Okanna Craft is a true family affair. Travis Tully, alongside his mother, Nanette, and stepfather, are the masterminds behind the licensed micro-cultivator and nursery. Based in Kelowna, the team at Okanna Craft cut their teeth on the legacy market before taking on the legal, adult-use market.
Their quest to bring legendary BC flower to consumers hasn’t been without challenges (which they discuss below), and is driven by a connection to the plant and a desire to create safe, potent, remarkable craft cannabis products for Canadians.
Read on to learn more about Travis’ and Nanette’s experience in the cannabis space.
Name: Nanette Tully and Travis Tully
Title: Owner + Master Grower
Company: Okanna Craft Ltd.
Favourite strain:There are too many to pick from. My favourite smoke right now is Banana Punch. The best looking strain we have right now is Lavender Cake (which is also a great smoke). ~ Travis
Most fascinating part of growing cannabis: We love watching the room evolve, and finding new genetics. Or when you have a plant you didn’t look twice at in veg and it blows your mind in flower.
What brought you to the world of botany and cannabis?
We started out because of our interest in medicine—plus we love the industry.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the people in this industry, as well as sometimes by the challenges we face (although not when it’s stressing me out). The cannabis industry has a real sense of community—people helping people—that I find inspiring. ~ Nanette
I’ve read that Okanna is focusing on growing unique cultivars—how do you choose cultivars to select? And why is this important to Okanna?
We run tests and analyze our plants until we find something that stands out, offers a great high, a great smell and bag appeal. Hopefully it yields well too. It’s important to us that we’re proud of our products.
Why is this important for consumers?
As craft cannabis becomes more available, consumers can expect to get back to the old days of smaller batch, quality product. The only difference is now, it’s a safe product. It creates choice for the consumer. Because of this, we choose cultivars for their effect, for a great smoke, for a great end product, for the excitement.
Can you briefly walk me through your cultivation process?
We do everything from start to finish. We have a nursery full of great genetics to pick from. Every plant is grown in soil and hand watered, this allows us to spend a good amount of time with each plant. We give every plant what it needs.
How do you manage/balance pheno-hunting and growing each cultivar so each plant thrives?
If the cultivar makes it through our testing, they are generally a good fit for our rooms. If they are finicky, but too nice to toss aside, we put them through additional testing to try to dial them in.
Can you tell me about the transition to the legal adult-use market?
It was very difficult. A real lesson in how bureaucracy can suck the fun out of just about anything. ~ Travis
As Travis said, it was very difficult. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. ~ Nanette
What challenges/obstacles do you face in the recreational cannabis space?
There were too many challenges to fully list but paperwork, CRA, municipal government BS and Health Canada—we were constantly being bombarded. Now, getting a SKU for a product through government distribution is a challenge. The list goes on and on...
As a producer, what would you like consumers to know about where their products come from?
Okanna is a small facility—our average room size is 20 lights in a 400-500 square-foot space. This allows us to put time into each room, making sure we put out the best product possible. Our small team is experienced in the industry and we all share the same goal: to create product people will enjoy. Our team cares about the end product.
What exciting things can consumers expect from Okanna in 2021?
We are working now to expand our nursery, which will allow us to continue with our breeding program. Consumers won’t see that in 2021, we have a beauty lineup that will blow away anything they have been able to buy at a retailer. ~ Travis
People need to ask their local stores to bring in more product from micro and craft growers. Mass produced product doesn’t translate into great quality cannabis. ~ Nanette