The quality of Cannabis is reaching a much higher level then ever before making it a competition between farmers.
It’s Croptober in Mendocino County and after a long season it is finally time to harvest these massive Cannabis trees.
For us and many of the top farmers in the world harvesting is one of the most important steps in growing quality medicine. This is where you can make or break your flowers. Every farmer knows the importance of clean medicine, when you take the time and effort to grow this plant perfectly through an entire season you do not want to lose any of that quality.
It all starts with the delicate and tedious process of clipping every branch into small sections and carefully removing the big fan leafs that have no resin. What you want to do is keep your product as clean as possible when it dries. The more you do now the less you will have to worry about later. Keep in mind you do not need to trim off every leaf, you want to leave just enough to form the cocoon around the flower as it is drying. With concentrates gaining popularity, extraction artists want to work with only the best, not a mess of crispy brown water leaves. When clipping these branches down it is all about gentleness as Frenchy Cannoli states. “You do not want to knock off the mature resin heads and damage these beautiful flowers”.
During the season we take so much care of these flowers making sure they are not beaten up or abused so we never rush when harvesting. It takes a lot of time to take down a Cannabis tree, especially when you are washing live resin.
This year we had the opportunity to fly our good friend Mr. Bond over from the East Coast to wash on site at the Mendo Dope Family Farm. We spent hours and hours very carefully breaking down bud after bud into bags that we then threw into the freezer. Collecting every glistening trichome head from this special “Space Bomb” pheno we began to see the sand pile stack up. The cool thing about this Space Bomb cut was we had got it shipped directly from Mr. Bond who had been working with it for years and experienced what it could do indoors. Now he wanted to see what we could do with it in our outdoor environment. The results were phenomenal! For the first time ever growing outdoors she filled up a 1,000g Smart Pot and dumped piles of what we like to call golden beach sand. Being dedicated and passionate farmers we know what it takes to grow the best medicine and we see where a lot of people fail in the outdoor community.
We can’t stress enough that it is not about getting your garden down as fast as you can – it’s about getting it down gently and keeping those flowers untouched. You have to control your dry room temperature and humidity levels to ensure you do not over-dry your flowers, or in some cases cause mold to grow from to much moisture.
There are many techniques we use when harvesting to keep our buds from being smashed. As we clip each branch and de-leaf we hang it right back onto the cage, or sometimes we will even set up a temporary hang line between plants. We don’t like using totes to stack these wet branches into because they will flatten very quickly and get smashed under the weight if you’re not moving fast. Over the years we learned a quick and easy way to bring these fresh clipped branches into the dry room without smashing them. Using one hand, begin to hang branches down each finger starting with your pinky and stack as many as you can. Now you can easily walk to the dry room and remove each branch hanging them nicely onto the dry lines. You do not want to stand on top of a ladder and throw branches 10ft down into a tote, nor do you want to rip branches though trellis and caging stripping them of precious resin.
The quality of Cannabis is reaching a much higher level then ever before making it a competition between farmers. Small farms are going to have a hard time competing with the major scale operations when it comes to quantity, but the quality will always be better with small farms and that is what really counts. If you can’t stay up on your quality control then you should grow less and focus on getting your set up dialed-in properly. As the game evolves more and more people are becoming connoisseurs expecting only the best, so that’s what we strive to deliver.
Working with world-known hash makers Frenchy Cannoli and Mr. Bond under a full moon in the middle of the garden was one of the most epic experiences. Clipping beautiful resin covered Marionberry Kush buds fresh into Frenchy’s custom built hash machine and watching it spin was amazing. This was the first time we had ever washed flowers directly from the plant, and to top it off we were blazing under the full moon on top of the mountains in the Emerald Triangle.
As Mr. Bond and Frenchy Cannoli pulled bag after bag of full spectrum terpy bubble hash out of the freezing cold water, me and Bleezy continued to harvest through the cold night. Everything we do at Mendo Dope Family Farms is about quality: we hang dry all of our flowers in a climate-controlled room and carefully hand trim every bud. We are against using trim machines, in our opinion there will never be a machine that can trim as good as a skilled person. For us harvest isn’t truly over until you have your flowers curing inside of a jar. You can very easily see the difference between hand trimmed and machine trimmed and we are all about showing people the best of the best.
Some growers we know even go as far as to only holding the stem of the bud when trimming so they aren’t smashing or breaking any trichomes. These are the pickiest weed nerds who can see quality right away and who care for their flowers. The beauty of growing your own Cannabis is being able to control exactly what happens to it from start to finish. For the people who are unable to grow it is up to the small farmers to bring them the best the market can offer. For us it has always been about supplying people with top shelf high grade medicine. From choosing specific strains to grow each year to maintaining a level of standards we feel should be met by all farmers. If you spent the whole year growing this amazing flower take that extra time to harvest properly and treat your buds like they are sill on the plant.
We want to inspire and set an example for other farms, it’s about providing patients with medicine at the end of the day so always keep it clean. Now that we are coming to the end of the year we can finally enjoy smoking the 2017 harvest and we are excited to see what the New Year brings.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 132