Twenty years ago, the McLovin family moved into the Laytonville area from Tahoe. And that same year, right off the bat on a work trade, they acquired the seeds that would become their famous strain – Heirloom Pineapple. But, as we all know, seeds are really just a part of the whole shebang that makes up a truly top notch, best-of-show, unique to our world, strain of cannabis. So…. Let’s start their story from the beginning.
“right when Measure G passed and you could grow 25 plants ‘legally’. Those were some times of growth for this county for sure. It built up the economy and we literally had thousand dollar + bake sales. Life was phat and juicy! When we (the mom and pops) arrived though it was truly on a wind and a prayer. We had nothing and we built everything from the ground up. We put in a road, we put in the water, built the house. Ray figured out how to wire the house with solar while he hand-dug the garden and maintained good parenting skills. We did our best on most days, but homesteading is not for the weak or faint of heart, trust me here.” — Traci
The McLovins brought strong environmental values to their homesteading and an absolute commitment to sustainable agriculture and respect for ecological balance. And these values thoroughly shaped their approach to growing cannabis.
Market-minded business people would ask: Why don’t you grow from clones? Isn’t it lots easier? Ray McLovin explains:
“I grow from seed because God (The Ultimate Supreme Omniscient Undisputed Heavy-weight-champion-of-all-the-gods Goddess) did not intend for me to smoke the same clones over and over again – especially if they are grown in an industrial warehouse, under grid-fed lighting.”
But in this newly legal, volatile industry, can you stay alive if you don’t follow basic laws of business? What about the long-held belief that consumers prefer consistency over variety? Ray continues:
“People, in general, prefer many things and I want to cater to the people who want variety, not consistency. Everyone has their personal taste and I want to respect that. There is plenty of consistency out there, if you want it. I want to cater to the connoisseur. The legal marketplace is new. Very new. Once it is better established and people are more used to what is going on, I predict that people will have an awareness of quality in the same way that people enjoy fine wines.”
Heirloom Pineapple contributed to motivating the traditional cannabis farmers of northern California to try a new approach to shaping cannabis connoisseur palates. For over a decade, according to Ray,
“…the market was predominantly interested in gassy, strong-smelling strains. That strong, gassy, chemical flavor is not something that I favor. I ignored the demands of the market for the sake of growing the weed I like to smoke.”
Another tendency among cannabis cultivators is to start to hybridize top strains. Heirloom Pineapple, however, remains an authentic purebred, one-of-a-kind strain. Ray explains the reason behind leaving it pure and un-bred.
“If someone gives me their cannabis, it can be smooth, strong, taste good, and burn clean – but, there is something about the flavor of my own stuff that never gets old. Something that I don’t want to contaminate with exotic genetics. I keep coming back to it, no matter what. I think that having a proprietary strain like Heirloom Pineapple is wonderful for the smoker because there is nothing else like it. Also, it’s very exciting because the seed batch each year is slightly different year-to-year; even each seed is slightly different.”
But the magic of creating a truly unique, craft strain isn’t about waving a wand over some exceptional seeds. The real meaning behind “heritage cannabis cultivation” as has evolved in this magic region called the Emerald Triangle, is that it consists of real hard work.
“We literally made a garden in the forest. The garden was small and ripe and loved like a first garden should be. We made seeds from a mama named “Geode” because she was all purple and sparkly and bursting with magic. It’s called “Heirloom Pineapple” but what it is, is wild, just like the land it was born on. It has blueberry, pineapple, pine, licorice, gas, cheese, a full buffet of flavors out of the same strain. This strain has been micro-climatized to its environment. We are shade/sun grown full term only. We use little water and lots of native leaf mulch to bring out the flavors and resin.”
But when you achieve that amazing new flower, doesn’t it push you to expand your operation? Don’t you want to make MORE of it?
“We are a 5Ksq ft garden and won’t get any bigger; this is plenty thank you. Remember, this is literally a Mom and Pop shop. We only grow what we can grow. Our needs are little and love staying home and being farmers. We have no employees. This is a family-run operation. The emphasis being that this operation here is kept small intentionally to maintain integrity with the environment. I want to leave enough for everyone else, the deer, the foxes, the bears, everyone. I am committed to bio-integrated, regenerative farming. The ideal here is to keep the scale small enough so that it is possible to do everything myself and maintain this extremely small footprint.”
Thank you MCA and SKUNK for this fabulous opportunity to share some of our story. — Ray and Traci, and Jayden Sonshine
You can order McLovin products through Mendocino Cannabis Distribution https://mcdistro.com/ McLovin family farm is a founding member of the Mendocino Producers Guild, which sponsors live, in-person cannabis Farmer’s Markets. You can learn more about how they live the Green Renaissance in cannabis cultivation by visiting Mendocinoproducersguild.org.
Ray McLovin is a contractor, massage therapist, musician, philosopher, husband to Traci for 30 years and father to Sonshine McLovin for 23 years. He is a one of a kind dude and loves funk along with all kinds of other musical genres. Come meet him at the Farmers Market on July 10th in Laytonville and grab an 1/8th of Heirloom Pineapple and feel the Lovin. Virgo
Traci McLovin is a fierce activist, mama, and homemaker. She loves her community of Laytonville, the beautiful land she lives on, and the sweet water she drinks. Aquarius
Jayden Sonshine McLovin is a bio-chem major about to graduate HSU with honors and is truly a county kid, growing up with the trees teaching him the secrets of the forest, catching lizards, and working hard for the family farm since he was small. Scorpio
Editor: Jude Thilman serves as Vice-Chair of MCA and is owner of Dragonfly Wellness Center, a medically-focused dispensary on the Mendocino Coast, between Fort Bragg and Mendocino Village.
Story by Ray, Traci, Jayden Sonshine McLovin
Edited by Jude Thilman
What’s so Special about Mendocino cannabis, culture, and community? As the premier trade association in our county, the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance is devoted to serving our world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy advocacy. MCA promotes the Special. Watch this space….