Season 2 Episode 12
Growing Exposed is the number one show about the world of Cannabis Cultivation. Each week viewers get an exclusive look inside the biggest and most impressive cannabis gardens in North America, alongside growing tips from the pros themselves.
This week we take you to Salinas Valley, the home of Riverview Farms. Riverview Farms brings decades of agriculture experience to the cannabis business and we are going to show you what they’ve borrowed from the big Ag industry.
It wasn’t too long in the past that a twenty acre cannabis farm would be unheard of, however due to changes in the regulations, more and more long time agricultural families are making the change to this cash crop, and that is what’s happening at Riverview Farms.
First on our tour of this striking facility is to meet Michelle Hackett, owner and operator of Riverview Farms and our tour guide. She begins by explaining how Salinas is the Silicon Valley of agriculture; with all natural sunlight and the cleanest water and soil, resulting in the best wine grapes and cannabis plants in the entire state of California. These natural resources and the technology around it, encourages making the jump from small, boutique size farm to large-scale operation and this is evident when one looks around the twenty acres at Riverview Farms. We also discuss some of the hurdles that growers face in today’s changing cannabis industry.
At Riverview Farms they are vertically integrated, starting with their own mothers, cuttings, vegetative and flowers. We learn how they are able to control everything from seed to sale onsite, allowing them to have a perpetual harvest and a garden coming down every thirty days. Having their own genetics onsite means they are always ready to stay consistent and are always planting new flowers. During our visit, it’s off-season yet the sun-grown plants are big and healthy with no stretching.
In the mother room we learn more about their genetics, all their own and grown from seed at Riverview Farms. The scale of their genetic library is huge and unique. Justin hears about what strains grow best in this climate and of course, gets up close with the plants themselves. Michelle gives a growers tip on how to identify and deal with insects in your garden with what is essentially a commercial size flytrap.
In the nursery room we check out the cuttings and discover why its so important to start with the healthiest and cleanest plants to get the maximum yield at the end of your grow. Once again, the scale of Riverview Farms is evident with approximately 30,000 cuttings on display. Michelle goes on to explain how the facility also provides other growers with clones and Justin shares what he feels is the future of the cannabis industry.
Further on our tour we see some newly transferred babies and then head to the vegetative area where Michelle explains how every two weeks, an analysis of their water and plant tissue is sent to Holland for testing, allowing them to change their nutrient system if needed, resulting in maximum growth. We also learn why they choose to keep their plants elevated and not just sitting on the ground.
In the flower room it is an endless horizon of consistent, high quality cannabis. All the girls look happy, and are the same height at about three weeks away from harvest. Michelle explains how this all-natural sun grown flower is a result of using their Dutch style greenhouses, and how it’s important for Riverview farms to have as low a carbon footprint as possible. Then, we visit one of the completely dark and air conditioned curing rooms where the plants dry for five to ten days before being processed.
Taking a quick break from our garden tour, we next take viewers to the Lift Conference in Toronto for Teachings of the Garden Sage, where David Robinson introduces is to a new product that helps with the trimming process. As commercial gardens grow in size, it becomes important for farmers to save time and resources while trimming. Jocelyn, from Keirton showcases their latest product the T0, capable of trimming six hundred pounds per hour; perfect for large size gardens.
Back at Riverview Farms, we join the all women trimming crew and learn more about their efficient and unique way of moving all that cannabis. Once again, the sheer size of this facility is clear and we discover how the team at Riverview Farms is about 90% female.
We see another example of how these growers borrow from traditional farming techniques, using a Brussels sprout sorter to sort their cannabis flower into three different categories…trim, budlets and A grade flower. Michelle then shows us inside the tractor-trailers they use to store the cannabis and get it ready for the marketplace.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of Growing Exposed, where this grow…was exposed! For more garden tours and exclusive content go to growingexposed.com and look for us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!