Mighty Tasty Cannabis: Talking Shop with Phantom Farms
Cultivating high-grade cannabis using dedicated organic practices, permaculture principles and volcanic filtered water in both their indoor & outdoor facilities, Phantom Farms has become quite the name in the Oregon recreational cannabis market. The entire team sat down to answer our questions and give us some insight on what it takes to grow some “Mighty Tasty Cannabis”.
Written by Jon Russell & Phantom Farms
Jon Russell, GreenSea Distribution: Hello Phantom Farms team! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. For those not already familiar with Phantom Farms, could you take a moment to introduce yourselves?
Phantom Farms Team: Thanks Jon. Phantom Farms is a licensed recreational cannabis producer. Founded in Oregon in 2008 we cultivate Clean Green Certified® cannabis using organic methods and sustainable practices in both our indoor and outdoor facilities.
Jon: When did you first get involved with growing cannabis?
Phantom Farms: We’ve been at it for a while and collectively have quite the history. Our master growers have been cultivating since the late 90’s, roughly 20 years ago. There was something captivating about the way in which the plant grew that really sparked their interest in cultivation. They’ve been growing ever since, and as part of the Phantom Farms team since 2008, in both the medical and recreational markets.
Jon: Your farm is quite expansive, and we see plenty of outdoor plants and greenhouses on your Instagram feed. Do you also grow indoors?
Phantom: While we love being outside, in nature and under the sun, it’s nice to have a controlled environment indoors. It is also a great way to retain genetics and keep them safe. We are currently building an indoor facility that will be licensed for the recreational market. We will utilize the same growing practices as our sun-grown farms.
Jon: Congratulations on receiving your Clean Green certification. What drives your commitment to good environmental practices?
Phantom: Sustainability and organic growing practices are part of our DNA and ethos not only as a company but as individuals whose hobbies often bring us to the outdoors. We pride ourselves as environmental stewards and strive to provide quality, safe products to our customers.
Jon: Personally, what’s your favorite strain you’ve ever grown?
Phantom: There are hundreds of strains now, it’s hard to pick a favorite. We do have an affinity for Super Lemon Haze – a strain that grows exceptionally well in Southern Oregon. With a lemon skunk nose, a delicious high, and a desirable ‘hazed out’ effect, it’s a PF favorite.
The ostensible government strains, G13 and M19, also stand out. We grew these in the 90’s. We only had a couple of them, but they were perfect little Christmas trees.
Jon: What are your favorite nutrient brands at the moment?
Phantom: We really love the products, brand and overall vibrations of Oregon-based Roots Organics. The owner, Austin, has always been very accommodating and is an overall good guy. We highly recommend Roots to other cultivators.
Jon: What is different about your growing technique that makes your product especially unique?
Phantom: We attribute our ability to be flexible and innovative to our success. In addition, amending our soil to compliment our soil chemistry findings, refraining from the use of salt fertilizers and other pesticides, and letting nature run its course, has yielded higher test results. These organic methods and sustainable practices provide for a flourishing ecosystem – the perfect environment for our mighty tasty cannabis to grow. But we don’t stop there. We continually strive to learn more and better our techniques.
Jon: Now you have your recreational cannabis license in Oregon. During this transitionary phase, many Oregonian companies had to cease operations or, in some cases, close shop entirely. How did the Oct. 1st deadline affected your business?
Phantom: Relative to some of the stories we’ve heard in the industry, our transition to recreational cannabis went smoothly. This was a direct result of a lot of planning, prepping and communication with OLCC. The October 1st deadline created a substantial slowdown in the whole industry. It meant that our recently harvested cannabis was now subject to 4-5 week turnarounds for lab testing, when previously it was around 72 hours. Luckily we saw this coming and responded by ordering initial tests early, and staging our lab testing orders. It was difficult to curb our excitement around our new product knowing that it was going to be awhile before people could enjoy it. Fortunate for us, we now have a steady flow of product coming to market.
Jon: Has Phantom had any issues with lab testing, hold ups, bottlenecks?
Phantom: Lab testing has been the biggest bottleneck for our operation so far. Unfortunately, there have only been a few labs accredited to test for pesticides. This was especially difficult at the launch of recreational dispensaries. Our biggest problem was trying to find the labs who were actually accredited to test for pesticides. Many labs were under the impression that ORELAP would confirm their status quickly, when in fact that wasn’t the case. Apparently ORELAP was inundated with requests and had some staffing issues that ultimately created big delays. Hopefully ORELAP will get caught up and we’ll start to see more labs come online in 2017.
Jon: What lab do you like to use?
Phantom: We have been using Green Leaf Labs in Portland. They were the first licensed lab and have their full accreditation and better than average turnaround times for tests.
Jon: Do you have any advice you’d like to pass on to others in the industry right now?
Phantom: The cannabis industry in Oregon is a wonderful thing. The more we can unite and support each other the stronger we will be a whole. Join local cannabis organizations and get engaged in your community and local and federal government. Cannabis is legal in Oregon, and current Federal policy is to allow state-legal and state-compliant cannabis businesses to operate, but we should not take our status for granted. We need to stay vigilant to preserve our status and support our industry in other states yet to legalize, as well as to push for broader access for our industry and a level playing field with the rest of the business community, especially when it comes to banking, insurance and taxes.
Jon: Can you give us some thoughts on METRC and your experiences using the platform?
Phantom: If you approach METRC with an open mind and learn to harness the positives of this tool, you will love it. We have encountered speed bumps, as with any new software. But, once you learn the ins and outs of the interface and functionality it is pretty easy to use. We appreciate the ability to track our plants and know exactly where they are at any given time. Ultimately, it is a handy tool to create reports and keep tabs on the business end of things.
Jon: Besides Phantom Farms, of course, what are some of your favorite cannabis brands?
Jon: One last question, what do you look forward to the most in 2017 in the Oregon cannabis industry?
Phantom: 2016 was one hell of a year! As we put the growing pains behind us, we look forward to continued industry development, engagement and activism, and a year full of Phantom Farms mighty tasty cannabis.