top of page

Episode 24 Nate Schneider Sierra Living Organics/Mountain Cultured

[00:00:02.970] - Elijah

Today we're going to be talking with farmer Nate of Sierra living Organics and Mountain Culture. We're

going to be talking about small farms, cannabis genetics and 2022. Let's jump right in and thank you

for stopping by.


[00:00:19.570] - Elijah

You want to get started, maybe talk about the farm a little bit and what you do?


[00:00:24.580] - Nate

My name is name is Nate Schneider, I'm a 7th generation natural farmer and I've been cultivating

cannabis for over 30 years and throughout that time have done everything from all natural organic to

synthetic hydroponics on every type of method. And over the last 15 years or so I've come back to

organics and full organics and now really just doing focusing on regenerative methods including

Jedam and KNF and we do some permanent agriculture style gardening here as well. And that's kind

of been my focus. And now six years ago or so we've been completely closed loop on what we do,

meaning that we grow all of our own inputs and use all the inputs from our farm to feed everything on

our farm and not bring or buy anything to bring in. So we take pride in that and try to grow a diverse

group of inputs as well as medicinal herbs and vegetables for our own human health as well.


[00:01:48.130] - Elijah

And where's your farm at?


[00:01:50.070] - Nate

We are located in central Sierra Nevada on the southwest facing slope, so we're about 3000ft in the

Sierra Nevada.


[00:02:02.630] - Elijah

Northern California. And what do you typically grow in a season? What's it like?


[00:02:10.010] - Nate

Well, our cannabis, we have a unique terroir up here, so we have over the last few years started

focusing more on longer flowering sativa like equatorial genetics, just to where we can go far into

November and see some of these expressions that are hard to see in other parts of the country. Even

in Northern California and closer to the coast, it's hard to grow some of these 1012 1416 week

flowering lines. So we have started working on some of them. We have some Malawi and some

Bermisse. And the original haze from Todd McCormick. And we have a lot of narrow leaf equatorial

genetics that we're working on. And I think that's what is unique to our terrible and what we can do

out here. And we just have a unique expression up here. I think we're in the mother load. This is first

place the Gold Rush started in California and ever since I've been here, I just feel like there's

something magical in the soil and the plants do magical things out here express totally different than

other places that I've seen. I know we are working with California orange and old Cali O genetic that's

been worked up here for at least twelve years and we started working with that ourselves.


[00:03:43.310] - Nate

And I know that there's a lot of history up in these hills with California orange. I'm trying to bring some

of that back and working on some of that in our lines.


[00:03:55.370] - Elijah

With those Equatorials in addition to like biological reasons, were you attracted to them at all for any

reason?


[00:04:03.150] - Nate

Yeah, that's always been my forte. Personally, I've always really got into hazes and back in the early

and mid 90s, early ninety s I was always growing northern for production but I really got into some of

the back then it was some of the pineapple tie and some of other my favorite was the old mango haze

and some of them older hazes and they just really weren't and still aren't big in production and in the

marketplace. So I've always still played with them, I think over the years. I always have a few breeding

plants that I messed with and usually some preservation project of some kind of old. Like I said, I just

was working on old Burmese and some Malawi a few years ago and this year we're doing these hazes

and getting into some other equatorial genetics as well. So it's just something that I've always felt

needs to be shared and needs to be more in our industry. I think a lot of growers and people that are

close with cannabis really enjoy that type of profile and feeling of well being as well. It's not that

marketable, unfortunately, I think our market is immature and they all want stuff that looks a certain

way and tastes a certain way and hits all these points and some of these open airy flowers

unfortunately towards the middle and late 90s started to become not as marketable and desirable.


[00:05:47.630] - Nate

I think that's something I want to bring back. I think it's something that is recognized in some areas of

the country. I know in the Bay Area, I know out in New York and there's some areas where they're

really starting to come back and people are realizing that it's nice to have something that is creative

and helps you feel good and doesn't just knock you out at night.


[00:06:12.310] - Elijah

A lot of those things are a little more cerebral I think too. And like you said, slices in the city and

maybe slightly professional people who are stuck in the office all day maybe gravitate to those things

a little more.


[00:06:25.390] - Nate

Yeah, I know for sure Silicon Valley for years running has always preferred and you can see it in the

data of what they purchase in the stores over there, but it's one of the areas in the country that really

prefers more of a cerebral, daytime, creative, uplifting experience. But it's not so in a lot of the rest of

the marketplaces and unfortunately a lot of the markets driven by distributors and purchasers like the

whole industry. I think that's something that we can work on as education to the client, to the

consumers and that there's other genetics out there. There's other very interesting and happy things

to experience that aren't really in the marketplace right now. So that's kind of why I decided over the

last few years, especially to really start working on them for the first time. I've been trading and

creating genetics and sharing our genetics since the early ninety s and we've just recently decided

about two years ago that we're going to start releasing our genetics into the public. And so that's

something that we're going to be working on, is preserving some of them equatorial genetics so we

can offer them in pure form as peers.


[00:07:59.580] - Nate

We have them anyway to be able to share and so we'll be doing seed expansion projects on some old

Burmese, some of the old Malawi. We have some wild afghan that's actually from some villages that

are taken over by the tailband now, and a lot of the cannabis plants in the areas and regions have

been cut down. And I know I've heard some of them are going to be growing corn or some other

something they haven't grown in many generations. So it's pretty sad to see. So some of that stuff I

think really needs to be preserved and offered and I think that's super important for upcoming in these

next five to ten years, especially as we move through more hybridization and proposition of cannabis,

saying that that's going to be our main focus is working on preservation and we do have some hybrid

lines that we're working also. And that's that California orange I was talking about. We have that

crossed with ATF and we've used that mail to do some interesting hybrids and we have some F one S

and F two S of them that will be released soon. And then also our am lime, fourth place Army Cup

winner from 2022 that we have stabilized and we have F three seeds of them available for spring

along with seed starts.


[00:09:33.820] - Nate

And we then also choose the choice mail out of our F two progeny of the am lime and we use that as

our male on our property. This in 2022. So we have some old Lily Wonder, some old Northern and a

whole bunch of really interesting plants that we, that received the am lime pollen really well this year

so we're excited to share them crosses as well.


[00:10:00.320] - Elijah

What was your favorite cross?


[00:10:02.170] - Nate

Oh man, I don't know. One of the progeny out of the am lime ATF mail it was just amazing. I mean it

came out almost like a dark burgundy color. It has some of the orange cherry and a lot of the pine

coming through so it's just an extremely unique plant and we have done some breeding with that one

as well now so I'm pretty excited about that. We're moving that one into an F two right now so we hit

that with our lime mail. So that one I'm pretty excited about. The cherry pie ATF Cross is also very

nice. It brings a lot of cherry, almost like a cherry menthol and just covered in resin. So we have a lot

of testers that have been working in through all of our regenerative methods and they are also running

right now in indoor and they're just producing extremely well. I think I just saw a picture of week 28

and they're completely coated in resin and leaps and bounds above the plants that are around them. I

think they're running out runs and some other cross for their production. They're really excited. They

just basically bought a pack of seeds and then found four choice females that they cloned and are

running out.


[00:11:41.070] - Nate

They already ran the moms out and now they're running out the clones. They're actually doing, I think,

a table of each just as testers to see how they do and then they're going to pick one. But yeah, pretty

interesting stuff coming out of that line as well. So other than that, like I said, I get excited about the

old stuff. So I have some northern number two that I got from Todd McCormick that I grew up this

year. That's extremely amazing. The structure and resin on the plants are just amazing. This comes

through completely coated outside regenerative methods. They came out looking like indoor.

Actually. I met up with Todd and brought my flower and his flower and it looked very similar, so I was

really impressed. I always wonder that when you grow something, are you seeing what the breeder

meant for you to see? Pheno was the one in their eyes, so it was cool to actually hook up. And I

brought the female that I really liked and he had some of his northern tubes that he grew indoor and it

was cool to see it side by side. He smoked mine, I smoked his.


[00:12:58.410] - Nate

And it was I nailed it. The female eyebrow was the female he had as well. Smelled the same, look the

same, nice. It was really cool to do that. And then I have another just one that I received. It was called

Northern. And I don't know if it was a northern one or just a straight Northern lights. It came from

Dave Pope from Alaska and I ran some of them out this year and totally amazing expressions on

them. Plants as well, really brought me back. A lot of really sweet pine brought me back to the early

90s. Like I said, I used to run a cut of northern from probably 91 to 94 and it was very special. It was

that classic pine tree smell, taste, and look. And it was definitely special in my circle and it was

something that I was known for and then kind of lost track of northern. Over the course of the

probably about five or six years ago, I realized that I didn't have really any pine or pine in my life at all.

And then remembered, started thinking about the old northern. And that's when I reached out to some

of these guys and started to try to find maybe what I had, even though what I had was just called

Northern.


[00:14:21.260] - Nate

It was given to me as a cut. We kept it for at least four or five years and ran it for production. That

really brought me back to this old Northern one or the Northern Lights that I ran. Besides the northern

two from Todd, the one from Todd really had a lot of funk, some gas and even some sweet berry in it.

Like he's talked about that northern two never really got released and it wasn't one that got given to

Neville or any of that stuff from my understanding. So it's a pretty unique one. I think it was really

bracked out. I think it really has a lot of basis of maybe some of the OGS and possibly even some

sours came from some of the lines. But yeah, it was definitely brought back some flavors that I

haven't had in a long time in both of the Northerns this year. So that was probably the most exciting. I

did grow some cali mist this year I got from some old 80s freezer beans and them are very exciting

too. It was really haze. The females I had were haze dominant and I harvested most of them.


[00:15:43.900] - Nate

Actually two females were done later November and then I harvest the other one right at the

beginning of December and I have another one that I just harvested a few weeks ago and I'm doing

that one fresh frozen and we're going to try to do some wash on it and see how it washes out. So

we're pretty excited about some of these old genetics and we're getting the opportunity to work with

them. Not sure they're marketable, but that's kind of like I said a couple of years ago, we decided to

shift more into just our genetics. That opens us up not to focus so much on flower production and we

can really run some of these things that we're interested in sharing genetics to the rest of the world.


[00:16:27.290] - Elijah

Absolutely. And apart from commercially viable, if you didn't have to worry about that in the magical

Christmas Land, what would you want to be growing right now or what are you interested in?


[00:16:38.990] - Nate

Well, yeah, that's kind of when we decided to start this seed line we realized I think it's really important

that we try to release things that are interesting, that have some preservation in them and maybe like

a pure bread preservation line across to more of a hybrid. And the reason being is because I think it's

important to share them genetics without a whole lot of human interaction. Right. We've manipulated

these genetics so much to this point that I almost feel like when I work something into an F four and F

five or an F six or seven or start back crossing it and really selecting it heavily. My concern is that I've

personally now selected that genetic self for myself. My own terrorist, my own property, in my own

situation and acclimate to me. And I feel like that as that is great for me. If that's my path. And I'm

trying to find the perfect phenomenon for me to run for production or for me to have on my property.

But as me wanting to release these seeds into the public, I feel like the more selection I do on them,

the more I might be selecting out the genetic possibilities and phenols that maybe someone else

around the world would want.


[00:18:11.470] - Nate

Right. And that's what's held me up all through the 90s. Like I said, I've bred a lot of plants and I've

worked a lot of genetics in background stuff. I've worked them into FH. I've done a lot of breeding

work with a lot of plants, but I've never called myself a breeder or went down that path as to put the

addicts out, because I felt like, well, I haven't done this work. With this particular one and I've been

chasing unicorn since the early ninety s and I haven't found that amazing plant that I think is perfect

on all sides and all angles. Right? I found amazing work and amazing lines and stuff that I want to

work with and stuff that I know is market viable and all that stuff. But I just feel like that if I work all

that stuff into my choices, I'm limiting the choices that you might have if I just did F one hybrids or

even in the released F two. Which really opens up the genetics for someone who's trying to find that

certain phenol for their own property or for their own self. And that's when I realized that's more of my

lane.


[00:19:21.970] - Nate

I don't think my lane trying to allow cannabis to express what it has to offer to the human race. I think

if I stay in my lane I can try to manipulate them genetics the least amount as possible. I don't think my

lane is to work these genetics into something so stable that I can offer somebody 100 or 1000 seeds

that they can plant production style and have 99% or 90% of them all come out to san pheno. I think I

would be doing justice for what I think I have to offer and from what I think my relationship with this

plant is. So that's kind of what I decided a couple of years ago. And that's why I decided to start

releasing a lot of this work, is because I feel like that finding these certain lines that I feel like whether

it's the terp combination, the way the terps express themselves or the plant itself expresses

themselves and the feeling and relationship with nature and humans around it, I feel like that's what I

have to offer is kind of that in a pure form so that when you get a pack of these seeds, you can expect

to have multiple different variations of them.


[00:20:40.610] - Nate

Genetics in there. So you can choose what expression works the best for you and your situation and

on your property. And then if you're looking for that for production, then you can find that perfect

phenotype that you think that will be a good expression of your brand or your farm and will help you

succeed as a production product into the marketplace. But like I said, I think if I select these things

out and come up with these and stabilize all of my lines, that I'll be doing everyone, especially around

the globe, a disjustice. Because the female that I selected out and maybe you'll never see if I take it to

a back cross or an inbred line or an F eight or something like that, you might not see them phenos that

you would have chosen. Right. So I just feel like that the more and the older I get, the more I feel like

that my place with this plant is to get out of the way and let the plant do its thing. And that's what I try

to do in cultivation too. And I recommend everybody to do that. When you're having a relationship

with this plant, whether you're doing production or you're just growing for your own medicinal use or