As you peer into the distance over the bursting flowers that reach across the backdrop of the Horse Heaven Hills, you’ll see shadows from cloud-diffused sunlight spotting the golden landscape. At its base flows the mighty Yakima River, which plays a vital role in the production of surrounding crops of wine grapes, hops, asparagus, apples, cherries and blueberries, all sharing the elements in this bountiful ecosystem. With such prolific weather conditions, the place presented a prime opportunity for any Cannabis pioneers to stake a claim. So, these veterans of the community acquired a former alfalfa field and started the process of creating exceptional weed.
“It’s been a great year for growing,” says Justin Beghtol, head grower of Common Roots. “After the smoke cleared up, things have been absolutely beautiful. The unusual heat this summer, combined with the new food regimen we incorporated, has made this one of the best bumper crops we’ve seen yet.”
Taking time to understand the terroir is what he claims is the most necessary aspect to getting the ladies to respond favorably. Soil tests and sap tests allow a farmer to see if the food regimen is working, Justin informs, and then you can adjust accordingly depending on where the nutritional deficiencies lie. With the acumen accrued over the last four years of studying the different variables in this climate, Justin has been able to diversify his grow to a mouth-watering 34 strains.
Overseeing the entire operation is Mark Flanders, who also owns Green Rush Farms. In 2019 he partnered with husband/wife team Jeremy and Marie Jacola to launch Common Roots – and have seen their choice of location pay off as anticipated.
Marie leans back in a chair for a quick respite from the arduous day. The nobility across her gaze is one acquired by working with nature to reap the rewards that long hours of toiling instills. You sense from the conviction in her voice that the work is never finished, but at the end of the day, there is a restful satisfaction that can only be earned, and for her, that is enough.
“I feel like a proud mom,” she boasts with the poise that family pride provides. “We’ve got a great team working together to make this a fluid operation. Everyone has their different set of skills to get us to where we need to be. It’s like a sports team, everyone has their assignment.”
The system here calls for 100-gallon smart pots with soil outsourced from Oregon. Water capacity is vital, too. This year they started the season with an emitter that allowed for water saturation throughout the pot, which has been key to the entire plant’s performance. Getting the necessary water, sometimes 20,000 gallons a day due to the heat, is a feat not easily achieved. But thanks to the river, the water is pristine. Combine these practices with favorable weather conditions and what you get is a flourishing farm of blooming proportions.
“Our goal since the beginning has always been for Common Roots to have a family vibe – a genuine, inclusive feel,” Justin reveals as he pinches a monster cola exploding with trichomes. He pulls the bud to his nose, the eyes close on cue, and he takes a moment to breathe in the smell of life. “We’re all about unity in the community. We hang out, go to the Gorge for concerts – actually spend time together outside of the complex.” His eyes open and you can see a slight tingle of fulfillment jutting across the spine and deep into the heart. This is what he was born to do, and it shows. “When you care about the team, the plants respond. Especially when your job doesn’t feel like a job. It’s a labor of love, for sure.”