Rose is hot right now. The company’s chewy, Turkish Delight-styled gummy edibles can be found across California dispensaries, and now out-of-staters are accessing the hemp version online. The OG Delights came in a Rose Hibiscus flavor, perfectly light and sweet-exactly as I imagined those treats in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe would taste. But Rose Delights are known for its seasonal drops that take locally sourced ingredients and complexity of flavor to new heights.
Take last winter’s Mezcal Poached Pear, crafted by Enrique Olvera and made with mezcal-poached d’anjou pears from Mt. Hood Organics, finished with the signature Chile Ancho from his restaurant, Pujol, and infused with Orange Acai flower rosin from Sonoma Hills Farm.
Then there’s this release crafted by NYC pastry savant Natasha Pickowicz and made in collaboration with Gossamer: a combination of Brokaw Ranch kiwi, oro blanco grapefruit from Bernard Ranches family farm and celery from Catalan Family Farm. By treating flower with the same agricultural reverence that the culinary realm gives its ingredients, the brand hopes to contribute to a more conscious food system overall.
So, who are the stylish, next-level minds behind these gummies à la mode? Oh, just a couple childhood stoner friends who once had a sketch comedy band.
Below, Nathan Cozzolino and Scott Barry, the surprisingly relatable co-founders of Rose, get real about doing gummies the hard way, finding harmony with the undeniably loud flavor of fresh-pressed rosin, and both shared a shocking dream collaboration you didn’t see coming.
Lauren Yoshiko: Tell me a little backstory-as in, your weed backstory.
Nathan Cozzolino: I grew up in Norcross, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, and now I’m based in San Francisco. Scott and I have been friends since high school and have worked together on creative projects since our early 20s. We had a sketch comedy band called by many different names.
I worked on a small small farm in Laytonville, California in 2000, and then a few years later, I was growing cannabis in a two-bedroom apartment in the Richmond district of San Francisco. I had been diagnosed with cancer around that time and had to take a knee from creative and entertainment during my treatment. From around 2010 until Rose, I worked closely with farms to represent their harvests and worked on creative projects in between.
Scott Barry: I grew up in the Bay Area, and I was a stoner in high school when Nathan and I met. I remember going to smoke shops and being obsessed with brands at the time like Graphix, Fuct, and Split. It felt like you were a part of something to have one and wear it. This is probably my first experience with a connection to graphic design and branding that I had any affinity or loyalty to. I stopped consuming for a long time until we started producing CBD and our low dose Singles, which have now completely changed the way I feel about edibles, cannabis and consumption, and have become a daily routine.
LY: Did you both at some point experience the early stoner rite of passage that is getting nightmarishly high on edibles?
NC: It’s an exercise we still sometimes challenge ourselves with-despite all of our products being designed to keep people safely away from an unwanted experience.
LY: Gummies are a really familiar form factor, but you ended up creating an unfamiliar form of gummy to the cannabis community at large. Why this Turkish Delight-styled approach?
NC: We liked the mystery/magic/lore and thought it was a worthy carrier. Obviously cannabis and foods take you on a trip, and we wanted the starting point to be something slightly out of the ordinary.
LY: How difficult was it to nail that texture?
NC: Because we use real food ingredients and produce in every recipe and those ingredients are always changing, it stays a moving target. That’s a dance our chef enjoys.
LY: The decision to use rosin-cannabis concentrate made with a combination of heat and hydraulic pressure-is unique for edibles companies of scale. It’s a more laborious process, but also a solventless one that keeps more cannabinoids and terpenes intact, resulting in richer effects. It also means a stronger flower flavor. Is rosin, or cannabis in general, an intimidating ingredient to some chefs?
NC: You’re right, the cannabis can be a dominant flavor. Many of our chefs are ideating with cannabis for the first time. All these chefs are very clever and talented people and have made sense of how to work with cannabis as an ingredient relatively effortlessly.
Once we tried an Albion strawberry with buddha’s hand, EVOO, and a purple sativa. It was like having Santana, Axel Rose, and Van Halen in one band. When Enrique Olvera was thinking up recipes, he knew what to expect from the cannabis. He was aware of all the botanic characteristics and that underlying chicory-like bitterness that you get from healthy flower, and he spoke to that in our very first conversations with him.
LY: Do you ever get to physically visit these peach orchards and strawberry farms?
NC: Typically our farms deliver directly to our kitchen, but sometimes we don’t order enough blueberries and have to find crafty ways to shoot down to Coastal Moon Farm in Watsonville, CA and grab more. *A real example from yesterday.*
LY: Throughout your collabs and seasonals, has anyone ever been weird about the weed part?
NC: Yes, anthroposophists don’t approve of cannabis consumption. Our chef collabs have come about organically through our community and word-of-mouth, so the foundation is already there. Many of our farm partners (if not all) have never experienced their fruit in cannabis form. Most of our farm partners essentially throw fruit our way, it’s a pretty sweet deal and we are very grateful.
LY: Any dream collaborations from your vision board?
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.