Warren Bobrow=WB: Where are you from? Where are you now in the world? Why cannabis instead of business, law, medicine or what have you? What brought you to the plant?
Alex Shreeve=AS: I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, however, lived in California and Florida for High School and College. I was a medical card holder prior to Recreational Cannabis to address health issues and my personal sense of wellness. My passion has always been cannabis and I’ve been drawn to the complexity of flavors and corresponding effects of flower. I began to notice the subtle flavors on the inhale and exhale of specific cultivars, motivating a lifelong search for the best genetics in the world.
We started our business 9 years ago in Medical Cannabis, serving the highest quality cannabis available in Washington State and appealing to the Connoisseur in search of perfectly grown exotic genetics. I’ve seen first hand for years the power of this plant in making people’s lives better. Over the last three years we’ve had the opportunity to partner with the best cultivators and processors in Washington State, proudly serving that influential Connoisseur Smoker. I’ve been involved in retailing, cultivation and processing and have great respect for what it takes to bring quality products to consumers. I am on a never ending hunt for quality and fortunately Washington State cultivators just keep getting better and better.
WB:Indoor or Outdoor grown? How do you describe terroir in Cannabis? Is there truth to this? Can cannabis offer the same experience and conversation as wine? What about cannabis appellations?
AS: Fortunately, we hired a cultivation expert, Kenny Morrow of Trichome Technologies, many years ago to help us understand the nuances of cultivation techniques and assist our team in getting the most out of our genetics. First, the terroir represents the composition of the soil and the appellation is the microclimate where the cultivar is grown. Creating the best tasting product with superior effects takes talent and understanding of the plant itself and the specific cultivar. The difference between wine and cannabis is that nutrients, both organics and synthetics are used, which creates a more man made environment. This formula is specific to the breeder and grower with the goal of producing the highest value flower. In terms of consumer experience there is definitely a similarity to wine. The quality of the product is represented in the price.
As the buyer for The Bakeréé we strive to have the very best quality flower at different price points. Historically higher priced cannabis is grown in smaller batches with great care from qualified and experienced growers with a focus on quality. The wholesale prices can be five times higher than larger commercial operations. The future of cannabis cultivation requires embracing science and technology to better understand the specific cultivars being grown and generating specific formulas or SOP’s for each cultivar. It’s certainly easier to pump out mid grade product with high yields and the price is reflected. It’s much more difficult to set up systems of specific nutrient delivery, drying, curing and processing, however, the resulting product is more desirable to the connoisseur. And, closer to the experience of a wine enthusiast. We have great respect for craft cultivators delivering the best product in our state and we never take these relationships for granted.
WB: Please tell me about what you do? What are your six and twelve month goals? Do you have a mentor?
AS: I’m a retail brand owner and lead product buyer serving a knowledgeable customer base. Our customers are cannabis knowledge seekers and our team is responsible for transferring product knowledge about grow techniques, genetics and effects of each cultivar. My goal is to expand our business to other urban cities across the U.S. The Bakeréé is a minority owned business and we are committed to hiring people of color and advancing opportunity for people of color in the cannabis industry. I have been fortunate to have exposure to some of the top breeders, growers and scientific minds in the industry, so I have many mentors, and I try to pay it forward by sharing all that I’ve gained with our staff, partner cultivators/processors and the consumer.
WB:What is your favorite food memory from childhood?
AS: My grandmother always had New Mexico Hatch Chile in the freezer that she purchased roasted once a year to make her salsa fresca and green chile stew. There was always green chile and fresh pinto beans for burritos. To this day my family still buys roasted Hatch Chile and I still make bean and green chile burritos.
I love to cook and experiment with fresh ingredients and new cooking techniques. It’s nice living in Seattle where seafood and organic fresh veggies are so abundant. My focus at the moment is Asian Fusion, so experimenting with Ramen recipes and sauces has been fun. My idea of a good time is shopping for groceries early Saturday morning and hitting about three different stores or farmer’s markets for inspiration.
WB: Favorite restaurant meal memory?
AS: I’m a huge fan of Tarsan i Jane in Seattle. It’s a small intimate setting serving 12 to 18 Valencian inspired courses and delicious herb infused gin cocktails and amazing wine list. The chef explains each course and the fresh ingredients used in the preparation. It literally takes months to get a reservation but the food and experience is outstanding. Sharing this intimate foodie experience with family and friends is my perfect outing.
WB: What is your passion?
AS: Cannabis is absolutely my #1 passion. I grew up playing a lot of sports competitively; both individual and team sports. I enjoy being active and also love being a major Premier League soccer fan. Go Chelsey!