Consistency in cannabis plants and their effects is something that consumers are looking for in the Canadian industry. Different companies take different approaches for consistency but at Ogen we’re phenohunters.
Phenohunting is the process of cultivating a large amount of the same genetic (like Lemon Zkittle) then selecting different phenotypes for desired traits; some of these traits could be aroma, potency, flowering time, plant structure, and pest resistance. Hybridizations are something you often see, phenotyping is extremely valuable in this situation because some of the seeds may lean towards one parent or the other or you find a new combination. Some seed banks start with thousands of seeds and work their way down to one or two desirable phenotypes.
After we’ve popped a few dozen seeds, we classify and label them so it's easier to keep track as we move forward. Within a few weeks, the different phenotypes will start to become apparent through things like its aroma and leaf structure; some plants may look more like an indica structure while others have the appearance of a sativa. While most of the desirable qualities are apparent in the plants flowering phase, things like plant morphology is apparent very early. During the growth and flowering stage, we already have an inclination of which plants we like, however we still wait for the plant to go through its complete cycle including testing before we make a decision.
Some of the top characteristics we hunt for are: veg time; flowering time; plant morphology; organoleptics; cannabinoid and terpene profile; yield; kind of trichomes; and bag appeal. We keep our facility extremely clean so that we have a controlled environment to do our phenohunting so that we know our genetics are always clean. We don’t purchase clones or genetics from other licensed producers because we don't know their standards and their genetics could contain viruses or pests. When we’ve made the final selection, those plants are moved into our “mom” room where they are used to clone for consistency between batches (check out our IGTV video on our clones!).
In a budding market (see what we did there?) consistency of product is one of the most important factors for consumers. Phenohunting is the tool we use to hone our products and deliver that consistency. It also allows us to differentiate our cannabis from other producers by crafting and specializing the strain into something we can call our own. We’re a small batch Alberta craft grower, we’re committed to setting the bar higher.