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The Dookie Brothers: Craft Cannabis farmers and their winning strain Zkittlez
The Dookie Brothers: Craft Cannabis farmers and their winning strain Zkittlez

It’s different. Magnificently different.

Sticking your nose into a handful of Zkittlez nugs is like putting your head into a candy jar. There’s a rainbow of aroma; a grapy, lemony smell – fruity scents instead of the gassy/fuel smell of the ever popular OG’s. The taste on a dry pull is like savoring dessert before the main course, with a light aftertaste reminiscent of candy – think the namesake, Skittles.  When you light it, the lemonyness becomes the dominant flavor. It’s sharp and citrusy but still keeps that candy taste underneath.  No wonder it placed first with back to back awards at two of the most coveted competitions for outdoor cannabis. Winning both The Golden Tarp Awards and The Emerald Cup has never been done, winning them back-to-back gives the Dookie Brothers a kind of cannabis coup.

Air flow test check

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The high is heady, in a light and lifted kind of way, and rather fun visually. Everything is vibrant and it’s light on the dry mouth. I’m talking about the award-winning strain, Zkittlez, specifically the Dookie Brothers’ version. It will make you want to get out into the world instead of retreating to the couch. It’s different. Magnificently different.

‘What have I done?!’

If Michael McDonald is the frontman for the 70’s band, the Doobie Brothers, then Jason seems to be the lead singer, so to speak, of the Dookie Brothers; a band of guys brought together by a common ethos – to grow beyond organic cannabis. In our first conversation via phone, Jason is on the road, traveling from Humboldt to San Diego’s High Times Business Conference. He is funny, smart, and open to talking about his Zkittlez strain and then some.  When I ask him how winning the cups has changed him he laughs and says, “I used to be a farmer and now I’m on the phone all the time.”

Most growers who, until now, couldn’t really tell their stories, aren’t used to being front and center. Jason, the Dookie Brother who accepted both awards, felt the intensity immediately, “When I heard our name called, I was like ‘Yeah!’ then my follow up thought was, ‘What have I done?!’”

The irony is that the Dookies weren’t even going to enter it into the Emerald Cup or the Golden Tarp, but someone convinced them this cut was unique. “We knew we had a good cut, but entering wasn’t really in our minds, let alone winning it,” Jason says, still totally amazed.

Something few people know is that the day of the Golden Tarp awards, Jason wasn’t there. He had skidded out driving on the slippery roads near his house by Shelter Cove and rolled his car several times. He was laid up in bed when he got a call from Greg (a fellow Dookie Brother), who was at the Golden Tarp Awards. He told Jason people were talking about his Zkittelz and he might have even placed in the top sixteen. Greg implored him to get to the awards.  Jason got there just as the awards were being announced and was initially disappointed, “I got there and we didn’t hear our name and we thought, ‘oh man, we didn’t even place.’ So I went to the bathroom and when I came out I see Greg, his face was kinda strange. I asked him what happened and he said, ‘We won!’”   That’s when his ‘what have I done’ moment came. “Up until then I was not out in the open. People weren’t taking my picture for the best pot grown in the county.”

We’re the SHIT, smell the AROMA.

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The Dookie Brothers as connoisseur craft cultivators. It’s more than growing, it’s a love affair.

When I ask him about their newfound success, Jason smiles. “There’s nothing I don’t like about it.  A lot of famous people are trying to get their hooks in me,” though he won’t drop any names. “It’s giving us a chance to change the way things are grown.” He pauses and thinks for a bit, “I’m a farmer, I like to grow vegetables; I like to grow plants in general. I eat what I grow, I smoke what I grow so I want to grow as clean as I can.

The Dookies seem to follow intuition and work with the rhythms of nature. They share a common ideology; to grow clean and try different things. “What sets us apart is we try everything; we do little experiments here and there. We’re constantly learning and trying new things. One thing I do is heat eradication,” Jason explains with a whisper, “That’s my secret. People know what it is, but my technique is different from anybody else’s and it’s effective,” he pauses, with a wide grin, “and it’s award-winning.”

The secret sauce may be in the terpenes and how they evolve.

So what gives the award-winning Zkittlez such a distinctly different taste and smell? Simply put, terpenes are the oils that give cannabis plants and flowers their unique smell.  There are over 100 known terpenes found in cannabis. Each plant strain tends to have unique terpene compositions; hence different strains have different smells, tastes, and effects.

Many farmers don’t know that they could be killing the very thing that makes their flower distinct, flavorful, and gives the flower, well, power.  Jason says he didn’t know he was destroying his terps until he heard Kevin Jodrey, owner of Wonderland Nursery, on the radio. “I realized I was drying my pot hot. I was getting it over 80 degrees and I was killing all of my terps.” That led to conversations Jason attributes to the big wins at the Golden Tarp and Emerald Cup. “Kevin helped me increase my knowledge about what I needed to do to make my pot a hundred times better. He’s been doing it for so long. He has so much knowledge and has time for the little guy like me. I feel so honored anytime he shares his knowledge.”

Jason considers himself a success, not in winning the awards and all that goes with it, for him it’s more philosophical. “You know how people are looking for that thing that makes you excited about life, that spark that gets you up in the morning and gets you moving? I found that spark and I feel like I really am the lucky one in all this, I just do what I love and if I’m able to do it on a bigger scale and make money at it, o.k., but that’s not why I’m doing it.”

Another thing that makes Jason feel lucky are his three kids, ages seventeen, six, and two-and-a-half. He gushes about them and says he’d like to expand the family, “I’m constantly trying to talk my wife into having more, and I would have seven more if she would agree to it. I love what a great mom she is.” Jason stops to think, then emphatically says;  “Don’t strike that from the record!”

Where to go from here

Growing commercially without losing is hard for any craft grower. What the Dookies see as the Dookie brand is their intent. “I want this brand to be the connoisseur’s brand, a quality brand. When you get that Dookie Brothers product I want you to have that excited feeling in your stomach, like when you know you’re about to get something good. It’s like that feeling you get when you hear the ice cream man’s bell and you’re running out to get the ice cream, I want people to get that feeling again.”

At a time when people are into the fuely Kush taste, it’s the fruity and sweet that wins out, so what does Jason attribute this awakening to? Is it an awakening of the senses to the palate?

“I think it’s people doing extractions. They all want the high terpene profiles. People want that taste.”

He admits it’s also timing,  “I got lucky and I got in it at the right time. We really work hard and I think we had a really good cut. Everything was perfect. We did it perfect throughout the whole thing, it was actually a magical cycle.”

And, maybe a little something different.

 

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I believe that every business, every product, everyone has a story and if you can connect people to these stories, you can create a brand and gain a customer for life. I have spent years connecting people, telling stories and creating brands in a variety of industries: television; web; digital marketing and public relations. I create digital marketing and public relations content from my cozy office in Arcata, California. I work directly with artists, musicians, authors, and small businesses, both locally and internationally, telling stories through relevant platforms that effectively create a brand and win over the desired audience. Whether it's working as a television producer in major markets, touring the world video taping musicians for a start-up web company, or creating marketing and pr content for various people and businesses, one thing stands true: if you tell a story well, you can reach people on a level that truly counts. Stories connect us.

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