Ask A Grower: With Dan Sutton of Tantalus Labs

Ask A Grower: With Dan Sutton of Tantalus Labs

Admin KiaroJan 11, '21

Using the natural conditions that exist within British Columbia, Tantalus Labs is dedicated to sustainable cannabis cultivation. And we’re honoured to display their products on Kiaro store shelves. 

This week, Dan Sutton, CEO of Tantalus Labs, answers our questions on growing top-notch BC cannabis in specialized, purpose-built greenhouses.

Name: Dan Sutton

Title and Company: CEO, Tantalus Labs

Favourite Strain: Sunset Sherbert

What brought you to the world of botany and cannabis?

I ended up in the realm of botany and cannabis by working alongside exceptionally smart people. My skill set is more rooted in team organization and administration, and I have been lucky to find and build a team of plant visionaries that span across the Tantalus squad—especially in cultivation. I like to think I take the bureaucracy of running the business off of their shoulders so they can focus on serving the plant. 

What do you find most fascinating about growing cannabis?

Soil health really gets me going these days! There are bio-organic stimulants that can enhance root systems and thereby enable greater nutrient uptake through the plant life cycle. Supernatural!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the feeling I get when I smoke test a new phenotype for the first time. You taste the new flavours, experience new effects, and—for me—reflect on the massive diversity and variability of the cannabis plant. 

The Tantalus Labs roster has a great mix of high-THC strains, as well as CBD varieties—why? How do you select which cultivars to grow?

Cannabis chemistry is as diverse as the people who consume it. There is something out there that’s uniquely tailored to each individual’s preferences. That treasure hunt is my favourite part of the job. 

Tantalus does all of its own seed popping and phenotype selection, so we get to dig deep through our seed library, keeping an eye open for special individuals. We are always on the lookout for phenotypes with remarkable features such as potency, smell or morphology. When a new pheno excites our cultivation team, we know we can get customers fired up about it too!

How do you give each cultivar the specific care it needs to thrive?

Tantalus grows in small batches with a forever-flowering style of harvest schedule. We run irrigation and nutrient feeds directly to each plant, and take special care in pruning and plant training. 

With <200 plants per bay, our harvests are manageable enough to ensure we minimize plant handling steps. It is all about gently coaxing out the right smells and moisture content through drying, trimming and packaging. Our philosophy is low touch, low impact in these critical finishing processes. 

What challenges and/or obstacles do you face in the cannabis space?

CBD is not consumed by a large percentage of cannabis users today. It is also difficult to position as a premium offering, even if the flavour profile and bag appeal are comparable to a high-THC cultivar. 

When people actually try a balanced or CBD-only cultivar, they are usually surprised by the effects. The challenge is converting hearts and minds, one at a time!

As a grower, what would you like consumers to know about where their cannabis comes from?

Three things:

  1. Tantalus cannabis is grown with an exceptional focus on purity of inputs. Rainwater, sun, and simple nutrients are precisely tailored to bring the best out of the plant. 
  2. Our team pays homage to a deep-rooted cultural respect for cannabis, being independently BC-owned and operated. Some of the finest cannabis on earth is grown in our home province and we seek to honour that heritage with every harvest. 
  3. Our operations team takes the consumer experience of our products personally. The Tantalus team consists of some of the most passionate individuals in our young industry. They live to exceed your expectations. This is more than a job for us. 

What exciting things can consumers expect from Tantalus in 2021?

Expect to see new top-tier genetics, consistent freshness and a deeper dive into solventless concentrates. For the heads ;)