Humility Over Hype

Humility Over Hype

In the Sense grow room, grow manager Rob King glides along the walls to avoid brushing the buds. The small space reminds me of a growing facility I visited before California moved to the adult market in 2018. It’s no coincidence. Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the United States, the farm was one of the first cities in California to receive a city permit for cannabis cultivation during the Proposition 215 era. With a vegetable growing plant room and his two flowering rooms with about 100 lights, Sense’s team gets the chance to work hands-on with each plant they grow. And this attention to detail is also evident in the flowers they make, which are always some of the most cloudy, fully crystal-coated wet flowers.

“It’s never been an ideal growing space here because it’s been running for so long,” King said when I arrived. “As you can see, a lot of these new ventures are funded and backed to grow like very pristine lab-type growth, but this really isn’t the case. There’s a lot of history in this.It’s not an ideal space.We’re in San Francisco, so the cost per square foot is very high.”

I arrived at Glow easily via public transport on a weekday afternoon and met King, CEO Steve Griffith, and COO Adam Hayes in a small hallway area. The group seemed to get along well, and later research revealed that all had had children within the last nine months. Hayes and King were in the hospital together at the same time. When I ask them if they’ve ever considered moving out of San Francisco, they all agree it’s easier and cheaper to stay there. Additionally, they enjoyed working in the city, and before they had children, they would sometimes go out for drinks together after work. In fact they have plans to expand the current space.

Griffiths describes Sense as a “bootstrap wonder company.”

“We pride ourselves on being one of the least entrepreneurial companies out there,” he says. “We’re as small a batch as we can get. We have like 100 lights. We’re right under a 2,000-square-foot canopy. We’re in the garden every day…we’re grinders. We are the antithesis when compared to companies like the hype machine.”

pink certs

flowers over everything

With minimal marketing effort and without a large social media presence, your Sense flower will stand out. Their Pink Sirts won the Transbay Challenge III, a sponsored cannabis competition. Jimi Devine In March 2022, it caught the attention of the weed world before taking first place in the allogeneic hybrid category. high times Cannabis Cup SoCal: People’s Choice Edition Summer 2022.

Like many of the cannabis industry’s most popular companies, the team will conduct a phenohunt to collect seeds and select which varieties to offer. When we meet, they plan to test the new genetics by breeding about 6 varieties of each he into 10 different varieties to discover which one is the best. Today we have Cinnamon Horchata and Purple Churros, a cross between Apple & Banana. compound genetics, and the unexpected old classic Headband is among the contenders. Their choice has yielded great results in the past, as evidenced by their competition wins with Pink Sirts, a grape gasoline-menthol hybrid created by Compound Genetics.

“When I went to the Transbay Challenge, it was kind of a Kismet situation,” says Griffiths. “We didn’t know [Compound Genetics]. We just purchased their seeds. We have been buying their seeds for several years and happened to get into the same stock they brought. They were selling Pinkserts seeds at the event so we got together and showed them the jar and they were very surprised by it and in the end they were able to win. ”

So what does it take to know you might be growing award-winning cannabis?

“You have to look at things pretty broadly at first,” says Griffiths. “So obviously the first thing we want to look for is the appeal, the smell and the flavor of the bag.”

It stimulates three of the five senses: sight, smell and taste. But even with all that, the final decision maker is still the amount of THC. Griffiths explains that if a strain has less than 20% THC, it’s “not viable in today’s market.”

Marshmallow OG

Sense’s growth style

In the Sense vegetable room, the plants really feel alive. With a vibrant lime green hue, they all look happy, pretty and uniform. Clones are grown in rockwool and grown in a drip irrigation system. King explains that the advantage of rockwool is labor savings. Clones had to be transplanted into gallon pots over time before adopting this method.

“[Rockwool] is a completely inert medium,” says King. “Because of the lack of cation exchange capacity (a measure of the soil’s ability to supply nutrients), the soil responds very quickly and directly to whatever you give it.”

While some growers transfer their rockwool clones to larger blocks or slabs of rockwool to continue growing hydroponically, Sense puts the rockwool clones in a separate medium mixed with carbon, coco coir, and peat. Add worm castings, mycorrhizal fungi, beneficial insects.

“We never say that we are [doing] Because the people doing Living Soil are doing things that go beyond what we set out to do,” says King. “But we try to give room to that biology, and I think giving room to that biology really sets our quality apart.”

Griffith expands on that idea with respect to the nutrients you feed your plants.

“[Our growing style] You can derive flavors and aromas from the flowers that cannot be obtained with full synthetics. So while we feed our synthetic nutrients, we also add this proprietary blend made from kombu, humic acid, fulvic acid, fish hydrolysate and a few other things, and you can find it in our retail stores. helps to generate [market]’ he says.

And while indoor cannabis has a reputation for being unfriendly to the environment, all of the power required to run Sense Cultivation is always generated by renewable energy thanks to San Francisco’s CleanPowerSF program.

“There’s a slight premium to our power, but it makes for a slightly better night’s sleep,” says Griffiths.

caliph mint

sense selection

We don’t want to make too much of a fuss, but Sense grows some of the most popular and sought-after varieties today. Among them are GMO, Girl Scout Cookies, and Chemdawg hybrids, and as the plants continue to grow toward the light, slender branches jut out from the gnarled cola, creating a real monster in the grow room. It looks like

“It looks really bad,” says Griffiths. “Look at the plants. It’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ But after all, it’s one of the most potent and fragrant strains, even if we don’t grow it. ”

In addition to its moist offerings, Sense cultivates a distinctly sweet and creamy Rainbow Chip, a cross between Sunset Sherbet and Mint Chocolate Chip. exotic genetics. There is also caliph mint. It came out of a collaboration between Compound Genetics and Wiz Khalifa’s cannabis company. Kalifa Kush, which has menthol, one of the same parents as Pink Sirts, and is paired with Kalifa Kush. My sample smells like a mojito with a mix of mint mixed with fresh lime citrus that reveals a gassy scent when mashed. The entire eighth is impressively anchored in four buds and completely clouded with trichomes. Still, Griffiths focuses on Khalifa Mints as a potential growing variety, pointing to the popularity of Khalifa Kush, but the team tells me the hype isn’t driving them. reassured me.

“We’ve had a lot of entries, but we’re very humble about all our thoughts on our stock,” says Hayes. “Pink Surts came to us as a sort of surprise and we’ve been on it a little bit, but we’re not like, ‘This is going to be the best.'”

This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of the magazine. high times magazine.

Chris M.

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