Buddy Boy Farms is one of the biggest names in the legal cannabis market. Almost everyone who consistently buys from recreational cannabis stores is familiar with their products. I drove out to their facility early this September to catch a glimpse of the farm in action. I wanted to pinpoint the unique aspects of the grow and see what had changed since my last visit.
It had been over two years since I had last seen their farm. The changes and growth were evident as I pulled into their parking lot. A new building to my left; a remodeled building on my right. There was almost no parking, the lot was overflowing with employee vehicles. The growth that had occurred was surreal.
As I exited my car, DJ Parker, one of the owners and founders, greeted me with a familiar smile. We headed past the fence into the grow facility where I didn’t recognize a thing. When Buddy Boy started, it was all outdoor—a large open field covered in perfect rows of cannabis plants. Now, all I could see were greenhouses; 12 to be exact. Nine of them filled to the brim with plants and three still under construction. Speckled between greenhouses were groupings of outdoor plants with stocks as thick as my forearm.
We meandered through the garden and spoke of the change that had occurred. While they were growing mainly outdoor, their employee situation was even crazier. During the October harvest they would have well over a hundred people on staff for up to two months, and then it would dwindle back down to regular staffing numbers. Now, harvesting occurs every two weeks and Buddy Boy Farms is hoping to get on a regimen of harvesting weekly. Instead of the boom or bust of their former employee situation, now they consistently employ around 40 people.
The greenhouses are still relatively new. The ones that have been completed feature beautiful doors with intricate woodwork designs. The greenhouses are also equipped with fans, dehumidifiers and 1,100 lights wait on the sidelines until installation.
The plants themselves looked different than I remember. They were larger, happier, healthier. When Buddy Boy Farms started, they only had the one product line, but now they have three. Their flagship Buddy Boy is still the main brand and largest seller—which is their greenhouse product. Their outdoor line is LCG with the slogan, “A pleasant surprise.” 420 Gold is their premium brand consisting of only hand-trimmed kolas in beautiful glass jars.
All of their flower is grown naturally without the use of pesticides. Steve Walser, the other founder, had been growing pesticide-free blueberries for over 40 years and had no intention of growing cannabis any differently. You can even see blueberries growing adjacent to the cannabis—just on the other side of a wall. Integrated Pest Management is used to control bugs and pests. Unlike other farms that have to purchase their ladybugs, the blueberries have been on this land so long that natural swarms of ladybugs move through their facility as their food appears. They have built up a bumblebee habitat around the farm as well to increase natural bumblebee populations.
At the farm, there are dozens of strains currently growing, but it is being whittled down to about eight. Currently, stores are on a waiting list to receive God’s Gift, Sour Diesel, Amazing Grace—a high CBD strain—Blue Dragon, Presidential Kush and UW Purple.
With the growing popularity of their flower, Buddy Boy Farms is expanding into other areas as well. They have recently started producing cartridges using alcohol extraction and molecular distillation. The carts are flying from the shelves and so far they have not had one returned.
As we moved into the office and continued our talk, we spoke of the future of the farm as well. They plan on entering the medical cannabis market. The added cost of testing is a barrier to them, as it is to all farms, but they believe it is the right direction to head in and the right thing to do. Constructing a kitchen to start producing edibles is in the works too.
When DJ, Steve, and their wives Laura and Margaret Ann started Buddy Boy Farms, they had $100,000 between them and a dream. They started small and built something beyond their imagination. Their overarching philosophy is simple yet explains the grow and product perfectly. As DJ put it, “We run it as harmonically as we can, put out the best product we can and keep everyone happy.” They have clearly succeeded.