Street Talk

Street Talk: Spreading its wings

Taste test.

May 18, 2018
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ODC Hawk
ODC Animal Care Specialist Kim Lane holds a red-tailed hawk while it stretches its wings. Photo by Ehren Wynder

Brewery Vivant had some unusual guests swoop onto its patio last week.

The Holland-based Outdoor Discovery Center presented live birds of prey at the brewery May 16. The event was a fundraising collaboration between the two organizations.

Brewery Vivant co-owner Jason Spaulding said his wife Kris Spaulding has had a long relationship with ODC, having sat on its board for a period of time while the family lived in Holland.

“I think this was the third year we’ve done it, and it’s just been a big hit with families,” he said. “We’ve tried to steer people from Grand Rapids, as well. I think people in Grand Rapids don’t get that exposure to the outdoors as much.”

The exposure also benefits ODC. The center’s community outreach coordinator, Ashley Van Zee, said her organization has been working for a long time to break into the Grand Rapids market.

ODC staff brought out three birds for guests to meet — a barn owl, a screech owl and a red-tailed hawk, all of which can be found in Michigan.

All three of the birds were injured and deemed unable to survive in the wild. The barn owl had a very noticeable eye injury.

“He’s just called Barn Owl,” Van Zee said. “We try not to give them names so people understand they’re not pets.”

Kim Lane, ODC animal care specialist, held a red-tailed hawk that, although he had suffered a wing injury and could not fly, boasted an impressive wingspan.

“They can have up to a 4-foot wingspan,” she said. “The females are usually bigger than the males.”

Spaulding added he’s grateful to host a family-friendly event at what is commonly thought of as an adults-only establishment. In addition to exposing Grand Rapids residents to more natural wildlife, he hopes to build an image for breweries as family-friendly meeting places.

“It’s just been a really fun event. A lot of people have assumptions about breweries not being family friendly, but they really are social gatherings,” Spaulding said. “Believe it or not, people with kids still like beer, and we just try to make it a welcome environment.”

Brewery Vivant also is donating to the Outdoor Discovery Center based on sales volume on the day of the event.

Taste buds

Although recreational marijuana may not be legal yet in Michigan, West Michigan residents are doing their own medical marijuana research.

According to Wikileaf, an online resource for medical and recreational marijuana consumers, lemon OG has been the most searched strain of marijuana in Grand Rapids in May. Afghan Kush, animal cookies, blueberry and chemdaway are the next five most searched strains in Grand Rapids.

Dan Nelson is the founder of the website, which was created to help people locate nearby dispensaries in 20 states, as well as Canada. The site also has a price comparison tool for different strains of marijuana. It features a list of 4,500 dispensaries and gets about 6 million monthly visits, Nelson said.

According to Green Rush Daily, a cannabis-oriented digital publication, there are more than 700 known marijuana strains. Nelson said many cannabis experts categorize different strains by indica, sativa, chavis or hybrid, which can be differentiated by the shape of the leaves, the height of the plant, the climate it is grown in and the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is in the strain.

However, Nelson said people who are in the cannabis business, including himself, are changing the way they distinguish strains by adjusting the science behind the names and basing them by how consumers want to feel and the flavor of the strains.

“The biggest thing now is that a lot of dispensaries (are hardly) using indica, sativa, hybrid and chavis to categorize (marijuana strains),” Nelson said. “Now, they are going toward the desired effect the consumer wants to feel, the desired mood, and a lot of that comes from the terpene profile. There are five big terpenes that are popular at dispensaries, and they are limonene, which gives it a sour, lemony taste and it also lends itself to being a sativa if it is high in limonene, which is more of an uplifting, cerebral high and imparts more energy.

“Pinene is also another big one. That gives more of a piney taste, and then if you are getting into the sedative terpenes, you have myrcene … which is better for nighttime use or if you want to sleep. Linalool is also a part of the big five terpenes, which is more of a lavender flavor and a sedative, as well. Caryophyllene is also another strain, but it tastes like pepper. It helps to balance the strains. For instance, if you are too high on one strain, it brings you down and balances the intake of strains.”

Jamie Cooper, founder of Cannabiz Connection, which helps individuals start their own cannabis business, said she likes limonene, but she also looks for strains that help her hyper-focus because of her anxiety.

“My favorite is a sativa strain, and it’s called ‘turbine poison,’” Cooper said. “I specifically look for strains that help me hyper-focus because I have ADD (attention deficit disorder), and my mind is all over the place, so it helps me to focus a lot.”

Cooper said one of the things she likes about the medical marijuana law in Michigan is it requires dispensaries to properly label their medicine. One of the testing requirements is the terpene profile.

“The stinkier the flower, the more terpene and healing properties it has and the better it will make you feel,” Cooper said.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2008 and is one of 30 states to legalize the drug. Michigan residents will have a chance to vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in November.

Don’t know the difference between strains?

Wikileaf claims lemon OG is used to help anxiety, depression and loss of appetite. Afghan Kush, which has a sweet hash taste, relieves pain, insomnia, nausea and brings relaxation. Animal Cookies, which offers a sweet taste, is used for depression, nausea, pain and has a euphoric effect.

Blueberry has a sedative effect and is used to relieve short-term pain as well as chronic pain. Chemdaway has an earthy musk and pine odor, tastes sour when inhaled and leaves a “diesel taste with an ammonia-like tang on the palate” when it is exhaled. Wikileaf said it relieves chronic pain and migraines.

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