Stephanie Piantanida   |   April 13, 2018

Inside Phat Panda

In this episode of Canna Cribs, viewers get a look inside Grow Op Farms, LLC Phat Panda facility in Spokane, Washington.
Stephanie Piantanida is a freelance writer involved in multiple aspects of the cannabis industry. In addition to writing, Stephanie has and continues to work within the medicinal industry in multiple states. Through her writing she hopes…

 

The second episode of Canna Cribs gives viewers a tour of Phat Panda’s 60,000 square-foot facility in Spokane, Washington.  Phat Panda, which is the flower line for Grow Op Farms, is a Washington i502 producer and processor ranked number one in the state concerning revenue.  The facility currently has approximately 120 employees and operates 24/7 to keep up with the growing demands of Washington consumers. 

 

Cultivation

The first stop on the tour is to the genetics department, a 2,000 square foot room housing the 200 strains currently in the research and development phase.  During this phase, every step of the plant's cycle is tracked, such as cloning and veg time, before it flowers and gets tested.  New strains are bred based on not only their ability to be produced on a mass-scale but with the most desirable traits which hold true to the Phat Panda brand.

Next, host Nate Lipton, owner of Growers House, heads to propagation.  His first stop is to one of the mother rooms, or stock rooms, as Phat Panda calls them.  These mother rooms total 12,000 square-feet and house all of the plants whose genetics will end up as final products at Phat Panda.  Inside the 6000 square-foot room the viewers get to see are approximately 180 different strains, totaling anywhere from 300-400 plants. As Phat Panda's Director of Propagation informs viewers, the key to success in the mother rooms and remaining free from any disease or powdery mildew is cleanliness and implementing a bi-weekly integrated pest management (IPM) regiment.

This image is courtesy of Growers Network

At the cloning station, Phat Panda cuts anywhere from 500 to 1500 clones per week, and its propagation room, which holds approximately 4000 clones, has a 90 to 95% success rate of those clones which make it to veg.  Once clones are ready to enter the nursery, they are transplanted into a 5x5 inch cube, where they will receive their first beneficials and topping.  Plants typically stay in this stage for 2 to 3 weeks, until they move under wide-dispersion lights, and relocate to their final growing container, a 5-gallon fabric pot.

Once the plants are ready, they will move on to one of Phat Panda’s 40 flower rooms, or bloom rooms, each customized to accommodate specific strains.  As the video shows, irrigation at Phat Panda is controlled digitally; the feed is pumped into the lines and released at the regulated rate of 8 to 10 gallons per hour.

 

Curing and Trimming

The curing process at Phat Panda is typically anywhere from 10 to 14 days, with the actual time depending on the nature of the plant.  Phat Panda is sure never to rush the curing process, as so many cultivators do. Moisture content is measured continuously, with the perfect percentage being around 11% to 12.5%.  Once the product is cured, it heads to the trimming department, where Phat Panda staff is hand-trimming approximately 20 pounds per day.  The trimming department is also responsible for 10,000 to 12,000 pre-rolls are machine-rolled daily; however, each pre-roll is perfected and packaged by Phat Panda staff.

 

Extraction

Dabstract Laboratories is where all of the extractions take place at Phat Panda.  All product passes through a hydrocarbon extraction machine, then onto vacuum ovens, where the remainder of the solvents is removed from the product.  In addition to producing top-of-the-line extracts, Dabstract is doing so with solvent levels well below the state requirements.   A few of the most popular products produced at Dabstract are Terpene Sugar, a live resin product, and the THCA product, which typically yields 90% or higher THC.

This image is courtesy of Growers Network

 

Processing

A large part of the production cycle at Phat Panda is the processing, which takes place at Candyland, within the Phat Panda facility.  Here, edibles of the highest-quality are created, not only in variety and flavor but also maintain consistent dosage and effects. Typically, Candyland is producing 75,000 units of edibles a week, including their hard candies (lozenge), taffies, caramels, chocolates, and drops.

 

Packaging

The last stop is to the packaging department, which runs 18 to 24 hours a day.  Because Washington state laws require all edible packaging be child-protected and opaque, Phat Panda relies heavily on their brand and marketing.  As for all other products, such as flower and concentrates, the packaging is completed in a different room and often enlists the assistance of machines for final labeling.

Phat Panda is truly a sophisticated seed-to-sale grow operation.  Through every step of the cultivation and processing lifecycle, Phat Panda is able to mass-produce high-end boutique products which are consistent, as well as desirable.  

 

Want More?

 Check Out Canna Cribs E1: Glass House Greenhouse.

 

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