By Chris Bayley
Not only is BUDS Pasco a pioneer in Washington’s recreational cannabis market, but the company is also a trailblazer in hydroponics technology.
BUDS Pasco — an acronym for Botany Unlimited Design and Supply — is a Tier 2 producer/processor in Eastern Washington, but the facility also acts as a showroom for its patent-pending hydroponic system known as HyGroCage.
BUDS Pasco is owned and operated by Mark Gomez, Lonna Brockway and Jason Joseph. The company’s driving force, however, is the hydroponic system developed by Gomez.
“The system can be operated by someone with very little growing experience, and it’s incredibly user friendly,” Gomez said of his HyGroCage design.
This ease of use translates into a reduction of overall man hours needed to operate the facility, and in turn, overhead for the operation is lowered. This is welcome news for the cannabis industry, considering the high cost of production and exorbitant taxes facing highly-regulated businesses.
The hydroponic unit is a modified ebb-and-flow system that differentiates itself from all other flood and drain systems. This system uses individual containers, as opposed to dimensional flood trays. “This affords complete mobility for every plant and allows for a variable footprint throughout the growing cycle,” Gomez said. Through the design of the HyGroCage system, BUDS has addressed one of the long-standing pitfalls of standard ebb-and-flow systems, which is toxic salt buildup. In most ebb-and-flow systems, elemental salts develop on the medium’s surface due to a lack of flushing. Gomez’s design floods the growing medium completely before sending it back into the reservoir.
“This aspect is key, because salts don’t ever get a chance to build up on the medium,” Gomez said.
“The end result of using our system is an incredibly clean product,” he added.
BUDS Pasco routinely receives incredibly low contaminant scores for all its flowers. The company accomplishes this through an overall program based upon its system design. Gomez said it’s not any one thing, but rather a cumulative effect that’s possible through the implementation of the entire system.
“By removing the dirt out of the equation, being diligent with cleanliness, and utilizing the great air in Eastern Washington, we’ve been able to formulate a great program for clean cannabis production,” Gomez said.
BUDS Pasco (www.budspasco.com), the manufacturer of the HyGroCage system, is focused on launching its equipment and overall program to other hydroponic grow operations. In fact, the company is preparing to ship out its first system. When a customer purchases a system, Gomez says his team not only installs it, but also provides training for the customer on how to operate the equipment. Even though BUDS has been growing some impressive cannabis at its indoor production facility, Gomez said HyGroCage is a top priority right now, when asked about the future of the company.
“Well, growing great cannabis is definitely my passion, however, it’s our system that we’re focusing on right now,” Gomez said.