Off the Grid and On the Rise: The Story of Weathered Islands Craft Cannabis
Off the Grid and On the Rise: The Story of Weathered Islands Craft Cannabis
Off the beaten track and a little off the map lies a hidden gem of British Columbia: Texada Island. This secluded island just off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island is home to a unique character and culture, as well as a wealth of natural beauty. Texada Island's 1,200 residents are proud of their homes and the lifestyle they have built there - with an emphasis on community and connection to nature. From its beginnings as a fishing outport to its current status as a haven for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, Texada is filled with stories to tell.
Chief amongst them is the story of Weathered Islands, a Texada-based cannabis nursery and micro producer. Founded by Collier and Camille, a brother and sister team, Weathered Islands represents the best of what Texada Island has to offer: a connection to nature, a commitment to sustainability, and an appreciation for the unique culture of the island.
A second-generation grower and breeder, Collier has been working with cannabis since the 1990's and has helped innovate and develop several of the top outdoor strains grown in Canada, including the Apricot Kush, C-Warp, Purple Papaya, Mystic Vale and many more. Camille, on the other hand, is the branding and operations expert, working hard to make sure each of Weathered Islands' products is up to the highest standards. Together, they created a cannabis brand that celebrates their passion for cannabis and the culture of Texada Island.
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Collier to discuss cannabis genetics, life on Texada Island and the future of Weathered Islands.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Collier! Can you tell us about what inspired you and your sister to open Weathered Islands on Texada Island?
We felt there would always be a desire to have new and exciting genetics, wether in seed form or flower. My main focus has been breeding and pheno hunting as well as producing eco friendly, top shelf cannabis, so my skill set was well suited for this business. I have lived on Texada for over 20 years, and Camille has spent a lot of time here. Our father also has a rich history with cannabis breeding, being a pioneer in the outdoor cannabis world, and it was him who introduced us to Texada at a young age. We realized that Texada could be an ideal place to start a cannabis business, and Camille's branding, and administrative skills rounded out the skill set of the company.
How has Texada Island's culture influenced Weathered Islands?
Texada, often referred to as the Humboldt County of Canada, has a rich history of creating outstanding outdoor strains with the Texada Timewarp being the most well known. For over 25 years Camille and I have witnessed the constantly changing legacy, medical and legal cannabis sectors.
Texada Island, has a very Wild West vibe, with very little regulation and an openess for new ideas. It is a very rural island, with many secret beaches, gardens and magical spots. The beauty and natural wilderness feel definitely express themselves through Weathered Islands.
What makes your products special and unique?
We are truly a craft company with small batch flower, and boutique seed lines. We are off the grid, powered by solar panels, embracing regenerative agricultural principals and creating and growing our own unique seed lines. Always pushing the limits of outdoor cannabis to new and exciting levels, producing carbon neutral cannabis, and crafting the finest flower through decades of passed down knowledge and expertise.
Pushing the limits of outdoor cannabis is a big statement. What has been your best achievement so far?
I think one of the biggest achievements was creating the Apricot Kush strain through the legacy brand Ancestral Seeds, which has gone on to become one of the most common outdoor strains in Canada and has forever changed the minds of many naysayers when it comes to outdoor cannabis. That strain and others including the Durban Kush, Purple Papaya, and others have been backcrossed and outcrossed creating a myriad of 2nd and 3rd, etc, generation strains.
We are seeing a revolution in outdoor cannabis and much of that can be tracked back to Texada Island's Apricot Kush, Pinewarp, C-Warp, A3, Texada Timewarp etc, genetics.
What sets your outdoor strains apart from other BC cannabis products?
Our genetics are always unique, and acclimatized for growing in Canada. We grow flowers interspersed among our cannabis plants to encourage beneficial insects and naturally encourage higher terpene's.
Interspersing flowers among cannabis plants? Tell us more.
This concept is essentially a compliment to biological controls, but it also goes much deeper than that. We all know about introducing good bugs to combat bad bugs, especially in indoor environments, however with outdoor cannabis, that can be more of a challenge because many of those good bugs (think ladybugs or green lacewings) may simply fly away. By growing a variety of flowers that attract beneficial insects, many of the ladybugs, green lacewings and other beneficials are attracted to hang out in the garden and keep any of the pests at bay.
Some of the beneficial flowers such as Alyssum and Clover also double as a cover crop, with the former helping to smother weeds, and the latter pulling nitrogen from the air and fixing it into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer inputs. Many also believe that when there are fragrant flowers close by, cannabis will try and out-compete those in an effort to increase pollination, by essentially pumping up their terpene content.
By stepping away from mass monoculture and chemical controls, and encouraging nature to balance out any problems, cannabis of the highest quality can be obtained, while at the same time improving the land, soil and environment!
How have genetics and breeding played a role in the success of Weathered Islands?
By offering aspiring new growers the chance to grow top shelf flower at home, with genetics that have a rich family tree of lineage going back over 40 years, it allows anyone to continue the search and adventure of the pheno-hunt. Similar to how the original Texada Timewarp was discovered, and changed forever the cannabis sector within Canada and the world, our new genetics offer an abundance of riches to those who can unlock their full potential.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner on Texada Island?
We have seen governments hand out 100's of millions to the largest LP's, while literally taxing the smaller businesses to a breaking point. The industry is not a level playing field, and many of the big LP's are engaging in Pay 2 Play schemes, paying their workers below the poverty line, handing out million dollar bonuses to their CEO's and gobbling up the independents who are getting squeezed out by foul play. We have definitely struggled to stay afloat during these turbulent times, as have many of our peers, some unfortunately have not managed to stay afloat.
Tell us, what does the future hold for Weathered Islands?
We have some absolute dynamite strains to unleash on an unsuspecting populace. We will continue to throw down a plethora of fire strains and flower to cut through the stagnation and calmness of an over abundance of generic plain Jane flower. A tsunami is approaching and we will be riding the wave, not just for the destructive effects, but because it's fun and we love it!