Summer on the Farm
By Lauren Mooney
Each bottle of TONIC is created with intention. As the Cannabis industry grows rapidly, and huge corporations clamor for a piece of the pie, TONIC stays true to their roots literally and figuratively. Family owned - Brittany CEO/Founder, and Erik Carbone, Lead Grower translate their passion for the plant into helping people bring balance into their lives, by ultimately allowing healing to happen naturally and effectively.
One of the many qualities that sets TONIC apart from all the other CBD brands popping up is the care and control from farm to dropper. In part 2 of this series we get down and dirty with Erik Carbone about the challenges and glories of Summer on Tricolla Farms in Upstate NY.
LAUREN MOONEY: Can you describe a typical Summer day on the farm for you?
ERIK CARBONE: My typical day starts with me going through my fields every morning first thing to check on our plants, making sure everything is looking the way it should. Depending on the weather I will usually turn on my irrigation system and manage my watering zones, or schedule in a liquid feeding through the irrigation system. After this I will usually be spending most of my day picking weeds and cutting the grass in between the rows. We do not use any kind of pesticides or weed killers to in order to keep harmful chemicals out of our crops and our land.
LM: What do you have to do to keep the hemp healthy over the Summer?
EC: Remove weeds. Try to keep a consistent watering schedule, watch the weather patterns closely so I can determine when and when not to irrigate. The hemp plants do not like a lot of water, so keeping an eye on rain systems consumes a lot of my time. I’ve become somewhat of an amateur weatherman the past few years. Then I will keep a close eye on the plants to see what kind of nutrients they would need and mix a custom blend of nutrients for a weekly or bi weekly feeding.
LM: After 1 month in the ground about how many inches do the hemp plants grow? 2 months? 3?
EC: It can vary from strain to strain, but they will typically grow about 15 inches over the course of the first month after planting in the ground. Month 2 they can explode and really start to grow big. Typically by the end of July they can be anywhere from 3 to 5 feet tall. Then flowering starts; once they flower they begin to hit 6 feet plus. Some strains grow taller, some grow bushier, but last year most of our crop was anywhere between 6 and 8+ feet tall.
LM: Do you grow anything other than hemp on the farm?
EC: Last year we grew about 250 tomato plants which we used to make homemade sauce with. We grew cucumbers, zucchini and a bunch of basil. My mother-in-law loves making pesto. This year we still have a few small planters with some veggies. This year we decided to plant some complementary plants around our hemp in order to see if it will effect terpene development. We planted spearmint in our rows along with lemon balm and two varieties of basil - your typical green basil and a red basil. We also planted a few hundred marigold plants to keep pests away.
LM: Do you have any animals on the farm?
EC: As much as I would love to have animals on the farm we do not at this time, besides our 3 puppies - my inlaws two small dogs and me and Britt’s dog Cheech - who also happens to love the farm as much as we do. You can see from our social media that she has become our farm mascot. She loves to follow us through the fields and keep us company.
LM: How many people work the farm, and what are their roles? Is this different in the Summer months vs. year round?
EC: Besides myself we have 3 full time employees that work throughout the year. And my father Rocco helps us out a lot, mostly doing all the construction needs at the farm, helping keep things orderly, and building whatever we need. My father-in-law Rick, and his brother Phil help to maintain the land, weeding and cutting in between rows, and whatever else needs to be done.
LM: Are there challenges that are unique to a New York farm in the Summer versus other parts of the country?
EC: Compared to other places growing hemp such as Colorado and Oregon, New York can be a bit of a challenge because of how much rain we can get. The plants prefer it to be hot and humid but don’t like too much water, so the rain can be an issue. But as long as you take precautions on your property to ensure your land is well drained; and be smart about when to irrigate you can cut some of those challenges out and still produce an extraordinary crop.
LM: Do you pretty much spend the entire Summer on the farm? And what do you enjoy doing on the farm other than working it?
EC: April through October I’m on the farm 99% of the time. I truly enjoy working on the farm and growing these beautiful plants.
But besides working the land, we have a whole bunch of trails going through the woods on our property, and we enjoy riding our quads through the trails. We also have a pond loaded with fish. Later afternoons after all the work is done we spend quite a bit of time fishing in it - catch and release only. It’s a great way to enjoy a nice afternoon.
We also have a stream that runs behind our property, and last year I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the areas around the stream making a beach area, as well a little park where we can hang out around the fire pit and take a take a dip in the stream on hot days. Cheech loves jumping in the water on hot days to cool down.
Follow @tricollafarms on IG to learn more & witness every beautiful stage of Tricolla Farms' cultivation practice.