Company: Garden Remedies
Title: Vice President of Cultivation
Locations: Cultivation in Newton, Mass., with three stores in Melrose, Marlborough and Newton
One word to describe your cultivation style: Consistency
Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse or a combination? Indoor
Q: Can you share a bit of your background and how you and your company got to the present day?
I started my cannabis career working with a caretaker in Maine for a couple years before branching off and working for myself on a plot of land a friend and myself purchased. A couple years after that while moving back to Massachusetts, I was hired at Garden Remedies in 2016 when it was a small medical-only cultivation facility with three flower rooms that were still under construction (just under 3000 sq. ft. of canopy). As one of three growers hired at that time, I got the opportunity to do a little bit of every job as I worked my way up to VP of cultivation. We now are running 11 flower rooms with the best team in Massachusetts, and carry a massive library of cultivars that keep pushing the limits of what high quality is.
Q: What tool or software in your cultivation space can you not live without?
It’s nothing fancy, but I can’t live without my jeweler’s loupe. One of the most beneficial things you can do for your garden is just pay attention.
Q: What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your business in the past six months?
Scissor sterilizing sheath. With the constant IPM pressure that cannabis growers face, the most effective way to avoid many issues is just keeping the little things clean all day, every day.
Q: What cultivation technique are you most interested in right now, and what are you actively studying (the most)?
I’m most intrigued by how organics and salt coexist in a growing methodology. These days in large scale cultivation, there are pros and cons to both organics- and salt-based growing, and figuring out a way for them to coexist for the best product has been an exciting challenge.
Q: How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
For me, it’s the cannabis regulation. The regulations are constantly changing, for better or worse. When they change for the worse, it may seem horrible, but it’s just an opportunity to step up your game and learn to succeed in a new way.
Q: What advice would you give to a smart, driven grower about to enter the legal, regulated industry? What advice should they ignore?
I would tell them to be patient and keep pushing because this is a very confusing industry that is not easy to navigate. Every state is different, and I don’t think any have a perfect system yet. Ignore the people that tell you it’s not worth it or it’s too hard. If you really love what you do, it’s always worth it.
Q: How do you deal with burnout?
Burnout is a constant challenge in a regulated market environment. We have rotational schedules. Every few months, [the team] switches areas within cultivation. Some employees may work with moms and cut clones for six months, then the next six work exclusively in the flower stage. In addition to rotational schedules, we try and have food trucks, cookouts, and department outings at work so the employees have something out of the ordinary to look forward to.
Q: How do you motivate your employees/team?
Give them an opportunity to bring ideas to the table and let them follow through the idea to fruition.
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
Knowing that people think quality [means high THC potency] and buy weed based on THC percentage.
Q: What helps you sleep at night?
Really knowing that my crew can handle any issue they may run into.