Vertically Integrated Pure Ohio Improves Yields and Overall Quality With Revamped Nutrient Program
Company sees results, including reduced salt buildup, after transitioning to Emerald Harvest nutrients.
Pure Ohio Wellness
25,000-square foot cultivation facility in Springfield, Ohio, two dispensaries (one in Springfield and one in Dayton and a third scheduled to open in London, Ohio; and one processing facility
Increased yields by 5-10%; consistently producing THC above 23%; enhanced terpene profile
Pure Ohio Wellness grows 35 strains at its cultivation facility in Springfield, Ohio. Achieving consistency in such a diverse growing environment has its challenges. When Kyle Lewis, head of cultivation, first arrived, he noticed that some strains in the mother room, or “mom room,” were showing signs of salt build-up, while others weren’t.
“We couldn’t find that sweet spot, so to speak,” Lewis says.
The Pure Ohio team has had to make some adjustments since beginning operations at the facility toward the end of 2017. This includes changes to lighting, pot sizes and soil mediums. But it was the company’s switchover to a new nutrient line that had one of the most profound impacts on overall plant quality.
Over a three- to four-month period, Pure Ohio experienced a 5% to 10% increase in yield and a major improvement in desired terpene production and smell using several nutrients from Emerald Harvest, according to Lewis. The company also has been able to achieve higher THC levels on certain strains, says Nick Pershing, marketing director.
“Back in the day, we were happy to get a 23% or more [THC] level, but lately the results have been consistent in the Tier 2 range,” Pershing says.
In Ohio, Tier 2 plant material refers to anything with a THC concentration of 23% to 35%.
The first signs that something needed to change was evidence of salt buildup. The plants would almost immediately begin yellowing when they transitioned from the veg to the bloom cycle, says John Nugent, cultivation facility manager.
“It was just the norm. and we were never really able to put a finger on why that was,” he recalls. “Another thing was we would go well into week 6 or 7 before we’d start to get any of the smells.”
Pure Ohio had been purchasing its nutrients from another large manufacturer before switching to Emerald Harvest. Nugent describes the old formulation as “antiquated,” saying it seemed as if the manufacturer hadn’t tweaked its product in 15 years. The previous supplier also provided little support when the company needed it.
“They were, quite frankly, little to no help when we reached out to them … we never heard from them so it was a lot of trial and error,” Nugent says.
A Noticeable Difference
Lewis uses Emerald Harvest’s Emerald Goddess and Cal-Mag every third week and Sturdy Stalk when the plants are very young. Emerald Goddess is a plant tonic that maximizes nutrient uptake using natural ingredients, such as alfalfa and seaweed extracts, as well as macronutrients, vitamin B1 and humic acid.
Cal-Mag is a calcium magnesium supplement that encourages growth and plant development, while Sturdy Stalk is a potassium silicate supplement that builds the plant cell walls to encourage productivity.
The use of these plant-based proteins is important to Lewis, who says he’s always been an organic grower and doesn’t like to use salts. “We found that in veg, bringing it back a bit on the nutrients and putting them on cruise control seems to be a little bit easier on our plants,” he says.
Lewis also uses Emerald Harvest’s Honey Chome, an aroma and resin enricher, to enhance the terpene content in the plants. The results have been measurable. “The terpenes are a lot better just by looking at the COAs (certificates of analysis), and we have a lot of patients that come in that are specifically looking at terpenes,” says Pershing.
That’s good news for patients who visit Pure Ohio’s dispensaries in Dayton and Springfield.
“We do our best to provide as much information as possible so that the patients feel more comfortable and confident in the decision they make for the medicine they feel will work best,” Pershing says.
The ability to attain more consistent THC levels is paying off as well. It means the company can offer higher THC products at a lower price than competitors, Pershing says. “We’re the most affordable flower in the state,” he says. “There are plenty of high-THC strains available here in the state of Ohio, but not all can be the most affordable.”
Using Emerald Harvest also means patients can feel reassured they’re receiving clean product, which also bodes well for Pure Ohio from a competitive standpoint. “A lot of people want to make sure they know what they’re getting,” Lewis says. “Because if they can get it cheaper down the street on the black market they will. … But if they know they can get it for almost the same price at our place but it’s ran through a lab and doesn’t have any molds or metals and wasn’t grown with Miracle-Gro or sprayed with Roundup or something … it does make a difference.”
Looking ahead, Pure Ohio plans to continue tweaking its nutrient program to further optimize its growing program.
“We’re still working on improving our yields. … We’re still trying to zero in on that because we’ve had a half of a grow that’s hooked up to a Dosatron and half the grow that gets hand watered, so it gets a little entertaining when you’re trying to figure that kind of stuff out, but I think we’re starting to zero in on that,” Lewis says.
The cultivation side of the business also is working to continually improve the curing process, but the changes to the nutrient program have already paid off in this area, says Lewis.
I’d say yes. We’re still working on our curing process today to nail that down a little bit better seeing as how we’re such a large-scale grow. Trying to get it to cure proper and still be able to provide a lot of cannabis real quick is quite an interesting process to figure out.
“Everything that has been done properly, I’ve noticed a big difference in strains … like our Blue Hash, Chiesel, Pineapple Trainwreck, along with a few other strains,” Lewis says. “I can definitely tell the difference from just opening up the container, the smell, the taste and the overall effect. I definitely say we’ve improved all those categories.”