In the cannabis industry, October marks the celebration of the exciting harvest holiday, Croptober. In honor of the holiday, we chatted with Jared Miller, Senior Director of Sales, and David Myrowitz, Outdoor Cultivation Manager at CULTA.
As a vertically integrated seed-to-sale company with one of the most extensive outdoor cannabis cultivations on the East Coast, Miller and Myrowitz share the importance of Croptober, how they prepare for harvest, and their favorite way to celebrate this time of year.
A Brief History of Croptober
Late September through earlier November is harvest time for all types of crops across the Northern Hemisphere. And cannabis crops are no exception. Each October, cannabis farmers across the nation work long hours to cut, dry, cure, and trim their plants, getting them ready for market.
Croptober, which spans throughout October, is a celebration for the industry. It’s a way for cannabis industry workers to celebrate the months of hard work in growing and caring for their plants leading up to harvest. It’s also an exciting time of year when new outdoor offerings become available.
Beyond the harvest, Croptober also celebrates cannabis legalization. For years, cannabis was illegal to grow and sell in the United States. As more states fight to decriminalize and legalize cannabis, Croptober commemorates the growth and opportunities within the industry.
Preparing for Croptober Harvest
Before cultivators celebrate their harvest, they must first put in months of planning and preparation to ensure a successful Croptober. “Preparing for Croptober really began back in April,” says Myrowitz. “When you’re talking about farming, every part of the farm is connected, and every stage in the plant’s life is connected. If you have a healthy plant to start with, you’re more likely to have a healthy Croptober.”
Some of the logistics for planning for harvest include preparing the post-harvest team, cure space, and all of the equipment used to get the bud from the field to the post-harvest department. As plants grow, the cultivators have to make sure plants are supported, staying upright as they get heavy with buds. In some cases, farmers deliver IMP treatment to ensure all the plant material is as clean as possible to create quality patient medicine. Most importantly, they have to ensure their timing in transplanting, fertilizing, and pruning is correct to provide the best harvest.
To decide when to chop plants, the CULTA team looks under microscopes at the head of the trichomes as they turn amber. That’s when they know the plant is finishing its life cycle. With extensive cultivation, they also need to gauge how long it’ll take for them to harvest everything in time.
“When you have such a large operation, and you have so much great quality medicine sitting out there, you want to try and till the very last minute, waiting for those trichome heads to turn amber. Then cut it down as fast as you can and get it all safe and inside,” says Myrowitz.
How to Celebrate Croptober
There’s tons of work leading up to Croptober, but cultivators get a moment to relax and celebrate their successful harvest once the harvest is complete.
“It’s always a tradition to celebrate your harvest, whatever your harvest is,” shares Myrowitz. “I always like to have a big harvest party, which most of the time coincides with Halloween, so costumes and a big party. It’s always fun when you’ve worked hard all year, and you have a good crop.”
For Miller, celebrating Croptober is more than the joy of harvesting a successful crop, but recognizing your team as well. “The most rewarding part is the success of the teamwork, the comradery of really getting that great medicine out to patients, and then seeing the excitement from patients in our retailers when we’re able to provide all of these new strains of cannabis to them,” says Miller.
Once the product is harvested and goes through testing on Metrc, Jared spends five to ten minutes uploading the inventory onto their Leaf Trade storefront to get ready for wholesale. “The Leaf Trade & Metrc integration has been a huge help to my workflow,” says Miller. “This process used to take at least two hours, and now I can get it done in 10 minutes, it saves a lot of time and gets our inventory in front of wholesale buyers faster.”