Our friends at Défoncé Chocolatier interviewed us about our passion and process. And since you're here and you care about the same high quality and care as we do, we wanted to share.
Q: Why do you grow cannabis?
A: We felt called to this plant for a long time, and have used it as medicine for decades, long before most people thought about it as medicine. In my opinion, it is the medicine of the future. We have always felt called to work with it. We do spend a lot more money than the next guy, but we grow strategically. We produce the best artisanal top-shelf cannabis in the world.
Q: What are some unique aspects of your approach to growing?
A: The compost techniques we use. Our intellectual property. Our layering technique. I have never seen anybody use this technique. It uses biodynamical techniques, permaculture techniques, and techniques that our master gardener has picked up during the past 25 years in a wide range of climates: Alaska, Hawaii, Tennessee, and California. We are building our soil, doing something totally unique. The plant decides when it needs to eat. We don’t add fertilizer, because it is already in the soil. I don’t want to put a chemical in my soil that some guy put in a bottle.
Q: You guys really love the plants, don’t you?
A: If you walk into your garden and are always in a bad mood, the plants respond to it. And if they are indoors, they never see sunlight or feel fresh air. It’s nasty. I’m out there putting love and healing into my plants and thinking everyone who ingests this medicine will receive the healing they need. This plant sustains us, it gives us life, we are grateful and it comes out in the final product.
Q: Why did you decide to grow in the Sierra Nevada Foothills?
A: The majority of what I do is full sun and outdoors. This will be the Napa Valley of cannabis. In the Emerald Triangle, you get fog and moisture and not so much sun and heat. That leads to powdery mildew and mold. We are removed from the coast, in the central part of the state. We don’t get fog and we get 90-plus temperatures from June through October. You can encourage plants to grow for longer, because it’s 80 degrees in October. It’s the premiere climate in the world for growing cannabis. We strongly believe that our sun-grown, organic cannabis thrives in the best microclimate in the world for growing cannabis. Much like fine wine and the Napa Valley, we believe within a few years the Sierra Nevada Foothills and Hummingbird Medicinals will be premiere names around the world for cannabis.
Q: Tell us a bit about your biodynamic approach.
A: I take a seed, germinate it in time with the biodynamic calendar, and when the tap root comes out, I bring it out into the full sun on my property. It never goes into a greenhouse or receives artificial light. Most people grow from clones. You don’t get a tap root. The plant won’t get as big or as strong. A seed plant is 1,000 times more vigorous than a clone. With clones, they are just cutting limbs from the same mother! Over and over again, cutting limbs from her. It’s so crazy—I can start with seed and 8 months later it is 16 feet tall and 30 feet wide. They are trees. That has to do with our processes, with our amazing soil. It has to do with the seed and the sun. We don’t eat fruits and vegetables grown under lights, or at least we don’t like to. Why do we allow our cannabis to be grown that way?
Q: What kind of varieties do you grow?
A: We usually have four to six different varieties. The varieties we have are unique to us, and only us. They are bred by master breeders and incorporate strains that thrive in our foothills climate. We tend to breed in strains like Blackberry Kush, that come from the Kush Mountains in Afghanistan, which is nearly the same climate as ours. We have a little bit of everything, but mainly hybrids. Not heavy indicas or full-on sativas. Lots of blends.
Q: Is growing cannabis environmentally friendly?
A: The sun is stronger than the silly grow lights and it doesn’t burn any coal. If we are going to be a cannabis community, then we need to deal with our environmental footprint, which is one thing I love about Défoncé. They committed to me because I have barely any footprint. We are using sun, and not electricity. Cannabis consumers should say no to more coal to grow pot. But I think water use and cannabis gets a bad rap. Look at how much water is used in factory farms along I-5 for cattle. Look at almonds. It takes way more water to grow almonds than cannabis. My water comes from a well beneath my property, 75 gallons a minute. There is a river beneath my property. All of our water use is on a drip system.