the highway podcast

Heat & Herb Presents: The Highway Ep.2 - SMOKER FARMS

a weed podcast

Heat & Herb X The Highway Weed Podcast Candid Conversations, Candid Conversation, Candid Conversation Podcast, Weed Podcast

INTRODUCTION

Welcome fellow travelers to the second installment of “Highlights” our written recap of The Highway podcast.

 What’s the Highway Podcast you ask?

Your inside look behind the scenes of the top cannabis micro producers in Canada.

What can you expect

Exclusive video footage of grow facilities and authentically candid conversations with the people behind the brands.

Okay, but who are the people behind the Podcast?

Longtime Cannabis industry and retail specialist, Mike Bains (Product Procurement & Operations) of Heat + Herb and a rotating cast of budtenders.

Who am I?

David Burgomaster, Head of Communications for Heat + Herb and active budtender.

How to read this?

This is not a complete transcription or meant to be. Although all quotes appear in sequential order, they have been edited for clarity, and/or to add context.

A series of three “.” like this: shows a cut in dialogue for either clarity or conciseness.

Words in boxes like these [ ] indicate they have been added by the editor (me!) to enhance the flow and readability of the transcription and/or to add context.

Whenever a person’s name is in bold the next set of quotations to appear belongs to them.

You can read the recap from start to finish or navigate through the header titles indicating topics.

Okay, with all that out of the way, let’s roll!

With hosts from Heat + Herb: 
Mike Bains (Product Procurement & Operations)
Instagram: @beanbag1620
Twitter: @pacificcraft420
 
Gary Sidhu 
(Summerland General Manager)
Instagram: @cannasidhu
 
And guests from Smoker Farms:

Jeff Aubin Sheri Aubin

Instagram: @smokerfarms 

 
 

Topics in order of discussion:

Part 1:  Sit-Down Interview 

  • Introductions
  • First Exposure to a Grow Room/Getting into Growing
  • Master Kush Ultra 
  • Harvest Day 
  • Hang Drying
  • Growing Medium 
  • Working with BC Black/Entering New Provinces 
  • The Vault & Reaching the Processor 
  • Getting Pre-rolls Right/ In-house Testing Prohibited/Accountability & Integrity
  • How It Feels to See and Buy Your Own Product at Retail
  • The Rollercoaster that is the Legal Cannabis Industry
  • The Challenges of Working with Financial Institutions
  • The Uncertainty of Investing in Yourself
  • The Purpose of The Highway Podcast
  • Jeff’s Attire
  • Smoker Farms’ Location

 

Part 2: Chat in the Grow Room

  • Getting Properly Attired
  • Master Kush Ultra 
  • What Lights They Use 
  • The Trade Off When Growing the Gassiest of the Gassy

 

Part 3: Outside Session

  • Smoker Farms on Smoker Road
  • A Healthy Marriage & Positive Energy Leads to Great Cannabis
  • Tariffs & Duties Paid
  • A Love for Weed Required
  • Punching with the Heavyweights

 


Introductions:

Alright, let’s roll

As always this is age gated, and a disclaimer letting you know this is adult content meant for those 19+ pops on screen.

We kick off the episode with an intro of the boys on the roads of BC and a series of  highlights from past and upcoming episodes. 

The map and moving vehicle graphic let us know we are headed to the Okanagan.

The setting is the calm and naturally pristine Beaverdell.

We get some sick drone aerial footage of the surrounding area and outside of the facility.

The Highway Podcast Heat and Herb
I’m legitimately impressed about Smoker Farms! The Highway x Heat and Herb

Inside we are greeted by our host Mike Bains as we find ourselves seated in one of the rooms at the Smoker Farms facility. 

Mike:

“Welcome to another edition of the Highway. We are at Smoker Farms. We have Jeff and Sheri [Aubin] of Smoker Farms and we got another special guest with us today Gary (Sidhu) – [General Manager of] Heat + Herb in Summerland and we’re here for one reason only – the Master Kush. Man, I could smell the gasoline as we pulled up. I didn’t even have to exit the car (Sheri) laughs). I was like this is what BC smells like (Gary nods in agreement), and uh yeah it was beautiful. Um, didn’t let down either when we went in the room, all things are go, and yeah we’re just gonna get to know you a little bit better” 

Jeff:

“Excellent” 


First Exposure to a Grow Room/Getting into Growing:

Mike:

“I usually like to ask when was the first time you stepped in a grow room, start there, go way back when, you could do like the little ‘dooduhloodloodlu’ music

Mike motions with his hand referencing the music and effects accompanying a flashback in film, and Sheri and Jeff laugh and join in. 

Jeff:

“The first time I stepped in a grow room, yeah see – I guess I created the first room I ever kind of stepped in.”

Sheri chuckles. 

Mike:

“That’s awesome”

Jeff:

“Because I was growing in the closet when I met her (he motions to Sheri) twenty-eight years ago, and I had a little light in the closet just testing it out to see if I could grow some of my own weed instead of of buying it all the time” 

Sheri:

“I had to finally ask him, so what’s with the glowing light in the closet?” 

The whole group laughs. 

Jeff recalling being busted:

“Damn, it’s weed!” 

Sheri at the time was like:

Ohhh

Jeff continues:

“That’s when there was big stigmatism obviously on cannabis. Because it was so beyond illegal back then, you get arrested for having a joint whatever. Yeah, so I guess that was my first one –”

Sheri interjects laughing:

“Me too!” 

Jeff:

“And then I grew in an attic, and then I rented a house that I could grow in a normal room, but yeah the first grow rooms I ever seen were the ones that I created. I never actually was in a grow environment. I never got to see somebody’s big grow and go ‘holy shit that’s what I want to do‘. It just kind of slowly evolved for me over time”

Mike:

“It’s just natural” 

Jeff agreeing says: 

“It was natural. Well, in high school…we’d sell joints to people – 2 for 5, 1 for 3. Yeah cannabis has been in my life for a long time. Sorry schools!” 


Ahem. No one involved in this interview promotes or condones under age consumption of cannabis. As I mentioned in the last recap, these are candid and open conversations about cannabis experiences dating back before legalization, where consumption or distribution of any kind was illegal. In current times we adhere to and follow all guidelines as set by Health Canada and advise our readers to as well. 

K? Back to the interview! 


Master Kush Ultra 

Next the conversation focuses on Smoker Farms’ signature cultivar – Master Kush Ultra. 

Mike:

“It shows with the product, like there’s definitely a history behind the strain. It’s one of my favourite strains, I’ve grown it many times as well. 

Jeff says approvingly:

Yes” 

As Mike continues:

It’s just that gassy – when people say ‘BC Bud’, this is exactly what they’re talking about” 

It also pairs perfectly with Orange Mocha Frappuccinos. Gotta love that gas! 

Jeff agrees – about the what Mike said (I’ll have to ask him about the the OMFs) 

Mike:

“Yeah, you were saying you’ve had this genetic for a while” 

Jeff:

“I’ve had this cultivar for 15-20 years now, man. I’ve peppered in some other strains that I grew, but everybody always kept saying the same thing – ‘we want that Master Kush Ultra‘. So, I consistently stuck with it and I love smoking it as well, man. I’ve smoked it everyday for 15-20 years. So, but I always knew it had a serious following behind it too, and that’s kind of why we got a license. I based it on this one strain which is maybe a little ridiculous, but that’s what I did. I knew I’d get other genetics somehow. Seeds – I got tons of seeds but I knew this one cultivar would take us to the top”

Mike:

“Yeah and I think as a micro, you just really have to excel at one thing, and if you just do that one thing really well you’re going to succeed, just because your square footage limitations –” 

Jeff:

“Our canopy, square footage limitations –”

Sheri adds:

“We have to maximize” 

Jeff continues:

“So, we’re so limited on everything we do here – so, do we have time for tons of pheno hunts and stuff? It’s very complicated in a small facility, man. We’re managing with what we have and can do. But yeah we do have another strain we’re going to be releasing later this year, it’s a little more Sativa than Indica. It’s a hybrid, it’s looking around the 30 percent zone too –”

Sheri:

“We hear there’s a big gap (demand to be filled) for that” 

Jeff:

“There’s a big gap for it…I’m [also] really excited about another one but – I’m focused on Master Kush Ultra. Like I said – I could grow this for the next 15-20 years and be happier than hell” 

Gary speaks up:

“If it’s not broke don’t fix it kind of deal” 

Jeff agrees saying:

“If it’s not broke don’t fix it, man. This strain hasn’t been broken for fifteen years, so yeah, I don’t see what’s gonna break it now. It’s one of a kind this-this cultivar that I have. It really is the unique terpenes, the flavour, just everything about it, man, it’s –”

Sheri:

“And a lot of them say like they want [something new] – it’s like fashion you kind of have to be above [trends] and getting all the new stuff, but again – if there’s something that’s working, why mess with it?” 

Jeff:

“Tried and true heavy hitter” 

Gary:

“… like you’ve said you’ve been doing it for almost three decades…as a craft and then you’ve had Master Kush for so long – you bring it into the legal market and there’s always going to be, especially in the beginning that little bit of a gap that you know people are still timid they don’t want to go into these shops, but then someone goes in there and they see…Master Kush Ultra, it’s something that they…were smoking in the legacy days”

Sheri playing the part of the customer:

I’m comfortable with this” 

Jeff:

“It resonates with them” 

Gary continues:

“They’ve got a history with it, y’know what I mean? They go in there, they see a 25% (THC), dank, gas – like Mike was saying ‘BC Bud‘, that plays huge to that market that was already in there…thinking ‘y’know what, where’s the good weed at? Where’s that super dank that we’ve been missing in the legal market?’ “

Sheri smiling and laughing:

“Try some of the other ones and then always come back to us”

Jeff:

“I got guys that are involved in the black market and what…they tell me – I give them a sample of mine to try, taxes and duties paid obviously, I give them a sample to try and they’re like ‘that might be the best weed in the legal market’ and are like ‘holy shit that’s really good‘ and I’m like ‘I know’. That’s why we stand apart a little bit from other people. Which, it’s exciting for us but it’s still a little bit of a struggle, the cannabis industry, from our point of view and your point of view as we previously discussed, but I’m just going to keep growing Master Kush Ultra until I can’t do it anymore”

Mike:

“Yeah, that’s the plan” 

Gary:

“Yeah, that’s a good plan” 

The whole group laughs. 

Mike

“We’ll keep selling it, so it’s not going to be an issue” 

Jeff:

“Absolutely, that’s awesome man, appreciate the support” 


Harvest Day

Mike steers the conversation back towards the cultivation and harvesting process, noting today is harvest day. 

Mike:

“I always like to learn a little bit more about the process – your process. Today is harvest day, so it’s going to be busy in here in a couple of hours, so I guess it’s going to get pretty hectic” 

Sheri:

“This room will transition into a hanging room. It will be very full!” 

Mike:

“Nice, nice” 

Jeff:

“Well it gets a little complicated, but we’ve got it down to pretty much an art. Me and her we’ve got our tasks, I got two guys coming in, they help me cut it down, I do my little fancy cuts so we could all hang it up with little hooks here –” 

As Jeff is speaking we cut away to show footage of himself and Sheri starting the harvest process. We see Jeff making the special cuts for hanging that he described. 

Sheri

“We’re a well oiled machine” 

Jeff:

“We’ve got it, we’ve got it figured out. It’s the easy part of the game” 


Hang Drying 

One thing consistently overlooked or under prioritized with ‘conglomerate big-grow cannabis’ operations is the importance of properly drying the cannabis before curing. A misstep here, and even the best grown cannabis can end up a mediocre finished product.

Mike asks about their approach as we see more footage of Sheri hanging bud. 

Mike:

“Yeah, so you’re hang-drying for how long? Around ten days? Two weeks-ish, around there?” 

Jeff:

“It’s anywhere from seven to ten plus days. It really kind of depends on the outside environment, what’s going to happen outside. If it’s minus 30 out, it’s a little more challenging. If it’s plus 30 or 40 it’s a different scenario as well” 

Mike:

“Yeah for sure” 

Jeff:

“Definitely a week plus we’re doing it for”


Growing Medium

Mike broaches another interesting topic of discussion – the growing medium Jeff employs. 

There is no one industry standard, and each type has its pros and cons of use. 

Mike:

“Yeah, nice um what do you grow in? I never [asked before].”

Jeff:

“I grow in rockwool” 

Mike sounding a little surprised:

“Oh, okay” 

Jeff:

“Okay, so I got rid of all my soil. I grew in soil for so many years, but in this environment microbials are such an issue, bugs are such an issue. All soil and cocoa is stored outside, so introducing it to your rooms brings bugs. Thrips and spider mites they can bring anything so –”

Sheri:

“And it’s dirty” 

Jeff affirms:

“And it’s just dirty man and so for what, what we did is we put in the Dosatron units, the flood tables, um, rockwool Hugo blocks we’re growing in. So there’s zero, there’s nothing in it when I get these blocks they’re completely neutral. I add my fertilizer in it to get the EC I want, the fertilizer levels that I want. And it just, it makes me be able to grow such a consistent product, and it’s increased our THC – with what I’m doing in these rooms – whether it be the food system, the delivery system, and the control – I have ultimate control of my plants. I tell them when they get their water by the minute, by the second, which is a control I’ve never had growing cannabis before…And again, [when] we started out our Master Kush Ultra was 23-24 percent [THC]. Our last test was 30.63 percent, so. Something in these rooms is happening properly” 

Sheri motions with her hands and says:

“There’s a lot of happiness in there” 

Jeff continues:

” – and I don’t know exactly what it is, but I’m going to continue doing every single thing the way I’m doing it, because we want – again, thirty percent (THC) weed, who doesn’t want that, man that’s a dream and four percent terps, it’s a dream”

Mike:

“And there’s definitely this pushback on percentages and it’s not ‘end all be all‘, but your terps are right up there too…It’s not this case of you’re sending ‘bone dry’ herb to the lab and you’re trying to game the system to get this percent, like that’s a real 30 percent. I smoked that weed and it’s still sticky on my hands like, it’s got the moisture content in there, it’s just quad weed, man…There’s few and far between on the legal, but there’s more and more coming”

Jeff:

“There’s more and more coming, which is exciting for everybody, but knowing that we’re, we’re on top right now with our – with this one strain with the THC and terps, we’re beyond excited, thrilled about it, it’s a dream come true for us, it really is”


Working with BC Black/Entering New Provinces

The average consumer may not know that each province in Canada has their own distribution system for cannabis. Producers must work out individual deals for each market. In most cases the province itself is the sole wholesaler within its borders. 

BC Black and their talented team have been instrumental in bringing Smoker Farms to multiple provinces.

Mike:

“Yeah, congrats on getting into Ontario as well, that’s amazing. A huge feat there, it’s the biggest province” 

Jeff:

“Appreciate it. It was a hard fought battle” 

Sheri

“Thank you, we’re really excited about it” 

Jeff:

“BC Black and the people behind it, Janeen, Ben Williams the president, just everybody. We got this amazing team behind us that – I can do whatever I want here and I can grow really good weed but to get it showcased all across Canada –” 

Sheri:

“The marketing, the selling” 

Jeff:

“We need a team. They do all our marketing for us, they do everything for us man, they’re phenomenal” 

Sheri:

“They’re amazing” 

Jeff:

“If we didn’t have them a part of our lives and our business, we’d be in trouble”

Sheri who has been nodding in agreement adds:

“We question that often – ‘where would we be if we didn’t have them‘?” 

The group laughs. 

Jeff:

“It’s such a match made in heaven. The minute Ben came here the first time I met him and we got along great. We’re both from the legacy market, we both had some crazy stories to share knowing that ‘yeah we can trust each other’. So, so it’s really awesome man, but yeah, it’s – it takes more than just a team, it takes a whole team, to get your cannabis out there man. It’s, it’s a complicated scenario”


The Vault & Reaching the Processor 

Mike:

“Yeah, just wanted to kind of go back to uh harvest day and the process. So, we’ve got everything hung, what’s the process like of getting that to the processor now? Once it’s dried, it’s cured, it’s ready to be packaged up – what do you do?” 

Jeff:

“Yeah, once so the product has dried, it’s cured, we package it in-house here me and the wife (Sheri) in the one kilogram tubes and –” 

Sheri:

“Vacuum sealed” 

Jeff echos and continues:

“Vacuum sealed. Then we just basically wait for purchase orders from the provinces. So the team at BC Black just lets us know ‘okay, we got purchase orders, we need some more weed.’ So, we take it out of the vault and I drive it to Salmon Arm to BC Black’s processing facility. And then they sit on it for a little bit of time. They process it and waiting for the green light from the provinces, and bam away it goes. The provinces change their minds sometimes which delays the process which is frustrating but –”

Sheri:

“We hope it gets out there as soon as possible, again, freshness that’s a big thing” 

Mike agrees:

“Of course” 

Jeff:

“It’s a complicated market. We we want to give people the freshest cannabis possible, but with some timelines and government timelines, it’s a challenge” 

Sheri confirms saying:

“It is” 

Mike:

“You guys are in good hands. I don’t want to keep ‘tooting their horn’ – BC Black, but they do, do a good job of that packaging date being respectable and getting to you, getting to us in a timely manner. You’re not worried about, like you might be with some brands, ‘is this just a rebrand of some herb that’s been sitting somewhere for six to eight months?‘ , like the – the product integrity is first and foremost at BC Black and as it should be. You’re growing the fire, they need to do their part in getting it to us in a timely manner”


Getting Pre-rolls Right/ In-house Testing Prohibited/Accountability & Integrity 

Jeff:

“It’s gotta showcase well and pre-rolls, like when pre-rolls came out I had tried some pre-rolls in the legal market this–this Christmas and they were absolutely terrible. So, I was afraid when our pre-rolls came out, I’m like – I really want to test these things and because the way Health Canada does it, we’re not allowed to consume any cannabis from our facility, unless we go to the store and buy it. So, like wine makers they get to test their wine and see how good it is, we don’t get that luxury. It’s absolutely ridiculous that this is the way it is but I have to be confident in my weed when I put it out that it’s going to be good, so once our pre-rolls got released, I did whatever I could to get some pre-rolls in my hand. I opened up that tube right away, I dry hooted it and I went (pretends to dry pull) like ‘okay, I can taste the terpenes, I can taste that everythings there, it tastes like Master Kush Ultra. Okay, this passes my test’. We smoked it and I go ‘oh thank God everything’s gonna be perfect’. 

Sheri:

“Yay!” 

Jeff:

“But we were nervous ‘What am I gonna do if they taste like hay or they’re not good?’. Yeah, I’d have to call Ben and Janeen back and be like ‘I don’t think we can sell these, man’. Yeah, I was really, really nervous about releasing them but they are mint. They are mint everybody”

Gary:

“That’s good to hear that y’know once it drops you’re looking for it to see if you can do your own personal test on it and say ‘listen, is this, does this pass my own test?’ You even mentioning like ‘oh, maybe I should get in touch with them and say ‘I don’t think we can sell this’ [as a possibility] Y’know what I mean? Even at the store level when we’re looking at stuff, y’know on wholesale to see what we want to get, we’re kind of at the mercy of trusting y’know the LP and their consistency and we want, it’s good to see that the MKU has just been consistent for so long so we can kind of trust that. There’s nothing worse than getting a lot, y’know a lot of one product and it just doesn’t meet your standard, y’know?”

Sheri:

“It doesn’t meet your expectations” 

Gary continues:

“It’s not saying it’s bad product by any means, but y’know when you’ve got a bar and you set it a certain…height” 

Sheri:

“Definitely” 

Gary:

“You want to meet that and it’s good even with your take on the pre-rolls, to get that in the market and think ‘y’know what, this is still gonna bang with the consumer’. Whether they’re quick pre-rolls, whether they’re buying the eighth – you can be confident in it. And that means again at a retail level to us, it means a lot too because we go through these kind of little decisions and struggles and stuff like that”

Jeff:

“For sure. Well, I care about my weed, I do. It’s – this isn’t just about money. This isn’t just about growing weed, it’s making sure that we have some standards and that we either meet or exceed these standards that we’ve kind of set for ourselves. I’m very hard on myself

Sheri:

Oh, yes!” 

Jeff:

“I expect everything to be perfect all the time, and I take it personally if my weed wasn’t good”

Sheri:

“Yes, we have had to have some talks” 

Everyone laughs. 

Sheri:

It’s okay! You should have a stamp ‘Smoker Farms Certified’ ” 

More laughs before Mike adds:

“100 percent. The only certification that’s industry standard, yeah” 

Jeff:

“Yeah, my stamp of approval” 


How It Feels to See and Buy Your Own Product at Retail 

In my capacity as a budtender I have had the privilege of selling a grower their product at retail for the first time. As previously explained by Jeff, Health Canada regulations prevent growers from sampling their own products at any stage of cultivation and processing. For some growers their final quality assurance is to purchase it at the retail level. When the product meets their own high expectations you can see the look of pride and satisfaction, as waves of relief pass over them. Mike asks the question of Sheri and Jeff. 

Mike:

“Just want to touch base on that feeling of going to a store and buying your own product. How was the first time that happened? How did that feel?” 

Sheri:

“It was pretty exciting” 

Jeff:

“Yeah, first time we actually seen it in the store, man it was like ‘holy cow’ like two years of our lives, never mind the 28 years that I grew previously, but just the two years of this roller coaster ride with Health Canada and CRA – it was amazing to see man, I’m not gonna lie, tears were shed”

Sheri:

“Oh yes, there’s been a fair amount of tears and laughs” 

Mike:

“Yeah, I could imagine” 


The Rollercoaster that is the Legal Cannabis Industry

Jeff:

“It’s an emotional journey, I don’t care who you are, man. It’s – there’s so many highs and lows in it, once you get a high, uh its like ‘oh no, is something else gonna take it away?’…yeah it’s (makes a balancing motion with his hands) 

Sheri: 

“It’s a balance” 

Jeff:

“– a seesaw, it’s a roller coaster ride. The black market was a rollercoaster –”

Sheri:

“This is a different one” 

Jeff:

“We’ve got a rollercoaster ride now that’s different, the only difference is there’s no police, and they’re not gonna come and bust me for growing cannabis” 

Sheri:

“And there’s no bags of money either” 

Jeff:

“And there’s no bags of money, and there’s no banks! 


The Challenges of Working with Financial Institutions 

You would think with legalization that banks and financial institutions would warm to working with the cannabis industry, but that has not been the case. The stigma is still large and looms heavy as Jeff tells us. 

Jeff:

“Even though we are considered high risk clients, you getting bank accounts for your business is challenging as well, for us, it took us months and months and months and at the end of the day we’re told ‘you’re high-risk, you’re in a high-risk industry of cannabis’ which, that’s kind of disappointing to hear, man. We’ve checked all the boxes, we’re vetted by the RCMP, but we’re still considered high-risk, they will not, nobody will lend us a nickel for anything because it’s cannabis related, so…”


The Uncertainty of Investing in Yourself 

Gary:

“Would you, would you say that uh y’know the regulations and like the law, Health Canada in general, would you say that was maybe your biggest challenge? ” 

Jeff and Sheri share an exasperated sigh. 

Sheri:

“There’s so many” 

Gary:

“Yeah, it’s been…almost three decades you guys have been in it. What do you think from there to even now, was…your biggest challenge? Maybe even…the biggest change that you saw in it…if anything [stands out as] significant –”

Jeff:

“I think that the most tough – because we knew there was going to be walls in front of us, but the biggest challenge was really the uncertainty, we’re dumping all this money and time into an entity –” 

Sheri:

“We’re investing in ourselves” 

Jeff:

“Investing in ourselves. We have to build this thing out to completion. So it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars that we’re talking about and we still don’t know if we’re getting a license [at that point] because the last part of the process is when you’re vetted by the RCMP and me being in the cannabis game for a while, uh, were quite worried about that. There’s a lot of little things, man. So, I guess it was mostly the uncertainty. Knowing we’re going to do all the right things that Health Canada requires. Yeah but putting everything out there and then, yeah when we’re all in, we’re all in here, man, like. There’s no backup plan for us.”

Sheri concurring:

“No”

Jeff:

“So, it’s a scary, it’s a little bit of a scary position to be in. Proof of Concept we’re hoping it’s going to show up here soon. I think it is but –” 

Sheri:

“It has to” 

Jeff:

“It has to but –” 

Sheri:

“Our vault is empty, it has to!” 

Laughs. 

Jeff:

“There’s not much in the vault anymore. It’s a great thing, it’s what we talked about when I first met Ben, he says ‘hey, my job at BC Black is going to be to make sure your, your vault is empty at all times.’ And that’s what we want but it’s, but it’s complicated, man. But we’re going man, we’re not giving up”

Mike:

“You guys are, I think, Gary can attest to this too, you guys are taking out market share now, micros are starting to eat into that big pubco LP margin” 

Jeff:

“Yeah, I agree” 


The Purpose of The Highway Podcast 

Gary:

“Well that’s kind of what we’re trying to showcase, that like y’know, you can drive in, in all of BC in our own backyard and meet these great people that have been in the cannabis industry [who] are just as passionate as y’know me and Mike are about just being in the culture. Smoking it for however many years, since it was old school, in the old school days”

Sheri:

“Right” 

Gary:

“So, that’s what we kind of want people to know and see that, y’know the bud that you’re buying from wherever or you’re getting from wherever, it’s grown out here, it’s local. The people that you meet behind the scenes, they’re not just some suit wearing people that are just doing numbers”

Sheri:

“We’re real! We’re real people!” 

Gary:

“Yeah! Y’know what I mean. So, like they’re all about it, they’re just, they’re just like us, they’re just you, they’re just like the viewers, y’know what I mean?” 

Jeff:

“For sure. We’re simpletons, trying to make it in a complicated market, that’s been overruled…by big cannabis titans for a little while, so yeah. We’re chipping away at it man, slowly but surely. Are we going to gain all the market share? I doubt it. There’s always going to be people that are going to like conglomerate cannabis for whatever reason they want, that’s fine, but yeah we’re here to disrupt it a little bit here, we are.


Jeff’s Attire 

As we learned from the BC Black team in our previous episode, Jeff is known for his big gold chain. It earned him the nickname – ‘Chainy Tatum’. 

As Sheri fills us in, he’s also known for his consistent style of dress. 

Sheri:

“And what are your suits for? You have one suit and it’s for

Jeff:

“Funerals and weddings” 

Sheri:

“See, there’s no suits here” 

Jeff:

“There’s no suits here. There’s really no pants here. I have a pair of facility pants” 

Sheri:

“Be specific, you wear shorts” 

Thank you for the important clarification, Sheri <3

Jeff:

“I wear shorts. I have about a hundred plus pairs of shorts. I have two pairs of pants” 

Laughs. 

Jeff:

“It’s minus twenty out, you got the shorts on. I don’t spend a whole lot of time outside, just got to make sure you go from door to door quickly” 

Mike:

“Exactly, yeah” 


Smoker Farms’ Location 

Gary highlights Smoker Farms’ location:

“You’re out here like y’know even we were on the drive we were kind of like ‘whoa, this is like way out here’ 

Sheri laughs:

“We are out here!” 

Jeff:

“We’re 45 minutes from Kelowna, so it’s not that bad now. But it’s quiet, it’s peaceful out here.”

Mike says with conviction:

“It’s awesome, the drive was super peaceful” 

Sheri:

“It’s a very nice drive” 

Mike:

“Yeah (motions to his crew), put these three to sleep actually, it’s that peaceful” 

Laughs. 

Sheri: 

“Did you guys have a nap?” 

Jeff

“In the summertime, y’know this place transforms into –” 

Sheri:

“Oh, it’s awesome”

Jeff:

“It’s hot here, just as hot as Penticton, it’s 30, well last year it was 44-45 degrees, but –

Mike:

“Holy shit!” 

Jeff:

“But y’know, it’s high 30s here. We have a great little –” 

Sherry:

“We have a river” 

Jeff:

“We have a great little party thing out here with Twisted Acres down the way, we all party. We float down the river every year with our tubes, man, so it’s a great lifestyle to live out here which, we get to focus on our lives a little bit and we get to focus on growing great cannabis which is, which is what we’re trying to do and if our mental heads are in the game, if my mental head’s in the game then, I can really focus on growing this weed, but still having enough time and fun to enjoy the surroundings around me”

Okay, I am lucky enough to live in Summerland which is pretty idyllic as well, but you’re making me feel jealous guys. Their river reminds me of the Penticton tradition of floating down the channel, except a lot more exclusive. 


Taking the Wins as They Come 

Mike:

“You gotta enjoy the wins when they come, man” 

 

Jeff agreeing:

“You gotta enjoy the wins when they come, because there’s not as many –” 

 

Mike:

“Even the little ones, even the little ones” 

 

Jeff

“A little win, and we do, we always celebrate going ‘oh, that was a bit of a win, let’s ride this for the next day or two'” 

 

Sheri:

“Are we allowed to say everyday we have a Jager bomb at the end of the day? (holding up a toast) ‘Okay, what are our successes today?’ Sometimes we’re just like ‘ahhh, we made it through the day, cheers!‘ 

 

You are indeed allowed to say it Sheri (19+) – this shiz be age-gated! 

Gary:

“A dubs, a dub” 

Sheri:

“Usually we’re grateful for something though” 

Jeff:

“Oh we’re grateful for something out of everyday, but yeah it’s a challenging business to be in, again – from the retail side with you guys and from the growers side, man. It’s uh, there’s not millions of dollars to be made in this industry –” 

Sheri agreeing:

“No” 

Jeff:

“But we kind of knew that going in” 

Sheri:

“As long as we’re comfortable that, that really all, that’s the biggest thing just to be comfortable, doing what we love and living out here” 


Cracking the Saskatchewan Market 

As previously mentioned each province has their own distribution system for cannabis and Saskatchewan’s is unique. 

Jeff:

“…So, I think we just kind of found out today we’re possibly in Saskatchewan too”

Mike:

“Oh wow” 

Jeff:

“And Saskatchewan is a very complicated market to make it in” 

Mike:

“Isn’t it direct to retail there?” 

Jeff:

“There’s some direct to retail stuff, but BC Black worked with Saskatchewan for a few months and we gave up, we gave up on them. So, I don’t know what’s transpired now but –” 

Sheri:

“We did meet up with uh Lucid there, so I don’t know if that was a little bit –” 

Jeff:

“Yes, we met up with the Lucid guys they uh they, they wanted to get our stuff in Saskatchewan, they’d possibly help us but –” 

Sheri:

“I think that’s their main head office there” 

Jeff:

“Thanks. So, now we’ve got product in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. It’s a bit of a dream right now.”

Mike:

“Yeah, that’s amazing” 

Jeff

“Spread across Canada. Never thought this would ever happen to us” 

Mike:

“Yeah that’s unreal. Beautiful. I think that was great.  Awesome”


Part 2 – Chat in the Grow Room

And now the grow room visit. Ahhh yeah!

It’s earlier that day. Mike and Gary are in-car and enroute to Smoker Farms. 

Quick hit of a fat bat before we are back in the Smoker Farms grow facility. 


Getting Properly Attired

Our location is a screening/change room area. Mike is following Jeff who is outfitting him with the proper attire which he needs to don before entering. 

Jeff says to Mike:

“Yeah, I guess I better put you in a hat” 

Mike rubs his bald head and replies:

“Yeah, I don’t have that much hair, but –” 

Skip to Jeff holding up a white lab coat and saying to Mike as he hands it to him:

“I’ll just get you to wear my fancy lab coat” 

Mike:

“Yeah, sweet, alright. I feel like I’m [in] – what’s [that show] – Breaking Bad!” 

We see Sheri who is in ear-shot and she and Jeff both laugh. 

Jeff says as they continue walking:

“I always feel special in my lab coat too” 


Master Kush Ultra 

Boom! We’re now in a grow room with several rows of plants which seem to be just under Jeff’s shoulders in height. 

A large fan is visible on the wall, as well as overhanging lights and a filtration system. This is our first glimpse of the legendary Master Kush Ultra. 

Looking down at the base of the plants, you can see the cannabis growing in rockwool hugo blocks positioned on flood tables, just as Jeff had described earlier in the interview. 

There are posts staged around the perimeter of the plants with wire strung across as guides and to help support the developing canopy. 

Mike is not wearing a head-cover, but does have a beard cover, while Jeff (rocking a gold chain, of course) is clean shaven and wearing the opposite. 

Cleanliness and keeping the facilities contaminant free are of the utmost importance when maintaining a controlled and consistent environment. Good cannabis producers take this aspect of their business very seriously, and Jeff and Sheri are no exception. 

We join Jeff and Mike discussing the crop. 

Jeff:

“Every crop I do, I always say to myself ‘this looks even way better than last time’ but they’re always incredible” 

Mike

“That’s the way it should be! You’ve been dialing this strain in for a while now, so you’re getting the most out of it” 

Jeff confidently says:

“This one – heavily dialed in, man” 

Mike turns to the camera:

For sure. If anyone out there is ever wondering what people are talking about when we say ‘gas’ or this is the ‘gassiest smoke ever’ – you need to go pick up some Smoker Farms, buy the MK – that’s exactly what we’re talking about. This room is just full of gasoline right now. This is my kind of weed. It’s what I’ve been smoking my whole life –”

As Mike is speaking the camera pans to the right and we see the room is double the size of our initial view and filled with MKU. 

“Thank you for bringing it to market, man, it’s much appreciated.”

Jeff:

“Hey man, I appreciate it. I need to smoke really good weed too, so if I bring out something really good, that means there’s always going to be good weed to smoke” 


What Lights They Use 

Mike:

“Yeah for sure. We like to just touch on a couple of things in the grow room. Awesome environment in here right now, the plants are loving it. Just want to start with asking what type of lights you’re using and then maybe what type of weight you’re getting from that?”

Jeff:

“So right now, I use Gavita lights… Double-ended Gavitas they just give the best light. I’m old school. Countless LED companies have been trying to come to me to switch – just not interested, man. My gas needs the big bright light of an HID, man. And that’s, and that’s just the way it is”

Mike:

“For sure, for sure” 


The Trade Off When Growing the Gassiest of the Gassy 

Jeff:

“So off this strain, the Master Just Ultra, you give up something when you grow the real gas. It doesn’t have big giant, huge, super colas where buds are nine or ten grams. It doesn’t exist with Master Kush Ultra. It’s a little bit of a smaller – but that’s what we’re giving up, we’re giving up a little bit of a size issue for that pure heavy gas. So for a room like this we’re looking at its easily 40 pounds – it’s a 40 pound room. My other room’s a little smaller, so it’s a little less but, out of this gas, that’s what I get out of it, so it’s limited on my production, obviously”

 

Mike:

“And y’know, it’s to be expected with most of the heavy, gassy Indicas. You’re doing that eight week run, you’re not going to get monster colas, but you’re going to get the high THC, the good gassy terpenes, and uh yeah it shows in the product. Can’t wait to smoke this, I can’t wait to get it in the stores. I know you just got some herb into Ontario – I just wanna say don’t forget about BC. This is BC Bud, keep enough for us as well”

 

Jeff:

“I promise everybody that BC – I will not forget about BC. Even though we’re all excited about the Ontario market, my roots are in BC, so BC there’s always going to be Master Kush Ultra in BC as far as I’m concerned. That’s my commitment l” 

 

Mike:

“Awesome man, we just want to thank you first and foremost. I know it’s very – to all the good growers, letting someone into your grow room, it means a lot to us, that you would allow us to come in. It’s like a second home to most of the growers I know, right?”

 

Jeff:

“Yes” 

 

Mike:

We appreciate that and we’re going to be happy to share your story with all of our Heat + Herb customers and I can’t wait till this drops and we get it in their hands” 

 

Jeff:

“For sure man. I can’t wait till it drops, absolutely” 

 

Mike as they shake hands:

“Thanks buddy, appreciate it” 

 

Jeff:

“Great man, great times” 

 

The camera pans to get another shot of the room before swooping in for some close ups of the glorious Master Kush Ultra. 



Part 3 – Outside Session

We head outside for a smoke session where Mike and Jeff are sitting on some patio furniture with a BBQ in the background. The BC wilderness can be seen around them as they discuss the idyllic scenery and location. 


Smoker Farms on Smoker Road

Jeff:

“[I’m a] grower and I’m a smoker, man. Yeah I love cannabis all the way around, so you gotta have – you gotta smoke it to enjoy it really, man but as a plant it’s a gorgeous plant to look at, man, I love looking at it” 

Mike as he ashes the joint:

“Is it just fate that you, um live on the Smoker’s road or – like what is up with that? We were like, looked at the address, I’m like ‘He’s f*cking with me, man! There’ s no way!’ ” 

Say what? Talk about serendipitous. Oh and, hey yo! Gary is there too. I think I hear him say something off camera but it’s lost to the ages and my metal head induced hearing loss. 

Jeff answers:

“Sixteen years ago when I bought the property, uh yeah I was looking for somewhere to grow weed and this-this was the only kind of property that was available. There was four properties here available. That was not lost on me that I was buying a chunk of property on Smoker Road, and gonna grow illegal weed on it”

Mike and Gary chuckle as the joint is passed around. 

Jeff continues:

“But then when legality came, now–” 

Mike as he passes the joint:

“Now it’s perfect” 

Jeff taking the joint:

“And now I can have Smoker road with legal cannabis, man…I don’t tell everybody…[so] when they ask me for it (their address) they’re like ‘Are you shitting me? You actually live on Smoker Road?!’ Yeah, I actually live on Smoker Road, I do. I do, and it’s pretty cool man

Mike says and Gary echos it while laughing:

“Got my Smoker Farm, on Smoker Road” 

Jeff:

“Even on the license plate on my vehicle it has ‘lb’ on the license plate, I was pretty excited about that ‘pound’. (Animatedly) Oh yeah, that’s what a guy who grows drugs should have on his license plate! I didn’t pick it either, she handed it to me and I’m like ‘lb?’ “

Mike:

“That’s so much better when you don’t pick it (laughing) – it was meant to be” 

As Jeff passes the joint Gary comes into view and we hear a drone buzzing in the distance. 

Mike:

“He’s having fun with the drone” 

Jeff:

“Mosquitoes! The drone’s cool” 


A Healthy Marriage & Positive Energy Leads to Great Cannabis

Gary points to some statues we can’t see and says:

“I love the little statues” 

Mike agrees:

“Yeah, it’s a very good vibe” 

Gary:

“Awesome vibe” 

Jeff says as Gary tokes:

“We’ve been to Southeast Asia many times. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam – so, it’s kind of, it’s a little spirituality thing. We’re not really religious whatsoever, but yeah just spiritual, man. It makes you reflect and think on life” 

Mike:

“Yeah, for sure. The energy oozes off you guys as well and your guys’ chemistry is unbelievable, yeah, you guys. It’s pretty fun I bet being able to do what you’re doing with your wife” 

Jeff:

“It is pretty cool, man. I know we get along great, so we’ve never not got along. But I’ll tell you this whole path we’ve led down last three years – beyond a test of our – everything we have together. If we weren’t good before going into this we’d be in serious trouble probably. But we were so strong going into it that we knew ‘Nah, whatever, we’ll figure it out’. There’s always a path, there’s always a way to figure it out, but yeah the hardships, they mount up. After a while you just feel like the struggle like ‘is it ever gonna – is it ever gonna work out for us?’ But it all comes, man. It all comes, so growing pains as with anything, but yeah I know we got a pretty strong bond together, man. So, we’re solid. So, that’s what makes great cannabis too! Two people that are in tune and solid, man.”

Mike:

“And it’s just like cooking too, right? Like, if you’re making food angry, that food’s tasting angry. Like, you making it with love, it’s filling you up extra, right?”

Jeff:

“And there’s love in everything we do” 

Aww.


Tariffs & Duties Paid 

We jump to Jeff showing the excise sticker for the cannabis consumed during their session, as he says:

“Duties and tariffs were paid!” 

Mike:

“Always, always” 

They all chuckle.


A Love for Weed Required 

Jeff:

“That’s cool man, I really appreciate you. We really appreciate you guys coming out and checking us out. And yeah, we don’t have – we don’t have the fanciest facility ever, like, I know there’s – There’s many other people that spent a lot more money to do this, but without a proof of concept, there’s only so much money we can do it – and I’ll tell you, this is us alone. We don’t have – the banks won’t touch us, nobody will touch us. This is done basically all by ourselves to get to this point, man. To do all of this, so we’re pretty excited and thrilled to be able to pull this off, it yeah it’d be nice to have a bigger fancier facility but –”

Mike:

“There’s a lot of fancy facilities for sale right now” (laughs) 

Jeff:

“Yes there is. The last week I checked on Canna Crafts Newsletter there was six micros that revoked their licences and I went ‘oh, man'” 

Mike:

“It needs to go the other way. I think the people in it now are in it because of their passion and love for cannabis. And the guys that were trying to make a quick buck or two, they have left the game” 

Jeff:

“They got weeded out! Because this isn’t – you better love weed man, to put up with what we gotta put up with. Because if you don’t, man. You better get out.” 

Mike:

“You ain’t gonna last, man. You ain’t gonna last” 

Gary:

“It ain’t one of those days – let me flip this real quick” 

Mike:

“Yeah, those days are over” 

Gary:

“You gotta be about it. I’m always saying you gotta be about it” 

Jeff:

“You really have to, man. Without a shadow of a doubt, or it’ll show. You’ll be closed, possibly. Which again – sucks”

Mike:

“You can’t fake it for too long” 

Jeff:

“No, you cannot fake it, no you can’t, man” 

Mike:

“Eventually the weed speaks for you, right?” 

Gary:

Fake it, till you make it. That’s not happening” 

Jeff:

“Fake it, till you make it. Yeah, that’s a different scenario” 

Mike:

“You gotta actually make it” 


Punching with the Heavyweights 

Mike:

“Well, like it’s a different type of pressure now, right? Like, you’re in that level now it’s like you’re the heavyweight champ and you gotta defend the title. It’s a different pressure than y’know getting to the fight. And I think you guys are going to just excel in that pressure, as well”

Jeff:

“Well, I think we are, man. Or like you say, I do believe we’re in the ring and it’s our chance to y’know knock out Mike Tyson, to knock out whoever stands in front of us. So that’s what we’re gonna to try to do.”

Hear that Tyson 2.0?!?!


What to Expect In the Future

As we wind this recap down I hope you found this an enjoyable and informative read, but be sure to check out the episode in full here, as well as select clips here.

Never miss an update or episode by following Heat + Herb and the Highway on social media.

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Smoker Farms

Thanks once again to Sheri and Jeff for their amazing hospitality and generous access to their facility. 

Join us again on our next stop along the Highway, Episode 3 – Jbuds with Pistol & Paris. Until then I am David Burgomaster signing off on behalf of Heat + Herb.


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