Anthony Stone is with The Stones Family Farm, a licensed cannabis producer based in the state of Oklahoma. “I opened this grow with my dad, after I grew tired from working for multiple corporate grows in Colorado and Michigan.” He thinks the culture and the art behind growing cannabis really sets this crop apart from other agricultural commodities. “There definitely is the whole science behind it, but every grower is unique in how they grow and that is amazing,” he says. “On the one hand, there’s the guy growing like a mad scientist with his deep-water culture and mixing nutrients, on the other hand there’s the old lady that grows her plants organically in her tomato garden.”
Benefits of growing in a greenhouse
Anthony thinks the benefits of growing cannabis in a greenhouse rather than indoors are that you can combine the best from both worlds. “You have the benefit of being able to control the environment like indoors, but you also use the sun, which is the best (and cheapest) light you can get,” he points out. One of the biggest challenges in cannabis greenhouses is keeping pests under control, so to ensure a healthy plant growth, thus allowing the end-product to be safe and clean.
“At The Stones Family Farm, we think that the best way for pest control is prevention,” he remarks. “Keeping the greenhouse clean and pest or disease-free is better than to sit and wait for something to happen, and then try fixing it.”
Another crucial aspect of managing a greenhouse is that it changes with each crop. “The one day the crop is just perfect and the next day you walk in and a PVC pipe is busted, for instance,” explains Anthony. “Or your greenhouse doesn’t give any problems but you’re testing out a new strain which decides to herm on you. Every day has its own challenges.”
A future for 'moms and dads'
For the future, Anthony is afraid the smaller businesses will end up going out of business or selling out. “I truly hope the ‘mom and dads’ can continue to survive, I know most people prefer buying from the smaller, local grower, as opposed to a corporate ‘suit and tie’. Maybe it will be like the beer industry where the large quantity of beer has a lower quality and the good quality comes in small batches.”
Dealing with the pandemic
The COVID-19 outbreak left Anthony with a skeleton of his crew, who have minimal interaction with each other. The sales are up, but with the limited staff, it’s difficult for them to run the grow. “We have a harvest coming up in a couple of weeks, so we will have to see how we can manage that.”