Fidel Seed Co: An Interview with Fidel

We recently sat down with Fidel Hydro of @FidelSeedCo aka @possessiondontmakeyourich to have a conversation in advance of his first drop with us. We discuss his start in the industry, his new facility, the evolution of the hash hole and of course Fidel’s Genetics under his seed company Fidel Seed Co! Time to roll up, get comfy and have a read!

Yo Fidel, how are things are going?

F: I’m at our new building now, we’ve been working om our new facility in Adelanto California for the last few months. There’s gonna be 800 flowering lights, we’ve been working on it for 4-5 months, and we’re now at the latter stage of implementing this facility. This has been my day in and day out for the past few months. 

That sounds crazy, I can imagine the potential. Are those lights all for staple, signature strains or are you going to be able to do large scale pheno hunts there? 

F: It will give me the ability to do pheno hunts at a much larger scale than I’ve been doing. It’s not just going to be pheno hunts though, we’ll have a great selection of regular strains in production. But it will give me the ability to harvest new phenos consistently every week. Usually it takes us a month, about a month and a half, to go through all the pheno rooms. So I’ve never had the ability to do scale hunts like this before. 

So you got your start in the industry a little different from most I’d say. Being that you started off working in a hydro store. Which store was it and where was/ is it based?

F: The store is called Commercial Grow Supply based in Santa Clarita California. I started working there when I was 18, I was just a bag boy there I really didn’t know anything about the industry. I was fresh to it. My brothers were both in the industry owning dispensaries at that time, they also owned the hydro store along with a friend of theirs. But as soon as I got here, it was well within a month, the grows and the shops both were raided and all that was left was the hydro store. My brothers were in a bit of a financial bind at the time, so they sold the store and I stayed working there. 

When did you start growing? 

F: It was a few years of me working there before I started growing for myself, about two to 3 years. I tried to absorb all the information that I could from the moment that I got there, I was a dry sponge. Hearing everything out, learning how to conduct business in the hydro shop. Bagging things up, restocking shelves etc. but from that I worked my way up to managing the shop. It went from being 1000 square feet, which we grew 3 times and became a 26,000 square feet store with tons of employees under me. I did that day in and day out for nine years, that was my dedication and foundation in the industry. It really instilled a lot in me, I learnt so much; when you’re dealing with 50 to 60 growers every day, 365 days a year. So I would wake up and this would be my focus in life, I get up open up shop and I would treat it like its my own. That got to me where I am today. It instilled a lot in me as a grower.

Was it ever frustrating when you were working there before growing for yourself as you’d be hearing so much from growers but not able to put into practice?

F: It was never frustrating, but what ate me up the most was that I wasn’t in the industry sooner. What I mean is that I wasn’t growing how I am now sooner in my life. But at times, its fear from people around you, but as soon as I had trust within myself, I believed that I had talent and began to put myself out there. When I went from the bag boy to being known as Fidel Hydro at the hydro shop, this was the pivotal moment for me when I began branding myself as Fidel Hydro, 3 years into my job at the hydro store. That’s when it began to blossom into what I am now; about 3 years later, it sparked doing what I do now. It wasn’t really frustrating, though, it was just wishing I’d gotten into it sooner. I always view that obstacles aren’t obstacles they are just lessons to be learnt, in a sense. I’ve always worked off of this, no matter how hard the task is I say to myself who better to do it. My mindset is like, I know myself, so who better to do it than me?

After those 3 years of learning and constantly compiling information, was it a difficult jump to say to yourself, yes, I’m ready to make that move into cultivation? 

F: It took learning from a financial perspective & physically, you know you dedicate yourself to these harvests, but early on when you’re just in one room or one garage where you have only 8 or 10 lights. The learning curves are big,you know? Every grower makes mistakes and learns, but my benefit was that I learned from 50 to 60 people a day and their trial and error appying what they know and applying what I know to their gardens. My experience grew really quick in the first few years as I was able to interact with so many gardens. 

I remember one thing that stood out from listening to your FSOTD (First Smoke Of The Day Podcast) was how you would spend hours on the phone with various pesticide and insecticide companies and trying to determine what products were safe to use & when and then actually charting these. Is this still part of the legacy at the Hydro Store, do these charts still get used today? 

F: The charts aren’t used anymore but the products that I deemed were good after doing that investigative work are all still there today. The store is operated by Grow Generation now, so they have a little bit more of a corporate vibe and stuff like that but for the longest, they did have all my charts up, up until recently. It is something I took pride in, as there was very bad growing practices in place in Southern California, which is the meccah of growing cannabis in my eyes. There is very bad growing practices when it comes to pesticides, insecticides, and PGRS and all that stuff. So I felt it as a responsibility to do that as nobody else was. When you notice people day in and day out not caring what they’re putting into it and just doing it for the numbers, you have to at some point try and influence the market with the good. And that’s what I did. Whether people cared or didn’t care, I made sure that they had the spreadsheet that I made with all the different pesticides, insecticides that were safe to spray or when they were safe to spray. I feel just that knowledge being out there influenced people, you can never know the true impact but I feel just doing that and putting out this constructive knowledge influenced a lot of people. 

What did your first growing set-up cost to set up initially? 

F: I put around $30,000, we set up a 12-lighter, that was an 8-light room and a 4 light room. That was the initial part of it, but I knew a lot at that point. Most people stumble during their first run or don’t even get to the end. I did great on my first run, as I had worked beforehand. I had worked as a trimmer, I had worked as a waterer, I had learned to mix reservoirs, I had learned the environment and VPD. It wasn’t as bare as a normal grower would be where they are learning off their own grow. The mistakes that would happen with me when the technology fails, like when an AC broke when I wasn’t there etc. You learn all these different things you can do down the line, as technology evolves you have it all at your fingertips!

Was your knowledge and desire to have a good set-up part of the reason it took a few years to jump into growing? 

F: Yeah it was a larger investment and I did want to get it right from the get-go. I’m not a fan of half-assing anything so I definitely wanted to go into it physically and financially ready and mentally too. If you know the correct info going in then you’ll end up on the right path. 

Now the Hash Holes have been an incredibly popular product that has made waves all over the globe. I wanted to congratulate you on the success of the recent event at the Barcelona Hash Holes and Donuts event at Cookies Barcelona! When did you roll up your first hash hole?  

F: Thanks, but it was back in 2018, Barcelona in Spain during the Spannabis event. 

 

Fidel x Pure Sativa x Karma
Fidel meets with Pure Sativa & Karma showing off a Zheetos Hash Hole

Oh awesome it was back in Barcelona! What inspired it?

F: At the time I was helping out Cookies doing a seed drop, they were collaborating with Dying Breed Seeds at this time and the drop was called El Toro. We were out there with a bunch of people from California, there was Jai, Dying Breed Seeds, Josh from Natura was there as well as a bunch of others. There was a lot of hash/ rosin there from California, and in Spain at the time it was fully of Cali weed which was quite crazy at the time. . This was early on in that environment, having all this imported Cali weed in Barcelona. We were going around everywhere and we would schmear it on the paper, put bits on the paper and eventually we started worming it up, making into a worm/ shape and burying it amongst weed on the top and the bottom. It went from a smoking habit in Barcelona, influenced by the people around me such as Lorenzo, Terps Army and the people I named before. When we came back from vacation this group vacation habit became something that I continued doing, I came back to California and I was so motivated as a grower.

I came back and I was rolling and smoking these hash holes and putting them on Instagram and social media and people would be asking what was with the hole in the middle? I quickly cottoned on to this curiosity and attention and I asked myself why I couldn’t put these out as a product? I started rolling them myself and me and Dan would do the labels. It got to a point where the 75-80 I was rolling a day wasn’t enough. One thing about me is, is we own our own printers, so we can make our own labels in our own designs however we want. So we can change up colours, designs, easily however we want. 

So what happened next?

F: So it evolved into me needing to teach more rollers! I had two of my peers that I taught how to roll the hash holes and we replicated and scaled it up. But it took me meeting Josh Schmidt from Natura to be able to take it up a notch and scale it throughout California. We were able to spend months in Sacremento and teach a solid team of men and women, we had to interview a solid 100 people I’d say to get to the core crew of 12-15 who can roll them exactly the same as I do day in and day out. You can’t tell a difference between the ones I rolled and the ones that the guys and girls down in the team roll it. It really went from being inspired in Barcelona to be bringing it back home and making it a smoking habit that people were extremely curious about. And you know what it’s like for those passionate about cannabis; evolving as a smoker you’re always looking to smoke the best, whether it’s higher in THC, or more flavourful. 

This category is the evolution of the pre-roll. It is something the smoker evolves into smoking, whether you try them in a group at first before wanting to smoke them every day. I take pride in the hash holes, for a product to be out for under a year and be in stores with Cookies etc. I take extreme pride in it. 

Did you master the hash hole rolling process when you were first introduced to it in Barcelona on vacation? 

F: It was very premature in Barcelona, just how we did it wasn’t mastered then. But when I came back to the US and started rolling up there, that’s really triggered it. After a while we started using the bioavailable Hemp tips with the F it, and that part of what really solidified the product as a Fidel Hash Hole, giving it that identity as well as the mould of our joint sizes. I was smoking 6 or 7 of them daily and it go that stage where people were interested in them, I had to perfect my roll and I had to do it as nice as I can. It probably took around 6 months of me coming back to perfect it as it is now. 

How quickly can you / the team roll one up now then, would you say? 

F: Like 1 minute to 2 minutes now. 

Do you ever use melt for the hash in the middle or do you prefer to use rosin? 

F: I don’t use melt for the hash holes. But I have another exciting product launching soon, which uses hash. That’s going to be called Fidel’s 70/30, which uses 70% flower and 30% hash. We mixed the biomass so it is exactly 70/ 30 % blends of each and they’ll come as a bag of pre-rolls. 

Oh wow that sounds incredible, they are coming out soon? Do you prefer the hash holes over these?

F: Literally, in about 2 weeks we’ll have these out on the market! And I prefer the 70/30s for the every day smoke especially when you’re on the go. They’re smaller I think about 0.7 per roll, and there’s 5 per pack. Much more of a personal smoke, step outside for a 10-15 minute break and one of these are perfect for that. There are a number of similar products on the market but nothing thats 30% hash. Nothing that’s like how these are. So we’re really excited to see these! Most people doing something similar will fill them with kief or something low quality. We’re trying to fill in a much-needed gap in the market. 

We’re also in a market where there’s a lot of great hash that when it is squished into rosin it has a horrible return that means that it is not worthwhile. Because of this often people will completely not run that strain for hash because it isn’t fit for rosin purposes, but they’re forgetting that there was great hash there! For whatever reason it doesn’t turn into rosin, but its still great hash! It still has great flavour and effect it just didn’t press well into rosin. So its a great opportunity to offer some new cultivars that wouldn’t be used as hash. Has all the great flavour, potency & it is full spectrum! Everyone loves rosin, but it is a completely different expreince when you have more of the fats and lipids, there is more of the full spectrum / full-bodied experience to be found in hash over rosin. 

What is the biggest hash hole that you’ve smoked so far?

F: (Laughs). I will answer that but to be entirely honest with you, my preference is for the 1g rosin with 2.8g of flower, original hash holes. I don’t feel like anyone should roll up with more than 1g of rosin in a hash hole. I have done an almost 3g worm of rosin, that’s hash rosin lining the entire length of the king-size paper. 3 grams of rosin is a lot to pay for to put into a smoke. 

In the name of R&D only then?

F: Yeah facts R&D only for sure. I like that we have 2 sizes of the Hash Holes though, the mini hash hole and the regular hash hole. Like a regular one you can share with 3 or 4 people and create a really memorable high or you can smoke the mini one to yourself or share it with another person and it does the job. 

Would you ever make some with a more traditional hashish form? I know your family are from Lebanon, where there is a great history of hash making.

F: I won’t say no, it’s definitely something I’m open to. But I think our 70/30 mixes that are dropping honour that hash making history, obviously it isn’t dry sift/ the traditional hashish making format but its not so much different from the hash you’d get in southern Lebanon. It’s that dry powder format right before you press it. We were looking at older Lebanese genetics a couple of years ago so it might be something we look at doing. I definitely can see myself doing it, I’d also love to work with some Lebanese hash plants and have success using those as it adds to the story. I’ve hunted through seeds from Lebanon, which were landraces already but they just haven’t worked out structurally / from the plants integrity didn’t give what I wanted. I definitely haven’t closed the book on that yet, I just haven’t gone on for now. 

How quickly do you smoke a Hash Hole? Whether its a mini or an original one?

F: The mini I’d smoke in 30-45 minutes. 

The original I’d smoke in 45-50 minutes. But I’m a little under halfway through smoking an original right now. 

Do you like dab as well as smoke hash holes?

F: Yeah I do like to dab a lot also. I’ve got the Puffco Peak Pro on my desk right now next to my cup of coffee, joint in the other hand. 

Do you have any upcoming collabs to keep an eye out if you’re in California? 

F:The 70s/30s are going to be our next drop that will be due in the next couple of weeks! They are multi-packs coming out imminently to the Californian public. We also have a dope upcoming collab with Anwar Carrots that we’re really excited for. We’re dropping a Hash Hole, that comes with a collectable 3D printed carrot that contains a Hash Hole inside when you unscrew it. It also comes in a super dope printed box and we have a really cool clothing line releasing alongside it. We think this is gonna be the next stage evolution of the hash hole collabs so we’re excited to see this one drop!

So the first collection of genetics looks and sounds really appealing. There’s 8 crosses in total with 3 males used to pollinate a number of females. Two of the males have the same Gelatti x Kush Mints parentage, being that the Gelatti x Kush Mints is I believe is also the genetics in Georgia Pie and is a well-known hash strain, so would you expect a lot of good hash genetics from crosses using that lineage in the males? 

F: Yeah so the Gelatti x Kush Mints had a lot of gas and an excellent yield, but was lacking a lot in the terp profile. When it was hit with the Peach Oz, I took Gelatti x Kush Mints #11, which was bred with Seed Junky Genetics and my brother Serge from Cookies Maywood. Which I believe was when the Pancakes and Georgia Pie was coming about, but I noticed the lack of terps in that cross so I hit it with the Peach Ozz and the Pemelo x Gelatti x Kush Mints. When you gave it a stem rub it has the terps from the 3rd Gen Family Farms coming from the Peach Ringz in the lineage, with the gassy hints of pinene behind it like an OG would. It was the same with the Pomelo, the Pomelo is like you’re hitting an OG on a tropical island, you’re getting the OG musk and the wet humidity with the saltiness with the ocean. The stalk rubs on those really sold me on those males in particular. But when it comes to the 3rd male the Zkittlez Cake x Grape Topanga, that was the selected male from a Jungle Boys seed hunt that we did. That male was like armfuls of pollen, it was a huge pollen yielder. 

So the 3rd male, the Zkittlez Cake x Grape Topanga I would guess from the Zkittlez influence and the Topanga OG in the Grape Topanga are maybe less of resin strains? But they’ve then been crossed with mothers that are pretty well-established washers / resin producers, such as the Grease Monkey, Tropicanna Cookies and the GMO aka Garlic Cookies, was that part of the decision making process? 

F: It definitely was! And it did result in plenty of washers what we call washers which is the high yielding/ returning hash strains. The GMO that I used was given to me by Bobby Trill of Trilogy710. Incredible terps and yield both in flower and as hash. I also truly believe that BO is like the true body odour of the Cannabis plant. That’s what marijuana smells like to me, it is the true body odour of Cannabis. That’s what Marijuana sweat smells like is GMO. That was then crossed with the Zkittlez Cake x Grape Topanga to make the Garlic Grapes. The Tropicana Cookies cut is the Harry Palms cut (MTN cut), I traded that with Burning Rope Farms. To add the story I sold Burning Rope Farms his first hydro set up at the hydro store! We go really far back, I had traded Cherry Rope with him for the Tropicana Cookies Harry Palm’s cut. When he had that and we bred with it, it resulted in a way gassier Tropicana Cookies. It has the same colour and complexion as the original Trop Cookies with true gas to it. 

Ah wow, I’m a big fan of the Trop Cookies as far as the candy orange terps go, but if it has some more gas to it then wow that sounds special. 

F: Yeah it would be around a lot more wouldn’t it?

What is your favourite growing medium now, is it Hydro?

F: Nope, early on I was growing with cubes and doing the hydroponics method. I grow in Coco core, 70% coco 30% pearllite. Have used that method for almost 8 years, I like it though as it is a soilless medium. It gives you the ability to treat the plant as a cube. 

Have you got any cuts/ strains that have remained illusive that you are still searching for?

F: I have a really nice genetic catalogue that I’ve collected over the years. Whether it’s from the hydro shop days, or to what has evolved now recently through the all of the relationships I have now. I have a nice library of 12 strains that I’m focussing on. In addition to that I’ve been hearing the startings of new crosses such as the Oreoez x Lemelo, Runtz x Runtz x Lemelo, LA Kush Cake x Lemelo, Lemelo x Lemelo, those will be some new strains that we plan to drop through you guys. Lemelo is the London Pound Cake #75 x the Pomelo Anderson male. 

Do you know the genetics of the Pomelo/ Pomelo Anderson? 

F: The Pomelo I’m not sure, but the Pomelo Anderson is the Pomelo crossed with Gelatti x Kush Mints #11. 

Oh cool so that’s the same genetics used as with the male used for the Gemelo and the Peach Tart (crosses with GMO as the mother & Peach Oz respectively). 

F: Yeah we didn’t know when we selected the male at that time that a pheno from that hunt would end up being the Pomelo Anderson. It’s the same with the Peach Oz x Gelatti x Kush Mints male, a female from that hunt may come out at some point from Cookies under the name Peach Mints or something like that. That’s a massive benefit of having the relationship that I do with my brother Serge at Cookies, he gave me access to that which has led to these. Those who pay attention to the story and lineage and connect those dots, not a lot of normal people come across that. 

Did you find any genetics or where you on the look out for anything when you were in Barcelona? 

F: I wasn’t on the lookout for it, but I was blessed by Grounded Genetics with some of their seeds pack & T.H.Seeds. I spent some time with them, Grounded Genetics I had spent some time with them before, and they showed me some flowers this time, and the legwork that they;d put in was really impressive. So I definitely look forward to popping those. 

What’s the largest pheno hunts that you’ve done so far? 

F: We did a 700 seed hunt of the Lemelo, but I wouldn’t do one strain with that many seeds again. 

Was there a lot of similar phenos found?

F: Yeah there was a lot of different phenos too as well as a lot of similar ones. I have strong faith in my genetics, I know the backbone of them is strong and don’t have any hermaphrodite tendencies because I took my time to hunt them properly before I brought them to market. I feel like hunting 6 to 10 strains per run, in a smaller amount per run, I have 8 rows in order to have 91 lights. 13 of those lights in one row, are dedicated to pheno hunts. I can see the difference between 16 and 18 different phenos that I deem to even get to this point you know. I’m so picky with it now, so its like male and female pull them out etc. But what it is that I like about the growing characteristics of one of these and if any one is a bit finnicky I pull them out. I’m just hunting for the best now.

How many keepers did you find out of the 700 seed hunt of the Lemelo? 

F: There was around 80, but tagging them was an absolute nightmare. Any grower that does all this tagging knows how painful it is. When all was said and done we collected around 30 that are still around right now and are circulating. I have one more run to this day to decide which ones I’m going to keep with. If I had done different pheno hunts too I could of ended up with plenty more phenos to work with. Now that is all behind us though as we have the opportunity to do so, we have 800 flowering lights, we have a 500 light bedroom to play with, a mothering room to play with, a clone room. So in short the man that I have been to this point up is nothing compared to the man that I’m going to be from on here on out. 

Wow thats crazy, to have that many phenos from that pheno hunt still. Was that in 2020?

F: Yeah that was back in 2020. 

Where’s the best places to get your flower/ pre rolls in California?

F: My pre rolls are available in stores throughout California. Most Cookies store, most Stiizy stores, plenty of locations all up and down the state. My true goal is with this cultivation to have a store front by the end of the year. To grow my flower and have it in my own storefront, when Fidel’s is the house name that I know it will be people will travel far and wide to get weed from Fidel’s. 

Do you ever plan to try any growing for your brand using Light Deps? Or will you stick with Indoor premium? 

F: I’m staying indoors the whole way, thats for sure. 

Do you plan to release feminized seeds at some point?

F: Yeah for sure, once they are fully tested they are definitely on the horizon. 

I’m making a new seal first though, the no herm seal! (laughs)

That’s a seal we can all get behind for sure! Anything you’d like to finish with Fidel? 

F: For sure I just want everyone to know, its possible to be anything that you want in this industry! Whether you’re just popping beans and starting a brand off, you could do this to the fucking moon and stars it’s all possible.

And with that, Pure Sativa & Fidel are out. It’s a Fidelli Ting! 

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