More than 30 judges between the flower and concentrate categories came to Area 101 with their judging booklets earmarked and ready to review the 474 flower entries (including CBD), 110 concentrate entries and about 100 edibles and topicals.
Judges were broken up into three groups to tackle the flower entries. Each group needed to produce a top 10, and then an additional 10 or so outliers and stand outs that didn’t make the first cut.
“In the first round, we got 30. The second round, we smoked 17 a day. Now we go back home with 50. But we don’t smoke each one all the way,” said Swami Chaitanya, the lead flower judge. “They go through and smell and get the look of the entry so they whittle it down before they even smoke the weed.”
“By the time they are done, they are sure,” said founder of the Emerald Cup Tim Blake.
They expected the flower and concentrate judging to last late into the evening, so they started in the early afternoon and planned a catered dinner. Even with the higher quality flower entries this year due to the entry fee, the best clearly rose to the top. All the judges came to the table with their own top 10 or 20 ranked lists, as much of the sampling has been done between meetings. Judge Casey O’Neill said judges within the groups compared lists and entries that made more than one were added to the top list.
Though they had more than 400 to rate, the top 50 were decided before dinner at 5 p.m.
“It just distills out. The numbers don’t lie,” O’Neill said.
Concentrate judging, however, was a different story. By 8 p.m., they had narrowed down the top 10 rosin and were working on the the top 10 bubble hash , still waiting from a few of the judges, according to Taylor, the lead concentrate judge. They would decide the top 10 for each before the next meeting.
While there were about 25% fewer flower entries this year than last, the concentrate entries have gone up about 25%, according to The Emerald Cup staff. Edibles and CBD judges have been reviewing their samples remotely because they live further away from Area 101, said Emerald Cup associate producer Taylor Blake. They have regular conference calls to discuss the entries and rankings. The topicals judges have been having short meetings at Area 101 separately.
Rumor has it this Sonoma County event will sell out so get your tickets while you can …. TheGanjier.com is a sponsor of the event and will be sharing a booth with Wonderland Nursery in the Hall of Flowers!