Valley Pure sets high standard for cannabis industry at State Fair

Valley Pure cannabis retail brings home a gold award for their cannabis cultivation in Woodlake at the California State Fair

TULARE COUNTY – In addition to wine, craft beer, cheese, artwork, olive oil and livestock, leave it to the California State Fair to add cannabis to the list of competitions. A local cannabis retailer brought home a gold award for their indoor cultivation products.

This summer at the California State Fair, Valley Pure received an award for their Watermelon Sugar cultivar– a selective breeding plant variation. This was the first year cannabis was judged at the fair. According to the California State Fair Cannabis Awards website, out of over 300 candidates, Watermelon Sugar received the gold recognition for the indoor cultivation division in one of the ten offered categories. 

“It’s the first time the State Fair has actually had this go on. So it was awesome for us to actually be a part of it, and to win it was even greater,” Tony Caudle, Valley Pure vice president said. “It’s just one of those things, we’ve worked really hard, our team has been putting in a lot of hours searching for certain strains and things that we like.”

The competition uses chemistry as a way to judge each entry rather than actually consuming the product. Caudle said their team put in quite a bit of work to get their product to its purest form. They went through several trials and received feedback in order to ensure its quality. Caudle said the main part of the experience was making sure the plant remained healthy.

Now that Valley Pure has won this award, they are in the process of perfecting additional genetics, eight new to be exact, according to Caudle. They plan to enter the Emerald Cup as well as the state fair again next year. 

“We were working really hard to make sure that we made the right waves once we entered the market, and so far, so good,” Caudle said.

Media and communications coordinator with the California State Fair Josie Lee said the event was very well received by all those who participated and observed. The fair also held an exhibit as well as speakers for fair goers to learn all about cannabis and its history. 

“[Cannabis] is a large agricultural item in California, so we want to highlight it,” Lee said. “It’s such an important industry and also to help normalize cannabis and educate, inform and show how important this industry is to California.”

Chief deputy general manager of Cal Expo & CA State Fair Tom Martinez said they wanted to set a high standard for others who decide to hold this type of competition. He said the competition and exhibit had two objectives: to celebrate, showcase and educate the public about the plant; the makeup of the plant and the effects cannabis can have on the body.

“Cannabis is a unique plant that faces unique problems due to stigma, misinformation, etc,” Martinez said. “A unique and comprehensive approach was the only way to do justice to the plant and the cultivators while reaching our goals to educate the public and celebrate cannabis as the emerging agricultural product it is.”

All the entries in the competition are submitted to be tested by SC Labs who then create a PhytoFacts report on each submission. After each submission has been evaluated, the flower is analyzed for its makeup and given awards based on the ratio of compounds in it. 

The goal is to ensure all flower is property classified and true to its unique makeup according to the state fair website. Valley Pure’s watermelon sugar won in the myrcene category, which is the terpene most often found in cannabis and its effects are relaxation and sedative. The additional categories were pinene, caryophyllene, ocimene, terpinolene and limonene. Each of these have different effects ranging from creativity to relaxation to comfort or focus according to the  California State Fair Cannabis Awards website.

The website also states, “Medals were awarded based on overall terpene or cannabinoid expression in each of the ten categories. Terpenes winners were further evaluated by category by considering the ratio of each terpene against the overall terpene concentration in each submission.”

The PhytoFacts report showed the different elements in watermelon sugar provide a relaxation and comfort effect. This flower also has notes of an herbal scent as well as a fruity flavor. 

The way the testing is done to the terpenes and cannabinoids is because they represent upwards of 40% of the mass of a female flower. Those judgements allow for a profile of the flower determining the aroma, flavor and effects in any particular strain, also known as the plant’s chemotype.

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