An Inside Look At Our Hemp Farming Practices
Like many plants, the hemp plant’s growth cycle begins as a seed, grows and matures over time, and ultimately flowers and repeats this cycle until it dies. The flowers of the hemp plant produce resin glands on structures called trichomes that contain the cannabinoids and terpenes we want to extract.
You could say we do all of our work in-house—but since our hemp plants are grown in pristine outdoor growing conditions on over 250 acres in Central Oregon, it’s happening under one big proverbial roof. At Lazarus Naturals, we oversee the process from seed to sale, ensuring every step of our farming practices are certified organic.
Seeds: Producing & Transplanting
At Lazarus Farms, we start our plants off from seeds. In 2020 alone, we produced and planted almost two million seeds!
We source our own seeds (selecting the mother plants that we most want to continue cultivating), and then harvest and maintain our own seed stock. This allows us to have more control over the plants we grow, so we don’t have to rely on outside seed suppliers. It also opens up opportunities for us to develop plants that have characteristics specific to the products we want to make.
During the cold winter months, seeds are planted and raised in greenhouses where they can sprout into healthy seedlings in near-perfect indoor conditions.
Once the seedlings are mature enough, we transplant them into large trays where they continue to grow in the protected luxury of our greenhouses for a few weeks.
When they’re mature enough, we move these young plants to hoop houses which—while still indoors—are more open to the elements. Here, the young plants get acclimated to colder nights and windier days as they toughen up in preparation for their move to the great outdoors.
Planting: Putting The Nature In Lazarus Naturals
Lazarus Farms is located in Central Oregon in the high desert, where spring and summer’s bright, sun-drenched days are paired with cooler temperatures at night—ideal conditions for hemp growing.
With the winter season coming to a close, we load up a manual water wheel transplanter with our seedlings by hand, then place every one of our seedlings into the ground. Our small planting crew works together to oversee the meticulous placement of each and every seedling. While more taxing, this manual method results in a much higher success rate for our seedlings in the field. It also allows our production team to adapt hemp-specific techniques more easily as we continue to develop and hone our practices.
At this point, we let nature take over. Strong, dry winds blow year-round and maintain airflow around the plants. The reliable breezes help prevent moisture issues such as rot and mildew.
We take an integrated pest management approach, scouting the fields regularly to look for signs of pests, disease, or other issues. We pair this proactive approach with organic, environmentally-friendly management techniques that are as minimal as possible.
Harvesting: Preserving The Trichomes
In the fields, our hemp plants grow bigger every day until they’re mature enough to flower and produce CBD-rich trichomes. When the plants reach peak trichome development, we shift into harvest mode.
For harvesting, we use methods that prevent any unnecessary movement between drying, cutting, and packaging steps so that we lose as few trichomes as possible in the process.
Extracting: Obtaining The CBD and Other Components
After harvesting, we bring all the biomass that we’ve collected from the fields inside. We seal 400-500 pounds of plant material in bags to ensure no moisture can get in. (This also protects the terpene and cannabinoid concentrations from air exposure that would degrade them.) From there, our farm-grown biomass moves right next door (less than 200 feet) to the Lazarus Naturals extraction facilities. Here, our extraction team will use state-of-the-art extraction and refinement techniques and equipment to create the high-quality CBD extracts that end up in our customers’ hands.