Harvest 2020: Fighting the Early Frost

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Farming is unpredictable. What nature can give us one year, it can also take away the next.

2020 was a sharp reminder of this fact. As we prepared for our best harvest ever, nature decided that it had other plans.

Because we believe in transparency, we want to share our successes and our stumbles with you. Keep reading to learn how we dealt with an unseasonable September frost, salvaged a number of our plants, and—above all else—kept our team members safe with new, COVID-19 protocols.

(Spoiler Alert: despite losses in the field, we were grateful to harvest enough of our crop to continue operating without interruptions or reduction in quality.)

Frosty hemp plants

Deep Freeze

At the beginning of the season, our team planted 80 acres of hemp across two farms in Hyde Park and Hardwick. With ideal growing conditions during spring and summer, we were expecting a bountiful harvest.

Unexpectedly, we experienced an unseasonable frost in mid-September. For four straight days, temperatures dropped well below freezing. Hemp plants are hardy, but the cold temperatures hit at a critical period and posed a real threat to our entire crop.

Plants in the sun

Saved by Warmer Temperatures

Our team had a choice to make: should we harvest our plants early, or wait to see if they recover from the frost? We decided to stay patient, seeing warmer temperatures on the horizon.

After a few days of better weather, many of our plants were able to finish ripening. Our team then sprung to action to harvest the best remaining plants. In the end, we were able to recover more than 40,000 lbs of hemp.

Our team in the field

Staying Resilient

Growing our own hemp, rather than using third-party suppliers, means that we’re exposed to the ups-and-downs of farming. We choose to farm so that we can relentlessly improve quality, while also keeping costs down. Nature can be unpredictable, but this year we showed that we’re up for the challenge.

We're also proud that we kept everyone safe. We used a number of protocols to protect against COVID-19, such as daily temperature scans, mandatory masks, and working in small, assigned groups to reduce the risk of cross-team exposure. 

Going forward, we’ll work on solutions to mitigate early frosts (like breeding plants that flower earlier in the season). Despite the many challenges we’ve faced in 2020, we’re grateful to our team for staying resourceful—and to you for your ongoing support.

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