A conversation with Nikki and Swami of Swami Select
By Kaleigh Kirkpatrick, Wellness Associate
Here at Elevation, we pride ourselves in carrying beautiful, craft cannabis. This week, we’re excited to shine the spotlight on Mendocino based company, Swami Select who is known for conscious farming, beautiful flower, and industry education. The farm is owned and run by cannabis guru couple, Nikki and Swami who have been active members of the industry for over three decades, participating in both political forums and social events. The two have been flower judges in the Emerald Exchange since 2003!
So after being in the game for so long, how did they even get started?
“We were both hippies in the sixties,'' laughed Nikki, “Back then, if you were smoking weed, you were probably selling it.”
Swami began growing in San Francisco, a rather covert affair at the time, until eventually the couple moved to the Mendocino Highlands and began their full sun operation in 2004 under the collective model allowed by Prop 15.
The Swami Estate is a licensed and permitted farm otherwise known as the Ganja Ma Gardens. It is a sanctuary nestled in the mountains, surrounded by dazzling creeks and vast meadows, dotted with giant trees. Cannabis plants are grown in full sun, moon, and star light and cultivated using regenerative farming methods as ways to uphold the integrity of the plant’s healing properties. Being tended to by spiritual farmers, the garden is also set up in a sacred geometric pattern, in this case the Shri Yantra, an ancient diagram that aids in meditation. Nikki writes:
“We are often asked about the significance of the design and if it actually makes a difference in the cannabis flowers grown within its bounds. We think it does make a difference. It's subtle yet sublime.”
Grown and nurtured in such a way aids in producing organic cannabis with fair sizing and wondrous terpene profiles that allow for full flavor and effect. Luckily for me, I got the chance to test this out! To give an accurate review I took home an eighth of Swami’s strain “Headlights”. This is a house cultivated strain -- a blend of Northern Lights and Headband -- and was created by Swami’s Master Gardeners, Adam Pratt and Colin Tucker. They market this strain as having an uplifting effect, and so it was. I opened the jar to a rich, earthy, sweet, and musky flower that was dusted with sparkly crystals. Despite only ranking in at 18% THC, the high was wonderfully social and creative. With the combination of potent scent, flavour, and effect, it’s no wonder Swami won Leafly’s California best in state for flower back in 2017.
In addition to cultivating luscious, organic flower - Swami Select has worked to create more environmentally conscious packaging by using UV light friendly glass jars. The jars are manufactured in Holland and are especially awesome because by keeping UV light away from your cannabis, you can keep it fresh for longer. According to Leafly,
“UV rays can break down organic matter at a rapid rate, causing cannabinoid degradation and loss to occur.”
When asked about their environmentally conscious packaging, Nikki noted, “They’re made to be apothecary jars, for keeping spices or lotions and potions fresh. They actually continue to cure the cannabis inside.” While they would like to have a return system, maybe even a “refill discount”, there are regulations to navigate. In the meantime they are made of glass and therefore recyclable if you don’t have other projects for them.
After falling in love with their flower, I asked Nikki about the potential for other products in the future. So far they’re looking at bulking up with 14 gram bags of cannabis, and while they will be in bags, the flower will still be protected. “Take it out of the bag!”, Swami piped up, “Spread it out in your little jars and then you’re still using them.” While the company still mostly focuses on flower, the future may hold options for things like hash or organic chocolates.
We finished up our interview with a fairly broad question: what do you think is Swami Select’s greatest accomplishment?
“How do we pick one?” In the end, we decided the simple answer was YES, Swami Select itself is a huge accomplishment. “Through a combination of our marketing; that we grow top shelf, organic, regenerative flowers, along with the education that comes through that and our writing, we are able to bring awareness to our community.” Said Nikki with the following from Swami, “These days, you can’t just grow good weed and sell it - it’s about building community, and bringing medicine to those who need it.”
It was such a pleasure to speak with Nikki and Swami and see the beauty behind their operation. If you’d like to meet the duo yourself, come by the shop on Wednesday July 24th for a meet and greet and product demo.