A few years ago, we heard a surreal story set in the rugged wilderness and coastline of northwestern California’s famed Emerald Triangle region.
Where Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties intersect, folks around campfires, surfers waiting for the next towering wave, hikers and other Triangularistas spoke in hushed tones of a brawny but kindly gentleman, built like the trunk of one of the region’s iconic redwood trees.
Legend had it that this gentleman was accompanied by a precocious, beautiful daughter on journeys up the region’s pristine rivers, where they were greeted as savior gods by salmon, bears, and clandestine marijuana growers.
The man and his daughter were saving salmon and their habitat from rapacious logging companies, poisoners, and other enemies of the biosphere.
They accessed remote wilderness and were befriended by the furtive hermits, preppers, horticultural geniuses, Dutch cannabis fugitives, retired college professors, and hardcore enviro-hippies who’d been growing cannabis in Triangle wilderness for generations.
These reclusive growers spent years creating absolutely fire marijuana strains using landrace genetics from 1960s and 70s Colombian, Panamanian, Thai, Mexican, Afghani, African, Indian and Jamaican imports, along with the earliest, purest Dutch Haze and Skunk strains.
Here’s the really surprising news—this is not just another mythic tale from one of America’s last truly wild places–like Sasquatch, or the 655-pound salmon king.
The simple fact is that the father and daughter actually exist as Nat and Halle Pennington, who lead Humboldt Seed Company (HSC).
And because of their adventures and access to unicorn genetics from the birthplace of American craft cannabis growing, HSC now possesses the most diverse, deep menu of original cannabis strains of any marijuana seeds company in the known universe.
Female Flowers, Female Leadership
The first time I talked to Nat, he emphasized the important leadership role of his daughter Halle, who even at a young age was already integral to HSC success.
Halle’s place in her dad’s burgeoning marijuana seeds empire is an innovation in the marijuana industry, which was once dominated by black market outlaws and alpha male apex predators.
Back then, women were utilized primarily as bud trimmers, grow wives, eye candy, barely-clad hostesses at cannabis events.
Old timers recall early High Times Cannabis Cup events in Amsterdam where female hostesses walked around nude, wearing only pot-leaf body paint.
Nat made clear that Halle is not a show pony. It’s not a case of a dad having a beautiful daughter, using her as the very attractive face of a company, he said.
Here’s one reason I trust the Penningtons’ authenticity…
A big-money marketing consortium saw photos of Halle and heard interviews with her. I knew one of the consortium’s venture capitalists and told him I was scheduled to interview Halle.
He begged me to tell her his consortium wanted to make her into a rich YouTube influencer, High Times cover star, and brand icon.
I did so. but Nat and Halle were adamantly NOT interested.
Humboldt Seed Company isn’t focused on ego, bling, or fame, Halle emphasized. “We’re all about preserving, enhancing and crafting the rarest cannabis genotypes and phenotypes, and making them available to growers worldwide.”
Fast forward to 2022: Humboldt Seed Company is the world leader in dessert strains with genetics, terp suites, looks, scents, highs nobody else has.
Halle is the company’s “products executive,” directing operations at the company’s seed distribution hub, handling dispensary and licensed farm orders, overseeing seed-to-sale traceability systems, designing the company’s artful seed catalogs.
Cake + Mint = Delicious + Powerful
When I interviewed Halle recently, she explained what goes into creating her impressive menu of exclusive strains by having us examine the development of one of HSC’s most potent new strains, called Poddy Mouth.
Even though the strain was just released, its primordial origins start 22 years ago when Nat first hunted rare cannabis genetics in the Triangle.
With breeding projects using genotypes and phenotypes previously grown only in remote, secret gardens, Nat assembled foundational HSC strains and placed them with a wide range of test growers, who acknowledged that these strains were the tastiest to come out of North America.
Poddy Mouth is a cross of two of those heritage strains: Humboldt Pound Cake and Mountaintop Mint.
Humboldt Pound Cake is a Wedding Cake cross with formative genetics including Sour Diesel, Northern Lights, White Moonshine, Master Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, and Fire OG.
It also includes HSC’s Notorious THC strain, which tested as high as 35% THC and comes with a potency warning for novice users.
Notorious THC’s genetics include Ghost of Von Humboldt OG, Caramel Cream, Old School Cookies, Early Girl OG, Trainwreck, and Durban Poison.
And that’s just one half of Poddy Mouth’s parent genetics!
The other half is Mountaintop Mint, another HSC heritage strain, which includes Alien Cookies, Humboldt Frost, and Gelato genetics.
Halle, Nat and their team are the only people in the marijuana seeds world who have the incredible opportunity to examine tens of thousands of marijuana plants every year during their annual “phenotype hunt.”
Imagine the fun you’d have visiting indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse marijuana farms across the Emerald Triangle, strolling down row after row of cannabis plants.
Incredible color, scent, structure, floral development, and growth characteristics are on display. Nat and Halle prospect for stunning phenos—that one magnificent plant that stands out from thousands.
The pheno Poddy Mouth is based on comes from a plant with exceptionally large bracts covered in resins.
What’s a cannabis bract, and why are humongous, resinous bracts so rare and desirable?
Bracts are a form of protective leafy capsule, shaped like a pod. They enclose and protect ovules. Fertilized ovules become seeds.
Bracts have the highest density of stalked resin glands of any cannabis plant part, and these glands are the most productive factory for cannabinoids and terpenoids.
“We rarely select a pheno based solely on appearance,” Halle recalls, “but the original Poddy Mouth pheno had such beautiful, unusual buds that people would walk up to it startled by the huge bracts.”
Collaborating With Award-Winning Grower
Beginning in 2020, HSC collaborated with Jason Gellman of the Triangle’s Ridgeline Farms to work with this novel pheno.
Jason is a professional marijuana grower and breeder who won the prestigious Emerald Cup and was the first craft cannabis grower honored by the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce.
He grew up in Humboldt before legalization, cultivated his first cannabis crop at age 14, and recalls brutal raids and other drug war insanity associated with the region’s black market outlaw cannabis industry.
His licensed, 10,000-square foot family cannabis farm has been featured in High Times, the New Yorker, and other media.
Jason is such a pro that High Times included him in their top 100 most influential cannabis industry heroes for 2021!
“After we make a pheno discovery and do an initial evaluation, we look for a professional grower to help us with research and development,” Halle says. “We talked with Jason at Ridgeline. He is a very talented grower who has some kind of special magic with his sungrown plants. We monitored his progress with Poddy Mouth, and the plants were mind-blowing.”
Gellman spent more than a year working with the original Poddy Mouth phenotype. As he refined and stabilized the strain, HSC tested it in all kinds of indoor and outdoor growing situations.
“We have the good fortune to study test plants to keep a close eye on their development,” Halle recalls. “We knew early on this was one to watch. The buds were dense and frosty with hardly any leaves. Poddy Mouth exceeded our expectations. It’s beautiful, has great bag appeal, and is very potent.”
Halle explains that when a strain has been bred to stability and is being considered for commercial release, a group of savvy cannabis aficionados test its growing traits and psychoactive and medical effects.
“Everybody agreed this is a visually beautiful strain, very potent with a wonderful high, and easy to grow,” Halle said.
Potency claims from most seed sellers are little more than hype, but HSC goes beyond subjective evaluations and proves its claims.
Halle’s team has its own liquid chromatograph, a complex scientific device that precisely measures cannabinoid and terpenoid percentages. HSC also sends sample buds to a third-party laboratory for even more detailed analysis.
Halle provided me with offsite lab analysis documenting Poddy Mouth has at least 34% THC, a relatively high amount of THCVa, and almost no trace of CBD.
Other tests showed 35% THC!
Growing Poddy Mouth for Maximum Yield & Potency
Poddy Mouth is only available as feminized seeds. But don’t worry—if you’re one of many growers who’ve had bad experiences including hermies and males with feminized seeds from other seed companies, HSC’s guaranteed, genetically-flawless feminized seeds are a welcome relief.
Before sale, they send their feminized seeds to LeafWorks, a plant genomics company that reads the genetic fingerprint and stability of strains and seeds.
HSC refuses to release any feminized seeds that aren’t absolutely guaranteed to grow out female with no hermaphroditism.
And even after HSC strains have been grown by multiple testers, lab-verified, and released to the marketplace to great acclaim, Halle says, “we continue to work the strains and upgrade them.”
“We won’t release a strain unless it’s amazing, but we never rest on our achievements either,” Halle explains. “We pay attention to grower feedback, and work to improve strains that are already excellent. The core traits of a strain won’t change over the course of different seed years, but a seed strain from past years may be available in an even better version this year.”
The current Poddy Mouth is exceptionally fire. The high immediately elevates mood, providing a euphoric jolt modulated by body relaxation and centered calmness.
Growers who process strains into cannabis concentrates such as terp sauce, bubblehash, and dry sift especially love Poddy Mouth because its massive swollen bracts provide an unusually high percentage of resin glands and pungent tastes.
“Poddy Mouth shows resistance to gray mold and powdery mildew,” Halle reports. “Very easy to grow indoors or outdoors. You only need an average 55 days for indoor bloom phase. The plants are top-heavy with dense, large-bract, chunky buds dripping with resins. Buds have very low leaf percentage, so manicuring is easy and fast.”
As a connoisseur craft grower who has grown at least a dozen HSC strains that are all fantastic, I can attest that Poddy Mouth is the newest in a long line of impressive marijuana strains.
Their Raspberry Parfait, for example, has such seductive terps that I found myself smooching buds during peak bloom, getting high off terp vapors.
The same for their Hella Jelly, which everyone says should have been named Halle Jelly.
Poddy Mouth has a pungent scent and taste. In peak bloom, it smells like a well-oiled leather baseball glove!
When I’m vaping it, the taste is like sandalwood, pepper, pine, fuel. Not delicious, but somehow appropriate as an indicator of the strain’s extreme potency.
After a few weeks of curing, the bud scent was garlic and mustard.
Buds ripen from the top and fill in from the bottom, with much of the bud density developing in the last two weeks of bloom phase.
Some plants had cloudy resin glands as early as 44 days into bloom, and incremental harvesting showed me that 47-51 days in bloom is the ideal harvest window for Poddy Mouth.
Because it has a very high ratio of bracts to leaves, it’s easy to manicure.
The high comes on fast and is a perfect 50-50 blend of Indica and Sativa effects, just like HSC’s strain description indicates.
It has an unusual “relaxing” euphoria that shuts down mental chatter, physical pain, insomnia, stress and PTSD, and a very long-lasting high that does not have a burn-out at the end.
This is a very rare type of high that energizes and strengthens your body, while relaxing and elevating your mind.
Breeding for Perfection
Halle explains that her company insists on cannabis perfection, rather than rapid, hyped-up strain release.
“Selecting phenos for breeding is a group decision involving our extended cannabis family, including award-winning growers and cannabis aficionados. We have thousands of plants to choose from. Every year we narrow that down to maybe 20 phenotypes. We do rigorous breeding, refining, testing for many months or even years. Out of all those plants and projects, we might only release 2-4 new strains a year. Only the very best,” she says.
Halle says HSC tries to have new strains ready to enter the annual Emerald Cup, which is the premier craft cannabis event in North America.
She teased us with a hint about a possible Runtz x Hella Jelly cross.
We can’t wait!
There are two other things I always remind people of when they’re buying seeds from Halle and Nat.
The first thing is a warning: do not confuse Humboldt Seed Company with a company that calls itself Humboldt Seed Organization.
Growers seeking HSC strains who mistakenly order HSO seeds have been bitterly disappointed due to hermies, male plants from feminized seeds, and schwaggy strains.
The other thing to remember is included in the abovementioned warning—there are too few ethical, professional, kind people in the cannabis industry.
They don’t have the passion, access to a treasure trove of rare strains, or perfectionistic strain development process that Halle and Nat insist on.
They don’t care enough or at all about sustainability, their employee’s well-being, the community, growers, or cannabis consumers.
Fortunately, when you buy seeds from Halle and Nat you get cannabis genetics that offer layer upon layer of proprietary lineage, terps and grow op potential. You’re also getting fresh seeds that are 100% viable.
It’s a great feeling to know that buying HSC seeds supports a civic-minded family business network. Nat and Halle lead a non-profit environmental/social justice organization. They provide cannabis industry jobs and assistance to employees and off-site growers.
When you see Poddy Mouth and other scintillating strains on HSC’s menu, you’re stoked by their comprehensive range of elite strains—from CBD plants to knockout Kush and soaring Sativa.
HSC’s genetics are a valuable cache of the finest ever. Be sure to get their premium marijuana seeds as often and as soon as you can. Now look at this video, as Halle and Nat tell you how to germinate their amazing seeds…