|Golden Peak Cannabis Inc.
|Indoor, retrofit, living soil
|~ 6 months
Golden Peak Cannabis, owned by husband and wife team Tom Devost and Renee Desjardins, recently harvested their first crop – a Tiger Bomb cultivator that they hope to have on shelves in their home province of New Brunswick in early 2021.
Licensed in July of this year, the couple’s path to licensing began in late 2019 when they found a suitable building and spent a few months retrofitting it before submitting their application in January 2020.
Although the process was not easy or cheap, they spent about $500,000 for the full retrofit of their facility, securing a location, plus licensing fees. They say they are both confident they can make the small licence category work, especially by focusing on the local New Brunswick and Martimes market.
“We’ve found a lot of support in the community,” says Devost. “That has been really helpful. We did most of the licensing and design ourselves, but we were able to reach out to other micros and other producers to help with a few smaller issues. We even got help from a neighbouring micro when it came to trimming our first harvest, so it has been a real community experience.”
That relationship with the community also extends to their partnership with fellow New Brunswick standard cultivator/processor Crystal Cure, who will be helping Golden Peak get their product to market. They also have helped them with the licensing process and some of their initial genetic selections, including the first crop of Tiger Bomb , as well as their next batch of Wedding Cake that they expect to harvest soon. Crystal Cure provides ongoing cultivation expertise to Golden Peak.
Although Devost and Desjardins say they plan on getting their own processing licence down the road, working with Crystal Cure allows them to focus first on growing while still getting their brand out there to consumers. Crystal Cure also provides Golden Peak with the Adonis Living soil that is used at the facility.
“Our values in terms of growing principles like using living soil aligns closely with Crystal Cure’s,” Devost says. “We’re happy that they’ll be helping us with some of our initial branding here when we first get to market and which should help give us a leg up if we want to sell it ourselves once we have a processing licence.”
“We have the same philosophy around small batch quality, and using living soil. So we are very aligned with them which is great because they’re right next door.”
“It’s how I like to grow my own vegetables,” adds Devost. “I think there’s a story there that can be told to potential customers, that connects with people. It’s something that is near and dear to my heart. This is a competitive market so we have to find a niche, bring people to that niche, and hopefully keep them with you.”
This growing community in New Brunswick and the Martitimes, especially among smaller growers, is key to the region building more of a unique cannabis community or culture, explains Devost, especially for micros with a relatively limited market due to their smaller nature.
“We would be happy to sell products in other provinces, but since we’re limited to how much we can produce, I don’t know if it makes sense to look in other markets as long as we can supply New Brunswick, or at most the maritimes.”
Despite those limitations, he says he’s confident they can make the micro licence work, even if building an indoor facility was more costly than other methods.
“An indoor grow is not a cheap operation to get up and running,” he says. “But we did have the advantage of not having to build a building (just retrofitting), so that helped at least initially. We decided we wanted to build something of a very high standard that can provide an excellent quality flower, so there is a high cost that can go into that. But I think if you’re producing some high quality cannabis at an affordable price, you should be alright.”
“When the micro regulations were announced we started looking into it and felt it was something we could make work as a small family business,” continues Devost “That’s what we’re trying to build here. Renee grew up on a farm and I’ve always had interest in plants and gardening, so cultivation was certainly something we wanted to get into.”
After getting an SOP template package from Flemming & Singh cannabis Inc. and managing the retrofitting of their facility and the licensing process, they also do the vast majority of the work themselves. Devost manages most of the day-to-day facility operations while Desjardins manages admin and compliance, while getting local help during harvest, etc.
Both of them grew up in small-town New Brunswick , which has helped shape their work ethic, says Desjardins, and makes the business something they are willing to put their all into.
“We have a lot of energy and we’re not afraid of work and challenges,” she says. “I saw my dad working on a potato farm getting up at 5am and coming in sometimes as late as midnight when there were harvests, so hard work has never been a problem.”
“I also think having a support system is important,” Desjardins continues. “I think there’s a potential for this to be really great for New Brunswick and for us to even be a future model for other micros.”