Pennsylvania grower/processor Parea Biosciences is teaming up with Oregon licensed producer B.A. Botanicals to bring a host of verified west coast genetics like OG Kush, Sour Diesel, and Zkittlez (among others) into the Pennsylvania medical program. KCRA sat down with Sebastian Stalman, owner and founder of B.A. Botanicals to learn more about the B.A. greenhouse, the rosin he loves to smoke, his journey through his career in cannabis, and the genetics he passed along for Parea to grow.
Packaging for The Z from the upcoming Parea x B.A. Botanicals Collab. Image courtesy of Parea.
“Originally I started out selling Sour Diesel joints in Central Park in New York City around 2004,” this is how Sebastian Stalman tells us he began his nearly two-decade journey as a cannabis professional that took him from running a delivery service in New York City to indoor house grows in Los Angeles and Oakland to the one-acre greenhouse located just outside of Portland in Estacada, Oregon that is home to B.A. Botanicals.
Sebastian made the move to Estacada in 2017 when the uncertain landscape of the California recreational market prompted his transition from running a 24 lighter indoor warehouse grow in Los Angeles to becoming a licensed producer in Oregon. Housed in a 40,000 square foot outdoor canopy greenhouse facility, B.A. Botanicals cultivates premium sun grown cannabis and has gained a reputation as one of the premier rosin producers in the Oregon recreational cannabis market. The B.A. facility is wind-powered and cultivates sun-grown cannabis all in living soil to reduce their environmental footprint. You can check out a tour of the greenhouse from a few years back here.
The facility is one large greenhouse of outdoor canopy that contains nine smaller light dep greenhouses, which are used to artificially shorten the day and allow B.A. to flower using the sun at any time of the year. The greenhouse is home to a lineup of heirloom genetics Sebastian has procured over the years that would make any cannabis connoisseur excited. Classics like OG Kush, Jack Herer, Sour Diesel, and Super Lemon Haze mix with verified cuts of Gelato 33, Wedding Cake, and Chocolate Hashberry. These are all genetics Sebastian has been able to get his hands on from seeking out the best of the best throughout his career in cannabis and like so many cultivators that cut their teeth during the days before legalization, Sebastian has a lifetime of experiences centered around the plant to back it.
Vanilla Frosting from B.A. Botanicals photographed by Amanda Day @terpodactyl_media
Sebastian's first experience with cultivating was in college around 2008 when he planted some Bubba Kush seeds in his dorm room. Around that time he continued to learn to grow by helping set up outdoor grows in Maine and upstate New York before eventually running a delivery service in New York City for a guy named JJ, better known as JJ NYC from Top Dawg Seeds, who is widely regarded as one of the original procurers of Sour Diesel.
After a brush with the law in New York City he took off for the promised land of California during the Prop 215 days, because as he says, “it was kind of the wild west, but you were much more free than New York at that time.” In California he continued to hone his craft starting with an 8 lighter in Los Alamos right outside Santa Barbara before eventually taking off for Oakland to set up a ten-light house grow around 2011, “it really was the epicenter of weed culture at that time.”
He went back to LA for a short time after a SWAT raid on his grow in Oakland “I still don’t know what happened, but it was a bit excessive. I was just innocently getting a haircut and I came back to a SWAT team with machine guns! But Oakland had the most relaxed laws at that time, so I was fortunate that nothing really happened. They basically just destroyed my plants.”
And then amid a lot of uncertainty about what legalization was going to look like in California he made the move to Oregon in 2017 to become licensed in their newly established but highly competitive rec market as B.A. Botanicals. “I wanted to start a recreational company because I was tired of running from the law and I wanted to do something on a bigger scale.”
Key Lime Pie flower from B.A. Botanicals photographed by @resinatedlens
The principle behind B.A. Botanicals is simple, Sebastian cultivates cannabis mainly to produce the high-quality rosin that he himself loves to smoke. “Rosin is my preference, I will always love flower, but I generally smoke 90% rosin and with rosin it’s all about the starting material, you can’t hide the quality.” The B.A. facility was constructed with this in mind after he decided that the highest quality rosin came from starting material grown under light dep in a greenhouse. He says he initially struggled to find a name amongst a sea of existing license holders in Oregon until landing on B.A. Botanicals after watching the A-Team one night and hearing the name B.A. Baracus, the character infamously played by Mr. T.
The B.A. Botanicals process is to keep everything in house. Sebastian grows the starting material in the greenhouse, freezes it on site, and personally washes it to make his rosin. The rosin is then packaged per order in PopVac jars through dispensaries for the consumer. “We don’t make a huge batch and then just leave it on the shelf for people to buy it, it’s packaged per order so it’s exactly how I would want it when I’m smoking it.”
In the past B.A. has had an even split between the rosin and flower he brought to market, but he says moving forward they will be putting out more rosin. He also took first place at the Oregon Growers Cup for best infused pre-roll. The award-winning donut, or hash hole, was a 70/30 split of Z flower and Gelato 41 Rosin. Off the back of the win, he is looking to bring donuts to the shelf in Oregon dispensaries soon.
B.A. Botanicals 2023 Rosin photographed by Yvonna @theliftedlensofficial
We take notice of the amount of care and work that must go into running a greenhouse of that scale and producing all that rosin himself and Sebastian smiles but acknowledges that he wouldn’t recommend it, “my situation is a little ridiculous, but we had a slight disaster in the beginning, so I’ve been moving a little more cautiously.” While the company has continued to evolve since its start, it’s clear that he isn’t taking any risk right now on sacrificing the quality of his product. “BA Botanicals is not like some kind of fancy company, there’s no investors or other people involved. It’s essentially me in my backyard growing cannabis and making rosin.”
From his time in NYC to the B.A. grow in Oregon, Sebastian has a way of framing all his past and current experiences through stories that would make you wish you were there or that you at least got to smoke the weed (or rosin). In speaking about his time coming up and beginning as a cultivator he says, “I was addicted right from when I started. I wanted to figure out how to grow really properly and possibly do it as a profession, but in the meantime, I was just looking for the best weed all the time.” This remains the narrative through all his stories about his career in cannabis. Not only his passion for growing, but also a drive to always be seeking out the highest quality cannabis around.
Whether it was the Sour Diesel from JJ in NYC, “his Sour Diesel was on another level. Basically, just extremely pungent gas, you could smell an eighth of it from 20 feet away.”
The OG Kush during Prop 215 in California, “Those really were the glory days, the dispensaries would have 15 different cuts of OG Kush that were just unbelievable.”
The Triangle Kush from Cookies in Oakland when the hype was real, “Their TK was immaculate. It was honestly perfect, that was one of the best versions ever, even next to ones from private growers who are legendary in SoCal.”
Or the Super Lemon Haze from Storm Cannabis in Oregon where Parea Assistant Director of Cultivation Patrick Sprout was the head cultivator from 2018-2021. “When I came up to Oregon, I searched out Patrick because in my opinion he grows some of the best weed known to man. I seriously cannot attest to that enough; incredible weed came out of that [Storm Cannabis] facility.”
Patrick and Sebastian have maintained a friendship ever since, bonding over a shared passion for growing and smoking cannabis of exceptional quality. When the December window hit for Pennsylvania growers to bring in new genetics Patrick knew B.A. had some great cuts and reached out to see if he wanted to bring them into PA through Parea. B.A. agreed and the result is verified west coast genetics making their way into Pennsylvania to be grown exclusively by Parea.
OG Kush from Parea's Garden, Photo by Parea Biosciences
The list includes some heavy hitters like a Josh D OG Kush cut that Sebastian got in 2012 in the San Fernando Valley that he has never stopped growing or smoking. “OG Kush is undoubtedly my all-time favorite strain. You have to grow it perfect for it to be perfect, but it’s always very good. I think patients in PA are in for a serious treat, it’s really incredible medicine.”
Parea OG Kush (Josh D Cut) Image by Parea Biosciences
A Sour Diesel cut that he got in 2015, before losing it and getting it back again in 2017. “This is nearly identical to the Sour Diesel I was selling in NYC from JJ. It’s an older cut and it changes a lot, so it depends on how you grow it too. It’s a hard plant to grow and there’s so much nostalgia around it that you want it to be perfect, but it’s hard to get perfect.”
Sour Diesel in Parea's Garden, Photo by Parea Biosciences
A rare cut of Zkittlez, or Z, he has had since 2016 "In my opinion it’s one of the most special plants of all time, but also one of the hardest plants to grow. If you get it right the taste and the smell is next level, complete candy, it’s literally insane.”
Z as Grown by Parea, Photo by Parea Biosciences
Sebastian admits that he might have a bit of an obsession with OG Kush and Zkittlez but does not want to downplay the rest of the genetics Parea has. The rest of the list includes strains like Apples and Bananas “super loud, one of the best smells of all time,” GMO x Legend OG (aka Fatso) “very strong, with an almost nasty, garlicky smell,” Apple Fritter, White Truffle, Garanimals, and Bacio Gelato.
Parea Apps & Nanners (Apples & Bananas) Image by Parea Biosciences
The theme that develops across our conversation on all these genetics is that some of the best strains also seem to be the hardest strains to grow. According to Sebastian that’s a risk more growers should be willing to take on, “it’s important for growers to try and grow the best stuff they can because if you are really focused on the patient experience and true quality, I believe people will notice.”
Overall, he considers it an honor to collab on this with Parea and is excited to help bring some of these strains into PA for patients, “I’m just excited for the PA market to get a taste of the West Coast genetics. These were legitimate strains that I sought out and all I really hope is that people will smile when they smell the OG Kush or the Z grown by the Parea team, and their day will be better because of that.”
Look out for strains from the Parea x B.A. Botanicals collab to hit dispensaries across Pennsylvania soon.
The Z as Grown by Parea, Photo by Parea Biosciences