NorCal Grown: Best of Apple Strains

The search for the best cannabis strains in the Bay Area.

2020 was many things but not least among them was the year of the Apple strain. With a whole orchard to choose from on the market now, we thought we’d take a look at 3 of our absolute favorites.

You never forget your first experience with this type of flavor, and like many people, mine was Lumpy’s iconic Apple Fritter. A cross of Sour Apple and Animal Cookies created in 2013, this strain won second place in the 2016 High Times NorCal Cup, and four years later, it still stands as the high-water mark. Though the company had some setbacks, this absolute juggernaut of a strain has been making its way back onto shelves, continuing to dominate, and even providing the basis for some incredible new varieties.

Dark and dense, these nugs have stunning purple highlights and a sweet and sour fermented apple smell complemented by an intense high. The taste is sugary and doughy on the first few exhales, giving it that deep-fried moniker, but the sour apple quickly comes back, and by the end, it almost entirely takes over.

This strain has the power to bring the curtain down on the day’s concerns. There’s an instantaneous calming effect that leaves you feeling at peace and steady on your feet. I’ve even seen it described as a power washer for your problems—eventually, the calm drifts towards a level of relaxation that can bench even the most seasoned veteran.

Released to much fanfare by casual fans and diehard Aliens alike, this combination of Triangle Mints and Apple Fritter is an explosion of caramel, spiced apple, and yogurt. But once you break it down, there’s also a bit of sweetgas hiding in there.

I’ve gravitated to this new addition on the mothership a lot during the last six months for its sense of euphoria and rapid onset. This thing hits faster than being sucked out of an airlock. Both ingredients in this bombshell are known for their tendencies to relax the body, and Atomic Apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Remarkably dense and neon green with bright orange hairs, fans of the brand also know this strain by its original name, Cosmic Crisp.

After releasing the first batches to the market, the boys at the Lab received a letter from Washington State saying their Cosmic Crisp apple, released to the public in 2019, holds the patent on the name. WSU claims the name was tricking their customers into buying cannabis. However, that reasoning might also have something to do with the multi-million dollar media campaign to launch “the apple of big dreams.”

In truth, I’d never heard of a cosmic crisp apple before, and neither had Alien Labs, but nothing says you’re doing it right like a cease and desist from a University instead of a candy company.

When it comes to California Artisanal Medicine, CAM sums it up flawlessly. Located in Sacramento, their mission to provide ever-increasing quality at a stabilized price point, along with their regular inclusion of team feedback and regard for cannabis as medicine, has impressed me on multiple occasions this year.

A mix of Acapulco Gold and Highland Nepalese, their Apple Pie is stacked tight like a lincoln log cabin. Some nugs, while sticky, are positively un-squeezable. Pull the right brick, though, and they break down into perfect spade-shaped bong rips.

Smell wise, there’s that powerful sour funk and sweet apple pairing that we’ve been talking about in this article, but Apple Pie sets itself apart from the rest of the orchard with an earthy, herbal taste that comes through alongside that apple flavor. When you light it up, the exhale has a nutty, smoky side that significantly adds to this strain’s flavor profile.

Intensely euphoric and inspiring, one hit will light a fire beneath you. Not like an intense body rush, but an inspiring tingle like William Wallace just sent you a cameo. I found myself forgetting to relax and play video games, instead, pulling out the laptop and plowing ahead on some things that weren’t even on that day’s schedule.

Photos by Michael Snyder