Although no longer an upstart competition, the Grow-Off still brings in a much-needed breath of skunky air to Colorado a couple times each year. The marijuana growing challenge pits dozens of cultivation staffs throughout the state against each other to see who can grow the best herb, giving us a rare glimpse inside growing houses.
The competition works like this: Growing teams for dispensary and wholesale cultivations receive the same genetics, with each entrant allotted several months to cultivate the strain in hopes of getting the best potency, terpenes and yield out of their harvests. Their bounties are then shared with the Grow-Off judges and are tested in said categories.
This year's recreational edition got off to a rough start after its mystery genetics were leaked to competitors, but Grow-Off founder Jake Browne says the contest continued relatively unharmed, with only three contestants dropping out because of the leak. Tangerine Power, the prematurely unveiled strain, ended up producing some of the Grow-Off's biggest results to date, according to Browne.
"The Farm's 7.66 pounds ... is by far the highest yield of any competition plant in Colorado or California, beating the previous record holder, the Beach Center, by four full pounds," he says. "It's a testament to what indoor cultivators can pull off."
Even the third-place team in yields, NuVue Pharma, broke the previous yield record by almost two pounds.
Browne says individual teams from the same companies were allowed to enter, but adds that he'll visit their grows to ensure that different techniques were used.
"If a team has multiple entries, we do site visits to make sure that each one is being handled by a different grower and that they're doing something unique with each plant — not just giving one an extra hit of Cal Mag [nutrients] or defoliating a little more," he explains. "It's a way for companies to tell not only how they stack up against the rest of the state, but also how different cultivation teams stack up internally."
So who ended up taking home the hardware? See below for a full list of Grow-Off winners, photos included.
Potency (total cannabinoids)
1. Chronic Therapy
2. The Green Room
3. NuVue Pharma
1. Simply Pure
2. Fat Face Farms (tie)
2. Chronic Therapy (tie)
1. The Farm. Co. (Nauti-town team)
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2. The Farm Co. (B-siders team)
3. NuVue Pharma