the accompanying inner warmth. Something in my life will have to change.
The next day is partly cloudy and I worry that my plans will somehow be ruined. Every year, I endeavor to take Kim’s children somewhere they do not usually frequent. Their existence is practically contained in the one square mile of East New York, Brooklyn; a rough and tumble neighborhood that is finally on an upswing. Of recent, Coney Island Beach/Luna Park has been their fun destination of choice. This year, my friend Ashley and I are taking the oldest and youngest boy, 19 and 13 respectively, to the famous amusement park. I expect that they will want to try the scariest rides, but they want to go on the teacups and a little baby rollercoaster. I start to question them about their choices, but my Ashley’s hand on my arm stops me. After all this is their day and they are doing whatever they want to infuse every minute with happiness. Who am I to dictate what that happiness should look like? I excuse myself from their effusive chatter and walk over to a corner where I can both charge my phone and pull on my Trinity pen without much interference. The bright sun caresses my face and I angle my face upwards, catching the pleasant rays as I pull on the vape pen. I am getting very little from the pen and looking at the tank, I notice I am just about at the end. I am prepared with a replacement syringe full of the delicious cream. After looking from side to side to make sure that ever-present New York cops are a far enough distance away, I unscrew the head of the pen and refill the tank without much issue. I recap the pen and roll the tank between my warm hands. As I scan the growing throngs of children looking for my cousins, I wonder if I look like a weirdo brewing a nefarious plan. The shouts and screams of the children on the rides provide delightful background noise and I take a few quick puffs before I disengage from the outlet. I feel my need to control start to slip away; replaced by the reminder to accept each moment as it is and rejoice in it. I practically skip over to the ride where 7 and 8 year olds patiently wait. My cousins squeeze their lanky frames into the small seats but they do not seem to mind the cramped space nor notice the huge age difference between them and their peers. For the moment, with none of the stresses of their usual hectic lives, they are free. I feel my spirit soar when I see their faces crack in absolute joy. For them, everything is perfect. When they bound off of the ride begging for us to all go to the bumper cars, I feel like I am 17 again and I race over to the flashing lights and cheesy music. As we are the only people riding, the operator graciously gives us twice the amount of time to slam into each other, eliciting peals of laughter and whoops. I might have whiplash tomorrow, but absolutely everything is perfect today.
Two days later, I am applying makeup, fussing about my hair, and chomping at the bit to the city. Today is the Carlito’s Wish Foundation Boat Ride which is the highlight of the ending summer season and it is the one event my mother looks forward to every year. Panamanians of every age get dolled up for the 4 hour boat ride around the southern tip of Manhattan. This year, we are horribly late. In fact we had planned just enough time, but a movie shoot was adding to already snarled traffic. My anxiety about disappointing my mother is weighing on me; never mind the four hundred people waiting for us as we slowly navigate through midtown Manhattan traffic. We call ahead and after we are told by the event coordinator in no uncertain terms that we are going to be left behind, my mother begins to fidget nervously. Shedding any pretense at decorum, I holler at the captain that he MUST wait as Ashley and I are coming from California. Turning to the Uber driver, I sneer to him to do his job and get us to the boat on time. After fi ve excruciatingly long minutes, the tires screech into the parking lot at Pier 81. After promising to tip for my sharp demeanor, I jump out of the SUV and, on 4 inch heels, run the length of the marina. At my urging, Ashley, my mother and I rudely blow through a party setting up halfway down the impossibly long marina. With sheer determination, we noisily climb the plank and the ship departs almost immediately. I am exhausted and decidedly out of sorts. The entire boat has watched us sprint through a wedding, nearly bowling people over, and I worry about my mother’s embarrassment. In a way only she can manage, she composes herself and steps into the ballroom like a queen with nary a concern. I, on the other hand, am a miserable wreck and I feel my temper ready to fl are at anyone. After saying curt hellos to the un-amused table, I make my way to the top deck. As I run up the stairs to the uppermost level of the ship, a blast of cool air rushes over my slightly damp skin. The mad dash has left me perspiring slightly and I wonder if my previously perfectly coiffed hair has been mussed beyond repair. As I take the last few stairs, I pat my hair, unconsciously noting that the deck is completely deserted. I smile slightly thinking that I could smoke huge joints up here and no one would notice, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Sliding the Trinity pen between my lips, I make a slow 360 turn, silently praising the eye-popping skyscrapers crammed onto Manhattan and concurrently disparaging the eastern shore of New Jersey whose buildings seem paltry by comparison. I exhale audibly and marvel at the cosmopolitan landscape before me. The sun imparts its brilliant shine on my skin and as I inhale, I will myself to feel better. At the tail end of summer, I am on a ship along the historic Hudson River and the weather in New York is simply glorious. Clad in a sleek full length dress, I sashay around the large deck, sipping the sweet elixir from my vape pen. By the time I have walked to the opposite end, I feel my spirits begin to lift. The DJ has begun his set and the throbbing bass that I can faintly hear stirs within me the need to dance. I start walking back toward the stairs and I am surprised that I am no longer alone. A stunningly beautiful woman is leaning against the railing taking in the breathtaking scene that surrounds us. As I walk past her, she says softly, “That sure smells good.” I smile and look up at her, offering her my pen. She obliges and on the exhale proclaims, :That’s amazing! What is that?” I tell her that it is vaporized Strawberry Banana Goo Rosin and Terpenes. Her blank stare reminds me of how privileged we are on the West Coast to have the newest and best everything with regard to cannabis. I touch her arm and say, “Nevermind that. Do you like it?” Her simple response is, “That’s the best weed anything I have ever tasted.” I laugh, nod, and continue walking. Just as I get to the stairs, my mother bursts from below and yells that one of my favorite line dances is happening and it is time for my yearly performance. I enter the lavish ballroom and the party is in full swing. The DJ is playing “Wobble” and with a knowing smile to my mother, I take a place on the edge of the dance floor. The well-heeled crowd is faced away from me, but no matter. Soon enough, the rotating line dance will feature me in the front and with my trademark fl air, I’ll get a chance to lead. As I expertly move through the familiar steps of the dance, I feel little fi reworks shooting off of my skin. I shake my hips and shoulders in time to the music as the twinkling lights that decorate the interior of the ship fall like glitter over my gyrating body. I fl ing my concerns into the air and delight in the present moment of joyous expression. I have done this dance for years, but, somehow buoyed by the Strawberry Banana Goo Cream, I feel especially elated. I can always appreciate cannabis that does away with my anxiety, but this experience is ecstasy and I wish for it to last forever. As the night continues, I take a few breaks to pull on my vape pen and bolster my high. My mother and I chat animatedly with family friends who I see only at this event. We dance for hours on end, enjoying the chance to release amongst people who laugh easily and revel in the rambunctious and raucous occasion. I even make a new friend, exchanging my contact information with the beauty from above deck. She lives is in Puerto Rico, which has a medical marijuana program, so I assure her I will be visiting soon. As we return to port, I take a last look over the partygoers and remark to myself that their collective happiness glows as intensely as the light of Times Square. I am over-the-moon happy. Many times, when we think back to our activities of the previous week, we draw a blank as our routines seem unremarkable or we are unable to recall them. We shrug off our mental fog, fi guring that besides moments of amazing importance, life just IS. The general hustle and bustle of our lives often causes us to unwittingly move through our day mostly by rote action. We do what we are accustomed to do and placidly experience the passing of time without truly engrossing ourselves in each precious moment. Sometimes it takes an experience like seeing a sick loved one to bring ourselves to a full stop to reassess our day to day actions and thought processes. The Strawberry Banana Goo Cream manages to slow my thoughts enough to stop to smell the rose, and truly enjoy every part of it from the color, the texture and shape, to the scent. I am reminded to appreciate every last minute of every day. One never knows how much time is left on this Earth.
Bred and Grown by Mike of Rolling Hills Farm.
Processed by Bubblemanbrand and Blue River Terpenes.
Words by The Dank Duchess.
Photos by Dain Oyler
The Dank Duchess is a hashmaker based in Oakland, California. These days you will find her making Hashish, smoking Hashish, writing about Hashish, and/or organically growing cannabis plants to process into Hashish. Follow her on your favorite social media channels at @TheDankDuchess and find her online at www.TheDankDuchess.com
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 131