How understanding the differences between storing methods help to consistently provide fresh cannabis year-round.
Timing, proper environment, observation and consistency are the principles of a good storage SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), so lets get into it!
Mistakes; happy and otherwise…
Running a small business successfully often feels like an intersection of accidents and the ability to learn or profit from them. That being said, there are many ways to improperly store dried cannabis flower: 1) In a room with lots of natural light and/or temperature fluctuations, 2) In bins/totes with no ability to breathe or sealed too tightly, 3) Outdoors.
In all seriousness, these were and still are common mistakes even among commercial growers at large scale, and mistakes we have made on the farm more recently than I would care to admit.
The expenses of regulation and a limited up-front budget for trimming means figuring out how to store unprocessed cannabis flower and keep it as fresh as possible. A clean no-muss-no-fuss approach is storing flower un-bucked and still on the stem. While it takes up significantly more space, once processing begins, the flower stored on-stem in totes is more structurally preserved, resulting in a more proper cure. The color and nose is maintained and the moisture content equalizes. We believe that the connection of the dried vascular system of the cut branches act as a natural humidor or desiccant allowing the flowers to very slowly finish curing and also be more resilient to environmental changes during storage.
The other truly essential ingredient is that of the ambient environment. By letting whole cannabis flower experience natural yet minimal environmental fluctuation and keeping it right at the lower boundary of normal temperatures (45-60 degrees) it is far less likely to degrade on its way to the end consumer.
Store product in the dark at no warmer than 60 degrees in bins/totes that can breathe slowly with not too tight of a seal. We target a humidity of between 45% to 65% and use food-grade ostrich bags to mitigate the fluctuations. We find that desiccants, clay humidity packs, and natural gas suspension methods lead to rapid degradation of product as soon as they are removed and/or the environment changes. Through trial and error, communication with clients and long days spent processing, QC’ing and grading product we have found storage to be one of the most essential parts of the post-harvest process.