“Every two and a half months, we’re pushing out enough product to meet the demand with the high-quality oil and the high quality smokeable,” Reese said.
As with any market, an important part of ensuring that supply meets demand is understanding what the customers will want. At Acreage, the marketing team works to understand the consumer and patient preferences when it comes to the different cannabis products and then the supply chain works to build out a pipeline to meet demand, Wolfe said.
Cultivation: Planting the seed for growing operations
In some cases, different companies handle cultivation and manufacturing, with a cultivator providing flower to a manufacturer, Huffaker said. But in others, such as Acreage’s, manufacturing operations are connected to its cultivation facilities.
That comes after the manufacturing facility has a location. There are strict regulations around where these manufacturing facilities can locate because the closed-loop extraction process uses highly volatile chemicals, Huffaker said.
Washington, meanwhile, is an example of the other model, according to Chase Towery, the COO of Cultivera.
Earlier this month, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds announced that it planned to close its website to online orders from January 15 to January 20 to catch up on orders, which were five times higher than last year. On Instagram , the Missouri-based seed retailer noted that order volume “ has unavoidably created significant delays in shipping…[and] delivery may take up to 30 days in the United States.”
If seed companies sell out of popular varieties, experiment with alternatives. At Renee’s Garden , certain varieties, including Italian bush beans, butterhead lettuce “rhapsody” and edible pod snow peas are all temporarily out of stock, but several other varieties of beans, butterhead lettuce and peas are still available. You might also be able to source seeds through seed libraries, Facebook seed swap groups or garden clubs. Seed Savers Exchange operates a gardener-to-gardener seed swap to help gardeners access rare seeds.
Plan Now, Plant Later
Wisconsin-based Jung Seed has a note on its website alerting customers, “ We are experiencing some delays in seed shipments. We will continue to…ship orders as it becomes available,” and a surge of orders led Johnny’s Selected Seeds to limit home gardener orders to Tuesdays and Wednesdays (commercial farmers were still able to place orders at any time). At Johnny’s, seed starting supplies, including adjustable lights essential for starting seeds indoors, are already sold out.
Like other seed companies, Burpee anticipated the pandemic would create sustained demand for seeds in all product categories from cucumbers to cut flowers with president and CEO Jamie Mattikow noting, “ We have increased our resources and capacity.” Still, Mattikow advises placing seed orders early to ensure deliveries arrive in time for planting.
Vegetable seed sellers experienced skyrocketing demand last spring as concerns over potential food shortages drove some of the demand; gardening also helped pass the time during quarantine—leading seed companies to post virtual “out of stock” stickers on some popular seed varieties. As seed starting season begins again, sellers say demand hasn’t slowed down.