Take a look at the resin gland riot going on in the photo above. This sparkling bud is Pineapple Upside Down Cake, a premium cannabis strain made by Northern California’s Humboldt Seed Company.

The strain name is accurate—the buds really do taste and smell like cake. The high is luscious too. Out of the many marijuana strains you could buy seeds for, fewer than one percent are as innovative, potent and pleasing as Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

In decades of professional cannabis cultivation, Growing Marijuana Perfectly team members have collectively tested thousands of seeds and hundreds of marijuana strains. Season after season we’ve grown Blue Dream, Jack Herer, Durban, Girl Scout Cookies, Diesel, Bubba Kush, Gorilla Glue, Bruce Banner, Silver Haze, and other generically popular strains, hungrily searching for extraordinarily different, revolutionary new strains for our grow ops.

Three years ago, we struck gold in our quest for exciting new cannabis varietals when we discovered Humboldt Seed Company (HSC) has gourmet strains nobody else has.

We’ve carefully test-grown several of their strains for at least one full season, and interviewed professional growers who grow HSC strains we haven’t gotten to yet. There’s unanimous agreement that you can’t find even one dud in the Humboldt Seed Company catalogue—every strain is dynamite!

You owe it to yourself to take a deep dive into the company’s impressive new strains and see why savvy growers love them…

Cannabis Genetics Candy Shop

Humboldt Seed Company founder Nat Pennington develops cannabis seed strains in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, a fabled region that has been home for thousands of clandestine cannabis growers for at least 50 years.

Pennington and his cannabis “phenotype hunters” travel this rugged wilderness from one isolated township and valley to the next, discovering obscure, incredible cannabis strains.

He also hosts host massive “phenotype hunt” events where cannabis experts, professional growers, and plant scientists examine thousands of cannabis plants and dozens of gardens, looking for and rating “unicorn” phenotypes.

With so many plants to work with, Pennington comes away with incredible phenotypes that stand above the rest, but it takes years of hard work and cannabis alchemy to select and lock in the most favorable traits to create superlative strains.

Pennington uses expensive, meticulous plant tissue sampling, lab analysis, gas chromatography, and other intense scrutiny of cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles as he crafts his one-of-a-kind strains.

After all that work to create a unique strain, Pennington uses science and strict quality control  to ensure his seeds grow out exactly as he describes the strain, with no genetic defects, hidden viruses or other problems.

What’s more, Pennington’s team constantly monitor their strains and seeds to ensure plants grow out exceptionally vigorous and resilient, leading to faster growth rates, resistance to diseases and pests, earlier flowering, heavier harvests, and unprecedentedly high levels of THC, CBD, rare cannabinoids like CBD-v and THC-V, and rare terpenoids.

Strain consistency is further assured by Pennington’s rigorous program of back-crossing to create “inbred lines,” and feminized F-1 seeds.

Pennington describes his F-1s as “clone seeds,” and guarantees his F-1 seed strains to be as reliable and consistent as clones. Plant twenty Humboldt Seed Company F-1 seeds from the same strain, and get the same crop uniformity as if you’d rooted twenty clones.

The certified reliability you get from HSC seeds is unparalleled in the cannabis seeds industry.

Terp High Heaven

Pennington takes artisanal cannabis breeding to the highest level by enhancing his strains’ terpenoid percentages and diversity.

Terpenoids are cannabis compounds most responsible for taste and scent. They alter cannabinoid effects, and have important medical and/or recreational effects of their own.

Humboldt Seed Company’s terpenoid-enhanced strains give you elevated levels of taste and smell, psychoactive effects with more depth, clarity, and pleasure, and extra medical benefits.

The strains have a more-dynamic “entourage effect,” so you get an unusually fulfilling, complex interplay between terpenoids and cannabinoids.

I discovered this the first time I grew a Humboldt strain. It was called Lemongrass. Starting 25 days into indoor bloom phase, I encountered a dazzling array of distinct, alluring scents emanating from maturing Lemongrass buds—roses, mango, bubblegum, chocolate, gardenia, magnolia, orange, berry fruit, lemon, lemongrass and others I couldn’t put a name to.

What was really interesting is that as I did terp sniffing during bloom phase, I felt that inhaling volatile terps from Lemongrass buds was getting me high! The terp high wasn’t like inhaling whole cannabis, but was subtly relaxing and dreamy.

I decided to further test the effects of inhaling terpenoid volatiles direct from growing buds. First, I abstained from getting stoned for a few days to clear my mind so I could detect subtle effects. Then I visited my grow room in mid-light cycle and inhaled Lemongrass aromas.  

Next time I looked at the clock, an hour and a half had gone by…but I’d perceived it as only five minutes!

Where was my consciousness during that vanished time? In a terpenoid trance, apparently.

The extra time I spend in my bloom phase grow room inhaling Humboldt Seed Company strain aromas makes me a better grower, as I pay closer attention to plant health and grow room operating parameters.

When I was at a harvest party, sampling Pineapple Upside Down Cake buds, a kind kitchen wizard brought out a real pineapple upside down cake.

We put the dessert cake on a table next to its namesake buds. When you closed your eyes and did a scent test, you couldn’t tell the difference between buds and the actual cake!

After we did the blind test and marveled that the buds smelled just like the cake, we fought like crazed fools to get a piece of the sweet treat, and it was all gone in 60 seconds.

Speaking of sweet treats, I grow Pennington’s Vanilla Frosting strain. Derived in part from specially-modified Gelato genetics, this Indica-dominant high-yielding powerhouse smells exactly like vanilla frosting during peak bloom. In late bloom, a gassy, diesel, Kushy scent emerges along with the vanilla dessert aroma.

Not only does Vanilla Frosting strain taste and smell like a wickedly sweet treat, its gooey buds deliver up to 30% THC.

A chef friend uses leaves and buds from my HSC strains in his gourmet cannabis cooking. “I have access to a lot of fan leaves and sugar leaves from different growers, but only the ones from [Humboldt Seed Company strains] have enough taste and spice to use in my kitchen,” she said.

Terpenoid farming is exciting new terrain for cannabis growers and users, Pennington affirms. His team creates “terpene fogs” to infuse the lungs of concertgoers, provides rare terpenes for the “Fog and Tree” brand of colognes and other personal care products, and provides terpenes cannabis chefs infuse into cannabis treats.

Thanks to Pennington’s enhanced-terpenoid cannabis breeding mastery, I frequently open jars of cured buds from various HSC strains, inhaling seductive cold vapors from sticky terp-bomb buds.

At harvest time with other growers in our consortium, we set up several Arizer V-Tower precision desktop vaporizers and blast our cannabinoid and terpenoid receptors into outer space spending hours “sipping” vapor from HSC buds heated to between 380-405°F.

We love our jar-sniffing, vape-tasting binges, overjoyed by delerious tastes and scents none of us have experienced in cannabis before—apple, pistachio, garlic, pine nuts, butter, honeysuckle, rosemary, jasmine, orange blossom, hibiscus, and many more.

This is way better than wine tasting– Humboldt Seed Company’s novel scents and tastes aren’t just deliciously fascinating, they also give you cleaner highs. Here’s an example of what I mean…

Most Indica or Kush-heavy HSC strains are reliably body-centered and couch-locking as you expect, but also possess stimulating properties via Pennington’s terpenoid enhancement program. He craftes special terpenoid tweaks that alleviate burnout or overly narcotic effects commonly associated with some pure Kush and Indica strains.

This means you can smoke Indica/Kush strains referred to as “nighttime strains” any time. Because the terpenoids are adaptogenic, you can easily pass out on your couch if you want to, or you can stay awake and function.

Similarly, Pennington breeds strains that provide a quick-lift, roaring Sativa high that some users might experience as vertigo, paranoia or anxiety–but his Sativa strains’ terpenoids suites greatly reduce or completely eliminate harsh reactions while preserving the psychedelic Sativa fun.

All this explains why growers in our consortium note that when we sell marijuana, our clients always prefer HSC strains to all other strains, even when they have access to cannabis dispensaries. We can’t keep up with demand for Humboldt strains!

Guaranteed Strain Reliability

Pennington acknowledges the high cost, risk, expertise, and intense labor inherent to his scientific breeding and seed production programs.

He spends many long days networking with growers, doing pheno hunts, working with daughter Halle and the genetics teams on strain development.

Excellent marijuana strains like his take years to perfect. Thousands of test plants and seeds are monitored and evaluated. Breeding projects start out with high hopes and take a lot of time and effort…but many end up crashed and burned.

Out of dozens of strains stabilized, he says, only the proven, absolute best are released as an HSC strain.

Pennington doesn’t make the technical errors many other seed breeders make.

For example, I’ve visited commercial seed breeders who grow pollinated seed-plant females from several different strains together in one large grow room. Cross-pollination is a huge problem, but they don’t care.

As many of us have found out by planting seeds and getting unreliable results, most of the biggest seed companies don’t know for sure what genetics their seeds possess. They’re often purchasing their seeds in bulk from unskilled Spanish producers. You plant seeds for what they claim is a pure Haze, but it grows out to be a fat, short Indica. And good luck trying to get a refund!

Unprofessional seed breeders cause many grow room failures and heartbreaks, so it’s a relief to know Pennington eliminates cross-pollination by using custom-built greenhouses with pristine pollination chambers for making inbred lines and F-1s.

One funny thing is that we know a cannabis seeds company breeder who bought Humboldt Seed Company seeds and tried to make copycat, counterfeit crosses that he intended to sell using Pennington’s strain names.

Copycatting is a pernicious, common practice in the marijuana seeds industry. In this case, the breeder tried very hard, but was unable to make seeds that grew out to resemble Pennington’s strains.

Another cool thing about Humboldt Seed Company is their artistic, practical seed packaging and labeling.

Whoever writes HSC strain descriptions is obviously a cannabis aficionado with expertise in genetics, growing marijuana, and strain characteristics growers care most about. Their description of strains’ medical and psychoactive effects are unusually accurate.

Humboldt Seed Company’s catalogue and seed pack data about bloom phase duration, genetic origins, outdoor cultivation, phenotype variation, and Sativa to Indica ratios are exceptionally honest, accurate and practical, which isn’t the case with most other seed companies.

Buy HSC Seeds to Archive Incredible Cannabis Genetics

If you created a flow chart of cannabis genetics since the dawn of the modern marijuana era, you’d see Pennington surfing a tidal wave of international cannabis genetics collecting and breeding that started in the 1960s.

Starting half a century ago, courageous cannabis adventurers from The Netherlands and North America began traveling worldwide gathering landrace and locally-bred cannabis strains.

American soldiers serving in the Vietnam War brought Southeast Asian seeds back home with them.

Seeds from imported Colombian Gold, Panama Red, Oaxacan, Acapulco Gold and other famous early strains arrived inside smuggled weed bricks.

These seeds ended up in the Emerald Triangle, where dedicated growers made crosses that never would have occurred in Nature. The region became a repository for the planet’s best cannabis genetics and novel strains made from them.

Pennington came along in 2001 and started collecting the rarest, best Humboldt strains, using them as foundational material to breed an iconoclastic generation of cannabis strains.

HSC forayed into new territory recently by creating autoflowering strains. Autoflowering cannabis has several advantages over photoperiod cannabis, but many growers are still unsure if autoflowering potency and yield can equal that of photoperiod strains.

“Our current autoflowering strains and ones in development achieve potencies that rival or top some of our current photoperiod varieties,” Pennington says. “Qualities including flower density, trichome content, and terpenes are on par with our photoperiod strains. Because of our high quality perfectionistic breeding programs, you’re not sacrificing quality or potency when you grow our autoflowering strains. We’ve successfully transferred the most sought-after traits from our best photoperiod strains into our autoflowering strains.”

Pennington just introduced gorgeous new photoperiod strains, including Notorious THC, Squirt, Hi-Biscus, Jelly Rancher, Mountaintop Mint, Vanilla Cream Pie, and Raspberry Parfait.

My dream is to have a stash of seeds for every strain Humboldt Seed Company makes. If wildfires, drought and other challenges continue to plague Northern California’s specialty cannabis growers and Pennington’s grow ops, my cache is a preservation program to ensure those strains survive.

Giving Back

Despite the rapid growth, wild popularity, and much-deserved success of Humboldt Seed Company, Pennington worries about threats to the connoisseur, craft, and specialist cannabis industry niches.

“Regulations continue to unfairly challenge smaller operators, which is very unfortunate. It is often the smaller operations that produce amazing one-of-a-kind craft results that are so important to our industry. The wildfire season last year was the worst in California history. We lost a number of really great heritage producer farms, including one of a close friend of ours. No doubt California is seeing the effects of climate change and water scarcity. With the last five years of wildfire prevalence and drought, it has been a really challenging environment for producers. Everyone, including our partners at the fantastic Dark Heart clone company are affected by this uncertain new world we find ourselves in. Between constantly evolving regulations, environmental issues caused by the changing climate, social upheaval, and the coronavirus pandemic this is a pretty challenging time,” Pennington laments.

In this context, buying Pennington’s seeds isn’t just a great investment for your grow op—it’s a way to compensate Pennington for creating stellar marijuana strains that would never have existed without him.

There are other reasons to support Pennington. He’s a fisheries biologist, and also a business and community leader well-known for inspiring, successful efforts to preserve native salmon, rivers and wilderness, empower indigenous and at-risk youths, and provide jobs in local communities.

He makes his facilities 100% carbon neutral, and is constantly tuning his operations, policies and company ethics to maintain the highest ecological and interpersonal standards in the sometimes-seedy marijuana seeds industry.

Pennington makes sure his cannabis company has a diverse workforce welcoming to all ethnicities and gender orientations. Daughter Halle’s deep involvement in company management makes it the only father-daughter marijuana seeds company in the world.

Humboldt Seed Company and the Pennington team are a catalyst in the burgeoning Emerald Triangle cannabis industry that includes long-time growers, licensed commercial farms and other cannabis businesses, and service providers who assist the cannabis community.

For example, Pennington utilizes the services of Leafworks, a Northern California cannabis genetics verification company. Leafworks is a female-led scientific team using genetic testing to verify that feminized seeds really are feminized.

When you see the Leafworks seal on Humboldt Seed Company feminized seed packs, you’re seeing Pennington’s insistence on professionalism and giving growers 100% reliable seeds.

Pennington partnered with the Yurok Native American tribe to create Two Snakes Seed strains for licensed, commercial hemp farmers. The Yurok Agricultural corporation has massive farms producing organic autoflowering and photoperiod CBD (cannabidiol) seed strains that meet the federal government’s less than .3% THC requirement.

These strains are feminized, certified, absolutely free of chemical taint, and loaded with terpenoids and CBD. Their yield per acre is reportedly higher than any other commercial hemp seed brand.

As you can easily recognize, if you love growing marijuana, you want to grow HSC strains. These strains kept me healthy, productive, fit, happy, and sane during the darks days of the pandemic. They motivate me to grow year-round instead of taking seasonal breaks. They put a lot more joy into my cannabis growing. They delight the people who buy buds from me.

If you’re a connoisseur marijuana grower, examine the company’s extensive strain library, and get their premium, hand-crafted genetics right away.

Get ‘em while you can, and enjoy the  highest level of rewards from your marijuana growing!

Thanks to magnificent media maven Jaana Prall for her assistance in helping us get what we needed to complete this article.
Be sure not to confuse Humboldt Seed Company for Humboldt Seed Organization when ordering seeds. Humboldt Seed Organization is based in Spain, not Humboldt County, California. Based on our grow ops research, we feel their strains are vastly inferior to those made by Nat Pennington.