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Chicago Cold Cure Co.: Greenhouse Gold, Hold the Gatekeeping

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Keeping It Close to Home

The rosin market can be tough to navigate without a trusted source, particularly for those of us living outside the major hubs of solventless activity. For this reason, I've started to value transparency above all when it comes to procuring my meds. I sleep at night just fine having missed out on the most exotic flavors from an anonymous Telegram user because when I shop locally, I can get any question answered that I need and more. I get to learn how different aspects of the growing and hashing processes impact the final product, from substrate to lighting to nutrient feeds and technical nuances.

With freely-shared knowledge, not only am I able to figure out what I personally enjoy best, I also come to appreciate achievements in different categories rather than seeking a single type of experience. Indoor or sun-grown? KNF or JADAM? Sweet or gassy? My answer, invariably, is “yes”.

GMO live rosin smiley face baller jar
"The Smack That Smiles Back, GMOldfish"

COld Cure by The Windy CIty

One local brand making waves in the Chicago area is Chicago Cold Cure Co., based about an hour and change northwest of the eponymous city. Their recent collaboration with @ChiCity_Roots produced a round of rosins–not to be confused with Ronda Rousey, though both could put me in a headlock–to please most palates, including cultivars like GMO, Guava Jam, and last year’s Mobile Jay-bred rising star Superboof, AKA Blockberry. The genetics, selected by ChiCity_Roots, were grown out in a double polyfilm greenhouse in 50-gallon pots using a custom blend of compost, peat, perlite and an equal mix of Fox Farms Ocean Forest and Happy Frog soils. Pots were amended lightly with insect frass and top-dressed with a cover crop and a layer of alpaca manure. Throughout the season, the plants were strategically fed various JADAM Liquid Fertilizer (JLF) recipes, prepared through anaerobic fermentation using leaf mold and compost alongside key ingredients.

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Soil Science

First, a JLF containing nettle and burdock was applied in the vegetative state. According to ChiCity, burdock is rich in trace minerals including magnesium, the central component of chlorophyll, which is essential for keeping up with the rapid growth onset caused by hormone secretions from the fermented nettle. To keep plants well-supplied with vital phosphorus through the transition to flower, a second JLF featuring pumpkin was used. Then, as the flowers ripened, the plants received a “terp tea” made from apples to provide sugars as the building blocks of robust terpenes. In all three concoctions, alpaca manure added humic and fulvic acids to help with nutrient uptake and increase microbial activity in the soil.

The Resin Results

Three miron jars of live hash rosin
Didn't need to go to O'Hare to catch this flight.

Live hash rosin
Clockwise from top left: GMO, Sugar Coat, Guava Jam

After a full growth season, processing, and a two-month cure, I eagerly got my hands on three flavors of Chicago Cold Cure 70-149µ live hash rosin: GMO (Skunk House Genetics), Guava Jam (Bloom Seed Co.), and Sugar Coat (Farmhouse Studio Genetics). The first two were obvious choices, as GMO has become my litmus test for assessing a new producer and I typically respond well to Guava strains. Being less familiar with Sugar Coat, or much of Shwale’s work at all, I knew I could approach the rosin with no preconceptions. Each 2g jar came side-wrapped with an embossed top label, underscoring the attention to detail in this operation. Here are my hashed-out musings:


GMO live hash rosin badder
Can't knock a classic.

GMO live hash rosin
Beautifully tender, homogenized badder

The unmistakable presence of Chem D in the lineage made this one an excellent regulator, restoring appetite and mental balance in times when both seemed elusive. It hit the heart just right and spread my brain like a pat of garlic butter, making me feel like a zen sand garden freshly raked. Plentiful pinene kept aches and pains at bay and left the mind alert enough to handle work tasks. Its aroma was dominated by earthy umami notes of wood ear mushroom and miso paste, with tempting wafts of French fries and butter cookies. Dabs around 480F transported me to the middle of a forest with the taste of pristine river water, pine, and dirty scallion. Then, sneaking through a clearing in the brush are pangs of sweet fumes, chives, and hearty industrial metal. The Skunkmaster Flex cut proved as reliable for the maker as it was for me, hitting a whopping 7.8% return in the 70-149 range and over 8% for the full spectrum.

Guava Jam

Guava Jam live hash rosin badder
Terps glistening under my LEDs

Dab of Guava Jam live hash rosin
Guava Jammin'

The first thing I noticed about this one was how much darker in color it was than the other two, perspiring tiny puddles of terps when I opened the puck. The second thing I noticed was an irresistibly rank smell of durian and rotten papaya, lightened with a hint of mangosteen. Clearly the “Jam” in Guava Jam refers more to the kind found between one’s toes than the kind in a jar of Bonne Maman. A hit brought out more delicate layers; tropical flora and sweet, boozy Curaçao that evoked the bracing feeling of an overhead waterfall, reminiscent of G-spot, another Guava-forward cultivar I’ve had recently. The bright, smiley facial buzz quickly transitioned to a stony frontal lobe-localized high that I characteristically associate with Zkittlez, which appears in small cameos in this strain’s ancestry. I particularly enjoyed using this rosin before the gym, as it unlocked greater intensity and endurance by breaking down mental inhibitions of exertion.

Sugar Coat

Jar of Sugar Coat live hash rosin
Sugar sugar, oh honey emoji
Sugar coat live hash rosin
Partial eclipse of the hash

With so much hype dictating what sensory profiles are widely available, further limited by which ones wash well enough to yield financially justifiable hash weight, coming across a completely new smell or taste in rosin doesn’t happen terribly often for me. On this rare occasion, I found myself in new territory, surrounded by the scent of raw cookie dough, squeaky new sneaker soles, and gas-drizzled cake frosting. A dollop of artificial candy grape emerged on the palate, accompanied by a gas station fruit pie that had been dropped next to a leaky pump. When the initial punch-drunk onset subsided, I was left with a groovy burst of energy that eventually leveled out to a deep, long-lasting chill. The only note of criticism I have for these flavors is common to all three: a slight heaviness in the chest and a rather dark residue accompanied each dab, possibly due to the increased oxidation of the air-dried hash (as opposed to freeze-dried) that went in the press. Still, I enjoyed them all and consider them a testament to the team’s applied knowledge.

A dab of live hash rosin
Solar-powered terps

3 Sound Bites from ChiCity_Roots

On the desirability of cuts:

“The cuts that I personally pheno-hunted, I chose for having a good bud-to-leaf ratio, a unique terp profile, and easy to grow structure. More recently, I have been looking for plants with gritty, sandy trichomes as well on the stem rub.”

On learning how to grow:

“I have a degree in botany and agricultural science so I have an idea of what’s credible, but I’ve always been passionate about growing; since early high school I’ve done hours and hours of research. I’ve been growing on and off for ten years, the first few doing a lot of consulting and assisting before having access to my own spot.”

On hash rosin as an end goal:

“My intention was to provide myself with medicine. My habit was too expensive, and because of that, I hope to provide quality at an affordable rate and a unique robust terpene profile with every jar. I want to be an organic option in a salt-dominated market. My goal is to leave the consumer with an experience that is memorable from opening the jar to putting the dabber on the nail. Over the many years that I have been dabbing, it became obvious to me that solventless seemed to be the healthier option long-term. I have made BHO in the past and without proper equipment it’s hard to say whether it’s properly purged, not to mention the potential dangers of working with solvents. I turn the majority of the harvest into hash or rosin, but some will always stay as flower.”

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