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Yield Farms: making the jump from sweet to savory

Spokane Valley edible maker seeking product ideas

Yield Farms wants to be known as strictly savory, at least where its edibles are concerned.

The cannabis producer and processor based in Spokane Valley originally offered all sorts of flavors for cannabis consumers along with other extracts and concentrates. But they decided that there were already so many sweets on the market, but few products for those with other cravings.

“We knew if we wanted to stand out from the rest, we had to do something different,” said co-owner Colin Lukey. “So many companies are doing a great job with cookies and candies.”

The experienced management team of Yield Farms includes Lukey, plus husband and wife Wes and Johanna Tuttle. Together they brainstorm product ideas, test out recipes and then explore the viability of bringing those products to market.

Wes Tuttle started in the medical cannabis industry in 2009.

“When initiative 502 came up, Wes and Johanna jumped at the opportunity,” Lukey said.

The Tier 2 company was one of the first 25 licensed farmers in Washington after recreational products became legal. It’s also proud of having a relationship going back several years with Spokane Green Leaf, a local retailer.

Yield Farms currently has two savory products available at area retailers: Firecrackers, crunchy baked cheese crackers, are mixed with a proprietary blend of seasonings. Their Seasoned Roasted Nuts deliver a nutrient-dense punch of cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios and seasonings. Both products are available at Spokane Green Leaf, The Green Nugget, Smokane and Apex.

“The nuts are a great snack and good for those trying to avoid excess sugar,” Lukey said.

Both products are available in single-serve portions, but the company is working on multi-serving packs.

Lukey said Yield Farms believes there is a growing interest in savory edibles because people either want or need choices beyond candies and cookies. Some can’t eat extra sugar in their diet or just don’t like the act of smoking, but still would like to partake in cannabis.

The products also have a great shelf life – unlike non-infused crackers which often become stale fast, they think the cannabis oil can help preserve taste and flavor for much longer.

Lukey said the whole team likes to get together to come up with ideas for new products, and then Wes Tuttle usually creates a recipe.

“Many of us are stoners at heart, so most of our ideas come as we are just hanging out smoking a bowl,” Lukey said.

After Tuttle makes the first draft of a recipe, everyone tries it for taste and effects. If enough of them like the recipe, they start figuring how to create it in larger quantities and bring it to market.

This process includes running information by Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, which provides permission for cannabis products.

“We do have many new and exciting products approved by the LCB and plan to release them soon,” Lukey said. “We are thinking about seasonings that you could add to any meal, such as cheese packets for macaroni and cheese, ranch packets for chip dip or seasoning for chili.”

They’re even experimenting with an infused flavor packet for ramen noodles.

Getting products on the shelves of more local shops is a challenge since the edible market is smaller than the overall cannabis product market.

“Edibles barely account for 10 percent of the total recreational market, so even with a unique product like ours, it can still be very difficult to get into a retail store,” he said. “Plus, there are three times as many producer/processors as retail shops in Washington. It’s a tough fight to win the shelf space.”

Lukey said people wanting to try more Yield Farms products should let the budtender or manager at their favorite retailer know.

In addition to the Yield Farm lines, the company also produces a variety of cannabis extracts: disposable pens and cartridges under the Lit line, plus bubble hash, infused joints, CO2 dab oil and rosin under the 710 line.

Tags: marijuana