We met with Donald Huff, Tim Grey and Eddie Tomlin of the Cheeze Factory, an indoor Cannabis grow based in La Pine. The depth of their relationships became evident as the trio explained how they met each other, with stories ranging from working together at a glass shop in downtown Bend to buying an ounce of Girl Scout Cookies in a truck stop parking lot.
Eddie explains that “they have a unique opportunity,” and the way they’re doing their branding “allows them to be artistic.” He tells us that art is vital to him and that design is an artistic outlet. “If you can dream it, you can do it,” he says.
“The Cheeze Factory wants to bring the magic into the recreational (market),” says Don. “And the farmers who have been doing it for a long time are the ones who created this magic. How many of the medical growers were able to switch to recreational? How many of them were able to carry their craft with them?” These questions are Don’s driving force toward a greater goal.
Don started growing Cannabis in the early 2000s for medical patients, while searching for genetics with healing properties that could target specific ailments. He was focused on growing excellent medicine and fell in love with the plant in the process. “All marijuana will get you high. But the terpenes are what really modulate the medicinal part,” he explains. “The Cheeze Factory is where dreams are cultivated into reality. We do 90% of things ourselves. From plumbing and construction, to design work. We do it all.”
The team is currently running Donny Burger, White Runtz and Apples ‘N’ Bananas, among others. Relying upon a vast genetics library, they hunt for new and upcoming terpene profiles while also holding on to some staple strains of the past. One particular strain is their UK Cheese (Don’s favorite), and the inspiration behind their brand name.
Part of the magic of their method is the growing medium. The crew prefers an amended soil approach and they run a hybrid system heavy on such soil, and light with salt-based nutrients. Don explains that he has experience with multiple growing mediums, and he and the crew believe there are benefits in all of them. But the hybrid approach allows them the freedom to give the plants what they are lacking at that very moment, or occasionally as something to push them across the finish line.
They have recently done a round of pollination with a male LemonCane from Archive Seed Bank and a Tangie male from Crockett Family Farms. The trio wants to hold on to the OG strains or, as Don calls them, heirloom strains. “There are too many strains that are falling through the cracks,” he says.
The team tells us that they retain the freshness and the magic through the process of curing and packaging. The company pre-packages eighths in glass jars and stores them in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid degradation. They pride themselves on maintaining the quality and freshness of their Cannabis, taking every step to ensure high quality – from when the plant is cut down and cold-cured, to when it is sold to the consumer.
The Cheeze Factory is vertically integrated with a lab and dispensary storefronts – so keep an eye out for their in-house brands, Blue Collar Extracts (@bluecollarextracts) and Just Heads Concentrates. Their products can be found at House of Hash in La Pine and their multiple Green Knottz dispensary locations along HWY 97 from Klamath Falls to Madras.
As our tour concludes, Don shrugs and jokes that he went from eating government cheese to growing cheese. “If we aren’t grassroots, I don’t know what is.”