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Monday, 16 January 2023 10:51

From Seed to Sale: IndiGrow

Written by  Josh Veal
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It’s not often you get the opportunity to see every stage of a product’s life cycle, from seed all the way to sale, but that’s what IndiGrow has to offer.

In this case, the product is cannabis, and IndiGrow is a new “microbusiness” in Muskegon that plants, cultivates, trims, dries, refines, distills, packages and sells everything right in one building. Not only that, but they want you to see it all happen.

THE BUSINESS

IndiGrow officially opened in November, with the combined efforts of Dr. Paul Lomeo and Karen and Steven Kekelik. The trio are passionate about cannabis, both for recreation and as a tool for combating pain and anxiety. 

Their ultimate goal is to raise standards and change the way people view cannabis. Education, higher pay, testing, equity, energy efficiency, transparency—they’re working to elevate every aspect of the industry. 

That passion extends to everyone at IndiGrow, including biochemist Sienna, who also happens to be Steven’s sister, and head grower Scott Russo, who’s been a caregiver since 2009. IndiGrow believes caregivers laid the foundation for the industry and deserve the opportunity to be involved in the new world of high-quality, local cannabis. 

THE TOUR

One major aspect of IndiGrow’s unique approach is teaching people about cannabis, from classes and workshops in their education space to full tours of the facility, all located in a renovated 1908 manufacturing building.

“Most people have never seen a grown cannabis flower,” Steven told Revue on a recent visit, noting that being able to see it as an actual plant can help alleviate the fear and mystery surrounding it. 

That’s mainly if you’re a newcomer, of course, but for enthusiasts like myself, getting a chance to see the process in action is incredible. In fact, IndiGrow would love for Muskegon to become a hub for cannatourism, a must-visit destination with more to do than just shop around dispensaries.

The tour kicks off by donning a white suit, shoe covers and hairnet, all to keep the plants safe from whatever’s on your clothes. Then you step into the foot station and get a nice air shower, blowing away any residual particles like pollen. It’s a cinematic experience.

Next, you get to see the plant growing at all different stages. The adult rooms are packed so tight with plants, they use rolling stacks like a university library to save space. It’s a lush, green space, brimming with life. When IndiGrow began the business, people said they’d never be able to grow enough product with “just” 150 plants. Clearly, the opposite is true.

As Steven walked me through the different strains, he pointed out how varied their colors, density, height and smell were. When you use heirloom and landrace strains like IndiGrow does—rather than crossbreeding your way to homogeneity—the differences are stark.

Then there’s the teenager room, where Steven showed some little crossbreeding experiments in progress. Finally, the baby room, where plants are cloned (to keep strain genetics pure) and begin anew.

After that, you get to visit the drying rooms, meet the people who make it happen, and stop by the lab, full of high-tech equipment for producing high-quality, pure, delicious extracts. 

Along the way, Steven pointed out too many fun facts to include here, from the fact IndiGrow makes use of roughly 90% of each plant to their various approaches that save energy, not to mention their determination to pay all their employees above average. You’ll just have to take the tour yourself to see it all.

THE PRODUCT

The business itself grew out of a desire to find real consistency in product, which proved to be a struggle for the Kekelik’s due to the everchanging nature of dispensaries. That’s why IndiGrow is taking things back to basics, with a relatively small lineup of strains to start. Find one you like? You can be sure it will be there when you go back. 

IndiGrow uses heirloom and landrace strains (basically, the OG stuff) to get back to a time when you could rely on your flower to have a predictable effect. Indica and sativa used to be actual useful terms before every defining characteristic was lost in decades of crossbreeding. IndiGrow still uses these terms, because they actually fit.

The best way to learn these strains is a cannabis flight, offering five pre-rolls. Of course, I had to get in on this. I went in blind, and am truly impressed with how much my personal experience matched the info put out by IndiGrow:

Blueberry: This is a clean, pleasant, simple smoke, that got me nice and hungry. Turns out, it’s a classic indica, which lines up with my experience of lying down and eating snacks on the couch.

Kilimanjaro: Now here’s a kick! The flavor is potent, but refreshing, like a strong cup of matcha. It’s a light, buoyant, uplifting experience—sativa through and through. Maybe my personal favorite.

African Frost: My first note was, “Nothing too crazy.” My following notes proved that wrong: “I feel kind of smart… trenchant even. #Thankful.” This strain led to some interesting conversations.

Kwazulu: I maybe wasn’t in the most scientific mindset for this one, but I can tell you it’s full of flavor and was the perfect treat for a post-party Saturday night. IndiGrow suggests this sativa strain for a boost of energy!

Pakistani Chitral Kush: At just 8% THC, this is the perfect remedy to the idea THC is at all a metric you should care about. Fragrant, complex, relaxing and deeply purple, I can suggest this strain to absolutely anyone.

Looking ahead, Steven said IndiGrow hopes to have a smoking space outside and get even more involved in the community than they already are, with more exciting products (made entirely at IndiGrow) to come. In the meantime, stop by for a tour, a chat and a flight of premium cannabis at average prices. 

IndiGrow
639 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon
IndiGrowmi.com

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