As summer bleeds into fall across the Northern Hemisphere, the cannabis supply chain eagerly awaits the annual arrival of a different sort of season called Croptober.
As the name implies, Croptober refers to the month of October when the vast majority of outdoor, or sungrown, cannabis crops have reached their peak production and are ready for harvest.
Sungrown cannabis has gained in popularity with cannabis consumers in recent years due to a general trend toward agricultural products sustainably grown to organic standards and, let’s face it, the lower price point typically attached to cannabis grown outdoors.
For the farmers who cultivate their cannabis this way, Croptober is the full-spectrum culmination of all their hard work throughout the year, and the only harvest they get until this unique season comes around again the following year.
There is no exact harvest date that all farms adhere to. In fact, most farms will be growing different cultivars, each coming to maturity at different times, but almost always in the month of October. Many variables can factor into what makes an ideal harvest date. From plant genetics, to terroir (local soil & climate conditions), to the actual latitude on a map where the farm falls, these details and more will determine when the crop gets the chop.
A successful Croptober not only affects the outdoor cannabis farmers, it has a ripple effect that is felt all the way up the chain right to the retail consumers, and beyond.
CROPTOBER BRINGS BALANCE TO THE MARKET
Here in California, particularly in Northern Cali and regions like the famed Emerald Triangle, conditions are ideal for cultivating cannabis outdoors. Still, most of the “top-shelf” cannabis on dispensary shelves was grown indoors or in a climate-controlled greenhouse (often using light deprivation methods).
The balance that these various methods of cultivation provide to the market cannot be understated, and Croptober is a perfect example of this.
As the regulated market here in California alone slowly but surely begins to grow and demonstrate its might, it is a fact that the indoor and greenhouse operations do not provide enough supply to meet consumer demand. In the cannabis culture, it is called a “drought” – a period of several months each year when high grade cannabis is hard to find, and prices are raised as a result.
That is when Croptober rolls around and breaks up that bottleneck, flooding the market with fresh, terpene and cannabinoid filled jars of sungrown flowers at varying price points to meet the varying needs of today’s cannabis consumers.
Retail dispensaries who have trained their sales staff to properly educate their customers on the unique benefits of outdoor cannabis will see revenues rise while also supporting soil-based farmers and regenerative, sustainable standards.
In years past, the influx of highly affordable sungrown bud onto the market created a clash with indoor growers who were trying to keep prices stable, but these days it seems that they enjoy a bit more of a symbiosis, with their prices rising and falling together with the tide of the market.
CROPTOBER IS COOL FOR CONSUMERS, TOO!
There is a reason why the Emerald Cup – the world’s largest annual celebration of the outdoor cannabis harvest – has traditionally taken place in December and that reason is Croptober.
While there may be nothing better than a blackberry right off the vine, or an apple straight from the tree, cannabis needs to be properly dried and cured after harvest in order to provide the optimal experience.
So, as a consumer who is in the market for all-natural, soil and sun grown cannabis cultivated to organic standards by hard-working farmers, the end of the current year and the first few months of the new year are the ideal time to get your hands on these full-spectrum flowers.
Because they are typically grown in bulk, outdoor cannabis buds can be sold at a lower wholesale price which translates into a lower tag at the retail level as well.
Along with knowing that all outdoor cannabis sold on the regulated market has been properly lab tested for both potency and purity, the packaging should have a harvest date printed on it as well, letting the consumer know that they’re holding the results of one farm’s successful Croptober.
After harvest, of course, there is still plenty of work to do from trimming, to testing, to manufacturing and packaging all of the most popular cannabis products. So, if you have a friend who farms sungrown cannabis, don’t be surprised if they are early to bed, early to rise, and slow to return a text message for the next couple of months!
Here’s to a successful Croptober for all cannabis farmers – we appreciate your efforts.