Grower Stories #31: Benjamin Nadolny

Tia Moskalenko
Tia Moskalenko

Tia Moskalenko is a dedicated cannabis writer specializing in conducting interviews.

Tia says, “I had a chance to work in different industries, but the cannabis one caught my attention for good. Have interviewed over 100 cannabis brands, and my work has appeared in Ganjapreneur and Detroit Metro Times. At some point, I saw great potential in such a fast-growing niche, so I’m investing time and effort into the cannabis industry now.”

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Grower Stories #31: Benjamin Nadolny

Growing in a Fox Hole: Fox Hollow Flora

Fox Hollow Flora takes the time to sit down with us about their beginnings, their expansion, and how they plan to continue growing in the future of federal legalization.


Tia : How did you start the brand? When did you first realize you wanted to be a part of the cannabis industry?

Benjamin Nadolny (Fox Hollow Flora) :  Fox Hollow Flora came together to meet the growing demand for the flowers our family was producing.  We doubled our canopy several times and still could not meet demand requested by our patients and medical retails in Oregon.  Our brand was born in a neighborhood off Fox Hollow Rd in South Eugene.  Our growth was community driven, and the quality of our team is the reason for all of our success.  

Like many, I was in the cannabis industry long before it was referred to as an industry.  I loved both growing cannabis and getting better at growing cannabis.  Cultivating cannabis teaches patience, diligence, and humility.  It was in 2014 that I decided to quit my culinary career, which I also loved very much to focus my whole self on growing cannabis.  

Fox Hollow Flora would not be here today if it weren’t for the extremely generous support of several people in our community.  To protect privacy, I will not name names, but I wanted it to be known that our success isn’t just because of some entrepreneurial spirit. Our community has always been enthusiastic and supportive of our brand and products.    


Tia : What separates Fox Hollow Flora from other cannabis companies when it comes to your growing process?

Benjamin :  At Fox Hollow Flora we keep it simple, and wholesome.  Our team loves the process.  We built a facility designed around our process.  We treat our plants and flowers with respect.  We grow with the end user in mind.  If our flowers are not providing the best experience for the user, then nothing we do would matter.  We are a quality over quantity cultivator.  


Tia : How many people work at Fox Hollow Flora currently?

Benjamin : 16 people, plus support from the amazing crews from Parsnips and Greenforce.


Tia : What is your stance on indoor vs outdoor? Do you believe one is better than the other?

Benjamin :  Fox Hollow Flora grows indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor.  We do so because they are all better, but not over the other.  Oregon is a special place for growing cannabis, and we believe Oregon grown cannabis is better than the other.  Oregon indoor is famous and in high demand, that will never change.  Oregon outdoor grown cannabis under the Oregon sun has the best terpenes in the world.  



Tia : What is your view on nutrients/ chemicals used in growing and extraction? Do you believe in organic-only products, or are there any non-organic compounds that you believe are safe to use and healthy?

Benjamin : At our farm we grow with wholesome, organic methods.  Cannabis is being grown by different methods all over the United States.  From the basements of the Bronx to the valleys of the Sierras, in factories and on farms, cannabis is grown in all sorts of ways.  Fox Hollow Flora is open minded to all of the methods used for growing cannabis as long as that cannabis is clean and safe.  Right now it is up to each state to determine what cannabis is clean and safe.  All cannabis users should be aware of what it means to be a lab compliant cannabis product in your state.  The human brain will instinctively identify the better cannabis on the market.  


Tia : What are the top 3 strains from your product list to try? What’s your favourite one personally?

Benjamin :  Top 3, that will be tough, we have some great strains.  The Fox Hollow Flora cut of Sour Banana Sherbet is always in high demand, and has been in my daily rotation for 6 years.  Like all cannabis users and growers we develop crushes on certain strains, often.  Currently, we have a crush on a strain called Grape Fluff (Sundae Driver x Bubba Kush) that is both as beautiful in aesthetics as it is in effect.  Another one we are loving right now is a Triangle Kush Mints, aka TKM from Seed Junky (Triangle Kush x Kush Mints), it is one of those strains that is so intriguing it keeps you constantly coming back to explore it some more. 


Tia : Do all the strains differ in taste and effect between the flower and the extraction oil?

Benjamin : Our extraction partners are extremely gifted in preserving and amplifying the integrity of each strain, including the taste and nose.  There are some strains that are better suited to a specific method of extraction, then there are some that are show stoppers regardless of method.  Our extraction partners knock it out of the park and do their due diligence to only bring the highest quality to the market.  That being said there is trial and error on every new strain both fresh frozen and dry cured for all types of extraction.  

The effects of an extraction are of course intensified when extracted.  I think more notable is the experience of using the extractions is also intensified.  The terpenes have more expression.  The mouthfeel and the palate provide more detail to describe with extractions than with flower.  The best extractions only come from the best, and cleanest cannabis material.  


Tia : What is your personal cannabis consumption routine - do you consume cannabis yourself, what products, THC/ CBD? Does it affect your work/life?

Benjamin :  I myself take CBD oil every morning in my smoothie.  I use Flora Sophia CBD and CBG products from Talent, Oregon.  I consume cannabis throughout the day, and have done so for over 20 years.  Life has only gotten better everyday since, work too.  I primarily consume our Sour Banana Sherbet, though I like to try new flavors as often as I can. 


Tia : What do you think is the most common mistake that new companies make when it comes to the branding?

Benjamin : 5 years ago there were just a fraction of the cannabis companies that exist today.  Today all the legendary growers have an established brand.  That means a new brand today has to work even harder to acquire customers and sales accounts while at the same time provide a product that can compete with the quality and reputation of a legendary grower.  One mistake I’m seeing happen is that new brands are focused on only one of those challenges, and not both.  

Just because your flowers or your concentrates are high quality, does not mean retailers will place your products on their store shelves.  Just because your wholesale price is low does not mean your products will be competitive. If a new company does not have a marketing budget, it is still important to identify your core values as a company.  The core values must drive everything after.  This will give confidence when selling to retailers and when speaking to consumers about your products.  

When looking to acquire new retail accounts without a marketing budget be prepared for a lot of rejection at first.  The most effective way to acquire a retail account is for one of their regular customers to ask specifically for your products. 

For new cannabis companies that actually have a marketing budget, the packaging will only get you so far.  The human instinct will ultimately determine what has better value for the money.  Focus on the end user, focus on the reasons why people prefer your brand of cannabis products over the others.  When consumers reach out with questions, follow up with both the answers as well as with questions of your own.  The consumer will help you better understand your strains and products.  Each human has a unique endocannabinoid system.  Those endocannabinoid systems are your market, and there is no market science to tell us what products work for who because it is not yet possible.  When a customer of your brand or a guest in your retail tells you that a specific strain is working for them, it is vital that you listen and ask follow up questions to learn more.  


Tia : Where do you hope to see Fox Hollow Flora in the next 5-10 years?

Benjamin : Fox Hollow Flora is a calculated group, and we build quality infrastructure.  We expand when it is responsible to do so.  The demand for Fox Hollow Flora products has outweighed supply for the past couple years.  When Oregon identified cannabis as essential it added even more to that demand.  Though the market is still a bit elastic, the families of Fox Hollow Flora are ready for the next chapter of growth.  

When cannabis becomes federally legal, Fox Hollow Flora will be known as an original Oregon brand.  Federal legalization will undoubtedly bring new requirements to the cannabis industry and make life complicated for all cannabis companies.  The upside is that quality cannabis can be grown more efficiently by not being bound to a specific state. Commodity cannabis will move to states with lots of sun, cheap energy, and limited regulations.  Oregon and California companies will assign regional designations to their products, such as Applegate Valley or Sonoma County.  Banks will grant billions of dollars in debt.  Established cannabis companies may expand, become acquired, or spiral into debt.  Good news is that for a short period of time after oversaturated states like Oregon begin exporting cannabis, it will open the market and allow new companies to fill the local supply.  Eventually, out of state cannabis will be widely available even on Oregon store shelves and it will come down to both quality of product and good business sense in order to compete.  When all that comes to pass Fox Hollow Flora will still be known as an original Oregon brand.  



Tia : Are there any brands you appreciate and follow?

Benjamin : There are too many to name.  Willamette Valley Alchemy, Evolvd, Happy Cabbage, White Label Extracts, Heroes of the Farm, Doghouse, Dynasty Genetics, Benson Arbor, Bud’s Goods & Provisions, Archive, Oregon’s Finest, Oregrown, TJ’s, too many to name.


Tia : If you could smoke with anyone in the world, who would it be and why? :)

Benjamin : I would smoke with Barack Obama.  I like the way he thinks before he speaks, and treats everyone with respect.  I feel like he would be fun to smoke with and then do something fun to help the community.  I also think it would be funny to watch him dance while he is high on some Obama Kush. 


Tia : Are there any plans for brand expansion? What do you plan to add to your product list moving forward?

Benjamin : The Fox Hollow Flora brand will continue to expand and diversify.  Our product list will often have some pilot projects.  In regards to extraction we already work with the best processors in the country, it makes more sense to support them than it does to compete.  It is community vertical integration, we are very lucky to have the best processors and the best flower right here in Oregon.  

 

You can follow Fox Hollow Flora at:

>Instagram

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