The Emerald Cup old logo

The Emerald Cup

Area 101 in Laytonville, California is usually peaceful, often lively and loud, and for the last six years, has hosted a musical celebration of the best bud on the planet: The Emerald Cup. Here’s how the award’s founder Tim Blake tells the story:

In 2003, during the fall, a friend of mine and I got to talking about the fact that Mendocino had the best bud on the planet, but no form of acknowledgment or celebration about it. That was when it was still very iffy to be out front about having a public competition, so we combined the Emerald Cup with my friend and another local dude’s birthdays. We put out no press, just some last minute posters, word of mouth, and twenty-three entries into the ganja contest came forward.

The crowd was small, with very few even willing to be in the house with their faces seen, much less come forward for their prizes. Still, it was a wild night, everyone had a ball, and other than the inevitable undercover agents, it was pleasantly uneventful.

The first Emerald Cup was won by a man heading towards eighty, who was a first time grower. His son had given him some plants, he put them into his garden with his other veggies, and he grew some incredible Purple Kush. After receiving the award, he sent the winning cup back to Area 101, saying that he wasn’t going to be around long enough to enjoy it and that it should reside here forever. It does, and sits in this case today. The old man is still around, too.

The Emerald Cup 2004

The next year we took the event more out front, putting up more posters, talking to more people, pushing the envelope. Slowly we crept into the light. Forty-three entries were put up, and the bud was overall much better then the year before, because then growers had begun creeping their plants into full sun.

The judges were pushed to their limits. It came down to a Diesel cross against a Hindu Kush, and the Kush won. The show was headlined by the Avalon All-stars, with Vince Welnick sitting in. Bless his heart, it turned out to be his last gig before his unfortunate demise.

The Emerald Cup 2005, 2006 and beyond

By the third annual Emerald Cup competition, we all had medical permits and everyone was growing in the full sun. Marijuana was blooming right into mainstream America. The fourth year we had fifty-one entries, and in 2009 there were ninety-nine, all organic, grown in the sun as God intended, all the Kind!

The judging gets harder every year. Buds are judged on color, smell, tricomes, crystals, taste, vibrancy, and finally how it changes the consciousness. The overall score for the high is doubled, so even if something isn’t the prettiest, it can still compete. Entries must be in a month before the Cup so our judges can assess them all. We’ve added a “concentrated cannabis” competition as well, that is judged on the day of the Cup. Who knows, we may open it up to ganja foods and other cannabis medicines. Stay tuned!