If you’re the type of person who likes to know where your food comes from, you might be curious about knowing the path your medical cannabis took to the dispensary.

From planting to trimming to processing, attention to detail is what distinguishes Pine Tree Apothecary from other Maine medical growers. Co-owners Michael Satchell, originally from Massachusetts, and Eric Theriault, a Maine native, have an almost personal relationships with their crop. They trim and water by hand, maximize opportunities to reuse and recycle in their grow rooms and of course, do everything organically.

“As a business, we have to be efficient,” said Satchell. “And at the end of the day, we’re medical growers who want to have a high-quality product at a relatively low cost.”

Compost: Pine Tree Apothecary recently acquired 105 acres in Auburn to expand their outdoor grow and get ready for new agricultural development opportunities as federal and state cannabis regulations change. The move will also give them the space to finally implement a composting system, which will eliminate any plant waste they produce.

Pests: Maine’s biggest problem insect for cannabis is the root aphid. Larvae feed on the roots, hatch and then swarm the leaves and buds as adults. Pine Tree Apothecary manages pests naturally, with both weekly shipments of predatory bugs that live in the grow rooms and by using Suffoil-X®, an organic, mineral oil-based anti-pest and -fungal spray.

Soil: Pests are the reason many growers throw out their soil when they’re done with a grow. Pine Tree reuses their soil, covering it with tarps and relying on nematodes (which are tiny worms) to eat up any surviving pests. That soil is then used to start the next planting, when they take clones from mother plants and get them started in rockwool cubes.

Nutrients: “We spend a lot on nutrients,” Satchell said. Their primary nutrient supplier is Biobizz, a global leader in 100% organic soil, fertilizer and nutrient products.

Water: In the humid grow room, dehumidifiers catch the H2O in the air and drain to irrigation lines that fill a 75-gallon tank every two days. That distilled water is used to hydrate the mature plants.

Light: “In the flower room, we try to reproduce what happens outside naturally,” said Satchell. When they build their greenhouses in Auburn over the next two years, they will be transitioning to LEDs for indoor growing.

Leaves and branches: Pine Tree Apothecary uses tomato cages to train and support plant structure. The less strength a plant needs to support itself, the more it can put into producing bigger, denser flowers.

Cannabis sativa. Vintage illustration from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 1897.

Flowers: When Pine Tree begins their flower harvest, they hang dry full branches for 14 days. “That preserves the flavor,” said Satchell. As they cut the flowers and hand-trim the buds, they use Trim Bins®, a tray designed to catch every bit of the plant from small leaves to kief, the finest bits of resinous dust that comes off the flowers during processing.

Vapes: As flowers are being processed, small leaves, or sugar leaves, that fall off are sent to Coast 2 Coast Extracts, an experienced state-certified processing lab. Coast 2 Coast extracts the terpenes from this material and Pine Tree Apothecary fills their vapes cartridges with these  cannabis derived terpenes, giving them a unique flavor profile.

Concentrates:Did you know THC isn’t water soluble? If you wash flowers in very cold water, the THC resins will fall off like oil molecules. The water is then strained through various micron bags to catch different quality THC resins. At Pine Tree, they use ICExtraxt® bags. After, they freeze-dry the THC until it becomes a sandy powder and then press it in-house to create rosin.

Pre-rolls: Flowers that are too small to be sold are screen sorted and used for pre-roll products. Pine Tree Apothecary pre-rolls are then coated with terpenes and rolled in kief.

Edibles: When the weather cools, edible sales heat up. Pine Tree Apothecary has a chef on staff and their own certified kitchen where they make peanut butter cups, gummies, cake bites, peppermint patties and more. These edibles are potent! The flavorless distillate they use is 93% THC.

You can find Pine Tree Apothecary products at Atlantic Farms and Fire on Fore in Portland, Beach Boys in South Portland, MAC in Windham and Rock Steady Remedies in Bangor. Follow them on Instagram, @pinetreeapothecary.

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