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RECENTS

Celebrating Resin Three Ways with Swamp Hash

Scrambled, poached or Fried


A trichome head is like an egg; it can be presented in so many ways. Each unique configuration of the same constituents—cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, and proteins—resulting from one style of manipulation or another, yields a different experience for the consumer. The analogy holds true for the impact of environmental conditions on flavor and nutrient content, too. Would you prefer your eggs factory farmed or free range? How about your cannabis? Just as a great chef can do a hell of a lot with a single egg, what a great hashmaker can achieve with quality resin is limited only by their imagination.


Michigan-based Swamp Hash, a member of the Dragonfly Earth Medicine family, grows outdoors in organic living soil to produce strong and complex flavors, specializing in diversely gassy profiles that please the hearty Midwestern palate. Not content to be relegated to the rank of Rosin Boi, Swamp Hash offers patients rosin, full-melt ice hash, and temple ball-style pressed bubble hash. In my last post, I sang my love for traditional hash from the mountaintops, and the torrid affair is far from over. Though I wasn't able to attend the HREAM Swap Meet event in April to connect in person, a gracious friend brought me a sampler of Swamp Hash's work (a Swampler, if you will).


From a sizable menu of mostly single-source and a few collaborator-grown options, I picked out Meal Ticket 1st Wash 90-119u rosin, Breadstix 90-119u melt, and a Platinum Pie + Lemans Freak temple ball. Each item was packaged simply, bearing, at most, a logo sticker and a strain/micron label with the cultivar's parental cross. This was an encouraging sign that Josh and Jeff, the hash artists behind these products, preferred to let the resin speak for itself rather than hide anything behind snazzy graphics.


Step Up to the Plate


Even though Breadstix sounded like a fitting appetizer, I couldn't sit at the table without paying admission first, so Meal Ticket it was, to start. Slick, soupy and snotty in all the best ways, the terped-out rosin handled like a thin curd with no resistance against the dab tool. Its creamy tan color had a shiny glaze to it that one could almost see their reflection in. Though one might assume a heat tek was used to achieve the texture, Swamp Hash cures its rosin “low and slow” in the fridge for several months before whipping. According to Jeff, Meal Ticket's "wet pudding" consistency holds up for months, even at room temperature.

Meal Ticket hash rosin
Skipping stones on Lake Terperior

The pungent stench that circumvented the threads of the closed jar was no joke, attacking nostrils with a complex gas comprised of savory, nutty, minty, and funky dairy notes that fluttered past one another in a sensory blur. These aromatic layers derived from Meal Ticket's deep genetic lineage (Mule Fuel x Jiffy Cake) and primed the palate for an equally tough to parse taste. Feety garlic, sharp onion, and fresh-squeezed lemon took a front seat, transporting me to a Greek wedding reception, complete with vanilla cream cheese-based cake frosting, pistachio baklava, and the cool burn of ouzo.


Josh isn’t shy about his affinity for “nasty” terps, practically beaming over the phone as he described a recent experience with a particularly rank cut of Tagalong Truffle that had come into the garden. “It was straight cheesy, rotten vomit. Terrible yielder but it turned so many heads,” he says with pride. Having collected unique genetics from the likes of Staefli Farms, Kush Kirk, Kevin Jodrey and more, the duo behind Swamp has been expanding their own breeding program over the past two years. In the pipeline are crosses of the Tagalong Truffle as well as Koffee and Dragon’s Fist.


Exhaling a dab of Meal Ticket was reminiscent of a nice batch of OGKB, but with far more bells and whistles that contributed to its dimensionality. A cough was nearly inevitable, more likely chalked up to the high concentration of terpenes than any impurity, as the turbulence subsided quickly with no residual discomfort in the chest.

Meal Ticket hash rosin
Devoured this gram way too easily

This rosin might just be the key to unlocking the secrets of time travel, as I would find myself hours into the future without realizing any time had passed. The hefty yet directionless slap sent me floating into the ether with a set of extra-long puppet strings to make what was left of me at ground level clean up my apartment. Though balanced enough to veer away from sedating territory, this one was best saved as a reward after a busy day rather than being the gas in the tank.


Stixing it to the Man


Breadstix, another Jiffy Cake cross (this time with Garlic Breath), brought forward an unexpected mocha flavor and greased down beautifully. Visually and scent-wise, the gram recalled the Sour Butter Breath melt I had from Papa's Select and ABR Farms during a brief visit to L.A. last October, speaking to its quality. Both bore that pie-in-the-windowsill allure with a sweet, almost pheromone-like funk that drives the olfactory bulbs wild and gets the heart beating.

Breadstix full melt
Let's get this bread, heads

The rich, earthy taste of the hash evokes the terroir of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Working in tandem with the land off the sandy coast of Lake Superior, Swamp’s hugelkultur beds offer improved water retention and a thriving community of microbes. “I can continuously dig in the swamp and find white mycelium and nice hyphae and just mulch the beds all season,” says Josh.


A hardy mycelial network, supplemented with biochar, IMO, and bokashi, protects roots and helps plants get the most out of their 160-day growing season from frost to frost. “I feel like that's a big part of how we combat the viruses and the pathogens that people do have problems with in Michigan like septoria,” Josh theorizes. “I see it all around the forest, I just don't get it that much on my plants.” With fungi-innoculated logs at the foundation, the beds are layered with livestock bedding, leaves, topsoil, compost, and mulch to create a supportive growing environment.


Again and again, the highs of sun-grown resin continue to impress. Breadstix’ full-body buzz hit my chest and rippled outward, lifting up my posture and relieving fatigue. Satisfying without being heavy, the melt was a perfect daytime companion, delaying appetite and recharging the social battery while paving a smooth layer of asphalt over rocky moods. Based on the minor residue left in the banger after a conservative 465-degree dab, I’d call this a 5.5-star melt, speaking to the high purity of heads in the 90-119u range.


Ballin' with a Freak


When we talk about cannabis as medicine, I’m of the opinion that quality traditional hashish is one of its most effective forms. Flower, melt, and rosin all have their place in the regimen, but when I need thorough, systemic healing, I reach for some bubble. Despite flying somewhat in the face of biochemistry, it never lets me down. The compact ball of mixed Platinum Pie and Lemans Freak hash, wrapped neatly in a piece of cellophane, had a fudgy mazapan-like consistency with visibly oily spots on the surface. Breaking open the milk chocolate-colored lump released a fresh and floral kush bouquet with a slight edge of tart, musky stone fruit.

Temple ball broken open
Freaky with the Pie like Stifler

As I inhaled a wand rip, the hash smoke flowed through my mouth like a dry merlot, freshening taste buds with pie crust and fennel notes. Afterward, a spacey yet centered stone crept in. The radio static of chronic back pain was muffled as a marshmallowy sensation took over my torso. Two more hits turned a functional chill into a cocoon of withdrawn relaxation that was impervious to stress.


Josh says the demand for temple balls is minor, but he treats that process with as much respect as any other. “We’re still using most of the same specs that people are putting in their rosin, so it’s not some lower grade, plant-y material from trim bins. Sometimes it’s fresh-frozen flower, sometimes it’s dried, but it’s always something that’s intentional.”

A temple ball in cellophane
That's a hashy meat-a-ball

5 sound bytes from Swamp Hash


On prioritizing flavor

“Organic farm-fresh produce clearly tastes better than conventionally grown. It’s about stepping away from the profit-driven way of doing things and seeing that there’s more than just pumping your plants full of nutrients to get the biggest yield. It took a long time for me to gain confidence in my product and making bubble hash and rosin helped me with that because there’s no hiding anything. It’s a true representation of what happened during the season.”


On the impact of local terroir

“The microbes are vehicles for knowledge and pathways for the plant. I feel like I’ve seen a genetic shift in some of the moms I’ve held for years on end; finishing a little faster, resisting bugs better, getting some different notes. Almost everything I run outdoors has gotten this milky yogurt or cheese to it.”


On R&D

“We learned that we shouldn't be mixing flavors. If you blend stuff, you get different color changes and different textures and stuff that's really not desirable in the market. So that's when we decided to just stick to the strains, run them separately and see what we got.”


On the DEM Pure approach

“DEM is almost beyond OMRI’s standards, even though OMRI is nationally recognized. It's a closed-loop system, so you have products being grown with a low carbon footprint. You take an oath to not have pesticides and chemicals and fertilizers. At that point, you'd rather chop and clean and just start over than spray something that would be detrimental to the environment, your patients and anyone else who would come in contact with that.”


On trying to participate in Michigan’s regulated market

“First it started with testing requirements, and then it was like, ‘Oh, you have to sign a waiver if you buy products from caregivers.’ Fine, sign a waiver, have our stuff on a different shelf if you want, whatever. Then it just got to a point where rec came in and there was no room for us. So that forced us into starting our own small clubs, reeling back in to see what we can do for a small group of people now rather than contribute to the entire marketplace.”

Iced Banana Dog hash rosin
Bonus shot of some Iced Banana Dog


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