First Hand: What It’s Like To See A Hemp Farm For The First Time

Anyone who has ever laid eyes on a nug has probably thought to themselves at one time or another, ‘how cool would it be to see how this stuff comes to be?’ 

Last month, that dream became a reality for me when the Emerald team took a trip upstate to Tricolla Farms to see the source of Tonic CBD’s hemp.

For those like myself who never fully understood the difference between hemp and cannabis plants, essentially, there is none. But here’s the lo-down: 

Cannabis has two primary species: sativa and indica. Hemp falls under the sativa umbrella and when growing it for CBD production, the only thing separating it is the amount of THC the plant contains. As explained by the founder of Tonic CBD, Brittany Carbone, “Both are high-resin varieties of Cannabis sativa L, but to be classified as hemp the genetics have to be stable at or below .3% THC.”

“When you grow hemp for seed and fiber those are different cultivars that produce tall cornstalk-like plants with very little cannabinoid or terpene development,” Brittany added. “High resin hemp genetics are a pretty recent development, but have been crucial in this recent CBD boom–providing a more efficient, sustainable way to produce high quality, federally legal CBD extracts and smokable CBD flower.” 

So now that that’s all sorted out, let’s get to the good stuff. 

Expectations vs. Reality. 

To say the least, the latter certainly won. While completely unsure of what to expect rolling up to Tricolla farms in Berkshire, NY, the Emerald team was pleasantly greeted by acres and acres of luscious greenery. The rolling landscape of the place was a sight to see on its own, even without the hemp plants adorning it. It’s no wonder it doubles as a wedding venue. In fact, Brittany exchanged vows with her husband, Erik, on the farm a few years back, which initially sparked the idea to bring the business to the family farm.

During our time at Tricolla, we were escorted around by the husband and wife duo, Tonic’s business development guru, Tia Tagliaferro, and of course, theie adorable pooch, Cheech. Wandering around hundreds and hundreds of plants, the Carbones shared their lives work with us from start to finish. Or should we say, plant to harvest? 

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but in the case of cannabis, nothing could’ve quite compared to the real thing. The flourishing plants were green as can be; the picture perfect pot left my fingers smelling enjoyably weedy and somewhat minty. Brittany, noting her own first time seeing a plant, expressed awe similar to my own, “You see pictures constantly, but nothing compares to actually seeing the plant in person; touching it, smelling it, witnessing the beauty and resiliency of the plant,” she said. 

All of the crops at Tricolla are .03% THC compliant, meaning they won’t get you high. But while the majority of hemp farmers in NY state are harvesting solely for use of its fibers, the Carbones are sourcing for their CBD company, Tonic. With the ability to grow their own hemp, Tonic is able to control quality from the very start, thus knowing the exact source and cultivation practices used in each of their products. 

Brittany explained that at Tricolla, after the seeds have been propagated in a greenhouse, the rooted plugs go into the ground in the first week of June where they take root and get into a vegetative state for the next eight weeks or so, until they start to flower.

“[In] the early weeks of flowering, you start to see the buds appear and the plant will grow a lot during that time, sometimes referred to as the ‘stretch phase’ because of the way the plant stretches and grows in order to prepare themselves for the big buds they’ll have to support,” explained Brittany. 

The plants then continue to flower until they are fully matured and ready for harvest, typically in October. Erik noted that in the months closer to harvest, the entire property lets off the glorious smells of cannabis, attracting  passerby’s and even mailmen. 

Overall, Tricolla farms was the perfect place to experience my first farm. From the amazing barn-turned-wedding venue, to the fields of the seemingly never ending crop, to the informative owners, I truly couldn’t have asked for a better place to further improve my knowledge of the plant and industry as a whole. 

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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