What started out as an internet search for cannabis drying solutions turned into a whole new tier of flower for Native Harvest Farms patients.
The medical cannabis dispensary, which has three locations across the Sooner State, is known for its top-tier quality flower, offering carefully curated strains for their patients. When the company started to explore an outdoor grow expansion of their indoor grow operations, Director of Operations Freddy Petrolia started researching drying and curing options that would best fit this larger-scale operation. He stumbled upon an article that touted freeze drying as a potential solution, starting him on a journey that eventually introduced Cryo Cure to Oklahoma’s competitive medical cannabis market.
“Freeze drying was an interesting solution that I had not known much about before,” Petrolia said.
Of all the freeze drying systems and solutions out there, Petrolia narrowed it down to Cryo Cure and several other cannabis-specific options. He sent a few emails and waited – but didn’t need to wait long to hear back from Cryo Cure President Greg Baughman.
“I remember sending out a few emails – it was a Sunday – and Cryo Cure immediately got back to me, even though it was the weekend,” Petrolia said. “I knew right then and there that they cared deeply for their customers and product, and they were the right company to trust with our grow operation.”
While the dispensary has since changed its plans for an outdoor grow, replacing it with a second indoor grow space, what didn’t change was Native Harvest Farms’ need for Cryo Cure’s patent-pending cannabis drying and curing process. Here’s how this transformational technology made a splash at Native Harvest.
Several challenges lay ahead as Native Harvest Farms planned their second indoor grow facility. Cryo Cure machines mitigated these costly concerns while producing a top-shelf smokable flower for the dispensary’s customers. Cryo Cure resolved outstanding issues in four key areas — humidity control, space, employee training, and product purity – all with caring and attentive customer service.
Oklahoma’s climate is a humid one year-round, presenting several difficulties for those with both indoor and outdoor grow operations. Top priority for Petrolia and Native Harvest Farms was unmatched quality control, as cannabis flower is subjected to much stricter purity standards: without careful oversight of humidity levels, flower could be too contaminated to be sold as a smokable product. With Cryo Cure, medically sensitive patients could confidently purchase the cleanest product possible.
As one of the main causes of mold, mildew, and bud rot, controlling humidity was the first and most important point for Petrolia and Native Harvest Farms.
“You can’t stop the progression of bud rot once it sets in, so controlling this factor was of utmost importance for us,” Petrolia said. “I know several outdoor growers who were limited to the concentrates market because humidity affects cannabis crops so severely that the flower could not be smoked. Without precise humidity, temperature control, and proper airflow, there’s no way to mitigate this.”
Other freeze dryers bring moisture levels down to levels too low for cannabis, but not so for Cryo Cure. The machine’s fine-tuned settings enabled ideal humidity levels for smokable flower while preserving terpene-rich trichomes and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels in the process.
“The final product is more potent and vibrant, all while mitigating the risk of bud rot developing from the inside out,” Petrolia said.
Traditional drying and curing are a delicate process which requires detailed training, experience, and practice. In a new medical cannabis market where many dispensary employees were learning the ropes for the first time, one wrong move could prove to be a costly mistake. By using Cryo Cure’s simple programmable settings, dispensary employee training was a much easier process, minimizing the risk of human error.
“Chances of mistakes are effectively removed with Cryo Cure in the picture,” Petrolia said.
Not to mention, with fewer touchpoints and less time spent drying and curing, the risk of contamination rapidly decreased.
“The fewer times the product is touched by human hands, the better, especially with serving patients,” Petrolia said.
As Native Harvest Farms planned for their indoor grow expansion, Cryo Cure proved key to maximizing space. Proper cannabis drying requires plenty of room for airflow, plus all the climate control costs that come with managing such a large area. Cryo Cure eliminates those startup and ongoing maintenance costs for grows of all sizes.
“Instead of building out 1,200 square feet dedicated to drying, you can take this machine that takes up a small fraction of that space and that can be your drying room,” Petrolia said. “That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in profit and in significant savings related to construction and maintenance costs. We can get similar, and even better, results in a fraction of the space with Cryo Cure.”
Visit the Cryo Cure Models page to see dimensions and options.
Coming into frequent contact with cannabis is a part of the drying and curing process. While employees must be dressed head to toe in personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow extensive safety protocol, the fact remains that plant material still encounters human hands multiple times. That could put traditionally dried and cured flower at higher risk for contaminates than Cryo Cure’s shortened 13-hour process, which only requires one “burp.”
“Cryo Cure helped us find a way to limit the number of touches on a product, which is very valuable to us because we are a dispensary that serves a medically sensitive community,” Petrolia said.
Cryo Cure’s leadership flew to Oklahoma once the machine was delivered. There, Baughman and CEO Tracee McAfee spent several days on the ground with Native Harvest Farms leadership and employees, showing staff members how to use the machines step by step and answering any and all questions along the way.
“Greg walked us through the first Cryo Cure batch, and I took a video to replay as our employees tried it for themselves,” Petrolia said. “The second day, our employees and I went through the steps while Greg supervised.
“After Greg and Tracee left, we continued to go through the steps and take it slow. They provided a thorough manual and instructions that showed us step by step what to do. If you follow their guidance precisely, our employees found the machines easy to operate.”
Whenever any questions arise, Petrolia knows he can pick up the phone at any time.
“Greg and Tracee are always quick to respond,” Petrolia said.
After the onboarding and training period, Cryo Cure hit Native Harvest’s shelves in November 2020. From the get-go, Petrolia said that patients noticed the Cryo Cure difference: a more aromatic, flavorful, and clear-headed experience due to the high terpene levels and stabilized THC, which does not degrade into Cannabinol (CBN) that can cause the sleepy “couch lock” effect.
“Our patients say that Cryo Cure is a smooth smoke with a better smell and vibrant appearance,” Petrolia said. “Our patients give us lots of positive feedback – they like it a lot.”
The differences in flavor, potency, and visuals were so striking that the dispensary was inspired to create a new “platinum” tier of flower, one that captures patients’ attention the moment they step up to the counter.
While there are certainly many visual cues that set Cryo Cure apart from regular cannabis flower, there are plenty of differences on the molecular level, too. Petrolia noted that test results find higher levels of terpenes and phytocannabinoids than in traditionally dried and cured flower.
“We simply cannot put Cryo Cure and other flower in the same jar – the differences are that great in every sense,” Petrolia said. “While we are known for offering high quality flower, Cryo Cure offers a whole new experience to our patients. Cryo Cure has a bright future in Oklahoma, and we are excited to be at the forefront.”
To learn more about how our technology can help your cannabis or hemp operations, schedule a no-obligation, free consultation with Cryo Cure.