Family, Passion, and Cannabis: The Story of Dabble Cannabis Co.
Family, Passion, and Cannabis: The Story of Dabble Cannabis Co.
The Cowichan Valley, situated on the southern part of Vancouver Island, provides the perfect setting for outdoor cannabis cultivation. With its unique Mediterranean climate and abundant sunshine, the area offers ideal conditions that are perfect for producing high-quality cannabis.
Local farmers in the area have long recognized the advantages of growing in this area, and Doug Davis is no exception. After decades of dreaming about having his own cannabis farm, while cultivating his own medical cannabis and smoking all the best BC bud he could find, he jumped at the opportunity when Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018.
With his daughter Alannah at the helm and the rest of the family by their side, they formed Dabble Cannabis Co. and set out to leverage the unique climate offered by the Cowichan Valley. They farm outdoors using the natural spectrum of light provided by the sun to grow cannabis with superior flavour and quality. Each harvest is carefully cultivated and freshly frozen to preserve the terpenes and aromas of the plants.
The Davis family's commitment to producing high-quality cannabis products is evident in the care they put into every step of their production process. From growing the plants to creating the concentrates, they ensure that every product meets their high standards. Today, Dabble's outdoor cannabis extracts are unlike anything else on the market, offering consumers a robust flavour profile that reflects the terroir of the Cowichan Valley.
Dabble Cannabis is a testament to the power of a family-run business that is fully committed to a passion that has been decades in the making. It is a true labour of love for this father-daughter team and it shows in the quality of their products. Every batch at Dabble Cannabis is lovingly grown, harvested and processed with care by Doug and Alannah and the rest of the family, who are proud to share their passion with the world.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Alannah to talk more about their unique approach to cannabis cultivation and the story behind Dabble Cannabis.
Q: Thanks for joining us Alannah, can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind Dabble Cannabis?
Originally Dabble was not named Dabble, and our plan was to cultivate sungrown cannabis for sale to another licensed producer before we would proceed into the market with our own products; however, the wholesale market is not so kind to farmers and we found that we would not be able to make ends meet with the prices we were offered. Another local family-run Cowichan Valley farm - Alternabis Farms - offered us a space at their processing facility and their help to get us off the ground.
We elected to change the name, and Dabble - which reflects that a) Doug, Alannah, Brody are D-A-B, Doug and two of his children, b) Dabs - like the products we produce and c) Dabble, is something you do when you’re trying new things. Like we encourage people to do with our product! Soon we had aligned on the name - and began to promote our products coming to market and things started happening from there! Our objective has always been really incredible flavourful sungrown concentrates at an approachable price and I think our customers will agree that is what we deliver.
Q: Combining family and business can be challenging, yet it also has the potential to create a strong and dedicated team. How has it been working together as a family team?
I often reflect on how lucky I am that I get to work with my family. There are of course challenges on days when they drive you crazy, because whose family doesn’t drive them crazy? But ultimately, in today’s world - many people hardly even get to see their family and often lament that they don’t spend enough time together - so I consider myself very lucky that we get to do this together, and that my parents are so cool and that we enjoy consuming all kinds of new cannabis products together.
Q: The Cowichan Valley, known for its picturesque scenery and abundant resources, offers a farming experience unlike any other, with its own set of challenges and rewards. What makes farming in the Cowichan Valley such a unique experience?
The Cowichan Valley is located in Canada's only Maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, resulting in the warmest mean year-round temperature anywhere in Canada. Originally named The Warm Land by the First Nations peoples, the Cowichan offers one of Canada's best climates. We are lucky enough that the fall/winter has substantial rainfall that we can capture into our irrigation lakes to feed all summer, and that the spring and summers usually bring beautiful sunny days and our field is surrounded by lush trees, which protect them from all but a gentle breeze.
Q: In your community, what has been the response to Dabble and your cannabis farm?
We have been blown away with the response to Dabble and how much everyone is enjoying our product and farm. We launched during a really critical time right before BCLDB went on strike, and our product landed but was unable to get out to retailers. We were so dismayed until they approved the Direct Delivery program, and were able to become the *only* producer in BC offering concentrate products for a few weeks! This catapulted our brand into awareness as the retailers all scrambled to find inventory to fill their shelves. Some days I heard from retailers that the single SKU of Dabbleberry was selling nearly 10% of their sales. It was wild! People have really responded to the great flavour and great value at the price point.
Q: We're eager to learn more about Dabble's approach to selecting cultivars – could you share what varieties you've been focusing on and the reasons behind these choices?
Our first drop Dabbleberry is a Blueberry Cream (Blueberry x Wedding Cake) that has been a reliable outdoor cultivar for us, which makes a lovely creamy, cakey with an exhale of blueberry live rosin. Then we have our signature strain Strawberry Jam - which is the first of our Ross’ Crosses - our longtime valued first team member and Grower Ross Butcher has been hard at work for many years to hunt down the best cultivars.
These are the two cultivars on the market now in live rosin, and then we have 2 new ones growing and then launching later this year - as well as 17 different test cultivars for 2024 production that we are trialling this season. Outdoor means your R&D has to happen a year(s) in advance!
Q: Could you walk us through your extraction process and how you create your unique flavour profile?
I will walk through the extraction process; however, I am very happy to announce that the only way we create our unique flavour profile is by growing cannabis in the sun and soil. We add absolutely nothing to our products and it is truly the strains that we grow and the environment they live in which makes the flavour so incredible. We do not add any botanical terpenes or additives to our products whatsoever.
Now for the extraction process: Our cannabis is harvested from the field, by cutting down the plant, removing only the large fan leaves and carefully bucking the flowers or buds from the branch. Then as fast as possible, and not longer than 30 minutes from harvest, the buds are gathered into a bag and vacuum sealed and placed into an extremely cold deep freeze. Once they’re frozen for 24hr+ then we begin the extraction process by using ice-cold water, ice and the frozen cannabis into our wash vessels.
The cold water and ice causes the trichome heads to remain very firm as they’re agitated in the wash vessel. Once they have been agitated for a short period, the first drain removes all the water from the wash vessel and passes it through a series of fine mesh screens. These capture the different particle sizes of plant material and then trichome heads. This is how different ‘grades’ of hash are captured.
Mostly our live rosin uses the 73-160u micron size and the rest of the trichomes captured will go to some other products coming this year (like our topical launch!). Once these are in the mesh bags, they are like the consistency of wet sand and are placed into a freeze dryer to lyophilize or remove the water from the hash.
Once it is dried, this hash (the consistency now of dry sand) is placed into another fine mesh bag and pressed between two heated plates - called a rosin press. The press melts the outer coating of the trichome head - which then allows the interior which contains all the valuable terpenes and cannabinoids - to slip through the mesh and allow it to be collected in a jar. Then it is cold cured to allow the resin to stabilize and the flavours to develop - before finally packaging it out for sale.
Q: Venturing into the realm of Dabble Cannabis, we're keen to learn – when consumers give your products a try, what kind of experience, quality, and distinctiveness can they expect?
They can expect a product that has exceptional flavour and high terpene content. They can expect a product that has been handled several times by just a handful of people, treating it with the utmost care - babying it all the way. The love we put into our plants and products shows, and it will only improve as we continue to sharpen our extraction skillset and enhance our packaging selection and continue to produce our own quality and unique genetics!
Q: What sets Dabble Cannabis apart from other cannabis producers in Canada?
There are definitely many passionate teams out there so we’re not the only one, but the passion for cultivating and consuming cannabis is definitely a huge factor for us. I know I am certainly one of very few CEOs in the Canadian cannabis industry that carries around a bucket with a dab rig around their farm. We are highly discerning consumers ourselves and will not put products out that we aren’t happy with. Our hard work ethic to get sh*t done ourselves with our small but mighty team, powered on dreams and dabs (or doobs) is what I feel sets us apart.
Q: Could you give us a sneak peek into what's in store for the future, including any upcoming projects on the horizon?
Absolutely. We are so excited to announce that our collaboration partnership with longtime legacy topical maker Blyssful Alchemy will be bringing their popular formulations to market with our solventless extracts as the inputs. This collaboration will be an entire line of infused topical products called Dabble into Blyss. Our first product is a pleasure oil, but you can expect to see bath, skin and other products in the future.
Dabble itself has a number of new cultivars in the pipeline - many of the unique cultivars of Ross’ Crosses. We also have some dried flower that will make an appearance in some limited prerolls.
Q: Lastly, as we come to the close of our conversation, could you share your vision for Dabble Cannabis?
Dabble Cannabis Co. is a hugely important part of the overall vision that is our farm - Hi Point Guest Ranch. Dabble will continue to be our farm where we cultivate and produce solventless concentrates and other products.
Hi Point itself is on the way to becoming the ideal cannabis destination. We already host guests in our gorgeous bed and breakfast accommodations - complete with clawfoot tub and access to the private lake on the farm, or lakeside camping accommodations, and event space for cannabis-focused events.
The future holds additional tiny home accommodations, a farm-store and a dab or consumption lounge, and a lifetime of runway for incredible cannabis tourism opportunities.