As high taxes and plummeting wholesale prices threaten California’s licensed cannabis industry, cultivators must maximize efficiency and keep costs low to weather the storm.
Adelanto-based Yellow Dream Farm is doing just that using LED lighting, vertical farming and water recirculation.
The family-owned cultivation operation, located in Southern California near the Victor Valley area of the Mojave Desert, grows boutique-quality cannabis at scale with the goal of bringing luxury products to market at an affordable cost, a goal that CEO Jeffrey Garber hopes to achieve through efficient grow practices, despite California’s volatile market.
“From a legislation standpoint, there are definitely a variety of challenges that we’re facing,” he tells Cannabis Business Times. “There’s been a plea for tax reductions in the state and somehow that plea turned into raising taxes. The market is saturated with flower, and everyone agrees that this is probably one of the lowest prices per pound that California has ever seen. This goes back to the state issuing more cultivation licenses than the retailers can support, which drives the prices of product down, obviously, based on supply and demand.”
Despite the challenges, Yellow Dream Farm is determined to produce a top-quality product while keeping its costs as minimal as possible.
“We’ve kind of just been learning from our mistakes and being able to pivot on a dime and just having a really, really great, passionate grow team who puts a lot of pride in their crop,” Garber says.
When it comes to water efficiency, Garber says there are no state or local regulations that limit the farm’s
water use, but droughts and a desire to build a sustainable operation have inspired the Yellow Dream Farm team to recycle irrigation water and condensate water from its HVAC and dehumidification systems.
“It wasn’t a matter of, ‘Oh, we have to do this,’” Garber says. “It’s just we need to grow sustainably, we need to grow efficiently, and we need to give back to this planet. That’s the reason why we’ve chosen to grow this way.”
One filtration process recirculates the water that is fed to the plants, while a second filtration system recycles the condensate water from the farm’s HVAC and dehumidification’s systems.
Through these two systems, Yellow Dream Farm reclaims 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of water each day that would otherwise be flushed down the drain.
“It costs a lot of money to produce a pound and we always want to pass savings along to the consumer,” Garber says.
Looking ahead, Garber wants Yellow Dream Farm to become vertically integrated with retail and delivery operations, and eventually expand the company to multistate operations in the Midwest and along the East Coast, where Garber calls home.
“We definitely want to take it back home and give people a little taste of the California market in New York,” he says.