The Future is Sun-Grown.
Tantalus Labs offered us the opportunity to tour their grow facility located in Mission, BC. At Coast Range, it's our goal to have as many BC producers available as possible, so we jumped on the chance to learn more about Tantalus's growing practices. The drive took place on a lovely winter morning; as we left the city, the route meandered through stunning farmlands. We pulled up to the facility and were buzzed through the security gate. As we stepped out of the truck, the aroma of fresh cannabis hit us, producing instant grins on our faces. The door to the facility opened, and Ian from the Tantalus sales team introduced himself and led us inside. We found ourselves in the main staff admin area, which was open and airy. We suited up in lab-like coats that made us feel like fraudulent Scientists and travelled through another security door to a smaller set of corridors where we were joined by Karli, Tantalus's Community Manager. Ian and Karli explained the facility is dubbed SunLab¹. This specialized, purpose-built greenhouse is the culmination of four years of design and construction. It leveraged the minds of leading BC scientists, engineers, and agriculturalists. Their shared mission: to build a brighter future for cannabis through optimized plant health and sustainable cultivation. "...using the ideal, naturally occurring conditions" In passing we saw the seed rooms and storage area where male plants are kept frozen. As we stepped into the main hall just outside the greenhouses, the benefits of a purpose-built facility were obvious — large floor to ceiling steel water silos made for an impressive sight. Ian explained SunLab¹ is designed to honour what Mother Nature provides. By using the ideal, naturally occurring conditions surrounding the facility, Tantalus can create an enhanced growing environment. By doing this, they also reduce the negative environmental impact. We learned the silos were used as part of the process of capturing rainwater for irrigation. The fresh rainwater is caught off the greenhouse roof, filtered through charcoal, and then drip line fed to the plants. Coconut husks are used in place of traditional fertilizer as it carries numerous minerals and is a sustainable resource. They are then able to monitor the water that drains off the plant, checking for optimal nutrient levels. "...it's like you could feel how happy the plants were." Our excitement built as Ian said we were heading to the greenhouses next. They had two separate greenhouses, one for "vegetation" - young plants that haven't yet developed buds - and the second for the adult plants. We went through the right door to the vegetation room and were welcomed by filtered sunlight and a soft, herbaceous aroma. The greenhouse contained about 600 plants. Tantalus staff members were busy planting clones, and keeping the space impeccability clean - it was a hive of activity. While Tantalus's main positioning is that they are "sun-grown" they use lights to supplement the grey-winter skies. They also have automatic black-out curtains that are drawn when the plants have had sufficient light. Taking a moment up close to the vibrant green youths, it's like you could feel how happy the plants were. They gave off a sense of well-being that became more pronounced as we entered the adult greenhouse. Our final room of the tour took us to visit the adult females. As we entered the room, the potent smell of fresh cannabis hit us - the smell was a wondrous perfume of fresh blueberries, lemons, oranges, grass, hops - it was endless. We marvelled at the plants, each laden with beautiful buds whose trichomes oozed sticky resin that glistened in the sunlight. If I sound poetic here, my apologies, the room must have inspired me. Grounding down, I asked Ian about Tantalus's pest management; he showed me little sachets that were attached to the stalk of each plant. He explained these sachets contain predatory insects. By releasing predatory insects into a garden space, natural predators are introduced to the common pests that damage the crop. Predatory insects can be used as a preventative measure or for treating outbreaks, saving growers from having to resort to pesticides. We stopped by the Blue Dream plant section and inspected the buds. Close up, I commented on a large number of trichomes on not only the bud but the leaves surrounding. Ian explained that Tantalus believes in a "loose trim" to retain the "sugar leaves," he stated that this not only keeps those visible trichomes but the sugar leaves also protect the crystals on the bud itself. "-fully encompassed by the plants, we experienced the full power of the terpenes..." As we worked our way down the Blue Dream row, Ian was kind enough to take a photo of our first facility tour. At his suggestion we went in between the rows. Now, fully encompassed by the plants, we experienced the full power of the terpenes and their wonderful aroma. My senses were disoriented as all I could smell was literal blueberries - but I saw cannabis. Our tour left us as we started, with shit-eating grins, but now equipped with even more knowledge on Tantalus sun-grown products and practices. Kudos to Tantalus for growing sustainable, high-quality BC bud. At Coast Range Cannabis, we are proud to carry their pre-rolls and dried flower and will continue to expand our offerings. We can tell Tantalus is the type of company that will continue to forge ahead to find not the easy way, but the most sustainable way to produce some of BC's finest cannabis products. - Sheila