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Hashwriter Presents: "Terp Wizardry in The Mitten" (DEM and A Race To the Bottom)

Updated: Mar 11

[A guest Blog appearance by @medsforheads]


The Michigan hash scene is ripe with talent, including sustainable homesteader Terp Wizard. We caught up with the Wiz over the phone before sampling some truly magical flavors.

The Hash-Mitten


In southern Michigan, a farmer and hash maker known as Terp Wizard is pressing out unique flavors and doing right by the Earth to obtain them. Sustainability lies at the heart of his practices and he advises more growers to examine theirs, saying “more people should be asking how they can get their input costs down by growing outdoors with the sun, as nature intended. You can really get some stellar representations of the plant that way.” His own outdoor farm, Plant Magic Homestead, was recently certified as a Dragonfly Earth Medicine DEM Pure closed-loop, regenerative horticultural system; A place where food, crops, and cannabis are raised side-by-side in symbiosis with the land and free of bottled nutrients. There, compost piles and Hügelkultur mounds sit above ground, feeding the microbiology below rather than damaging it with digging. Terp also operates a soil-based indoor grow amended simply with DEM compost teas to closely replicate his results in the native terrain.


"More people should be asking how they can get their input costs down by growing outdoors with the sun, as nature intended. You can really get some stellar representations of the plant that way." -Terp Wizard

All About The Fruits (& Froots)


While much of the local hash production falls along the gas spectrum–funky, savory, meaty, chemmy, and downright automotive–the Wizard has been hunting primarily for pure fruit cuts these days. “I like the Papaya profile,” he says, “that tropical, astringent fruit and candy. That’s what I’m shooting for and this Tropaya #3 I’m working with, for example, is nailing it for me right now.” Though Terp doesn’t consider himself a breeder per se, he has undertaken some pollination projects in the name of improving "washability" traits in a particular genetic line and taking his single-source operation to the next level, from seed to resin. At the same time, he expresses gratitude to colleagues like Nitrogrower and Lyme Rising Farms who have helped sustain the business while his new space was being established.






Terp Wizard looks at Maine as a hopeful example of a state that supported its small-scale producers after ushering in recreational sales. -C.M.

Corporate Controlled Regs.


When Michigan’s adult-use cannabis market opened the door for large corporate players, M.M.M.P. caregivers like Terp Wizard were pushed out of the storefronts they once supplied. Meanwhile, those same players are able to purchase licenses for thousands of plants in a facility, allowing them the margins to undercut caregivers who are capped at 72 plants each. For California’s legacy farmers, this tale is hauntingly familiar. Far from bitter about the situation, Terp Wizard looks at Maine as a hopeful example of a state that supported its small-scale producers after ushering in recreational sales.



DEM PURE Dragonfly Earth Medicine
Dragonfly Earth Medicine DEM Pure Certified.


The Race To The Bottom

The Illinois native has now been making hash for six years and change, having briefly dabbled in open-blasting before deciding he’d rather not risk a household explosion on a market trend he recognized even then as a race to the bottom. “It’s not top-end material getting made into BHO these days. It’s mainly crap that you couldn’t wash or sell as flower,” he says. Specializing in heat-cured rosin badders, Terp is eager to get more full-melt hash to his patients as the weather gets cold enough to preserve heads in their most pristine form. His top criterion for releasing a product is flavor, and washes that don’t make the cut may be processed further into R.S.O. or his signature Berga Balm, winner of the Best Topical prize at Gage Green Group’s Organic Cup in 2020. Originally intended for relief after long, grueling days in the garden, the balm has become a staple for patients suffering from arthritis.



award given to terp wizard. glass trophy.
Terp Wizard's Award for Topicals.


Terp Wizard is quickly becoming a name to know in hash circles, his entrance to an elite crowd confirmed by Kevin Jodrey’s public praise of his seeds and rosin. Humbled as Terp was by West Coast beasts such as, SimpLee Adam, Wooksauce Winery, and The Real Cannabis Chris when he put his hash up against theirs at The Smoking Jacket in LA last month. At home, he’d just as happily smoke local favorites like Organitron and Organimelts (no relation). When I ask him about his state’s distinct terroirs, he thinks for a moment and, although sommelier is not one of an already substantial list of Terp Wizard’s titles, he is confident in responding that the differences in moisture, temperature, and soil composition from the palm of the mitten to the Upper Peninsula offer a variety of growth conditions. Before signing off, we make plans to meet so I can try a few highly-anticipated samples of Terp’s labor of love.


 

Terp Wizard Tasting Profiles


I was blessed with three jars, two single-source and one processed from @michiganwildflower710’s regenerative light-dep garden. The single-source flavors, Papaya Punch x Litterbox and Strawberry Pie, are stamped with wax seals, adding an extra touch of ceremony to dab sessions. The third-party GMO, on the other hand, needed no adornment, practically belching garlic through the glass threading. All three had a supple, homogeneous badder consistency with a glistening terpene glaze on the surface. Over the next week, the trio served as an effective all-day rotation for homeostasis and functional euphoria.




The Papaya Punch x Litterbox was all but dominated by majorly sweet, fruity notes of Hawaiian Punch and tropical Starburst with a citrus tang adding a spike of maturity to the nostalgic sugarscape. Once the up-front juiciness dissipates, the warmth and murky autumnal spice of mulled wine rise to the surface, backed by plenty of purple grapes. A spear of chlorinated pool water, presumably an expression of the Litterbox parent, pokes through the high-fructose cocktail and provides a clean edge to an experience that may otherwise be a tad cloying. Tremendously smooth on the lungs, a dab of PPxLB did not elicit the involuntary cough I typically expect with such terpene-rich rosin. Powerful in its onset, I felt light shining outward from my eyes, nose, and mouth as I exhaled a hit. Within seconds, a mushroom cloud billowed into my head, pushing against the walls of my skull. My bodily tension evaporated, leaving a mild tingling sensation in my neck and calves before a level-headed, focused, and sociable high manifested. I found myself engaged with activities, mildly munchy, and patiently attentive in conversations.


Starting my days with the Strawberry Pie set me off on a good foot each time. The light golden badder effused a dessert-like smell like a thick-spun white chocolate milkshake drizzled generously with strawberry sauce, priming my taste buds for a silky, indulgent, yet light-as-air flavor experience. Cool and tangy strawberry washes over my palate first, followed by subtle wild mint with just a hint of pastry gas. My first dab had me doing fake martial arts moves like Mac in Always Sunny with a soaring high that stimulated both mental and physical activity. When the initial rush subsided, I found myself lounging on a cloud, in no hurry to come down. Alongside the first wash, Terp included a glob of the second and third combined-wash full-spectrum rosin from the same harvest. Surprisingly different in character, the stiffer badder was heavier in effect with more menthol in the taste. After nodding off from a dab of the full-spec rosin twice in a row, I threw the rest in a hash hole joint and took it outside to give my head a proper bashing I’d have to walk around stupefied to appreciate.


This GMO, though. Woof. An opaque, aggressive stench wafted from the jar, loaded with mineral earthiness, shroomy funk and feet filthy enough to excite certified nasty bois like Quentin Tarantino. Those same feet would come back to kick me in the chest, cementing me to the couch for at least half an hour post-dab. I believe GMO’s ubiquity in the solventless market makes it a good benchmark by which to assess the nuances of different growers and hash makers, and this iteration is a special one because it covers the bases of terpene expression so well. The noxious umami of dark-roast coffee and motor oil, the fire-breathing chem, the underlying unctuousness of Karo syrup; all working in concert to create a rich, lasting flavor and promote a superbly cozy, centered buzz with a full-body sensation and slightly improved circulation. Enjoyable at any time of day, I especially preferred this GMO just before dinner to pique my appetite and coast into a solid night’s sleep.


Big thanks to Terp Wizard for putting the Midwest on the map!

 

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