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US (WA): "We've adopted the Dutch concept of growing very efficiently"

In Whatcom County, Washington, is a cannabis company that has been inspired by the Dutch. "Everything for the greenhouse was shipped all the way from the Netherlands. Even the boiler components are Dutch, it's a different design that you can only get in the Netherlands," says Kalani Martin, Business Development Manager at Free Rain Farms. "The Netherlands is a small country that exports a lot, so they have to be efficient with their space. That's something that we've adopted: the concept of having the best grow while being energy and space efficient."

Kalani explains that the greenhouse has an advanced system to automate the production process. "All the controls are based on the input that we're collecting, such as sunlight, temperature, and humidity. The adjustments that are made are fully automatic. This is very different from growing indoors, we are adapting our environment to the outside," Kalani says. On top of the greenhouse is a weather station that collects data. "If the sun has clouds coming in front, it'll adjust and turn the lights on. If we're getting too much light, it will close the curtains."

The company uses rainwater for irrigation. "The rain that falls in the fall and winter is used to supply our irrigation for the entire year. If we don't have enough rainwater, we use city water. We use UV light to sterilize the water and then we filter it before using it in our mixing tanks." The company is testing out making their own nutrient blends. "Originally, we're using Athena Pro for our nutrients. But we're now starting to mix our own nutrients and make our own blend."

Growing in a greenhouse while very closely controlling the environment gives the company the best of both worlds, Kalani says. "We're getting the price point down, making our product affordable, while also having the control we need."

From living soil to hydroponics
When the company first started out, they used to grow fully organically in living soil. "However, we have since switched to hydroponics. We noticed that it is a lot more efficient for us to use hydroponics, and we needed the space that stored the soil for our packaging department."

The producers' aim is to introduce at least one new strain each quarter. "We trial 3 strains every quarter, and would like for at least one of them to replace one the strains we've been growing."

Click here for the video tour of the greenhouse.

For more information:
Free Rain Farms