Going Rogue

If you’ve ever driven from California to Oregon by way of Interstate 5, it’s likely that you’ve passed right by the Rogue Valley. This region of southern Oregon, comprised of the two bordering Josephine and Jackson counties, is home to the Rogue River, a 215-mile waterway that moves westward until it hits the coast. Unlike more prominent areas of the Pacific Northwest, such as Portland, Oregon, or almost all of Washington state, southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley has a unique climate perfect for farming.

Jessica Clements, founder of Güd Gardens, has been cultivating cannabis in Oregon since 2010.

“This little pocket that I’m in on the Rogue River, just outside of Grants Pass, is a small mini valley of flat, arable land, all irrigated by the Rogue River,” Clements says. “When I found the property, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘This is insane. This is everything I wanted.’”

High Times Magazine, March 2024

The Emerald Triangle is known worldwide for its ideal growing conditions, but Clements believes that southern Oregon also shares that benefit.

“California gets all the clout for being, you know, some of the best climate to grow cannabis, but southern Oregon is this little pocket like microclimate, that is very similar to [Northern] California’s,” Clements says. “And so [when] you think of Oregon, you think Portland, Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, it’s just like rainy, and you know, kind of cool and dark in the winter. But we get incredible amounts of sunshine. In the summertime, we have a long growing season.”

Clements started by cultivating medical cannabis but immediately knew she wanted to move into recreational cannabis once voters approved Measure 91 in 2014. Recreational cultivation licenses in the state were granted starting in 2016, and in 2017, Clements applied for a license, was approved, and harvested her first crop all during the same year. Over five years later, Güd Gardens has expanded to include five farms.

Jessica Clements, Founder of Güd Gardens

The first Güd Gardens farm, also where Clements resides, includes 10,000 square feet of outdoor canopy, a greenhouse, and a 6,900-square-foot indoor facility.

“So this has kind of all the components that you would ever want for multiple growscapes in which we can do our breeding, our pheno hunting, and I do our year-round indoor cultivation here,” she explains of the primary farm, which she calls the “OG flagship farm.” “The greenhouse allows us to expand our nursery, and then we do some greenhouse [cultivation] in the summer and late fall and then the outdoors with the full sun, you know, one harvest a year outdoor.”

When Güd Gardens expanded to include additional farming properties, Clements focused exclusively on outdoor cultivation.

“I love indoor. I appreciate its place in the world, but like, my gosh, if you’re in southern Oregon growing indoors, that’s wild to me,” Clements says. “So when I built the other farms, they’re full-sun outdoors, so each of them is like the maximum canopy limit, which is [one] square acre of just full sun outdoor.”

With a total of 4.5 acres of outdoor canopy to work with (a half-acre on the flagship farm, plus one acre for each of the other farms), Güd Gardens has managed to establish a massive presence in Oregon. Clements says that 2023’s growing menu consisted of a whopping 173 different cultivars. In addition, Güd Gardens merged with a local extract company called Higher Cultures in 2021. Approximately half of Güd Gardens’s harvests are freshly frozen and used to make everything from distillates to live resin batter for Higher Cultures products.

Runtz Buttons

Güd Gardens’s extensive selection of cultivars showcases a wide variety of strains bred by famous breeders like Exotic Genetix and 3rd Coast Genetics and local breeders like StaeFli Farms.

Güd Gardens grows both through seeds and clones. When considering which strains to grow, Clements says that it comes down to two things. First, she wants to retain a varied selection of sativa, indica, and hybrid products.

“While I hate it from a cultivation standpoint, the taxonomy of sativa/indica/hybrid, there’s a lot of problems with that, but it is kind of what we all agreed upon as like how we’re going to qualify, you know, the effects of the products right now that we’re selling and that people are buying,” Clements says.

More importantly, though, she wants to see Güd Gardens continue to offer a diverse selection of flavor profiles, especially when pursuing a variation in concentrate selection.

“If you’re going into the sativa realm, you’re gonna get a lot of citruses. You know, there’s a lot of those like brighter, lemony/piney experiences, but we like to find unique cultivars that express differently, right?” Clements says. “We don’t want a sativa library that’s all lemon, or, you know, all pineapple or all Tangie. We’re looking for some diversity within that.”

Every few months, Güd Gardens focuses on hunting for new and exciting genetics to add and experiment with. Its most recent hunt included gear from Countree Grammer and Big Papa from Skunk House Genetics, Dad Breath from Masonic Seed Co., Deep V from Thug Pug Genetics, and PermZ from Lost In Translation (LIT) Farms, among many others.

Cultivation Manager Adam tends to Red Queen.

The Güd Gardens team has also spent the last few years experimenting with their own internal breeding program. Clements says they started building the program between 2021 and 2022 using southern Oregon staples like Purple Hindu Kush, Jager, and Lemon Sour Diesel. However, their in-house breeding portfolio has expanded to include a few interesting results.

Warp Speed (Galactic Runtz x Runtz Buttons) was the first to be announced online from this breeding program. Clements explains that Warp Speed has been “wildly popular.”

“We chose to share pollen from Galactic Runtz with several receivers; this offspring was a clear winner,” Güd Gardens announced online last summer. “This gorgeous plant has reflective trichomes and an ultra-gassy, chemical-rich, nose-wrinkling scent. It finishes with a sweet fruity flavor that makes this one of the more dynamic and highly potent experiences from our garden.”

Likewise, another in-house bred cultivar, Elon’s Yacht (Galactic Runtz x Tropical Fusion), which features a musky, men’s cologne aroma, was another surprise winner with Oregon consumers. That one was turned into rosin and BHO by Higher Cultures.

“A seriously divine cross of tropical terpenes and ultra-gassy skunk combine to create a bright green mature flower with a sweet flavor and the familiar gas of the classic Galactic,” Güd Gardens says on Instagram. “Perhaps the most notable quality of this genetic is its ability to create high-yielding and mouth-watering rosin.”

Sour Plums offers a diverse display of colors and flavors.

Clements recalls that one surprising cultivar creation came in the form of a plant strongly reminiscent of turkey gravy, so the team aptly named it Gravy (Tropicana Punch x Point Break).

“There’s still these unique profiles presenting themselves, and I think that’s what a lot of the really interesting breeders are chasing too,” Clements says.

Ultimately, Clements thinks that over the past five years or so, consumers have become overwhelmed with a wide variety of new strains whose flavor profiles and qualities are very similar to classic strains.

“I’ll tell you what, Purple Hindu Kush in southern Oregon, it’s like people come back to that. And the Blue Dream? People are coming back to that now,” Clements says. “I think everyone got kind of hit over the head with all the new stuff, and those [classics] sell great too. We put a Blue Dream cart out, we put Blue Dream in a bag and sell the flower, and we can’t keep it in stock.”

Güd Gardens has found a sweet spot for cultivating unique cannabis in the Rogue Valley, but there’s even more to look forward to soon. Earlier in 2023, Higher Cultures began selling extracts in New Mexico, and Clements is making plans to check out property to expand Güd Gardens into the Land of Enchantment next.

This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of High Times Magazine.

The post Going Rogue appeared first on High Times.


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