Lume Cannabis Company produced nearly 200,000 marijuana plants this year between an indoor cultivation facility in Evart and an outdoor cultivation area near Tawas.
That equates to around 40,000 pounds of usable material that was harvested for medical and recreational use products.
“We are licensed for 28,000 plants for our indoor facility, and we do five and half turns every year, so plant-wise we are sitting at about 150,000 plants a year that we are harvesting out of our indoor facility every year,” production supervisor Kevin Kuethe said. “Add about 20,000 to that for our outdoor and that would be an accurate number of plants for this year; 150,000 plants will produce around 40,000 pounds of usable material that would include seeds, buds, and extractable materials.
“I do know that we had our biggest sales day ever this past Black Friday,” he added. “We had people coming from all over to all of our stores.”
This is the first harvest from the outdoor cultivation, which is mainly used for oil production, Kuethe said.
“One great thing about the outdoor growing in Michigan is that we are utilizing the soil and sun that mother nature provides, especially for producing oils,” he said. “That was the idea for using the outdoor cultivation. We use so much oil for baked products and edibles, and it cost less for us to cultivate it outside. We will continue to use the outdoor cultivation for that purpose.”
Kuethe said the outdoor harvest is much more labor intensive and takes more time because of the size of the plants.
“Each license for adult use is for 2000 plants, so to get the most value out of those plants, you want them to be as big as possible for your outdoor harvest,” he said. “In Michigan, we have a pretty short season and just get one good harvest per life cycle. A lot of people had a really good harvest this year, because of how long the summer went. It stayed warm pretty late, and we are hoping we can match that again this year.”
The new crop of outdoor plants will be started in the next couple of months, and plans are to increase the number of plants grown, he said. The plants will be started in greenhouses and other indoor facilities, and then transplanted at the outdoor cultivation area around June. Harvesting usually takes place around October.
In contrast, the indoor cultivation facility is a year-round production, and consistently produces around 150,000 plants each year, which flower on a nine-week cycle, he said.
“We have patented our growing process and our mechanical infrastructure that we built,” Kuethe said. “We do hydroponic cultivating inside, which means that we feed the plant the exact amount of nutrition that it needs every day. We can provide that perfect environment, and we can maximize the genetic potential of the plant to produce high quality flower.
“Each plant, including the vegetative and rooting process, takes between three and four months for the plant life cycle, he said. “It is an annual plant, so it will die at the end of its cycle and we will start a new one.”
Kuethe said the difference between the indoor grown and outdoor grown plants would not likely be detectable by the casual user, but “a well-versed user can tell the difference.”
“Outside is not perfect every day, and that is what we are providing with the indoor cultivation – the perfect environment every day,” he said. “When you have outdoor plants, they are a little rougher because they have a lot of wind and rain that can effect it. In that way, sometimes the seasoned cannabis consumer can tell both visually and after consumption.”
Although they are continually working with new genetic strains, Kuethe said, they always try to keep the customers’ favorites available.
“We have over 100 strains in our genetic bank,” he said. “We have been bringing up a lot of new strains and cropping new seeds, but we do always try to keep our top six strains in stock. Any leftover space we have in the facility, we plant new genetics and see how the market likes them.
“Jenny Kush is our top selling strain,” he continued. “It is really peak genetics – smellwise and flavorwise, even aesthetically. It is a beautiful strain.”
Other top sellers include GMO Cookies, Uncle Bruce, Blueberry Crumble and Bloodstar – the sativa strain, he said.
Lume recently expanded the indoor cultivation facility in Evart, adding an additional 16,000 plants, for a total of 28,000. The facility produces product for several Lume dispensaries including the Evart and Big Rapids retail stores.