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
[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
[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
[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
[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
[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
recreational uses, to let the plant express its own self and get out of the way.
[00:22:01.020] - Nate
Because these plants are amazing. They have a relationship with the Earth and the stars and the
cosmos. And really, us humans can help that in certain times, and we can really hinder it most of the
time. So one thing I've learned and someone in the 90s, an old guy used to tell me is, nate, just get out
of the way. The plant will be much happier. And I never really knew what he meant. And the older I get,
the more I realize it. And now the more I get out of my plant's way, the more they show me what they
can actually do. And it's really amazing to see.
[00:22:37.010] - Elijah
How do you feel like this year impacts what you see? We're talking about what you see comes out of
the plant naturally. Do you feel like you see certain things in your plants, taking them year over year on
[00:22:52.630] - Nate
Yes, for sure. That's one thing I talk about a lot is terror. And terror is not just where you're growing
this thing. It's the relationship that you have with the plant. It's the relationship the microbes have with
the plant and the soil, and it's the angle and direction of the sun. So it really has everything to do with
that plant and its relationship with everything around it, including the moon cycles and the
gravitational pull. And here we're at 3000ft elevation. Like I said, we're in the mother load, so there's
gold in our soil. We're just down the hill driving it's about 15 miles. But probably as the crow flies, it's
even closer. I think the north grove of the giant Sequoia trees is at about 4000ft, so just about 1500ft
up from us. So probably about 4600 or maybe 4400ft right up above us on this mountain. So there's
magical stuff that goes on in the soil and in the atmosphere and we're just out of the mist from the
ocean. We're about 130 miles from the coast here, so we're just out of the mist. But we still get some
of that. Right now we're getting what they call an atmospheric river that picks up water from the
Pacific Ocean and dumps it over top of us.
[00:24:21.730] - Nate
So there is definitely some magical stuff that happens out here. Some of the genetics I've grown here
that I've grown indoor, I've grown them out east and I've grown them by the coast of California and in
southern Oregon. And I see some of the same genetics right now from friends of mine growing in all
the same areas. And out here they express totally different. The gelato that I grew out here doesn't
look or smell or taste like the same cut that's growing in multiple different places. How is it different
out here? I think it's probably because we have huge temperature swings, so we get the valley heat in
the mountain cool. So we'll have 100 degree days and 50 degree nights all summer long. And I think
that that expresses and we have a lot of UV up here too, because we're at 3000ft. So I think all that
forces different terpene expressions and heavy waxes. So I have noticed that a lot of our cultivars,
when I compare them to maybe growing closer to the coast or especially indoor, they're very heavy
wax. And a lot of the terpenes out here we get a lot of I think the pine comes out, the beta carthylene
pops out here.
[00:25:42.350] - Nate
There's something about this area, and I've seen this from other farms around here, the same thing.
And I can't confirm it through testing, but it seems like some of the beans just really thrive in these
conditions. And I don't know if it's because the plants really push them because of the harsher
temperature swings or what it is, but it's definitely unique and we have tried to engage with that as
much as possible on our own property. And that's kind of why we're working with this old calio
because it's been up in these hills for twelve years that we know of this particular plant and some
other stuff. We're trying to get bring back some of the older genetics that were naturally growing up
here before we started working just for production. So that's kind of my goal. And I started working on
Appalachian project and this county has applied for its Appalachian origin and so we're just trying to
start to lock down what cultivars that we can represent well up here and what are we known for in
these areas? That's a problem in a lot of, even legacy areas. A lot of this stuff has been lost through
market driven reasons.
[00:26:56.350] - Nate
Market kind of drives what we grow. Unfortunately, when we're trying to feed our families and survive
in a lot of these hills all over Northern California through these last few years, especially, the market
really has manipulated what's normally growing on these properties. And that's a problem, because if
we don't start recognizing what we had and make sure that we can still have that and get it back and
grow what grows best here instead of what the market wants us to try to grow here, then it might be
lost forever. And that's kind of the concern of why I wanted to start sharing and doing some open
pollination projects on some of these preservation lines is because as we move into more
commercialization and profitation of this plant and federalization it's, we are going to come in to start
limiting genetics. And that's a huge concern of mine and I think the rest of the legacy community as
well. So whatever I can do my little part. And that's why I say preservation line. I might have stuff in
my preservation line that's not a preservation in someone's eyes, but to me, it's something that I feel
like needs to be captured for ourselves on our farm, and then a lot of that stuff I'm going to be happily
sharing with the community.
[00:28:18.480] - Elijah
And what's that process been like. A little bit of applying for the appellation and starting that process
[00:28:26.130] - Nate
I'm new into it. So there was, I think, eleven counties in California that applied for Appalachian origin
for cannabis prior to 2018, and I just joined the Appalachians project, and I'm working on that, and
we're actually starting nationwide. So we're going to try to start collecting data on what genetics are
produced in what areas, and what data points to the genetics hit so that we can start down the path
of registering terror for cannabis. It's typically a 40 year process, like if you're in a registered care law
for wine or a certain vineyard or grapes or a certain cut of grapes, because you have to grow it out.
You have to have proof of differences of it growing it in certain areas, and why maybe this spot is
different. And you can claim that it's different than the other side of the hill or the other side of the
state or another state is through testing of everything. It's the flavonoids. Cannabis is obviously going
to be all of our chirping profiles and kind of the chemo type of that cultivar and along with physical
traits. So I think we started this thing, and we kind of been talking it's a 40 year process to get this
terrorize registered for genetics.
[00:29:53.670] - Nate
And I think through DNA of plants, through these advanced actually locking the chemo type of the
plant, through COAS and these other advanced testing, it might happen faster, but that's really the
path we're on, is start registering who grows what where it grows the best. And why does it grow the
best there? Because then we can actually, like I said, start growing stuff where it actually grows good
because we'll find out east. There's some genetics that will grow wonderful out east and be harvested
by the end of September and have good production and hit a lot of numbers. I think, like Mel Frank
showed pictures of the area I'm in, and Central Sierra Nevada used to grow California orange. And
some of these genetics that you couldn't grow anywhere else because they're growing hazes or
grown in Santa Cruz, down in Santa Cruz Mountains and up through some of these mountains here
because we could grow all the way in November, early December to let stuff finish with maybe just
one rainfall and hardly any frost. And you can't do that in a lot of places in the United States. So I think
that that's what this is going to come back to is hopefully other than indoor, we can start locking in
some areas that if you're up in the mountains, this is what you grow good and this is what this area is
[00:31:13.590] - Nate
And I think that will hold a lot of value moving into an international marketplace for cannabis.
[00:31:17.890] - Elijah
So I'm hearing a lot of climate, a lot of biological factors. Is any part of the Appellation harvesting at
all or processing?
[00:31:27.770] - Nate
Yeah, for sure. When we first came up with these hills, it's hot and dry up here. It was a total different
learning curve to harvest plants in this environment than anywhere I've been prior, because my prior
experiences in northern California is closer to the coast and in southern Oregon and out east and
western Wisconsin. So very humid, more humid spots. So that was my first thing when I came out
here that I had to acclimate to, was how dry it is. We run 30% humidity most of the year out here, if
even. So, I had to start adding moisture to my dry rooms and that type of processes. So, yeah, there is
manipulation needed, I think, for every climate when it comes to harvesting post harvest. But the one
thing that I was super excited about coming in and here once I realized after my first growth season
was that I could grow into November, I think we actually were pulling off rounds throughout the winter
in our high tunnel, basically a covered greenhouse. It just has a tarp on the top, open size and wall and
walls and everything. So that was really unique and would have been a nightmare to do closer to the
coast or even in southern Oregon, and definitely not even possible out east.
[00:33:02.970] - Nate
But then we realized after the first year of running a full winter round that it wasn't worth the hassle.
So now we do three rounds, we do an early spring round. So we plant our pre veg plants in March and
we harvest in May. And then we do a full term round from May to October whenever the plants are
done. And then we do a fall round and we replant in some of the beds in October and then harvest in
December. And then obviously, our equatorial lines that we're running usually get planted and are
popped in February outside in the greenhouse, and then they are allowed to go all the way until
December for whatever they need.
[00:33:48.250] - Elijah
So what was your favorite thing for 2022? That you grew or that you tried? Either one or both.
[00:33:54.960] - Nate
Oh, man. Well, one of the first things that pops into my head is we did some roadkill skunk seeds that
were given to me, and it was just a road kill skunk that they hit on a headband female. So it was some
roadkill pollen that was pollinated onto a headband female, and we grew some of them out, and it
was totally amazing. There was one female that came out that was high interpenneling, and it was the
first time that I've ever processed or worked with anything that was called a skunk that had
terpenneling in it. And it almost made me wonder if all these years of hunting skunks, if I'm heading in
the wrong direction. Because when that terpen, the stickiness of it and the bright turpentine smell of it
with the sour and the gassy background, man, I almost thought that my mountain dog came in right
when we were processing that stuff, and I thought he got sprayed by a skunk. And I went over to
check him and then realized that we just broke that tub open and started working with it. And it's the
first time I've done that since the think, and I've been hunting skunks a lot.
[00:35:15.970] - Nate
So that's probably one of the ones. The phenos that we had out of the garden this year or that I've
smoked in a lot of years. It really just brought me back to something. Not sure if I'm going to say that I
found the skunk or a skunk, but it's definitely one of the most interesting phenos that I've worked with
that came out of a seed called something skunk. Since the that's another thing we haven't talked
about, but we have a big skunk hunt we're going to be doing, and we have about 14 different bags of
seeds that are called something skunk, and we're going to be going through them sometime. I don't
know if we're going to get to it in 23, but we have to do a seat expansion on a few of them, and then
we're going to try to run out 50 or 100 of each of these things and just see what's in them. So that's
going to be pretty exciting. But other than the road kill skunk, our am lime this year was totally
amazing. Like I said, we found that purple pheno that had the orange, the cherry, and the lime all
coming through it that was just an amazing phenomenon.
[00:36:25.630] - Nate
And like I said, we're working that one right now. We don't do cloning on our property. We actually only
have two led strip lights that we use sometimes for starts. Sometimes I'll take clones later in the year
when I think I found a phenomenon that I really want to extend. But if it doesn't root out in the
greenhouse and kind of under the sun in a natural environment or something happens to it, then we
don't end up with them clones. So really our way to continue genetics on our property is by hitting
them with a male and crossing them to something or hitting them back to their own male so that we
can carry that line on for the next round or the next season. So the two are really special. We did a
passion orange guava this year, which is a phenomenal. The tropical slay ride there really is like a
bouquet of tropical smoothie in your aroma and in your mouth. So it's truly a unique plant. That came
from green shock the original genetics did. And we've worked them on this property for about four
years now, and we're super excited every year to harvest some plants and to see what they do, and no
shortage of that.
[00:37:42.470] - Nate
This year, I know everyone we've shared it with who's been really excited about we call it the paw of
the passion orange WABA. That's a few of them out in the universe. The other amazing thing they ran
into was the loopy fruits.
[00:38:01.090] - Elijah
[00:38:02.330] - Nate
Yeah. And I just haven't seen that in a long time. And I think I told you a story of sitting on the beach
with one of my buddies in Hawaii. He lives in Hawaii now for 15 years, and all of a sudden, out of
nowhere, he's asked me if I've ever heard of loopy fruits and if I ever could give him any and know of
any. And then a few months later, or even weeks later, I think I ran into loopy fruits. And it was just
brought me back to some good old days and good legacy genetics. So that was very exciting, too, but
I think that was probably the most exciting thing off from our farm. But I don't get out much. I'm pretty
secluded. I think just a couple of years ago I started coming off the farm and talking and doing some
education and teaching regenerative methods and some Saddam techniques and really about
regenerative cannabis and how to be self sustainable with cannabis and bring cost of production
down and have production go up and actually get better numbers spending less in doing that. It's
been the first time ever being legacy in this, doing it since before I think I did my first round of
production in 88, the first time I intentionally grew cannabis for production.
[00:39:31.190] - Nate
Doing it a long time, and I've just always dreamt of just growing cannabis and not really talking to
anybody, kind of like we've always done, just close the gate and have a product at the end of the year
that helps sustain us through the rest of the year. And since legalization here in California, that's been
less and less of a reality. And I've realized that my place is to come out, teach more, share genetics
and help other folks on their path and journey with this plant. And so, so that's kind of why I'm here
and why I've started talking and coming out more off the farm and teaching more off the farm instead
of just locking the gate and doing our thing.
[00:40:14.930] - Elijah
Sunshine will be thrilled you said that. I'm glad that was a highlight for you. And we got to share some
at the cup. What was your favorite noncannabis project you did this year on the farm?
[00:40:26.410] - Nate
Well, it's still ongoing since we've been here, we bought this property to get licensed and
unfortunately, since we have not been able to get license due to what the county has been going
through. And so when we came, we had ideas of production, cannabis. And like I said, since we have
not been able to get licensed, we're still legacy. So we've kind of stayed doing what we normally have
done, so we didn't put in a big operation. We still grow in just a couple of thousand square feet and we
have a couple of different plots so that we're not all out and out and exposed. And so with that being
said, we kind of lost focus on building up all of the rest of our medical garden. And we have some of
our medicinal herbs and our rosemary and some stuff that we have sustained pretty well on this
property. And we still are planting our stinging nettle and our comfrey and doing the things that we
need to do to be sustainable with our inputs and able to build good balance compost and growing our
worms. But we really haven't focused on keeping the water on our property.
[00:41:46.740] - Nate
And we're, like I said, 3000ft in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. So everything's at a slope on our
property and we don't get much rain. And like right now we're getting huge rain events that just keep
dumping rain. And we haven't had that since about 2016 and 2017. And even then when that
happened, I noticed that all this rain comes and it just runs right down off from our garden area. We
do have two terraces. One is where our high tunnel is, so that stops a whole bunch of water and
conserves water and really helps feed our plants through most of the season. And then there's
another terrace below that that captures a whole bunch of other water. But once the two terraces are
done on that side of the property, everything else runs off into a ravine and down into a series of
creeks that go down the lower part of our property and then, of course, off and into the reservoir,
which is great. But our intent is to try to keep more of the water here in our soil so that we can sustain
further through the year, even in our flower beds and in our vegetable beds.
[00:42:52.090] - Nate
So we're employing Hugel culture, and I haven't really seen this type of technique that I'm going to try
to do. I've seen standard Hubles, but basically we're going to do a terrace down a slope because this
area that we want to garden in right now is sloped on both sides. So it slopes to the east and it slopes
to the south. So we're kind of thinking about doing like kind of a horseshoe terrace with a Hugo
culture bed in it. And we're going to do the trench style so that it'll actually capture water. And then
we're going to make sure that the trenches, when they overflow, so when they get full of water, that
they can dump down to the next one. And we're going to do a series of three. And the idea is, instead
of all that water running off, missing the two terraces we already have, because this is what it does is
it runs straight south and then it hits another low part in our property and then runs down the ravine I
was talking about before, and kind of misses the two existing terraces. And then that part of the yard
and the beds, as we've been trying to grow in them, are really dry and we have to really water all the
[00:44:05.150] - Nate
That's kind of the goal this year is we're going to do some Hug culture beds and some of these rolling
terraced beds so that they kind of in our angled so that the water will drain from one into the next one
and then from that one into the one on the bottom. So just trying to retain water system we haven't
really focused on or thought about since we've been here because we've been so focused on trying to
figure out what we're doing. We've had big ideas of licensing 5000 square foot legal cultivation. And
then since that wasn't a reality, we've just been kind of spinning our wheels figuring out what direction
we want to do. And that's kind of what brought us to genetics as well. Is it something that we can do
right now that we can send international? And it's a way for us to share our love and stuff for this
plant and be able to touch thousands of people. And that's something else I realize with genetics is I
can touch thousands of people with my genetics. And when I produce flour, as much as I love to
share it and give it out and have it be part of the community, it only touches a couple of hundred
people or a few hundred people.
[00:45:12.480] - Nate
So I realize with seeds I can touch thousands of people. They can grow them seeds, then they can
touch their hundreds of people. And that love of this plant can, you know, spread forever. So so that's
kind of what we have going and what I'm excited about.
[00:45:27.690] - Elijah
And if people are looking to maybe try a product by you or to try and find your seeds or just to hear
more about you, where can they go to or follow you?
[00:45:39.070] - Nate
Yeah, we're on Instagram at Sierra Living Organics. And that's on Instagram. And our website is just
getting started. Basically we'll just have some merch on there and then our first few seed releases will
be coming in the next few weeks and we'll have more throughout this year as we kind of work labeling
and kind of just the whole launch in general is a lot for us. We didn't really talk about that, but it's just
my wife and I.
[00:46:09.900] - Elijah
You want to talk about it a little bit?
[00:46:11.880] - Nate
Yeah. We just don't have a team. I sometimes people say, oh go team, and stuff like that. We are a
team. But it's just my wife and I, so we always try to stay sustainable as good regenerative farmers
should. I don't ever want to grow more than her and I can take care of. We don't want to have so many
seeds and so many crosses and so many lines that we can't keep up with. So we're always just
sharing what we have that year on the farm. A lot of our stuff is exclusive. I might release it and work
with it one year and never touch it again. So that's kind of a little bit about that. We're just a small little
farmers. We are trying to get licensed and even when we do that, it's going to be the same thing.
We're going to try to stay small and sustainable for what we can do. We do have five kids, but as they
get older and want to help, I still want it to be something that we can sustain as a family and I don't
aspire to hire a bunch of help all the time to try to grow this plant.
[00:47:22.280] - Nate
Our relationship with this plant is regenerative and sustainable and that's our goal is to keep it like
that. So with that being said, the website is mountaincultured.com. Mountain cultured is our lifestyle
brand and we will have all of our worms eventually. Some of our ferments that I think that we share
here in our community to grow plants with and for your own human health will be available on there
as we continue to add products. I am a study and mycologist so I've been working with and growing
mushrooms since the we will have some liquor cultures. We didn't really talk about that, but we over
the last few years have started using a lot of mushrooms as companion plants for our companion
planting, for our cannabis. Cannabis loves fungal dominance and we've had a really good response
doing inoculations of kingsterferas like even oysters, we use Blights and LBMs, little brown
mushrooms in our compost piles that we inoculate our carbon sources before we use them in our
compost. So we've done a lot of experiments with mycelium and fruit body mushrooms in and with
and around our cannabis. So we'll have some of the products on there as well to help people that are
trying to go down that same path.
[00:48:59.800] - Nate
And as far as education, other than podcasts and panels, you can always reach me on Instagram.
Otherwise on the website. I do do production consulting and soil consulting as well as dowsing work.
I am a dowsing apprentice and I currently can dowse and help you locate water. My forte is where in
relationship to the stars, earth, the moon and the cosmos should you grow cannabis on your property.
That's kind of my forte is communication with the mycelium, the energy way lines, and to help you
locate your house, your dwelling, your sleeping arrangements, your plants, greenhouses, all that stuff
on your property. So that's another whole, another episode. But all that information will be on the
website. You can reach out anytime, mate.
[00:50:02.810] - Elijah
Thank you so much for coming on and talking today. I really appreciate it.
[00:50:06.800] - Nate
You too, brother. I appreciate you having me on and I'm willing to come on and talk. I think each one
of these things that we touched on today, I could talk for hours on. I'd love to come back at any time
and really do deep dives into some of these sustainable practices.
[00:50:26.010] - Elijah
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Bluegrass Podcast. If you'd like to check out
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The bluegrass podcast, old fashioned, all natural. Kentucky bluegrass.