Growers Network Staff

November 21, 2018 5 min read
November 21, 2018
5 min read

Farm v. Boutique: Quantity v. Quality?

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Today we stick our noses where they kind of belong and fan the flames.

The following is an article produced by a contributing author. Growers Network does not endorse nor evaluate the claims of our contributors, nor do they influence our editorial process. We thank our contributors for their time and effort so we can continue our exclusive Growers Spotlight service.


Hi everyone! We’ve seen a lot of discussions online about the benefits of boutique-grown cannabis or the benefits of farm-grown cannabis. We wanted to throw our collective hat in the ring and add fuel to fire resolve some misconceptions!

So what do we mean by “boutique” or “farm”? Many cannabis enthusiasts have probably heard the terms thrown around, but generally the terms are used to refer to different scales of growing. Generally, when people say “boutique,” they mean:

  1. Small scale grow, under 5000 square feet.
  2. A small team of growers, or even a single grower.
  3. Small quantities of finished product, hand-trimmed.
  4. Lots of energy focused on a smaller number of plants.
  5. Minimal automation.

And when people talk about “farms,” they generally mean:

  1. Large scale grows, over 5000 square feet.
  2. A large team of growers and support staff.
  3. Large quantities of finished product, some hand-trimmed, some machine-trimmed.
  4. Emphasis on large quantity of production over quality.
  5. Emphasis on automation.

But we’re here to take a stand dispel some misconceptions. So here we go!


Large Scale ≠ Low Quality ; Small Scale ≠ High Quality


This is a common myth in the arguments between the two “types” of grow. Large scale, due to its nature, must focus on quantity over quality. This part of the logic does hold up, and on average, it may be true. But, statistically, all product lands on a bell curve of “quality,” which means that even if large scale grows do not emphasize quality, they will still have some high quality products.

Everybody’s products can be represented as points on a bell-curve.

For example, in our Canna Cribs Episode on Los Sueños Farms, the team at Los Sueños takes over 90% of their final product and converts it into trim for extract producers. They take the top 10% of their final product to be sold as premium cannabis. So even though the vast majority of their product may not be seen as high quality, by sheer volume they still produce a significant quantity of high-quality cannabis.

Additionally, just because a small grow has a reason to emphasize quality over quantity, that does not mean it will always be high quality. Since it produces smaller amounts of product, it will statistically be subject to more variance. One year it could yield some excellent quality cannabis, the next year it could produce some mediocre cannabis.

High variance versus low variance.

Here at Grower’s Network, we’ve heard horror stories of small-scale grows going wrong. You name it, powdery mildew gone awry, spider mite infestations, and even nutrient lockout or nutrient burn. Sometimes the cannabis can end up downright unusable.


How do we rectify this dilemma?


Using statistics, silly!

Let’s picture our hypothetical “farm” and “boutique” on a chart displaying their approximate quantity and quality of cannabis produced. Let’s even give the “boutique” a head start, and place their average quality at a higher level than the “farm.”

As you can see, even with an unfair disadvantage, the cannabis farm can still win by sheer numbers! By having such a large volume, a large cannabis farm can supply cannabis users who aren’t picky about their cannabis, and enthusiasts who really care about their quality.

But there’s another argument to be made that’s not mathematical, and I think it’s an important one.


Support your local businesses!


Now this is an argument that I think matters a lot! Don’t forget to support your local businesses. After all, everybody may enjoy a Coors or a Miller at the end of their day, but that local brewery really helps the community. So even if you may end up with the same or more high-quality cannabis from a large grower, it’s important to make sure you help your local economy. If you buy from somebody who lives nearby and grows, you know that your money will find its way back into the community.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Am I woefully wrong? Let us know in the comments or on the Growers Network forum!


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Resources:

  1. Want to learn more about subjects similar to those touched upon in this article? Check out our articles on subjects such as:
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    2. Elections Have Consequences – The STATES Act
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    4. Which is Better for Sleep – CBD or THC?
    5. Pro Tips: Curing Cannabis

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About the Author

Hunter Wilson is a community builder with Growers Network. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a Masters in Teaching and in 2007 with a Bachelors in Biology.