By Ryan Yuenger
Craft beer, craft spirits, and now craft cannabis.
Southland Farms, an all-organic and living soil-grown cannabis microbusiness, is now open for business at 215 S. 11th Street in Niles – and they’re seeking to bring a culture of ‘craft cannabis’ to southwest Michigan.
Co-owner Mike Noonan said because Southland Farms is a microbusiness, they will only sell products they grow, harvest and process on-site – doing so with the desire to carry on the deep-rooted craft grower and caregiver legacy in Michigan.
“We grow strictly craft cannabis,” said Noonan, whose company started growing their first crop early this summer. “We grow in living soil with all organic inputs. So, it’s totally natural and it’s all done by hand. It’s really given a premium feel from beginning to end. … We think that as people learn more about that, there will be more and more people who will be looking at craft cannabis the same way that they look at beer and spirits and in so many other types of industries.”
Noonan said he knows there is already a lot of quality product in Michigan, but Southland Farms will help the market realize its full potential by giving consumers the caregiver quality many commercial growers do not offer.
“A lot of consumers in Michigan know the difference [in quality], and they are still going and purchasing in the legacy market because they don’t think they can find that real caregiver quality in the commercial market,” Noonan said. “We’re trying to offer the caregiver legacy in terms of quality and approach and love of the plant, but offer that to all consumers throughout Michigan.”
Noonan is a certified ganjier – similar to a sommelier for wine – and said the company operates similarly to a Napa winery with exclusive opportunities for family members to guarantee access to their product before it is all smoked up.
He also said the company hopes to eventually be able to grow outdoors and express the rich terroir of southwest Michigan, similar to all of the great wineries in the area.
“Right now, we’re trying to recreate that inside through our living soil grow systems,” he said. “The way we grow the plant and the way we care for the plant is what we think differentiates ourselves.”
Another advantage for Southland Farms, according to Noonan, is the fact that they can back up their claims of quality through product testing.
“You can rest assured that it’s all been tested, so the quality we claim on the packaging is actually backed up by the test results,” said Noonan, adding that co-owner Chris Monson is a master grower with more than 30 years of growing experience. “We really believe that the craft cannabis movement can be something that doesn’t just lift up Southland Farms and Niles, but can be a driver for the economy of Southwest Michigan.”
For more information, visit southlandfarms.com
(Photos courtesy Southland Farms website and Facebook)