Grower Visit: The Fresh Connection PDX
In July I attended the Cannabis Creative Conference and there were SO MANY vendor booths, it was crazy. All the booths were filled with free swag and merch that was for sale, there were numerous reps manning the tables, informing us on their services/products too. Just as I was heading out, a booth caught my eye and I just had to stop by and see what it was all about. The booth belonged to the Fresh Connection PDX, a local grower in Portland, their booth was filled with beautiful banners and these gorgeous pictures of their buds that were stretched on canvas. They had the best looking booth at the CCC and Sam the HBIC at FC was gracious enough to let me wander their compound and ask them stuff. This visit to FC was my second grower visit and Michael from Cannabiz Photo was my road dog and photographer for this mission.
I always get SO nervous before meetings, but Sam and her boyfriend Rick were great at making me feel like I was in my element. Before starting our interview we briefly chatted about how the landscape in the industry is changing, and how more and more people are turning to cannabis as a viable way to treat their chronic pain. It’s no secret that pain pills are being prescribed at a rapid rate, so it’s nice to see individuals from all walks of life giving cannabis a chance. Sometimes I wonder how/why people decide they want to be in the cannabis industry, after attending events and meeting different people I’ve noticed that not all of them have a strong cannabis background. Sam is a New Jersey native and she’s been in Portland for 8 years. Before moving out this way she had some growing experience, but got into it more while residing in Potlandia. She’s been growing for 3 years now and decided to start her business after buying her place last year (she’s only 25!!), she said it took a few months to get it all set up. Her compound (that’s what I like to call it) is pretty dope! She has an indoor set up which is where they grow their flower, but they recently started experimenting with their outdoor garden. The whole property was so spacious!
Originally I was under the impression that FC was a female run collective, but I was completely wrong in assuming that. Sam is the owner (and that’s dope AF), but her boyfriend Rick is an integral part in making sure things go smoothly. Right now FC has about 30-40 strains and they’re in about 10 shops throughout Oregon. In the beginning FC was more open about who they do business with, but lately they’ve had to be more selective when it comes to which shops they choose to sell their product at. With the growing number of shops in Oregon it’s hard to tell who will go out of business or straight up disappear! This wasn’t new information, when I met with True North Extracts we talked about the saturated market too. They’ve learned to ask shops more important questions and that’s helped them filter out their prospects. FC wants their product on the shelves of shops who are helpful, knowledgable, and welcoming to patients and consumers. I asked about some of the struggles they’ve dealt with and like other businesses, banking was mentioned. Having to pay bills for your business is hard when you can’t get a bank to hold your money. There’s a lot of hoops cannabusiness owners have to go through, it’s pretty rough. Aside from banking, Sam and Rick did mention that they recently had to tear down one of their rooms, all that income GONE, it was a huge setback.
Fresh Connection isn’t fully organic yet, but Sam said they’re hoping to branch out soon. Apparently the yield of organically grown flower isn’t as much. FC’s flower is grown in soil, using a base of Cutting Edge Solutions mixed with compost teas, coco, and mycorrhizae to stimulate and nourish. All of their buds are picked by hand and are trimmed to perfection by their team of trimmers, or trimmer…I swear Sam said they have ONE regular trimmer who does it for the love of trimming (this sentence might be changed). The B Buds and fresh trim are then processed into fullmelt ice wax by Sacred Extracts. One of my favorite questions to ask cannabusiness owners is what sets them apart from the competition, and I don’t ask this to pit anyone against each other, it’s just nice to find out what they’re most prideful and passionate about. FC has a lot to be proud of, for one I mentioned how great they’re doing on the marketing side. Their pictures are stunning and their online presence is great (you can follow them on Instagram). But when it comes to their bud, FC is proud of the way their bud tastes and smells. She feels like they’ve done a good job on being able to bring out some strong terpene levels.
Fresh Connection has numerous patients, and have actually been seeked out by people who suffer from seizures, when she’s able to help them it makes her feel proud of what she’s doing. One thing I have been curious about since Oregon legalized recreational cannabis, was which businesses would stay medical, and which would opt to do both. FC would like to stay true to the medical side in the sense that their weed is clean and not grown for bulk. But, in the end they want to see what’s out there and figure it out from there. The night we did this interview there was a Women Grow event, it was supposed to be a special event because Earl Blumenauer was going to be speaking and Jorge Cervantes was doing a book signing. We missed it! I asked Sam how she felt about Women Grow and how more and more women are getting into the industry. Fresh Connection is a sustaining sponsor for Women Grow and hopes that more women get involved. So what does the future hold for Fresh Connection? Their edible line of cake pops, called Baked Pops should be out soon and Sam hopes to start an organic line too.
I see big things for Fresh Connection, after spending some time with Sam and Rick, you can see how passionate and driven they are at wanting to give patients a quality product. Their plants look and smell fantastic, I’ve never seen Harlequinn or any other CBD strain that was so fucking FROSTY, I’m not even sure if that’s normal for CBD’s. They had a lot of strains in their rooms, but they had this Tangieland stuff that had terpene levels on 100 thousand, fucking trillion! It smelled so wonderful, I didn’t want to leave! Sam kicked me down a sample of a strain called Shiva Shanti, this shit is DYNAMITE, stay tuned for a review and when you’re at your favorite shop, ask if they got that Fresh Connection!
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