21 Dec Westword
Something’s going on in Pueblo County. You might not notice as you drive through the town – which took a big hit during the steel recession of the ’80s and has slowly been coming back — but your nostrils should get a clue once you reach the outskirts, where the aroma of cannabis hits you. Although this isn’t an unusual odor in Colorado these days, the pot industry is in full bloom in the county surrounding Pueblo.“I wish I could write my high-school guidance counselor a letter about this,” says Michael Cadwell, director of sales for the Los Sueños cannabis farm as he sniffs a bud the size of a football. “This is the way to do it.” Los Sueños is a 36-acre farm just outside the city, in unincorporated Pueblo County; it’s one of the largest outdoor grows in the country. Unlike Denver County, this one does not require that commercial cannabis cultivation be confined inside, and a stroll through the four fields – planted with 55 strains – shows what a difference the bright southern Colorado sun makes. Plants here grow much taller and heavier; they need to be tied to stakes just to stay upright.
“The high elevation and increase in ultraviolet rays tricks the plants into a higher resin production,” explains head grower at Los Sueños. “And the natural sunlight is virtually year-round.”
Still, the area can get cold. So when the winter frost hits Los Sueños and outdoor growing becomes unfeasible, Los Sueños operates in four greenhouses – a more eco-friendly alternative to the lightbulb/warehouse setups in Denver. “You can have 1,000 lights in some huge warehouse for massive production, but that’s not what we’re trying to do down here,” head grower Aaron says. “This is farming cannabis.”
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