Today, we’re welcoming Bradley to the Elyon team. Bradley is the newest member of the cultivation team, working alongside both Yoel and Vidal at our farms in Petaluma. Although he’s new to Elyon (and Sonoma County) he’s no stranger to growing. We’re happy to have him, his positive vibes and his green thumb at the farm. Welcome to the team, Bradley!
How did you first get started as a professional grower in the cannabis industry?
Bradley: I think I got started pretty much like most people just doing a couple plants in a tent in the backyard. But my first exposure to professional growing is when I got a job as a budtender in Bakersfield where I’m from. We were part of the opening crew and in the back of the building they had a grow room, a big hydroponic set up. They let me part of the set up and part of the care. That was when I first realized I like the process of growing. That was my first exposure to the professional side, about 7 or so years ago.
What does a typical day look like for you?
B: So first, copious amounts of coffee. I’m an incessant notetaker and scribbler and listmaker. So when I first get to the farm, I go through my notebook – all my plans for the day, week, month and what I did the day before. I try to make up some sort of list for the day, but every day is different. So sometimes I’ll get my list done, walk out of the office and get hit with something that changes my entire plan.
It really depends on the day. If it’s feed day, I’ll mix the feed, walk around, collect data, check on the irrigation system, make sure all of our systems are working right and the water is clean. If it’s a property maintenance day it could be seeing what needs to be cleaned or taking inventory. I have a lot of stuff on the computer that needs to get done as far as reporting. It just depends on the day.
I still consider myself needing to learn a lot. I’m a student forever. My main goal for every day is to be as useful where I can be and learn anywhere else I can’t.
What are the most important skills for you to be successful at your job?
B: Fluidity and a good work ethic. Fluidity because this isn’t a job that you go into and do the same thing every day. You don’t necessarily have a boss telling you what to do. You have to self-motivate and everything is changing. You have to be able to think on your feet. So being comfortable in that state is a really important skill. And a good work ethic because it’s hard. We’re out here all day. It’s hot. Right now it’s smoky. But as long as you don’t mind that and you’re ok with getting a little dirty and a little sweaty it’s a good job.
What’s been the most startling change since legalization?
B: On a personal level one of the things that has startled me that I’ve had to get used to is it just being more normalized; just like literally being high in public. I started smoking a long time ago and it was always taboo. Now you can be high in public and have stuff on you. That’s still something I have trouble getting used to. It’s just really not a big deal anymore. Same with the professional side, how normal it’s getting, especially with big grows. I think it’s so cool, especially in Sonoma County, that you can drive down the road and see beautiful vineyards on one side and on the other side you can see our hoop houses peak over the fences. Just being able to see it in public and not hidden in the woods. It’s really exciting.
Any predictions for the future of the industry?
B: I think it’s going to get bigger and more corporate, big business. I think the culture is going to start accepting it more. All those fears I have about being high in public are going to go away. Younger generations are going to grow up without having to hide it. It’s going to be like alcohol and in stores – just part of the culture. Hopefully. I think it’s a good tool…it can help heal the planet a little bit.
Do you have any advice for those new to the cannabis industry – first time consumers, home growers and those looking to get into it professionally?
B: I think for everyone, just take it really slow. Be patient. Definitely have fun with it. For consumers, you don’t have to get really high the first time. You can always take more but you can’t take less. Ease into it. For home growers, start small. Really pay attention to it. Collect as much data as you can. Really vibe with the plant and get used to what you’re doing. Don’t go big yet, build upon it. I think for people getting into the industry, it’s really competitive and it’s hard to get jobs. So I think it’s useful to get any other type of experience that will set you aside, just like any jobs. When I realized that I really liked growing, I immediately switched my studies to agriculture and took soil sciences and plant sciences. I got an internship with the UC cooperative extension and did ag-based research on almonds and pistachios. I still use that experience every day. So if you’re trying to break into it, doing anything you can to help yourself.
What is your favorite strain to grow? Is that different from your favorite to consume?
B: I don’t necessarily have a favorite. I like to grow everything and anything, even outside of cannabis. The more diversity in the garden the better. That being said, I do tend to lean more toward indica dominant strains for some reason. And I really like any strain crossed with an OG; usually OG hybrids really resonate with me for some reason. I really like the way they grow.
When I first started smoking I was obsessed with Sour Diesel. I don’t smoke it as much anymore but I think I have a little bit of nostalgia for that strain. So anything with that really pungent, skunky gas smell. I don’t really like the fruity flavors as much. I prefer it if I open my jar and my eyes water from how intense it is.
B: Anything peanut butter. I have a crazy obsession with peanut butter. Every time I get stoned, I cut up an apple and put peanut butter on it. Every time. I also recently discovered you can put peanut butter on cereal. That’s a game changer.
B: When I get stoned, it’s really easy for me to get lost in my head. Because I drift off into la la land when I get stoned, I have to keep moving. So I actually like to exercise when I get high. I like to go for a run, do yoga or lift weights. It’s super calming and helps with my breathwork.
What are you most proud of as part of the Elyon team?
On a personal level, I’m super proud of just being here. This is something I’ve dreamt about for a long time and I’m finally here. For the Elyon team, I think it’s really cool that they’ve been able to build what it is today. They’ve been through all the difficult hurdles that you have to go through. I think it’s really awesome how everyone in this company is really self-motivated. Everyone has their own ideas, nobody has to be told what to do. They all have new ways to improve things and make things better. I really like that environment. It pushes me to be better and make this place better. It’s super refreshing and pretty beautiful.
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