It’s officially that time of year where pumpkin spice is in the air, leaves turn to orange and red, and football is on all weekend long. But for the cannabis industry, Fall is more than just a change of season. In much of the US where outdoor cultivation is legal, there are hints of another aroma filling the crisp, cool air – the scent of fresh, sweet weed ready for harvesting.
Croptober is a long-time tradition amongst growers from coast to coast. One that’s gone mainstream with widespread legalization. So, what should consumers know about the month-long celebration for the plant we all love? Let’s find out as we explore Croptober to the fullest, its’ history, and why weed buyers should know.
WHAT IS CROPTOBER?
By now, you’ve probably seen the ‘Croptober’ hashtag show up on Instagram, or the stock of mason jars show up in stores. As late September marks the time when Croptober is about to arrive. If you haven’t picked up on the clues just yet, Croptober is the term that’s given to the month where the majority of harvesting outdoor weed occurs. Hence, the term ‘crop’.
After months and months of worrying and working to produce the best outdoor crops possible – Fall is the season where cultivators get to harvest the fruits of their labor. That’s because cannabis is an ‘annual’ plant that takes around 10 months to grow. In most climates, the end of this life span comes around late September – early November. For growers, this is the time where you could say ‘the magic happens’. Here’s just a quick look at some pre-harvest facts to feast your eyes (and nose!) on –
- The end of summer, when days become shorter triggers outdoor cannabis plants to pack on layers of resin. You know, the good stuff that produces weeds’ potency and signature aromas.
- To give you an idea of size and weight – some cannabis plants can reach heights of 12+ feet depending on the strain, or type.
- California is one of the biggest sources of domestic pot production, accounting for approximately 17.3 million pounds (58%) of US cannabis in 2019.
But what many consumers don’t know is the process once the plants get cut down is just as laborious. To better understand and appreciate each bag of flower you buy, let’s cover how the weed harvest month actually goes for growers, next.
THE SPIRIT OF HARVESTING
If you’ve ever had the high thought of ‘how is weed harvested’, we’ve got your answer. For consumers, it might seem like weed is so simple but the process to grow it and harvest it is anything but. Hence, the much-needed celebration once Croptober rolls around. During the last month of growth, cannabis growers are responsible for not only deciding when is the perfect time to harvest weed but processing the flower to make it sale-ready.
While specific strains tend to have an approximate life span length, there are tell-tale signs that cultivators look for to cut plants down at just the right time. Looking at leaf color, trichome clarity and color, and even the colors of those infamous white and orange hairs are all taken into consideration. Once outdoor cannabis plants show the signs of being at their peak for harvesting, is where the real work comes into play.
After months of feeding and watering plants are understandably chock-full of water. This is why one of the first steps is to dry the plants. While processes vary from grower to grower (some will wet trim first), typically plants are hung whole to dry in an environment that’s controlled for optimal conditions – like humidity and temperature. The drying phase alone can take anywhere from 7-12 days, alone.
Once the plants dry, it’s time to remove the sugar leaves that can add harshness to your inhales and exhales, when consuming. And, of course, trimming includes the natural shaping of buds for the type of top-shelf nugs consumers crave. Last but not least, is the process of curing marijuana buds. The art of curing helps lengthen the shelf-life of the material, while also curating the strain’s true aromas and density.
For home growers, and some commercial growers too – this is where the mason jars come into play. Buds are kept in airtight containers, and ‘burped’ every so often to let new air in, and moisture out. Curing buds for sale and consumption typically takes 2-4 weeks, but some growers will go 4-8 weeks or up to 6 months depending on strain or desired results.
CROPTOBER FOR CONSUMERS
Of course, there’s more to Croptober than just celebrating harvest and the freedom to legally cultivate cannabis for sale. Croptober has unique advantages for consumers, too. That being, the bountiful harvests go to sale shortly after the Croptober month ends. Meaning medical dispensaries, and retail storefronts are at the height of inventory for top-shelf and high-grade bud, and at a lower price to move product.
For buyers on a budget, this is especially key. With an overflow of supply, many suppliers offer a wide range of discounts that allow consumers to get the biggest bang for their buck. Not to mention, the flower will be at its peak of freshness. If you’re looking to reap the benefits of Croptober crops, taking the timeline into consideration, you can expect harvests to hit the shelves anywhere from mid-late November, and into December.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE SEASON
If you’re anything like most avid cannabis consumers…you love any good reason to celebrate the plant. This may be just one reason why Croptober is trending amongst cultivators and consumers alike. In addition to 4/20 and 7/10, Croptober is slowly becoming the month-long holiday canna-connoisseurs can rejoice in. Kind of like Oktoberfest for beer enthusiasts, but for those who dig puff, puff, passing instead.
So, if you plan on participating in high harvest happenings, there’s only one question that remains – what strains will you choose to enjoy? Join in on celebrating the hard work of our local California cultivators and start crafting the perfect stash line-up for the upcoming month. Browse the nearest Embarc menu, or stop in a location near you.