With more than 40 strains and a line of full-spectrum concentrates, the Sugar Tree Farm brand keeps getting sweeter. Poised to expand, this Southern Oregon operation near Central Point works with other regionally based enterprises to bring customers its craft flower, shatter and wax, not to mention oils enhanced with all-natural terpene profiles. Sugar Tree’s Steve Penman explains new developments in store for this one-on-one WAM Supplier Spotlight.
WAM: Tell us about your business’s background and mission.
STF: We find that we’re most satisfied when we’re out in the open air, surrounded by wilderness. As true modern-day farmers, we don’t have much room for error because our yields are smaller and less frequent than those of large-scale, indoor operations. We pay close attention to careful implementation of our innovative practices, use of available resources and impact on both the region and community where we’ve put down roots.
WAM: Do you serve both the recreational and medical markets?
STF: Most of the dispensaries we supply are recreational, but I’m sure there are medical patients who benefit from our flower, as well.
WAM: What are your most popular products?
STF: Our variety of flower is our biggest seller, and that is the base of all our products. We have a full-spectrum concentrate that I personally enjoy, especially our Forbidden Fruit. Wild Rogue Extracts does a great job of representing our flower to the fullest. Our cartridge lineup doesn’t add in fake flavors or terpenes because we enjoy the taste of weed, not watermelon or whatever people are adding these days. That’s not to say that adding flavor profiles are bad per say, but we enjoy flavors inherent to the plant.
WAM: What is the reason behind your business’ success?
STF: Our craft, team and hard work. We have a great recipe, along with good people. There are so many different stages of a season when producers like us can fail. We have been growing for many years, and most of the mistakes growers can make are lessons that we learned a long time ago. Having hardworking people around you is a must. When it’s ‘go’ time, you need people who understand that this isn’t a 9-to-5 job.
WAM: What inspired your passion for this industry?
STF: Thriving outdoors has been our motto, and we love being in the garden. It doesn’t get much better than working with acres of healthy plants.
WAM: What is your favorite part of the job?
STF: Working with the plants and meeting other farmers. Our industry has some of the best people in the world. Hopefully, the industry will stay this way.
WAM: What’s new for your business in 2018?
STF: Our wax lineup is new for 2018, and we are getting a big reception from our fellow Oregonians who love it. We are proud to get our second acre, and we are excited to show everyone our whole lineup of 42 strains.
WAM: What do think customers will demand more of in the future?
STF: Fine weed at an affordable price, and we hope to able to give it to them. Also, the general customers are beginning to understand terpenes and flavor profiles and how these profiles enhance the overall experience. Some also are starting to buy not according to THC numbers but by using their eyes and nose, like in the days past.
WAM: What are the biggest challenges that cannabis business owners face in the industry?
STF: From the farms’ perspective, it would have to be oversaturation of flower. If you put good people in a situation where they need to pay their workers or farm lease, they start dumping good weed for low prices and it affects all of us. There also are some big-money corporations out here who don’t care if they turn a profit; their shareholders just want to see sales. Oregon consumers are starting to demand high-quality products, so if you don’t have your craft down, sales will suffer.
WAM: As the cannabis industry grows and improves, what developments are you most looking forward to in the future?
STF: We would like to see a stabilized marketplace. We also would like to see repeal of the federal law that costs our industry a ton of money by not allowing us to write off our expenses like ordinary businesses. Small farms with limited investment capital can’t compete with the big money flowing into this industry. It is hard to compete in the market when the chips are stacked against you. If we want craft cannabis, we need some changes at the federal level.