Rugged Roots, a local Medical Marijuana cultivator out of Auburn, has focused extensively on perfecting a handful of strains, particularly excelling with their undeniable keystone-cut of Ice Cream Cake. A dedication for honing-in on a variety of strains, this grows’ quality offerings have brought them onto many cannabis cloutisfier’s radar. Ryan Richards, head grower and Co-Owner, has strived to produce top quality meds for years. Also owning and operating a local storefront, Sinsemilla, it is observably clear that the team’s ideology, at both the grow and retail-space, is centered around quality, clean meds for patients.
What is Ice Cream Cake? Breed by Seed Junky Beezy, ICC is an indica-dominant hybrid made through a genetic-crossing of Wedding Cake and Gelato #33. While many varying cuts of ICC can be found across the country, most connoisseurs, as well as the notorious High Times publications, acclaim Beezy’s phenotype superior. With notes of floral-vanilla and sweet-sugar, its slight purple hue and a dewy coating makes any connoisseur eager to dive in. WIth such nationwide notoriety, how does Rugged Roots compare to the rest?
Setting the bar for truly proper cannabis, by in large it is safe to say we haven't been able to find anything comparable. At first glance the nugs bedazzle via a sparkling coat. Glistening, you immediately awe at the allustriusly-massive trichome heads visible to the eye from unusually afar! Picking up the buds they are noticeably dense and pull from the stem with the same feel and sound that you get when cracking styrofoam appart like a child on christmas day. It becomes apparent when handling the cannabis that clear intention and a subsequently proper execution has gone into the cure. With just enough moisture to keep the structure in tack and not cause the buds to be reduced to dust from a simple touch, all-while dry enough to allow for a clean crack off the stem, everything desirable for curing has been thankfully met. Once cracked, the buds stink up the room with a classic, buttery smooth vanilla smell. Noticeably reminiscent of smells that accompany some gelato crosses, this strain perks up nostrils with hints of pepper and kerosene surely derived from its other parent, that being Wedding Cake. While the nose is rather subtle with regards to skunky undertones, especially when compared to strains like GMO, Rugged Roots’ Ice Cream Cake has a way of intoxicating a room with its odor that I find impeccably unmatched by any other strain.
With the spark of your lighter, the experience of Ice Cream Cake is just as sweet as its scent and appearance allude to. On the inhale you are presented with strong vanilla gelato terps followed by an underlying flavor of sweetness, that can only be described as sugar. The exhale surprises you with its jet fuel, kerosene like terps that many people are craving at the moment. Producing a well balanced and euphoric high, sedative enough to make you think “definitely indica”, but stimulating enough to say “I'll write a review about this after smoking it”, this flower lends itself to a universally enjoyable experience.
Host of The Maine Potcast
However, for us, the experience doesn't just end as the high-recedes:
Less a product review about Rugged Roots’ Ice Cream Cake, this post is rather a snapshot in time. Sometimes a strain is far more than just a flavor; it’s memories, it’s comradery. It’s a gathering of friends sharing talents, hopes, ideas and laughs. It’s why we smoke together.
It's the catalyst to a story.
September of 2018 came-along. Sinsemilla, a CG storefront in the downtown area of Lewiston just opened its doors. We were slowly getting our feet wet in a new market with many unknowns. Would patients find us? Were our products comparable or better than other market-offerings?
Prior to storefronts you went to somebody’s house. If you had a good connection, maybe there were four strains, some vape carts, a bit of wax, and some new allustrious shit. Of course everything was fire. It always is.
But what about us?
In the early months, our clientele could be categorized into three main groups: our friends, millennials who love Cannabis and those on a limited income who spent money to get a card so that their meds would be clean, trusted, and tasty at an especially fair price. For this last group emphasis had to be placed on meds and their variety. We aspired to have eight consistent choices available with new selections introduced as often as possible. Flavors like MAC, Pink Lemonade, GG4 and New York Sour D were hits (of course). But to house signature strains that could transcend preconceived notions, prompting someone to ‘try it’ instead of what they knew to be familiar, was once not an easy task. GG4 was irrefutably still the king. With nothing new standing out or appealing to patients, often the glue presented itself as a safe, well-regarded bet. We knew that the king could and should be dethroned and with that came Rugged Roots’ fostering of Ice Cream Cake.
We were doing okay from a numbers perspective, but it felt like we hadn’t quite tapped into the market as much as we would have liked. Weedmaps was generating traffic. Instagram worked well, but for both, their strengths were limited by the percent of end-users with these platforms who also happened to be patients. However, tried and true, word-of-mouth is a paramount for the spread of good news-and bad. April brought about a great opportunity to try this pedestrian marketing. 420 more than just a day of celebration, but rather an opportunity to cherish for a month! Slashed prices on our best-selling items, gift bags, free t-shirts, the works. An experiment into the unknown, we practically gave the store away for a month. We wondered if we could double or triple our patient base and hoped for the best.
It was inherently risky, more than most would assume. Lowering our prices, cutting away reasonable margins down to paper-thin profits, we ran the risk of losing money and a more than real possibility for many of the newly garnered patient’s to simply depart at the end of the promotion. But with trust and confidence in the product and service, (especially thanks to the amazing crew of 4 budtenders), we were firm believers who persisted through uncharted waters.
The promotion worked. Word spread about our Mimosa, Sundae Driver, and PB Breath as being great offerings. As fame quickly arose it became apparent that Ice Cream Cake had stolen the show. The harvest was beautiful. Our regulars were loving it, the word was being spread. More locals were stopping in. More out-of-towners were making the trip.
At the time, a standard practice (at Sinsemilla) was for the budtenders to show the C-vault of Flower. Opening the lid under the LED magnifying glass was our power move. Whenever we got the new stuff in, we would say, ‘Hey, check this out.’ Behold! It was impossible to resist the rush of a smooth velvet gelato nose and a homemade raspberry- cream-coloration disguised in a glistening coat of vanilla sugar. With an empowering, yet sedative taste, the high lends to a similar experience. Like a late-June dive, after breaking the water you become fully submerged in an eye-opening cannabinoid-euphoria. The top layer is warm, but you go deeper, below these shallow depths, exposing that unfound rush. Then aaaaaaaaaaah. Your body comes to an equilibrium. You're not hot, nor cold. Everything is just right. Ice Cream Cake checks all the boxes. The wide range of invoked senses; taste, smell, appearance and inner-feelings allows for something once unknown to rise up, to become the new king. Ice Cream Cake brought recognition to not just a cultivator, but rather it provided a divine foundation for a storefront to build upon.
Thousands were converted that month. Perhaps thousands more since. Ice Cream Cake has become a signature strain in this first generation of talented Maine growers. It will be a part of an eventually-told history. Its’ buds help write a not-so-distant narrative. Neither hype, nor fiction, this pheno lays its roots in a now cemented script. After nearly nine-months I smoked her again. Inspiring me to share a moment of joy and achievement, this chapter of life is told by experiences soley set from a rudimentary, yet deeply-imposing paleo-genetic existence.
Host of The Maine Potcast