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US (OR): Growing cannabis year-round despite weatherJust outside of Bend, in the rural land of Deschutes County, resides Central Oregon’s first approved OLCC Farm-To-Table Cannabis Producer, Alfalfa Valley Farms. Alfalfa Valley is owned by 5th generation farmers who care deeply about the cannabis they produce and the customers they provide for. The farm also has three dispensaries situated in Bend, Madras and Prineville.
By operating as a Farm-To-Table business, Alfalfa Valley has complete control over the life cycle of the cannabis crop. The workers plant, care for, harvest, process and distribute the cannabis directly from their farm to their local dispensaries. Alfalfa Valley’s main goal is to share locally produced, organic, affordable cannabis to their patients and customers, while also ensuring it’s of the highest quality.
In addition to being an organic farm, Alfalfa Valley strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This was partially why the farm turned to growing their cannabis in greenhouses. By utilizing greenhouses, they’re using the sun’s natural light to improve the energy efficiency of their operation.
Another crucial reason they decided to grow in greenhouses was because of the seasonal change in Oregon. Cold, windy winters make it impossible to grow cannabis outdoors year-round. This is ultimately why Alfalfa Valley decided to purchase multiple GrowSpan greenhouses from Growers Supply.
Since 2015, Alfalfa Valley has purchased ten 30′ wide by 96′ long GrowSpan Series 500 Greenhouses. With only seven of those greenhouses in 2016, Alfalfa Valley produced their crops without any blackout systems and still grew nearly 2000 pounds of cannabis. Now with the ten greenhouses outfitted with blackout systems, Alfalfa Valley has been able to control the environment more efficiently while also producing a larger quantity of crops.
Alfalfa Valley chose GrowSpan Series 500 Commercial Greenhouses due to the height of the structures. Owner Andrew Anderson refers to any space above the rafters the “danger zone”. He explained, “Humidity rises and anywhere the humidity goes can be dangerous. At night when we close it up, I cycle the greenhouse fans every 30 to 45 minutes for 15 minutes long, mainly because the humidity keeps lurking down as the plants transpire. If you close it up and don’t run the fans, that humidity will get down to the plant zone and you will end up with powdery mildew and mold.”
In addition to controlling the humidity, the greenhouses are great for providing uniform air distribution throughout the structures. “The air circulation systems have worked great regarding the air flow they create around the plants and under the canopy,” Anderson stated. He stressed the necessity of constant air flow. “You never want stagnant air anywhere in a crop, whether it’s outside or in a greenhouse. If you have stagnant air, you’re going to have disease issues.”
Anderson explained how the stress-free environment has been overall important for producing healthy, high quality plants. “Here in Bend we have cooler nights. The greenhouses protect the plants, limit the cold air and humidity, and especially protect the plants from the winds. Wind is one of the biggest things that will make the plants stressed. In any farming the most important thing is not stressing the plants. In the end, happy plants give happy products.”
The volume of GrowSpan greenhouses has been an aid to how successful Alfalfa Valley has been. “We’re very fortunate to be able to grow and sell everything that we do ourselves. This is very important to the process and being successful overall. The amount of greenhouses we were able to get enables that, and it’s the only reason we’re as financially healthy as we are,” Anderson stated.
Alfalfa Valley is extremely happy with the GrowSpan greenhouses and how they turned out. Anderson concluded, “For what we grow, what we produce and what we’ve done, I would say they’re the best economy greenhouses.”
For more information:
GrowSpan Greenhouse Structures
1395 John Fitch Blvd
South Windsor, Connecticut 06074
Toll-free USA: (800) 476 9715
International: +1 860 528 9550
Alfalfa Valley Farms
Publication date: 1/12/2018
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