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Green Barn Farms in the news: Why the future of good weed looks a lot like a homegrown tomato

This is a partial reprint of article originally found here.

brian field crop.jpg

If you like smoking pot, then you probably have your fave brand of weed already picked out (Blueberry Daze, maybe?). You’re a loyal customer. For others, meanwhile, the wave of states legalizing it for recreational usage lately is sparking some curiosity, and increasingly, people who weren’t ever really into pot might be trying it out.

Jerry Lapora and Steve Crawley are weed farmers in Washington who are determined to make people aware of the benefits of outdoor-grown, small-production weed. They are forming a co-operative of weed growers to make to make terroir-driven, organic, marijuana.

It’s probably not something you’ve given much thought to – how cannabis is grown, what kind of soil, the climate, whether it’s organic, all of which constitutes “terroir” (pronounced [TERR-WAH]), a French term that means something like “sense of place” and is usually used to describe cheese and wine. Maybe you’re like, terr-whaaaa? and you mostly care about the strength of the THC, the quality of the high. But that’s exactly why Lapora and Crawley are on a mission to get people smoking outdoor-grown weed.

After the pair behind Green Barn Farms reached out to Collectively via Twitter, telling us about his farming project in response to our story about a LEED-certified winery in Oregon, we spoke to Steve Crawley to learn more.

“It’s not much different than buying a tomato,” said Crawley. He explained that people like indoor-grown cannabis because it looks more ideal – “a tighter flower and bud, very compact and rock light,” whereas outdoor-grown cannabis “tends to be leafier, more open.”

But think about that out-of-season tomato at the grocery store. It looks nice, but it’s almost flavorless compared to the summertime tomatoes you get at the farmer’s market — which often look a little weird, or even straight-up ugly. Yet, if you can get over their imperfect looks, these fresh, organic tomatoes taste insanely good, and unique — and you can actually detect the quality of the soil, and even the climate, they were grown in.

Similarly, Crawley wants people to understand that indoor-grown cannabis can be way less interesting to smoke. And it’s a question of energy-efficiency, too – because indoor growing uses so much electricity. With the industry likely to expand at a rapid rate in the coming years, he feels that the time is now to focus on the benefits of organic, outdoor growing.

The model for this start-up co-op is Organic Valley, the dairy brand that employs small-scale farmers all over the country, and brings them together under one label. This approach, Crawley believes, could be key to creating an environmentally-conscious industry from the start. Plus, people will get more exposure to outdoor grown weed, which will educate their eyes, just as people’s palates have to be educated when they’ve become used to one kind of wine, or one kind of coffee, as opposed to diverse forms.

“If we can create some kind of traction and awareness now, we can change the industry from an indoor centric group to outdoor, greenhouse, and that can have a significant environmental impact,” said Crawley. In the near future, more states like Nevada and Minnesota may legalize, and it’s too hot and dry there to grow outdoors — which means significant water and energy usage.

“It’s important that we push things in a direction before it goes too far,” said Crawley.


weed , cannabis, farming, pot, sustainability, farm

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