The secret is in the soil.
No, you’re not going to find out more specifics of what ingredients make Raven Grass’ cannabis products so appealing, but let’s just say a healthy diet is a huge part.
“We feed the soil rather than feed the plants,” said Micah Sherman, operations director and co-owner of the Tier 2 farm near Olympia.
The environmentally and socially responsible farm provides marijuana and CO2 marijuana concentrates for cannabis retailers statewide. Its products can be found at Spokane retailers including Cinder, Satori and Sativa Sisters.
Sherman, and co-owners/business partners Nichole Graf and David Stein, have created an innovative method to introduce healthy microbes into the soil, which they believe produce greater nutrients for the plants.
Cannabis farms can’t use the term organic for legal reasons, but Raven Grass uses the same principles in being aware of what products go into all plants and soil, along with any vendors or partners it works with.
Instead, the farm uses a “Vera Terra” seal on its packaging, which shows that all nutrients and pest control methods are used in accordance with the National Organic Program’s list of allowed and prohibited substances.
“We create an environmentally sustainable supply chain, we don’t use butane, and we do hand trimming,” said Graf, the creative director and head of product development. “The methods we use to grow our product are better for the world, and we think it also produces a better product.”
She compares the farm’s specialized growing methods to a more holistic approach to human nutrition: you can have a diet high in healthy minerals and whole foods, or you can have quick fixes of empty calories and over-processed food with maybe a few vitamin supplements for a small health boost. Both approaches keep the body functioning, but one is better for overall, sustained performance.
“Our growing practices actually require significantly more human labor to pay attention to the balance in the soil and the health of the plants, as we do not use any ‘quick fix’ chemical solutions to our nutrient deficiencies or pest management,” she said. “This style of gardening is a labor of love, but we do feel it produces a product with a more developed, nuanced flavor palette and is certainly better for the environment.”
Raven Grass grows about 30 strains sold throughout Washington.
One of its newest products is Coconut Magic, which infuses a strain-specific Pure Cannabis Concentrate with virgin, organic, unrefined and sustainably-sourced coconut oil. It can be used in edible recipes or as a topical product.
Raven Grass includes about 20 full-time employees, plus others brought in as needed to assist in different tasks such as harvesting or processing. Graf and Sherman prefer that everyone helps with everything, which builds familiarity with the whole operation.
“We never want anyone to open one of our packages and be disappointed,” said Sherman. “We want people to be delighted, but we also have an obligation to treat people well and support ethical packaging, and a responsibility to get it right.”