WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO THE HARVESTING PROCESS?

REMOVING THE LARGE FAN LEAVES FROM THE STEM

Equipment: Hands or Scissors

  • We highly recommend removing the fan leaves before drying the plants, as once the leaves dry, curl and shrink, defanning becomes difficult
  • The fan leaves if not removed before drying, will create stems that will need to be removed post trimming, requiring you to handle more flowers after trimming
  • Defanning eliminates excess chlorophyll from your trim, improving concentrates
  • Defan during the flushing period and prior to harvesting
  • When possible, defan throughout the flower cycle
  • Remove all fan leaves that have exposed stem
  • The most efficient way to defan is by hand and by quickly plucking the leaves towards the base of the plant, scissors can also be used for this step.
  • Focus on the leaves that have stem exposed, especially at the base of the flower to prevent crow’s feet from occurring after trimming
  • Considerations if defanning is not an option due to resources and or crop size:
    • When dry trimming, fan leaves and their stems dry slower than sugar leaf, leaving stems that need to be removed post trimming
    • When wet trimming, the fan leaves will increase chlorophyll into concentrates, increase touch up required, and gunk up the equipment faster
    • When dry trimming or wet trimming, the first filtration and collection bag on the Ez Trimmer will capture a lot of the fan leaves and separate them from the rest of your trim

NOTE:  Shucking should occur immediately after harvesting the plants and while the flowers are fresh, and the leaves are sticking out.

  • Cut and individualize branches from the stalk
  • Cut and individualize stems from the branches (leave 2-3 inches at the base of the stem when using the Debudder)
  • Using the Debudder, hands, or scissors, remove and individualize all flowers from the stem
  • Leave 1/8” of stem at flowers base after shucking
  • When shucking wet flowers, be sure to shuck and trim immediately after harvesting, do not allow the harvested plants to sit for more than a few hours before shucking and trimming, doing so can cause the leaves to curl in, and flowers to squish, effecting trim quality
  • Take the time on this step to ensure the flowers are 100% individualized, with no more than  1/8” of stem, and free of any fan leaves
  • Average throughput for every Debudder with a single operator should be 20,000 grams (44 LBS) per hour of fresh flower or 5,000 grams (11 LBS) per hour of dried finished flower
  • With 2 operators at a single debudder throughput is 20 LBS per hour of dried finished flower

REMOVING AND INDIVIDUALIZING THE FLOWERS FROM THE STEM

Equipment: Debudder, Hands, or Scissors

NOTE:  Shucking should occur after Drying is complete. We recommend shucking the plants when partially dried to 50-60% RH, then continue drying and curing the shucked flowers prior to trimming. If shucking and trimming on the same day, and prior to curing, dry the plants to 30-40% RH, run the debudder on a very slow speed and expect a small amount of breakdown to your top colas. If plants have become too dry to safely use the debudder, rehydrate the plants to a level where breakdown is not an issue.

  • Cut and individualize branches from the stalk
  • Cut and individualize stems from the branches (leave 2-3 inches at the base of the stem when using the Debudder)
  • Using scissors or Debudder when possible, remove and individualize all flowers from the stem
  • Leave 1/8” of stem at flowers base after shucking
  • When shucking dried flowers with the Debudder, be sure the flowers are not over dried, and the feed rate is set to 20 or lower
  • Take the time on this step to ensure the flowers are 100% individualized, with no more than  1/8” of stem, and free of any fan leaves
  • Rehydrate the plants in order to implement the debudder or automated shucking when plants are completely/over dried
  • Average throughput for every Debudder with a single operator should be 2,700 grams (6 LBS) per hour of dried finished flower
  • With 2 operators at a single debudder throughput is 10 LBS per hour of dried finished flower
  • Shucking dried plants requires the machines be run slower to avoid damaging the flowers

REMOVING MOISTURE FROM THE PLANT & FLOWERS

Equipment: Humidity controlled environment with airflow

NOTE:  Drying should occur immediately after trimming the flowers when wet trimming and immediately after shucking the flowers when hybrid trimming. Ensure you have proper airflow, ambient temperature, and humidity levels in the room

  • Drying and curing to proper RH levels is the most important part of the harvesting process, and will ensure great smell and taste if done properly, even when trimming wet
  • Place the freshly shucked or trimmed flowers on drying racks for 5-7 days in a climate-controlled room with plenty of airflow, and until the product and room homogenize to 50-60% RH
  • We recommend using 4’x8’x ¼” mesh for drying the flowers. It allows for more airflow and decreases flattening
  • Rotate the product 2-3 times a day for the first 2 days to avoid flattening
  • Dry as slow as possible, preferably tapering the humidity down to 50% over 5-7 days
  • Circulate the air, pull in fresh air periodically, and check the product daily
  • Drying is complete when the outside of the flower is crispy, the inside is still spongy, and the stems are more yellow than green
  • Dry the trimmed leaf from the collection bags, after wet trimming, in the same manner
  • HYBRID TRIMMING  =  DRYING FRESH SHUCKED UNTRIMMED FLOWERS
  • WET TRIMMING  =  DRYING FRESH SHUCKED AND TRIMMED FLOWERS

REMOVING MOISTURE FROM THE PLANT & FLOWERS

Equipment: Humidity controlled environment with airflow

NOTE:  Drying should occur immediately after harvesting the plants

  • We recommend shucking when the plants are partially dried to 50-60% RH, then continue drying and curing the shucked flowers prior to trimming.
  • Remove the fan leaves 1-2 days before harvesting your plants and before trimming
  • Hang dry the plants, or individual stems, in a humidity-controlled environment for 5-7 Days, or until the plants and room homogenize to an ambient level of 50 – 60% RH
  • Circulate the air constantly, pull in fresh air periodically, and check the product daily
  • Drying is complete when the stems bend to 90 degrees before snapping, the outside of the flowers are slightly crispy, the inside of the flowers are spongy, and the stems are more yellow than green
  • Do not completely dry the plants if using automated shucking machines, Dry to 50-60% humidity
  • Over-drying the flowers at this point will cause the flowers to occasionally break apart when either shucking or trimming
  • Rehydrate the plants in order to implement the debudder or automated shucking when plants are over dry
  • If you need to shuck and trim on the same day, and prior to curing, dry the plants to 30-40% RH, as opposed to 50-60% RH, run the debudder on a very slow speed and expect a small amount of breakdown to your top colas
  • DRY TRIMMING  =  DRYING WHOLE PLANTS OR BRANCHES

REMOVING THE LEAVES FROM THE FLOWERS

EQUIPMENT: EZ TRIMMER, WANDER TRIMMER, OR SCISSORS

NOTE: Wet trimming should occur immediately after the flowers have been shucked, and while the flowers are fresh, and the leaves are sticking out.

  • Proper preparation is key to quality trimming, individualize all flowers, remove all fan leaves and keep no more than an 1/8” to 1/4 “of stem at the base of the flowers
  • There is a balance of quality and speed for every strain, some strains require zero touch up, while others need some, find the optimal trimming cycle time and touch up required that creates the best quality and efficiency
  • Dialing in the blade to its closest point is crucial to getting a tight quality trim
  • Having extra blades, grates and filtration bags can provide a quick swap out solution for maintaining a clean unit
  • Multiple Ez Trimmers provide advantages to a single larger trimmer:
    • 1 person can easily operate 4 Ez Trimmers
    • Redundancy
    • Trim multiple strains simultaneously
    • Adjust the trimming dynamics as needed for different strains and moisture levels
  • Batch sizes should be 400 – 600 grams of fresh flower, and batch times should be 1-2 minutes
  • Average throughput for every Ez Trimmer should be 20,000 grams (44 LBS) per hour of fresh flower or 5,000 grams (11 LBS) per hour of dried finished flower
  • For clients that prefer hand trimming and hang drying or smaller operations that don’t need the capacity of the Ez Trimmer we offer the Wander Trimmer for fast and efficient trimming of your wet product.

REMOVING THE LEAVES FROM THE FLOWERS

EQUIPMENT: EZ TRIMMER OR SCISSORS

Note: Typically, the product is ready to trim when the plants and the room have homogenized to an ambient RH of 30-40%.

  • Proper preparation is key to quality trimming, individualize all flowers, remove all fan leaves and keep no more than an 1/8” to 1/4 “of stem at the base of the flowers
  • The most important aspect of dry trimming is moisture level in the flowers. Too much and it won’t trim, too little and the flowers will become fragile
  • Dry trimming is done through friction, not cutting
  • We recommend checking for dryness by disturbing one of the outer leaves, if it bends it is not dry enough. The leaves need to snap when disturbed.
  • It is crucial that the product is dried and prepped properly prior to trimming, this means, all the flowers have been individualized, and that the outer leaves snap, and do not bend at all when disturbed
  • Remove the cutting blade when dry trimming to avoid mincing the trim too small
  • Batch sizes should be 300 – 400 grams of dried flower, and batch times should be 30 sec to       1 minute
  • Average throughput for every Ez Trimmer should be 15,000 grams (33 LBS) per hour of dried finished flower

SEAL, STORE AND AGE THE FLOWERS FOR STRONG TERPINE PROFILE

EQUIPMENT: SEALED CONTAINERS

Note: This process is the same for all 3 harvest methods

  • Drying and curing properly is the most important part of the harvesting process
  • Curing will ensure great smell and taste if done properly, even when trimming wet
  • Curing is not something easily scalable, ratios of air to product is crucial for oxidization and absorption of terpenes
  • Regardless of the container you use, or room size, the ratio of product to air space should be roughly 75% product, to 25% air
  • Place properly dried and trimmed product into appropriate sealed containers
  • Ideal container humidity should start at roughly 40-50%RH and taper down to 30 – 40%RH over the curing process
  • Inspect the product daily, ensure proper moisture level through touch, and cure completion through smell
  • Aerate or burp the containers daily by opening the sealed containers, and allowing the product to breath as needed
  • Be sure to rotate, or mix the product every 24 hours
  • Cure the trimmed leaf from the collection bags in the same manner when wet trimming
  • Ideally cure for no less than 5 days

SEPARATE SHAKE, POPCORN, SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE FLOWERS

EQUIPMENT: SORTER

NOTE: This process is the same for all 3 harvest methods

  • The Bud Sorter lets you accurately, efficiently, and safely sort your buds into shake, popcorn, small, medium, and large buds
  • The Bud Sorter is typically used as a quality control station
  • Sort the flowers prior to quality control and touching up, this will eliminate the shake and popcorn from the process
  • Brush product back and forth and down the grates until all product has fallen into the appropriate container
  • The Sorter is intended to be utilized right before packaging
  • The Sorter will increase your efficiency by:
    • Separating similar sized and weighted flowers for packaging
    • Eliminate the handling and trimming of popcorn and shake
    • Separate shake for pre-rolls
    • Separate popcorn for wholesale
    • Provide a dedicated QC Station
  • Batch sizes should be 400 – 600 grams of fresh flower, and batch times should be 30 sec. – 1 minutes
  • Average throughput for every Sorter should be 40,000 grams (88 LBS) per hour of dried finished flower