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Grow Tour: The Crop Shop

There’s still an elusive special sauce you can taste in the end product of each properly produced pound: passion.

Photos by Tyler Cameron

Oregon is laden with lush gardens. And given this cornucopia of Cannabis available for consumers of all calibers, what makes a brand stand out to a true connoisseur? Surely, quality matters most – but riding the tide of legalization since its liftoff has lent us a few lessons. There’s still an elusive special sauce you can taste in the end product of each properly produced pound: passion.


At The Crop Shop in La Pine, Derek Holliday and Blake Mills don’t just drizzle it on, it’s lovingly ladled into every step of the process. Together, these long-time friends from Idaho have built a business from the ground up. After a 16-year career as a renowned local sushi chef in Idaho, Holliday decided to ditch our neighboring state in favor of Oregon and search for a restaurant location in Bend. Mills had already made plans to join his friend when the two pivoted. “That’s how much faith I had in Derek,” said Mills. “Besides him being a friend, I knew that he would crush whatever he did.”

A perfect opportunity on a plot of land presented itself and the pair decided to pounce on another passion they’d long shared: Cannabis. Building from the ground up, Holliday and Mills made sure that the facility could cater to the high level of cleanliness and attention to detail expected by fine chefs and Cannabis connoisseurs alike.


Since The Crop Shop’s official licensure in 2020, that attention to detail has only grown with their business. Holliday explains that they continue to innovate:

“By the time we got into it, I knew we were going to be up against really stiff competition. So, I was just very focused on creating a product with a minimal amount of overhead. But not just from a business standpoint – from a carbon footprint standpoint.” 


Today, the fully hydroponic facility is home to a full-time staff of six and features a custom-built, gravity-fed system that doesn’t require electricity to feed the plants. “As long as the earth is spinning, it’s working,” Holliday explains. This also provides a free-flowing flexibility that leaves plants to uptake nutrients as needed. “They are feeding on-demand. Each plant gets exactly what it wants.”

That flexibility is fundamental when feeding plants of all profiles – each requiring a different regimen to reach peak perfection. Right now, the team at The Crop Shop is caring for around a thousand plants, including tried and true cultivars like Trop Cherry, Runtz OG and Compound’s Jokerz Candy. They are particularly excited about a cultivar from 3rd Coast Genetics called Gold Cash Gold and are finding some winners among Wyeast’s Ice Cheeks.  

You can look out for all of these fine flowers and hopefully, much more in the future as the team tackles expansion. With the addition of another room and 70 lights, Mills and Holliday tell us that they can “continue to hone in techniques” and “grow without growing too fast or sacrificing quality.” 


Photos by @terpcam

This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of Oregon Leaf.

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