The Emerald Exchange Bulks Up

Emerald Exchange Malibu
Little River Family Farms

The popular event featuring Northern California farmers came to Moorpark for a relaxed weekend of business and fun.

MOORPARK, Calif. – Southern California was once again treated to fine sun-grown, Northern California cannabis this weekend, courtesy of The Emerald Exchange and the farmers who made the trek south to share their produce and explain what they’re all about. For 2017, the event was moved from the Malibu hills to the rolling, agricultural terrain of Ventura County’s Moorpark.


The location, which almost overnight was turned into a village, featured a man-made lake around which was scattered the various sections of the event. Everything was eminently accessible and easy to maneuver, and as night fell the multicolored lights from vendors’ tents and stalls reflected off the water like a carnival.

Overall, the event is growing up, offering attendees more farms, more speakers and panels, more activities, and seemingly more food (in addition to Chris “The Herbal Chef” Sayegh’s multi-course sit-down meals). Organizers estimate that upwards of 1000 people attended the event, certainly a plausible number considering the swell of people that hit the chill, bazaar-like Farmers Market each day. One factor that may have helped attendance was the fine weather, which tapped out in the mid-80s, which cloudless skies throughout. Had it been held a few weeks ago, the triple-digits could have been a problem.

In addition to the sun-grown cannabis, people point to the relaxed nature of The Emerald Exchange as the quality they most appreciate. It feels less like a trade event than an experience that informs and enlightens, one heard time and again. All this while business and the prerogatives of California’s evolving landscape remain the basic reason why the show exists at all. These farmers from regions that generally make up the Emerald Triangle came to Moorpark ready to do immediate business, but they were equally determined to remind the world that what they make is irreproducible anywhere else. Conversations with vendors indicated that local retail operators were in attendance, and expressed interest in adding more sun-grown product to their menus.

The Emerald Exchange commits itself to creating an entourage effect of sorts for attendees by including a full slate of holistic activities, from yoga to music, movies, and more. All were in full-bloom this weekend, with some special additions that included hammocks on a bridge-accessible island in the middle of the lake. The speakers’ panels that took place in a shaded grove near the farmers market were relaxed but still spoke to issues of immediate interest to the industry, including sessions on terpenes, extraction processes, appellations, and compliance, to name a few. The cross-section of speakers was of a high quality as well, reflecting the close relationships and deep roots within the industry that the event organizers—Michael Katz, Justin Calvino, Brooke Horowitz, Brittany Confer, and Jessica Cure—bring to the table, or the farm-to-table.