Strains & products

Cannabis buyer’s guide to outstanding outdoor flower of 2021

Published on February 24, 2022 · Last updated February 25, 2022
Motorbreath from Sonoma Hills Farm. (David Downs/Leafly)
Motorbreath from Sonoma Hills Farm. (David Downs/Leafly)

California cannabis lovers—smoke the weed you want to see in the world.

Right this very week, the state’s 1,000 legal stores and couriers have literal tons of potent, fresh, diverse, and cheap outdoor, organic, sungrown pot packaged up and ready to buy. Wholesale pot prices cratered last year, off ‘90s peaks of $3,000 per pound, to sometimes $150 this week.

We’re talking $100 ounces of the designer strain Modified Grapes at HPRC, Arcata, CA, or $12 pre-rolls of Greenshock Farms’ Emerald Cup-winning Tropical Sleigh Ride via Budee delivery statewide.

“There is a lot of sungrown sitting in a lot of warehouses right now,” said Nicholas Smilgys, a grower and distributor with the Mendocino Producers Guild. “And here’s something completely neglected: It’s often not only better, it’s cheaper!”

So here’s the superb sensimilla on shelves: From blockbuster exotics by the ounce; to jars of craft, heirloom nugs that were hand-watered by a naked hippie. Do your duty, and smoketh it.

Large-scale single-source outdoor cannabis of 2021 buys

Gushers from Connected Cannabis Co.

Californians and tourists will smoke through an estimated 514 metric tons of pot this year, and little cottage grows of 30 plants aren’t going to cut it. Sorry, we need scale.

Get your exotic outs straight from a legit source at Connected Cannabis Co and partners Alien Labs. Every year, Connected runs their hit indoor strains outside in the hinterlands of Yolo County, CA., yielding a dump truck-load of dank. Top-shelf indoor Gushers gets pricey. But the sungrown version at Connected Cannabis Co stores in Sacramento and San Francisco offers just as much syrupy fruit aroma and relaxing effect without paying for extra bling. See also: sungrown versions of the strains Connected’s indica hybrid Slow Lane, or The Chemist.

Area 41 Moongrown from Alien Labs

The all-day smokers at Alien Labs hate high dispensary prices and taxes as much as anyone. They prove it every year with cheap, awesome bags of Alien Labs’ “moongrown” outdoor in all their coveted top-shelf flavors: Area 41, Melonade, or Kryptochronic bags for less than half the price of the indoor stuff. A lot of it got made into super-affordable extracts, too.

Gush Mints from Honeydew Farms

Mega-scale, independent-owned, and operated Honeydew Farms in Humboldt County grew a veritable valley of full-season Gush Mints this year. I’d also get their Gelonade, Watermelon Gelato, and LA Kush Cake. The 2021 grow year turned out warm and dry without the smoke inundation or fires of 2020. The weed went crazy in the heat.

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Motorbreath from Sonoma Hills Farm

Cherry Cheesecake. Grandi Guava. Pink Jesus. Motorbreath. Cherry Fritter. Durban Biscotti. Just a few flavors coming off the gorgeous 40-acre outdoor Sonoma Hills Farm an hour north of San Francisco in the Petaluma Gap appellation. It’s Sun+Earth Certified (see below) for minimal carbon impact. Huge, fragrant affordable nugs await.

See also:

  • The Talking Trees Farms brand grows their own soil-grown indoor, and organic greenhouse, as well as outdoor (aka sungrown) that’s always loud. Upcoming in flower: new selections of Archive Genetics’ Dark Rainbow, Exotic Genetix’ Cocobamba, Seed Junky Genetics’ The Menage, and Booneye Genetics’ Zmasherz. “We think we will have one of our best menus ever in 2022,” the Trees wrote Leafly. Listen to the trees!
  • And the Terphogz team behind the original Z strain is also farming terps in Mendocino County for their Zeus pods and pre-rolls.

Pro-tip #1: How do I get great outdoor fast? Delivery.

Check your legal delivery services! About 300 of them exist statewide and many deliver the same hour, if not same-day or next day. For example, Budee delivery carries Greenshock Farms statewide. Ganja Goddess Delivers carries Swami Select. And Padre Mu serves Oakland super-legit outdoor jars like Whitethorn Rose from Huckleberry Hill.

Visit Leafly’s new Delivery Gateway.

Big multi-source brands selling full-sun outdoor

Farmer and the Felon: Unlocked

Sour OG from Farmer and the Felon Unlocked (Photo courtesy Goddess Delivers)

About 80 to 90% of the great outdoor pot gets sold off in bulk form and packaged under a bigger brand name. It’s tough for consumers to know where their dollar goes. Farmer and the Felon brand from CannaCraft band grows some of their own, and white labels light dep. Their “Unlocked” pouches focus on sungrown awesomeness from 2021.


The Madrone brand brings the best of the Emerald Triangle to your local shop. They’re walking the fields, out of cell reception, in America’s pot heartland, giving farmers a fair price for AAA-grade outdoor. They jar it up under the Madrone label and ship it out statewide. See the Velvet Papaya.

Cottage and small outdoor aggregator brands and groups

Mendocino Producers Guild farms

Raspberry Parfait big bud by Brian Parks (Courtesy Swami Select)
Swami Select grew Humboldt Seed Co’s hot new sativa Raspberry Parfait. (Photo by Brian Parks; Courtesy Swami Select)

In the prohibition era, Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino Counties comprised America’s ‘Emerald Triangle’ of pot production. Today, Mendocino County’s strict rules make every legal grower “craft” scale by default. Each craft farm might produce a couple hundred pounds or less per year, Smylgis said. Where do you find that stuff?

Associations like the MPG or Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (below) make it easier. The Guild helps the best of ‘The Hill’ get down Highway 101 and into stores. Don’t miss Swami Select’s Raspberry Parfait of 2021, or flowers by Martyjuana, and First Cut Farms.

White label: Higher Heights Mendo Crumble. (David Downs/Leafly)
M.I.A.: High-grade outdoor like this Higher Heights Mendo Crumble mostly gets sold in bulk and re-branded. (David Downs/Leafly)

“Sungrown not only offers a better value but it is the best choice for the cannabis aficionado and the world we live in,” Nikki Lastreto told Leafly.

This winter, MPG growers go direct-to-consumer with a Sacramento-area delivery service, and a Farmer’s Market series. (see below).

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance farms

Redwood Remedies Fall Garden (Photo by Courtesy of Redwood Remedies)
Redwood Remedies’ fall 2021 garden. (Photo by, Courtesy of Redwood Remedies)

The MCA is another primo place to trawl for legit outdoor farm brands to stan. You’ll see award-winning Moon Gazer Farms on there, as well as Redwood Remedies and Greenshock Farms. All of them grow outdoor that’s better-tasting and feeling than the indoor you smoke—much of it heirloom originals.

Sun+Earth Certified partners

Emerald Spirit Botanicals - Pink Boost Goddess (David Downs/Leafly)
Boost enabled: Emerald Spirit Botanicals’ Pink Boost Goddess 2021 outdoor full sun; via Solful. (David Downs/Leafly)

Worry a bit less about the climate with carbon-natural weed that’s third-party-certified “Sun+Earth.” Turns out—carbon-conscious pot smells dank AF, whether it’s Emerald Spirit Botanicals, HappyDay Farms, or Radicle Herbs.

Farm Cut label brands

Durban Poison from Whitethorn Valley Farm - via Farm Cut (David Downs/Leafly)
Hot fuzz: Durban Poison from Whitethorn Valley Farm, via Farm Cut. (David Downs/Leafly)

‘Sick and tired of the photoshop?’ Buy something natural—like weed with a vintage trim. The Farm Cut brand jars up handfuls of Sun+Earth Certified, regeneratively grown bud from actual appellations. Their custom mason jars? Sustainable and re-usable. We loved the Whitethorn Valley Farm Durban Poison at The Emerald Cup. Next drop? Down Om Farm’s Garlic Cookie, grown in Nevada County’s own Grass Valley; niiiice. Here’s Farm Cut’s list of retailers.

Special shoutout: Redwood Roots distribution and their retailers

Ridgeline Farms LANTZ 2021 season, bought at The Emerald Cup. (David Downs/Leafly)
Ridgeline Farms LANTZ 2021 season, bought at The Emerald Cup. (David Downs/Leafly)

Redwood Roots reps the award-winning Ridgeline Farms (Ridgeline Runtz, 2020), and a bunch of other legit farm brands from behind the redwood curtain, bringing them statewide to stores like Embarc, Alameda, CA; and The Higher Path Sherman Oaks, CA.

Protip #2: These stores specialize in awesome outdoor

With 700 shops open in California and climbing, some specialize in serving a clientele that’s wise to the big flavor, effects, and cost savings from sungrown. Look out for these terp boutiques in Golden State cities big and small.

Best in the state: Solful

Buy your outdoor and light dep weed from people that love sungrown and refuse to smoke much else. If you don’t know what that looks like, sojourn to Sebastopol, CA’s Solful—a terp worshipper’s mecca.

“We got a lot of sungrown coming in and there’ll be a lot happening around here the next 8-12 weeks,” said Eli Melrod, CEO and co-founder.

The flower section focuses on the terpenes and the farmer—not THC scores or internet clout. Shop their superb sativa selections like Esensia Gardens Buddha’s Hand, or Nigerian Haze. The best of Wine Country-style curation has come to cannabis, and it happened at Solful first.

In San Francisco: The Green Cross

Rimrock Farms Blue Tara (David Downs/Leafly)
Calaveras County’s Rimrock Farms Blue Tara sungrown of 2021. (David Downs/Leafly)

Longtime San Francisco shop The Green Cross has a distributor’s license, so they buy up bags of bomb-ass NorCal outs, jar them, and blow them out the door for a bargain. They’re a home for Calaveras County’s Rimrock Farms (get the Candyland or Tropical Punch), or Redwood Roots’ Double OG Chem, Lemonade, and Dosi Kush Mintz. See also: SF’s SPARC retailer adds a new store to sell its own sungrown and others.

In the concrete jungle of LA? LAPCG

Ridgleline’s 2021 outdoor Runtz is the way. (Photo by Redwood Country Photos, Courtesy Ridgeline Farms)
Ridgleline’s 2021 outdoor Runtz is the way. (Photo by Redwood Country Photos, Courtesy Ridgeline Farms)

Fight the Los Angeles bias against outdoor with these rad retailers.

“We are not your typical dispensary” states the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group (LAPCG). Veteran OGs from the medical era run the place and offer the best in Emerald Triangle outs from brands like Esensia Gardens, Moon Made, and Ridgeline. See also: Mother Mature’s Remedy in Woodland hills.

In San Diego—Torrey Holistics

Sonoma Hills Farm daytime sativa Pink Jesus (David Downs/Leafly)
Sonoma Hills Farm daytime sativa Pink Jesus. (David Downs/Leafly)

Down in surf city, Torrey Holistics sports an excellent selection of Sun+Earth certified, with brands like Esensia, Sonoma Hills Farm, and Moon Made Gelonade.

Leafly Buzz: 12 most lit cannabis strains of February 2022

Rural hotspots for outdoor tree:

The further north you go, and the further off the interstate highways, the more likely you are to encounter some legendary trees; real Hobbit-level smoke. These spots popped up on our radar.

  • Arcata, CA: Humboldt Patient Resource Center, Arcata, CA slangs CannaTrust $100 ounces of Modified Grapes, or Farmer and the Felon Unlocked Rainbow Sherbert
  • Cotati, CA: Mercy Wellness has 213 flower products on the menu; have mercy!
  • Crescent City, CA: Sticky Grove prices look like Oregon in Cali—$5 grams; Emerald Famly Farms GMO eighths at $12, and $60 ounces from Golden Blooms.
  • McKinleyville, CA: Satori Wellness sells Triangle Mints ounces for $72 that will make you zen.
  • Shasta Lake City, CA: The Queen of Dragons keeps it lit with an array of $100 ounces.
  • Vallejo, CA: Highway 29 moves Soma Rosa Farms’ Lemon Runtz ounces at $120.

🎉 Event Announcement: Get the most bang for your buck by cutting out the middlemen and buying directly from the craft farmers at three MPG Farmer’s Market events, beginning April 23 way up in Laytonville, CA. Road trip!

Glentucky Family Farm - First Class Funk (David Downs/Leafly)
Glentucky Family Farm’s craft sungrown First Class Funk of 2021. (David Downs/Leafly)

And that’s a wrap for this epic buyer’s guide to 2021 outdoor flower.

Look, California’s farmers need one thing from you to keep farming: Buy a bunch of terped-out, delicious outs, roll some doinks, and put some smoke in the air. I know you got this. Don’t let the farmers down.

“The choices that consumers make now do make a difference and create the future,” said Nikki at Swami Select.

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David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
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