MedCare Farms – Riverside County, CA
On July 8, 2008, Garin Heslop was riding on his motorcycle when a truck crossed into oncoming traffic, causing him to crash into it headfirst. His injuries were significant; he spent nearly six hours in surgery and two weeks in the hospital. To cope with his injuries, Heslop was prescribed medications that he said “made my quality of life worse; it changed who I was.” His wife, Kelly, a military veteran, recommended cannabis. “It helped me sleep, alleviated back spasms and gave me a better quality of life,” says Heslop. His experience inspired a mission to spread awareness and make cannabis available to others in need. In 2009, the couple founded MedCare Farms, a craft cannabis co-operative headquartered in Riverside County.
MedCare’s cannabis is grown indoors near Lake Perris, and the Heslops will soon break ground on a new facility in Lake Elsinore. The nine buildings range in size from 9,500 to 50,000 square feet; each room is between 1,200 to 1,700 square feet to ensure atmosphere control. The goal is to sustain optimal climates, guaranteeing “each plant is having their best day,” says Heslop. “That’s part of craft quality; without tracking, we’re not giving plants the best [chance] possible.” To that end, MedCare’s cultivation incorporates ebb and flow hydroponic watering systems, reusing grow mediums, recirculating and reusing feed water, as well as recycling water collected from condensation in A/C units. Only organic measures — like beneficial bugs or CO2 — are used to control pests, and plants are handled with gloves. Each plant receives special nutrients, is hand-trimmed and undergoes MedCare’s five-step process before testing, which takes 167 days from start to finish.
MedCare’s signature strains — MedCare Kush, Lemon Burst and Cookies & Cream — were chosen from 150 different genotypes. “It takes years to find the best phenotype,” Heslop explains, outlining a selection process involving tracking the progress and traits of 50 different strains. Seed to selection, finding superhero genetics takes approximately two years. “Our process is to never become complacent,” he says. “We’re trying to find the LeBron James of strains — the best of the best.”