THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Posted In: News, Local, State, From Issue 920 By: Robert E Martin
07th October, 2021 0
MedFarms Chesaning farming operation clocked an unprecedented level of growth, with plants reaching over 7 feet tall and weighing over 100 pounds.
MedFarms is a completely green and self-sufficient farming operation, featuring a 45-foot deep reservoir with a million two-hundred-fifty thousand gallons of water so all their plants are fed naturally.
Quietly nestled on 45 acres of pristine fields near Chesaning amidst neighboring crops of corn, beans, and pumpkins, MedFarms cannabis farming operation is one of the pioneering outdoor cannabis growing facilities within the Great Lakes Bay Region that is also setting new records for growth throughout the State of Michigan.
In addition to supplying product for The ReLeaf Centers’ four dispensary storefronts in Niles, Lapeer, Chesaning, and Buena Vista, MedFarms eminently clean, secure, safe, and tightly run farming operation also contains an extraction kitchen for processing concentrates and edibles, which is located in their Niles location and allows it to function as a fully integrated operation.
According to farming facilitator George Pittenturf, throughout each phase of the growing season from planting to harvest, MedFarms has done an amazing job with maintaining their facility and keeping it as clean as possible - a concerted effort that has reaped some remarkable results over this Fall’s harvest season.
“The State of Michigan has a metric tracking system that allows them to monitor our entire inventory of plants,” he explains. “Each plant has a state license metric tag with a unique license number, so when a search is run on the farm’s inventory, each plant can be sourced directly from top to bottom. Anything over eight inches in height is not considered a vegetative plant anymore and needs to be tagged so that the State can technically monitor each sale from seed to point-of-sale.”
Whether it was due to the level of rainfall during this current growing season, the fertility of the soil, or most likely the talents of MedFarms Chief Growers, recently the State of Michigan paid a visit to the farm because when they were running an inventory check of the plants, several of them were clocking weight numbers of 100 pounds emanating from one plant alone!
“At first they thought we were fudging our numbers,” continues Pittenturf, because they didn’t believe one plant could get that big,” he continues. “The inspectors wanted to view the plants in person because I believe we were the first farm they’ve encountered throughout the entire state that generated plants with this volume and weight, so immediately they got red-flagged.”
“When they actually came out to witness the plants with their own eyes they were dumbfounded, because they’d never seen anything like this before. Basically, they said ‘Okay, you are doing this legitimately, this is real, and we are impressed; and of course, we think it’s great the state is doing a good job being conscientious and making sure everything is legitimate.”
As George explains it, each farm is only allowed a set number of plants per license and nobody expected the ones at MedFarms to grow this large in size.
“We must be doing something right,” he notes. “If you look at the stalks they’re the size of a small tree trunk. A group of our growers have been doing this medically and legally for years, so if we supply them with the necessities that they need they are able to produce something huge. You need to provide certain nutrients because the State of Michigan is so rigorous on testing and it’s safe to say we are regulated higher than most pharmaceutical companies. We have 160 different tests to comply with so people know that the product they buy in our store - especially with our oils - is safer than anything they buy in a grocery store. Our goal is to supply safe quality medicine for people.”
According to one of their Master Growers, Andrew, “We call this crop of plants the ‘Incredible Hulk’ because its 7 feet tall and we expected them to get this big. We know how to grow. They should top out 2 feet higher than that and a lot of it has to do with what we call aqua-culturing. We have our own 45-foot deep reservoir with a million two-hundred-fifty thousand gallons of water so everything is fed naturally.”
“Lots of people do things different ways,” he continues. “As a principle grower I’ve always grown this way, since I was a kid in high school. Nutrients are so important and then we make concentrate out of the leftovers. There exists a subsidiary industry for byproducts whereby you can turn it into a carbon compound and burn it for fuel and energy, which is better than having it end up in a landfill. It’s totally recyclable and our operation is totally green, apart from a little electricity needed to filter the system up front.”
“The most challenging component was building the operation out, but if you give the plant water it will grow itself, all we really do is give them a little help and supply a support system along the way. The less energy the plant has to spend on supporting itself the more energy it has to build its structure.”
Interestingly enough, at The ReLeaf Center dispensaries, 70% of their sales is with edibles and oils while 30% is actual flower usage.
According to Andrew, the growing season actually beings in February and starts with taking clones. “The seeds are proprietary and are purchased online and through various routes. One of my personal favorites is ‘Gorilla Breath’, which is doing quite well; and then we have ‘Gorilla Thunder’, which is a Maui Waui variant. We also get many different oils per yield and have 60 different strains of Cannabis out here.”
Unlike indoor growing, outdoor operations don’t have to concern themselves as much with molds and different types of infestations, as nature has a tendency to take its course. “It’s a dog eat dog world and we might have a predatory bug doing damage to some plants, but then a lady bug will come along and take care of them - Mother Nature has a tendency to take care of herself most of the time.”
While the newer grow area a MedFarms has all been built up since June 16th of this year, all the processing is done at their Niles location. We move them outdoors from our staging area and keep the babies there until they’re big enough to move outside. Once grown they will move to the trimming stage where we cut the plant, dry it up, and process the entire plant.”
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)