For this special 420 issue, Weed Aficionado Magazine broadened our regular Potlight feature into a special “Supplier Spotlight” with one of our favorite farms. Primo Farms, as its name promises, is a premier grower of top-shelf cannabis products, available at fine Oregon dispensaries — and our 420 Party! We sat down for a one-on-one with Primo Farms founder Derek Wright, whose passion for the industry is evident in every facet of Primo’s operation.
WAM: Where is your business located? Are you open to the public?
PRIMO: We are in the fertile Rogue Valley, not far from where I was born. The farm is very remote, requiring four-wheel drive during certain times of the year, and is not feasible for public access. We have made exceptions for some VIPs, picking them up in town to make their journey easier. On the way in, it’s very common to come across, elk, deer, wild turkeys and quail that keep us and our workers entertained.
WAM: Tell us about your business’s background and mission.
PRIMO: Our 15 years of experience growing medicinal product in Southern Oregon has taught us a lot, and we are only interested in continuing to deliver the highest-quality product to licensed wholesalers and dispensaries in Oregon. I remember how inspired I got by seeing first-hand what cannabis did for my neighbor who had cancer and looked super thin and near death. After starting treatment with some medical marijuana I had grown for him that season, he started gaining weight again, improved in appearance and was healthy enough to continue his formal treatment program. His life was extended another six years and, more importantly, his quality of life seemed to significantly improve after using cannabis.
Our mission is to provide Oregon licensed wholesalers with high-quality, top-shelf, recreational cannabis products for years to come.
WAM: Do you serve both the recreational and medical markets?
PRIMO: Due to regulations, we can only provide products to dispensaries licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Those dispensaries then can provide Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patients with our products tax-free. Our passion is medicinal, yet the financial viability is limited with Oregon’s reprioritization of the medical sector, so we are applying the same love and care to our plants as we did then.
WAM: What are your most popular products?
PRIMO: Our most popular product is our top-shelf flower coming from exclusive genetics. These are our top two sellers.
Rogue River Shiver has become a highly sought-after strain due to its incredible taste. This 70/30 indica- dominant strain usually has THC levels over 20 percent, making it a very good choice for relaxation. The aroma is very fresh, earthy and tangy, with some nice, dark amber-colored trichomes. Rich, creamy-tasting smoke has hints of lemon and pine. Its eminently relaxing, dreamy sensation builds over time into bolting cerebral energy that’s unexpected from indicas. This lethargy-free strain is a great way to get a powerful dose without the side effects of other strains.
Primo Stout is a GSC-leaning phenotype known for its large size, huge yields and giant frosty colas. It breaks down easily and has a nice, even burn and heavy body high. It is a sativa-hybrid strain with deep forest-greens and wild shoots of dark, orange-brown hairs. The sweet, lemony-pine aroma gets stronger as you get down to the heart of the bud. The flavor is robust, pungent and skunky. Relaxing, with a deep-rooted, soothing body high, Primo Stout is an extreme mental relaxant, as well. THC levels are around 24.93 percent, CBD 0.31 percent
WAM: What is the reason behind your business’ success?
PRIMO: Engineered by nature, our plants get the best care, sunlight, climate, water, soil and rich nutrients, so users experience a major difference in quality. We take follow-through seriously, prioritize fair business practices and take a lot of pride in what we do. It also helps to have grown up here, so I know the subtleties of the region’s climate and soils.
WAM: What inspired your passion for this industry?
PRIMO: We love farming, growing amazing product and maintaining consistency. Our medicinal work sparked the original passion, and over the years we saw measurable results for patients with anxiety, back injuries, depression, sleep disorders and even Crohn’s disease.
WAM: What is your favorite part of the job?
PRIMO: Problem-solving is my passion, and I love overseeing operations and sales. Getting my hands dirty still happens periodically, especially when it comes to cloning and critical growing times. If you try calling, I’m often on the road somewhere in Oregon between meetings and negotiating new deals.
WAM: What’s new for your business in 2018?
PRIMO: We are excited to finally release some new genetics we’ve been working on. We also have been branching out and collaborating with some reputable local processors to bring high-quality extracts and concentrates to the marketplace. Our farm size will continue to get bigger, and we also are working on new and exciting collaborations to continue building a strong brand.
WAM: What do think customers will demand more of in the future?
PRIMO: We believe customers are developing brand loyalty and, as Wall Street moves in buying things up, we plan to stand strong as a local, top-shelf farm, taking pride in every harvest. We also believe high-quality extracts and concentrates will continue to grow as we are currently experiencing the trend going that direction. Our outdoor product also has something that we believe customers will always want, the unique energy from direct, natural sunlight, fresh air and clean rainwater, none of which can be replicated
indoors; many people can tell the difference.
WAM: What are the biggest challenges that cannabis business owners face in the industry?
PRIMO: Turkeys! … They stop by periodically trying to sample the product! In all seriousness, the real challenges are the competitive market, constantly changing regulations and complications with having a cash business in an online-payment world. The market has and will be changing rapidly, and we do our best to stay creative and open-minded, ready to adapt to whatever situation arises.
WAM: As the cannabis industry grows and improves, what developments are you most looking forward to in the future?
PRIMO: This is a great question. Having started in medical, we look forward to regulation supporting a more financially viable way to get back to prioritizing the medical market. Like everyone else, we can’t wait for the federal government to get on board, so we can move away from a cash-only business and feel a stronger sense of security in our investment. We also are looking forward to selling product beyond the state of Oregon, providing high-quality cannabis to recreational and medical consumers throughout the United States.