Fresh Baked is a cozy storefront on Boulder's Pearl Street. (The Cannabist)

Fresh Baked (recreational shop review, Boulder)

It was another gorgeous blue sky Colorado day, and once again, I found myself in Boulder looking for a quality recreational dispensary. My previous experience in Boulder was kind of “meh” and I felt that there had to be better options in this, one of Colorado’s most notorious cities for having great cannabis and the customers who are willing to pay a premium for it.

One of the places that I have been hearing is doing well for themselves is Fresh Baked, a shop that I had shopped at medically several years ago, but has since converted to recreational sales. The storefront is located on the part of Pearl Street right before it starts to get impossible to park, and is situated across the street from a large shopping center in a standalone building.

Review: Fresh Baked Dispensary in Boulder (recreational purchase)
Connect: 2539 Pearl St.; 303-440-9393; 10 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. daily
Date of visit: June 17, 2014
Rating: 7/10

Though the dispensary has its own parking, I ended up passing the building by mistake, making a U-turn, and just parking in the Mike’s Camera lot across the street instead (shame on me). As parking is a much-hoarded resource even in this area of Boulder, the smallish lot reserved for customers (comprised of maybe 10 spaces) is still a very nice feature for a dispensary to have, despite the penchant for Boulderites to walk or bike practically everywhere. The shop is a converted single-level house with a giant “NOW OPEN” sign out front; it was cheerful and welcoming, and I stepped inside the door to see if the staff was as friendly as the storefront.

Thinking back on my experience days later, I am still a little confused about the layout of Fresh Baked. On my visit, I was quickly asked inside the bud room after presenting my ID to the guy at the front desk, and after making my purchase, came out another door into a type of lounge area, which was complete with awesome old-school Ms. Pac-Man tabletop games and a few people I assumed were customers taking advantage of the amenities. I feel like I need to go back to walk through the shop again to get it straight in my head, as I even got turned around on my way out of the shop and ended up coming out the back door into the parking lot, rather than out to the front where I had parked. That little weirdness aside, Fresh Baked was well-lit and had a definite conversation buzz to it, making it seem to me like a spot that stays rather busy.

The bud room had two small glass counters that faced each other, both of which had identical products on display. My budtender (again, my memory fails me on the name, but I want to say … Danielle?) was the typical college-aged, hemp-necklace-with-chakra-aligning-jewelry-wearing Boulder budtender girl by appearance, but I was quickly impressed with her level of knowledge about their products.

She explained their strain organization system, which had the most sativa-dominant varieties to the left, moving to the indica-dominant varieties on the right, and told me I could smell any and to ask her if I had any questions. Each jar had the strain name and lineage displayed clearly, as well as an approximation of their sativa/indica dominance (i.e. 70/30 sativa, 50/50 hybrid, etc.). The flat pricing structure went from $20 for a gram to $60 per eighth, up to $360 for an ounce. While this pricing is definitely higher than many, the quality of flowers on display seemed higher than many as well. Ultimately, it’s just a question of whether one is willing to pay for quality or if the price rubs you the wrong way.

Map: Colorado recreational marijuana shops and medical dispensaries

Asking my budtender questions didn’t end up being all that necessary, as each time I picked up a jar to smell it, she would start in with a more thorough description of the strain’s effects, all of which jived with my previous knowledge of the genetics. Fresh Baked had maybe 20 strains on display when I was there, but looking at their online menu over the past few days shows that I may have caught them on a low inventory day, as they are currently boasting over 30 choices.

I smelled literally every jar, from the sweet and crisp Jack Flash, to the funky, fruity UK Cheese, to the dank and musky Master Kush — all of them had a pungent, distinct and strain-appropriate aroma, which is rare for recreational dispensaries in my experience thus far. At most shops, there seems to always be a couple of duds on the shelf, but Fresh Baked was batting a very high percentage so far, impressing me to varying degrees with each jar that I opened. The only knock on the inventory was that some of the jars were a little pebbly, but that was the exception rather than the rule, as most of them were loaded with medium-sized, well-cured nugs.

I asked my budtender for a recommendation for a strain that would help with my nagging back pain yet keep me lucid and not come with any grogginess; she quickly recommended the Phnom Penh, which is a very sativa variety supposedly derived from landrace Cambodian genetics. Normally such a heavily sativa-dominant variety wouldn’t be recommended for back pain. The Phnom Penh has been tested and contains a higher than usual amount of cannabidiol (CBD), which is known for anti-inflammatory properties combined with low psychoactivity. This seemed a perfect recommendation in my mind. Though definitely tempted by the very proper-smelling Corleone Kush, I opted for a gram of the more clear-headed Phnom Penh, as I generally have a lot of work to do during the day and don’t have time for unexpected indica naps.

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Fresh Baked had a few edibles, one of which (Stixx, a sugar-based edible produced by the At Home Baked brand) my budtender suggested as a good choice for me personally, as it was fast-acting for pain but easily dosed at 25 milligrams per container and come in “A.M.” and “P.M.” varieties as well as “CBD.” This type of product knowledge and smart recommendations (some might call it “upselling,” which frankly I can also respect) really put the Fresh Baked staff above most others that I’ve encountered.

“Danielle” (so sorry I didn’t remember your name, you really were a great budtender, I promise) did a great job of not making me feel rushed in the least and keeping conversation going the entire time while providing answers to any question or comment that I had.

Read the rest of the review for Boulder rec shop Fresh Baked