Cultivating sun-grown B.C. bud at scale
June 19, 2023 By Rob Baldwin
As many people know, B.C. bud has quite a reputation, not just in Canada, but around the world. That’s something we’ve always taken seriously at Pure Sunfarms. Since legalization, we’ve had the incredible opportunity of transforming our greenhouse from vegetable growing into a large-scale cannabis operation for the cultivation of sun-grown B.C. bud.
There’s a few things that have really been important to our success as a Canadian LP, and most of it is in the way we do things here in our greenhouse.
I’ve been working in this same greenhouse for over 20 years, long before we were cultivating cannabis; I know this environment and this greenhouse inside and out. Unlike vegetables, cultivating cannabis requires a whole different set of expertise, which is why our team consists of greenhouse experts and legacy cannabis growers who work alongside each other, informing every step of the process.
To us, cannabis cultivation is not about reinventing the wheel or doing something first, it’s about understanding the plant we grow and adapting our operations in a way that produces quality cannabis at our scale all year long.
Right now, we operate within 1.65 million square feet of greenhouse space and have been recognized as one of the largest recreational cannabis cultivators in the world. How are we successfully growing at this scale? Through thoughtful innovation of both our practices and our product offerings.
An example of this is our recent transition to the hang drying method: a legacy practice that flips the whole plant upside down (leaves and all).
Hanging our plants to dry protects the integrity of the bud, its trichomes and terpenes, and the natural structure of the bud. This transition took us many months to roll out because we wanted to do it right. Since the switch, we’ve heard great feedback from both consumers and retailers.
At this time of year, we are in our peak cultivation period, which usually falls between April and June. Now we’re usually able to yield about 40 per cent more than the fall and winter months as the temperature in the greenhouse is naturally optimal for our plants. This is because we’ve optimized our cultivation practices to harness the power of the sun.
Our greenhouse is situated within B.C.’s sunny Fraser Valley, which allows us to grow using primarily natural, full spectrum sunlight for about 298 days, or 40 per cent of the year. All this solar power also dramatically reduces our electricity use at the farm. And to further conserve energy, we use innovative energy screens that help to capture the sun’s warmth and prevent heat loss year-round.
At any given moment, our flower rooms, each approximately the size of a football field, are filled wall-to-wall with plants. Each room features state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation, and temperature control systems.
We carefully tend to each batch and constantly monitor each room through our 24-hour app-based monitoring system, ensuring the plants get exactly what they need when they need it. We’re consistently cultivating tried and true B.C. strains, like our top-selling Pink Kush, now being sold in Germany, while also trialing new genetics to see what grows best in our greenhouse. Not everything makes it into our packs. It is only the strains we know consumers want, and that thrive in our environment.
At the end of the day, we know what is expected of B.C. bud and we take that seriously in everything we do. It’s humbling to see what we’ve created in such a short time, and how Canadians love our products. It’s an exciting legacy to be a part of, and we’re only just getting started.
As VP of cultivation and operations, Rob Baldwin grows high quality plants with a passionate team of growers. He is responsible for Pure Sunfarms’ cultivation and greenhouse operations and continues to deliver quality cannabis to the Canadian market.
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