Your garden has flourished, flowered and your hemp is ready for harvest. It’s time to take down your buds and begin to process. But, how should you start? That answer depends on how your flower will be distributed and sold. Let’s review a beginner’s guide to drying, trimming and packaging hemp harvests for biomass or boutique flower retail.
Drying Your Hemp Flower
For hemp flower to be usable in any form, it must be dried first. This can take time depending on the method you’re using.
When drying hemp, moisture content should reduce to 8-10% by industry standards. Or, to the percentage your processor requires. The most DIY method to do so, is in a space of your own if you have the area.
If drying in your own building, the space should be away from direct sunlight, well ventilated, and equipped with fans. Keeping the area at 60 – 70 degrees, with 45-55% humidity is ideal for drying and curing. Drying slowly with high airflow can retain high cannabinoid and terpene content. This will increase the quality and return on your harvested hemp.
Hanging the whole plant can lead to mold or mildew so be cautious and monitor closely. If you have the labor force, cutting each branch and hanging individually can help alleviate mold or mildew growth. Be aware as this will take extra time, depending on the number of plants you’ve harvested.
Innovative drying machines, and services are time-saving methods to cure your flower. If you’re dealing with high quantities and need a fast turnaround…they may be an option for you.
Dehydrating machines are increasing in popularity with large operations that can afford or justify the initial cost. These dehydration machines incorporate technology and techniques to dry hemp flower quickly, while keeping content intact. The machines can vary in size and cost. Check your local listings, as drying services can be contracted in many areas to utilize a machine-method, without purchasing yourself.
Just remember – if you are planning on having your hemp product (flower or biomass) dried off the property, you’ll need to find a reputable transportation company who understands how to handle local legalities, especially if transporting nationally.
Trimming Your Flower
Once your product is dried, it’s time to prepare for boutique or biomass sales. Here enters a big difference, in time, labor and cost for the two differing types.
Biomass hemp flower will be processed into oil or various products. This means the final aesthetic of the bud, doesn’t matter as much as boutique hemp flower to be sold on store shelves.
Buds being processed for retail boutique and artisan sales, should be manicured and trimmed by hand. Trimmers in the industry take the time to shape flower specifically for higher content, and consumer sales. Because this process can be a long one for large quantities of flower, hire professionals who are skilled in working quickly with high quality. Time out your harvest, so you’re able to dry, trim and package to meet the deadline of your retailer.
Trimming machines and services are also available for large sized harvests, looking to turn flower to biomass fast. These machines work quickly to remove unnecessary leaves, while leaving the buds with content for processing. Again, they come with an upfront cost so check locally to see if trimming machine services are available in your area for contract, instead.
By hand, or machine, be sure to time your harvest correctly, so you’re able to dry, trim and package to meet deadlines of your retailer or processor.
Now your flower is dried, trimmed and ready for packaging. If you’ve prepared your hemp flower for boutique sale, you’ll want to preserve the shape and care of the bud. Before it’s packaged for sale, it’s best to store your dried and trimmed hemp flower in sealed glass jars.
If you’re packaging biomass for oil production, the product is often stored in cool dry areas – like refrigerators or freezers. This can help contain the cannabinoid and terpene content for full spectrum, isolate or distillate products.. Depending on your processor, most prefer the biomass to be sealed in food storage bags. But don’t pack your bud too tightly, or this can deter level contents.
One harvest down, many to go.
With each harvest of hemp flower, you’ll learn what works best for your garden, your processors and the products you’re creating. Just like growing, take note of what works best and what’s proving inefficient for optimal production. If you’re looking for help, check out our high quality harvesting products for drying, trimming or packaging, now!