May 06, 2017 | NORTHWEST LEAF
High Latitude Farms is one of the first and only OLCC licensed deep water culture producers in Oregon. Story by Nate Williams. Photos by Joshua McHale.
Last month, the Oregon Leaf team had the distinct pleasure of visiting High Latitude Farms in beautiful Hood River, Oregon. High Latitude sits on the site of a fish hatchery in a small valley below Mt. Hood with ample sun and other natural resources that make this location ideal for Cannabis cultivation.
Operation founders Tony Locken, Dale Orgain and Scott Sorenson all come from a professional maritime background and their principles of extreme diligence and keen attention to detail carry over to their growing practices.
High Latitude Farms is one of the first and only OLCC licensed deep water culture producers in Oregon. Deep water culture is a method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water.
High Latitude’s deep water culture setup is an aquaponic growing system, which integrates the technology used in hydroponics, but uses the method of growing crops and fish together in re-circulating systems. The deep water culture system requires a true understanding of all the variables at play, the hardware in use and the inputs.
Locken’s familiarity of the systems is unmatched.
High Latitude lead farmer Tony Locken explains that one of the primary focuses during the buildout was on sustainability.
“We plan on installing 90 solar panels on the roof this summer along with a micro-hydroelectric system to be in place by summer of 2018; the goal is to have a zero-impact Cannabis farm,” Locken said.
The farm has been uniquely developed to support this vision. One notable aspect of the farm is the HVAC, which has been custom built to utilize hydronics, which is a cooling or heating system in which heat is transported using circulating water. This makes perfect sense when one considers the fact that the fish hatchery’s water stays 55 degrees or cooler year round. The farm’s four thousand rainbow trout help circulate life.
“We are pulling five tons of free air conditioning per each of our four flower rooms, five tons for our veg and mother room, and five tons for our access hallway,” Locken said.
High Latitude will be running its first outdoor crop this coming season and has plans to expand into a licensed extraction facility in the near future. The team has spent considerable effort on dialing in which strains and whose genetics to run, and have decided upon Gorilla Glue #4, Dream Queen, Grape Ape and Sunset Sherbet.
In a time when most producers are scrambling to scale as fast as possible with little regard for unintended consequences, all of High Latitude’s painstaking and expensive efforts toward sustainability are that much more commendable and impressive.
We hope to see more farms in the legal market taking strides toward building conscientious production facilities.