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The Extract Artistry of Jon Falcone

"The drive originally started once I tasted live resin for the first time."

“I’m originally from Houston, Texas – where I first fell in love with Cannabis. I moved to Burlington, Vermont for my undergraduate degree, where I was able to cultivate Cannabis plants for the first time. After finishing graduate school, I worked at an environmental, health and safety consulting firm, which gave me the tools to read, understand and adhere to applicable regulations. This training was of significant help in getting our lab approved and licensed by the OLCC and Josephine County. I moved to Oregon for the opportunity to work on this project with one of my best childhood friends after my compliance position, and through integrity and hard work, became the Laboratory Manager at Higher Cultures.”

-Jon Falcone

How does your Master of Science in Wildlife Biology spill over into your role with Higher Cultures?

The advantage that my research provided was the element of learning how to raise funding and design applicable scientific methods to execute on a project. My degree gave me the opportunity for my first extraction, of which was the ancient DNA of a small mammalian subspecies. This lends to my ability to acquire and digest scientific articles in peer reviewed journals. I’ve been able to lean on the essential oil, edible oil and perfume industries to find information needed in my production workflows.

What drives you to dial in different cultivars using specific methodologies?

The drive originally started once I tasted live resin for the first time. I was blown away by the intensity of the aromatic compounds and how they reflected the same olfactory properties found out in the fields at peak ripeness. My mission ever since has been focused on capturing as much flavor possible in every strain we cultivate. Being able to extract primarily fresh frozen material from our own farms has been a luxury, and allows us to truly accomplish craft at scale – without sacrificing quality for quantity due to the control of the input material. I’m currently most interested in determining which types of aromatics can be captured from different strains and how to not lose them to the extraction processes we utilize, best expressing their inherent characteristics.

I’ve always loved gems and used to make wire jewelry, therefore, the ability to control the growth speed and shapes of THCa crystals has been very satisfying.

How do you incorporate crystal morphology into your extraction process?

Crystal habit (morphology) has been fascinating to me starting at a young age. I’ve always loved gems and used to make wire jewelry, therefore, the ability to control the growth speed and shapes of THCa crystals has been very satisfying. I’ve leaned on the Journal of Crystal Engineering, and was able to design my own diamond miner and have it approved for use by the building safety department. When pumping out 1,500 gram batches in only seven days, I’ve learned how to tweak a certain strain’s crystallization to allow for faster growth, in the desired shapes without quality loss.

What are some of your top picks when it comes to strains this year?

This year I’m excited for Nigerian Silver and Wilson Zero. However, with 50+ strains being planted between our two farms, I won’t truly be able to determine my new favorites until they are extracted. I’m also excited to see how some of our staples – Super Lemon Haze and In The Pines – differ from season to season, and determine the environmental variables influencing the aromatic compounds from each season.

Photos by @simonellitony

About Max Early

Max Early is the State Director of Oregon Leaf Magazine. In this role, Max looks after/coordinates/manages/leads a team providing insight into all aspects of the cannabis industry, including processing and producing knowledge. Solventless concentrates are a quintessential part of his day-to-day life and help him stay balanced. Cannabis has impacted his existence and many close loved ones in such a positive way that he can't imagine life without it!

This article was originally published in the October 2021 issue of Oregon Leaf.

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