Maggie’s Farm: Organic Sun-Grown Buds
Bob Dylan didn’t want to work on Maggie’s Farm but today he’d surely enjoy a puff on some sun-grown organic cannabis produced at his hit song’s namesake.
Here’s a thought — if we’re going to regulate how our fruits and vegetables are grown, shouldn’t it make sense to use that same process with other things we put into our bodies? If we want our salads to be organic, shouldn’t we want our weed to be organic too?
While Bob Dylan made electric blues history in the 1960s with his song “Maggie’s Farm,” Bill Conklin had no idea he’d be making contemporary marijuana history with Colorado’s version of Maggie’s Farm, the first Clean Green Certified cannabis company in that state.
Maggie’s Farm works to recreate elements nature has already produced and perfected eons ago. “Our boss is Mother Nature, and our intent is to cooperate with, not compete against, her,” he says.
Along his diversified career path, Conklin has done several things going from destroying weeds as an organic food farmer to growing weed as founder and CEO of Maggie’s multiple locations.
“I had gotten away from cannabis cultivation and was building homes, taking advantage of the housing boom, when friends began encouraging me to get back into growing again. The flower available from indoor grow a decade ago was of disappointing quality, so I used the former farm in Fremont County to begin growing 600 plants of medicinal marijuana,” says Conklin.
From that startup, seven dispensaries emerged throughout the state. According to Conklin: “On any given day, one of those seven stores will be the leader in state sales.” Maggie’s Farm advertises itself as “The leading medical and recreational marijuana company in Colorado and the most-award-winning cannabis brand across the southern part of the state.”
“Since my teens, I’ve been a believer in both medicinal and recreational usage despite its early-day inferior quality where you had to clean out seeds and stems. My interest has been in providing a purer product. When I traveled to California and tried some outdoor west coast flower, I knew I could grow a better product and I was fortunate enough to learn from a professional grower as I honed my skills.”
(Read also: BC Bud: From Guerrilla Gardens to Potent Strains)
“I’ve learned to imitate Mother Nature,” he says, adding other growers are reluctant to do so in Colorado’s climate, afraid they cannot control the environment and weather will destroy their crop.
“I like the outdoors because sun is our fertilizer, something you can’t replicate in an indoor, artificial-light facility using high-pressure sodium, ceramic metal halide, or LED lighting. The more you filter out the sun by putting glass in front of it, the less natural fertilizer your plants get.”
Sun is so vital that the company publicity states Maggie’s offers “The Best Buds Under the Sun” and Conklin notes: “Sunlight is delicious and there’s no substitute for natural sunlight over the course of several months. As days shorten and temperatures drop, the plants gather all this information and begin their transition to flower.”
As naturalist Henry David Thoreau once extolled its possibilities: “I have great faith in a seed and am prepared to expect wonders” — so, too, do the growers at Maggie’s who figure that because cannabis is an annual crop in nature, reborn every spring through seed germination, they ought to be emulating that preferred choice for reproduction. “Seed state ensures each strain remains precise and exhibits genetic vigor, maintaining its distinguishing characteristics like scent, taste, and type of high,” according to their marketing materials.
Lots of attention is paid to the living ecosystem of organic soil that teems with beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and other players that break down organic matter to make nutrients available for plant roots. “We ensure soil quality by applying compost tea, a rich, aerobic, biological inoculum for the soil, preventing the necessity of undesirable fungicides or soil treatments.”
While outdoor growing does present pest issues, Colorado’s arid climate minimizes the concerns of predators, helping Maggie’s maintain a pesticide- and hormone-free environment.
Not that Maggie’s farmers have all the answers. “We had nine inches of unexpected snow during the first week of September that wiped out a number of our grower neighbors. We’ve set up a protective cover system that minimizes wind and while it keeps some of the sunlight away from the plants, it also keeps snowfall from completely destroying the crop.”
Another important aspect of growing top-quality, organically grown flower involves the curing process — a crucial component. Keeping freshly harvested cannabis at optimum temperature and humidity levels helps convert cannabinoids to THC, increasing bud potency as slow-curing preserves terpenes.
Once it’s ready for the final stage, trained trim artists do their hand work with care, preserving trichomes, essential components of potency and premium bud. Maggie’s Farm was the first cannabis company in Colorado to be Clean Green Certified and remains the only outdoor operation to hold that certification. Potguide.com/Colorado gives their Colorado Springs dispensary a No. 1 rating.
Maggie’s has separate grow sites, a 300-acre medical product site surrounding a secured-perimeter of 15-acres with high mountains on one side and Pike’s Peak on the backside. The recreational farm is on 10 percent of about 160 acres in nearby Pueblo County awaiting legalization to grow in Fremont County.
“Now that recreational consumption is becoming more popular, we’re positioning ourselves so that when a national movement comes along and you can export sun-grown product, our controlled growth will allow us to be ready to respond,” Conklin says.