My first encounter with this cannabis variety was in October 1978 at a Barter Fair in Ione. Harvests were in, and my friends and I arrived with a truck full of apples and a new cider press. Colorful people came from places far and near, trading homemade goods and food to store for the coming winter.
A camp just across from us consisted of one guy sitting on a blanket whose only possession appeared to be a large hookah. Even at an event populated by mainly freaks and hippies and no visible police presence, his set-up seemed a bit out of the ordinary.
He was more like a devotee on the banks of the Ganges or a dervish near the shrine of a Sufi saint in Afghanistan, like a carnival barker with a strong dose of itinerant conjurer.
To draw passersby to your booth, vendors would call out their offerings. “Apple cider!” “Winter squash!” “Potatoes!” Our neighbor’s cry to the masses through huge clouds of smoke was “Matanuska Thunder F–!”
As a public service, his venue was open from sunrise to whenever you found him rolled up asleep in his blanket. Anyone could sit on the blanket with him, partake and be set for the raucous festivities. Back then, many would agree that pot was a lot more fun, but at least now we don’t have to risk jail time for our favorite herb.
Today, a similar cultivar from Sweet Water Farms carries on the tradition of the original Matanuska Valley variety as a premium choice for waking and baking, as well as providing a needed boost any time of day.
Appearance: Pale green with purple undertones, a filled-out fluffy with good, fresh bounce. That can tell you a lot about the rest of the story. Nicely trimmed to the right balance of leaf, thickly salted with a complex web of bulbous-headed trichomes. Under magnification these cannabinoids resemble a forest of ice crystals against a dark background. The green is highly influenced by a thick distribution of orange pistils coming from each individual flower. If judged by its looks alone, ATF would be right near the top.
Aroma: Lime zest and mint comes through with a deep, musky earthiness. I don’t know a thing about chemistry but ATF has all the right terpenes to supply a complex olfactory array. All three contribute unique profiles while also giving beneficial effects that make this such a joy to experience.
Effects: Lightning comes before the thunder and provides the spark that ignites ATF to bring on the effects. One toke can be taken any time whenever an energy boost is required or a general mood lifter is needed. As an attitude adjuster, ATF can do the trick without giving a foggy head. The high is great for a clear, focused mind and physical activity.
Going beyond the initial hit will up the effects exponentially into powerfully euphoric territory. As is the usual case with top-quality cannabis, the long-term accelerated high can continue for quite some time before leveling off into a positive energy. Expect mind and body effects to take over and last for a good three hours or more. It’s a great ride if that’s what you are looking for. Maybe not right before bedtime or anytime you might be required to sit still in a confined spot.
Users new to cannabis or those looking for a more mellow high, take note.
Rick Misterly is a Washington resident whose interest in cannabis dates back to the 1960s and has taken him around the world. He’s the cannabis and hashish curator for Green Barn Farms in Addy and writes the “Rick’s World of Hashish” blog.