Alicanto Gardens

| David Brown

Alicanto Gardens is a new, family-run micro cultivator in Manitoba that hopes to have its first products on the shelves in Manitoba later this summer. 

Alicanto Gardens is a new, family-run micro cultivator in Manitoba that hopes to have its first products on the shelves in Manitoba later this summer. 

Run by Waldemar Heidebrecht, his wife Larissa, daughter Jennifer and son Justin, the company received their micro cultivation licence last December through a partnership with Manitoba producer and retailer Delta9 BioTech.

They started down the path of getting a cannabis licence more than two years ago, explains Jennifer, when the family was looking at building a small, hydroponic “microgreens” facility to supply local markets. After running into some challenges with that model, she says it didn’t take long for them to realize they could do something similar except with cannabis instead of salad greens. 

“We’re all new to cannabis, but we wanted to find something that we could run as a family, and when we learned about the micro cannabis licence that seemed to make the most sense,” she says. “We were first thinking about growing microgreens and salad greens hydroponically, as well as other food products, but because of some challenges in working with buyers and the middlemen, we eventually landed on doing cannabis instead.”

Waldemar, who wears most of the official “hats” at the company—serving as the RPIC, Head of Security, and Master Grower—says they soon learned about fellow Manitoba cannabis company Delta9—who has a program to help micro cultivators get licensed and into the market— they quickly jumped on board. 

Using a farm property about an hour south of Winnipeg that the family already owned, they began retrofitting an existing machine shop and filled it with 12 pre-built SeaCan “grow pods” supplied by Delta9. They were ready to apply by August of 2020 and received their licence in December. 

Waldermar attributes the relatively short timeline from licence submission to issuance to their partnership with Delta9.

“It was pretty smooth because Delta9 gave us all the info we needed on how to do it,” Waldermar explains. “We had everything completed so we didn’t have to change anything and Health Canada seemed pretty happy with that. They were familiar with Delta9’s grow pods, SOPs, and paperwork and I think that really helped.”

Now that they are licensed, the partnership also means they have a buyer for their product already lined up. Once it’s ready, their product will be sold through Delta9’s several retail locations in the province. This will allow them to focus on growing, leaving packaging, marketing, and sales to their partner. 

“Right now we’re happy to stay with Delta9, for as long as it works out,” he continues. We’re not interested in changing around.  If something changes we might try to find another partner, but either way I think we will stay with cultivation and work with a partner of some kind. We’re not interested in getting our processing licence at this time. This way we can perfect our growing techniques and have help getting it to the market.”

Currently, Alicanto Gardens is focussing on two strains for market, Blue Iguana and Layer Cake, which he says he’s chosen because they are known as higher-THC cultivars. 

“We have other things we’d like to grow, but that’s what the market wants right now so that’s what we’re focussing on”, he says. “We have a fair amount of seeds we brought in so if we need to change it up we can do that, too.”

“We’re excited to get our first flower out there and see what people say. We’re a small, local, family-run Manitoba business. There’s a lot to learn in this new industry and we’re going to keep growing with it.”