Growing Knowledge: Harvest Day at RiverRock Cannabis

The vibration and the ringtone of my alarm breaks the silence of my bedroom. I blink through the darkness and rummage under my pillow for my phone. I turn off the ringer and stare at the screen. It’s six AM. This is the first time I’ve been up this early in a while, and the dim light of dawn outside is unfamiliar and makes my brain stumble slightly as it realizes the time. The day is finally here. It’s time to harvest the first round of marijuana for my company.

The seven AM drive to the North store is quiet; not very many people are up this early on a Tuesday, it seems. It’s strange to be at the shop at this hour, but as I pull into my parking spot, I see it’s already packed with cars from the rest of the team. All hands are on deck this morning, and I’m excited and nervous because I’ve never helped with a grow harvest before, and I’m just hoping I make it through the day without being yelled at for royally messing up!

Forty-five minutes later, we’re all garbed in plastic outfits and PPE covers our faces, hands and hair. Phil, our Director of Cultivation, calls out directions and gives everyone a very specific role to play. Vince brings the plants from point A to B, Jason weighs the untrimmed stalks, and the rest of us are “fanning”; the process of removing the giant, iconic leaves from the stems and preparing them to be hung to dry. Jason blasts music and it’s remarkable how fast we all fall into our flow. I’m taken slightly off guard by how little talking there is. Before I know it, it’s one o’clock and we’re on our second break.

“There’s way too much precision here,” is virtually the only criticism I receive today as I try my hand at prepping a plant to be “pressed” – the action of taking cannabis flower and using it to make concentrates (wax, shatter, resin, etc). My OCD strikes again. Phil demonstrates the correct method for removing the buds from the stems, and I jump back in (more confidently this time). At this point it’s three-thirty, and we’re all a little slap happy. Conversations span from tv shows and super powers, all the way to what kind of magical creature we would be, and random bursts of energy come from every direction. Six strains and ten hours later, the task is complete, and we can free ourselves from the stifling PPE. I’m home by six-thirty, exhausted but satisfied with the day’s work.

I’ve been in this industry for just over a year now, and finally being able to be part of a grow operation and have the opportunity to get my hands dirty with the harvest was incredibly eye-opening. I have always been aware of the energy it takes to grow cannabis, but I did not know how long it takes to process the plants once they’re ready! It’s intense work and precision is important, but in a much different way than in the “admin world”. I have gained a much more in-depth understanding of the back-of-house team and what they do, and cannot wait to learn even more as RiverRock continues on this cultivation adventure.