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Galadriel Walser, Buddy Boy Farm:

US (WA): “With our 24 greenhouses, we have the ability to scale up and down along with the market”

“We have learned how to be very lean and adapt to the market developments. If the market can’t sustain 24 greenhouses, then we only grow in 8, for example. If the market is right for it, we increase our production to all 24 greenhouses,” says Galadriel Walser, General Manager of Buddy Boy Farm. The company has been in the business since 2014, the first year adult-use cannabis was legal in Washington state. “We have a total of 60,000 square feet of year-round greenhouses. While we only grew outdoors for the first two years, we realized that we needed to grow more than one crop per year to supply the demand. Now, we only grow in our greenhouses and are harvesting every week, year-round. Moreover, because we own everything in the company ourselves, we have the ability to scale our production up and down along with the market.”

From blueberries to cannabis
Galadriel’s father, Steve, one of the owners of Buddy Boy Farm, has been an organic farmer for 40 years and owns 640 acres of land. With an established production of organic blueberries and organic hay, cannabis was his newest venture. “The other owner DJ Parker grew medical cannabis when it was only medically legal. When adult-use cannabis became legalized, he came up with the idea to partner with Steve on an adult-use cannabis company. DJ had the cannabis growing knowledge, and Steve had the farming knowledge, land, and buildings. They decided to give it a try, and here we are nine years later. The combination of my father’s farming experience and DJ’s cannabis cultivation experience resulted in the successful cannabis production we have today,” Galadriel says.

The Buddy Boy Farm owners: Steve and Margaret Walser (on the right), with DJ and Laura Parker (on the left)

Surviving in a challenging market
Galadriel explains that Washington is a challenging state for cannabis growers. “When the market just opened, there was supposed to be a limit to the amount of licensed canopies in the state. However, that ended up not happening, and they over-licensed to the point of the market being flooded with cannabis.” This, of course, did not come without its consequences for the state’s growers. “When we first started in 2014, we got around $13 per gram for our cannabis. Now, we’re down to an average of $1 per gram. It’s sad to see how many cannabis companies have gone out of business as a result.” Galadriel explains that this is the second time this is happening. “Several years ago, many people put all of their savings into starting a farm. When the state over-licensed, they went out of business. As a result, there wasn’t enough cannabis on the market, and the companies still here got to raise their prices again. Yet when the prices went back up, more people started growing again, and we’re back to the prices being down. It’s a bad cycle, and the farms that are able to keep their costs down are the ones that survive.”

The conveyor belt in action

Having been in the business since the start, Buddy Boy Farm has luckily been able to survive these challenging market developments. “We have learned how to be very lean in all departments. We are constantly trying to reduce our costs, which we have been successful in.” Accordingly, efficiency is an important aspect for the company to invest in. “Last year, we bought conveyor belts. Now, when we are transplanting our plants from 1-gallon to 7-gallon containers, the conveyor belts make a major difference. We no longer have to move the plants by hand, the conveyor belt will move them along the greenhouses. It is important for us to focus on technology that helps reduce our labor and increase our efficiency.”

For more information:
Buddy Boy Farm