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Brian Bareis and Riza Gerodias, Seven Leaves:

US (CA): “We look at yield last when selecting new cultivars”

"Hands-on care of the plants is absolutely necessary to produce consistent quality. That's why every flower is hand-trimmed and hand-packaged on-site by our team. Having a great team of diverse people is the first step to achieving and maintaining premium-quality cannabis," says Brian Bareis of Seven Leaves. The company grows in an indoor facility in Sacramento, California.

"We grow hydroponically in rockwool through every stage. Fully automated drip-fed fertigation systems are throughout the facility and all flower rooms have double-ended 1000w Gavita HPS lamps along with full climate control systems," Brian explains. "We have 13,000 sq. ft. of flower canopy production between 9 indoor flower rooms, which results in a total of 70,000 sq. ft. harvested annually. We harvest every week. That means we produce our own cuttings every week, transplant in veg every week and fully replant a flower room every week."

Brian Bareis and Ty Keams of Seven Leaves at this year's ICBC Berlin

Producing consistent quality
Brian emphasizes the importance of thorough hands-on quality control. "Constant monitoring and data logging of all aspects of flower rooms via remote sensors is key to the ship sailing smoothly. Even with automated programmable fertigation systems, hands-on care of the plants is absolutely necessary to produce consistent quality. When it comes to genetics, we are consistently phenohunting new cultivars from seed, along with having steadfast standard operating procedures and uniformity of cultivation practices both pre- and post-harvest."

Bringing a new cultivar to market takes the company about 1-1,5 year. "We do initial small runs of selected phenotypes from seed lines, then do small runs to ensure it's up to our standards before putting it into production. Terpene content, general effects, flavor, bag appeal all come into account. We actually look at yield last when selecting new cultivars. We would rather yield a little less if the flower checks all of our other boxes."

The California market
According to Riza Gerodias, Executive Manager at Seven Leaves, California is still considered the largest and most lucrative cannabis market. "However, with the black market, falling prices, and high taxation, many producers have had to pull out of the industry. Still, California cannabis is known worldwide for its quality."

But achieving that quality doesn't come easy. "Farming is always challenging," Brian adds. "We are trying to create absolute consistency and quality with a living plant. Conditions and equipment can break down. When you get heat waves of 115 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks on end, that puts extra stress on equipment. Moreover, keeping up with the constant market changes, and having to bring multiple new winning cultivars into production every year, is always a challenge. Always having to grow multiple cultivars in every room to keep up with the variety needed is especially difficult."

Standing out
According to Brian, their hands-on approach to quality control, along with being self-reliant is what differentiates Seven Leaves in the competitive market. "All processes are in-house: from mother stock and cutting to post-harvest and packaging. Moreover, throughout the process, all plants are touched directly by our team. We don't simply rely on automation, the human element is still very much present. Because of our strong team and dedication to quality, we were able to scale up and still produce consistent premium cannabis."

Riza also emphasizes the importance of focusing on the end consumer. "Our branding and marketing is based on what is relevant to our end consumer. We're also always open to receiving feedback and listening to the needs and wants of our customers. We pride ourselves on giving back to the community by being present in a wide range of events, both industry and non-industry-focused. The cannabis industry is ever-changing and we are excited to navigate these changes and educate ourselves in the process," Riza concludes.

For more information:
Seven Leaves