Seed to Sale with MTL Cannabis Master Grower Patrick Pagé

When Kootenay Cannabis – Niagara Falls cannabis dispensary opened in July of 2021, we weren’t certain what would sell. We brought in many different flower strains by a wide variety of legal producers (LPs) to see what would work well with our customers. As the weeks went by, employees and customers were trying all kinds of flower strains to see what was good. 

One flower that stuck out with the staff and customers alike, was a pungent lemony sativa called Sage N’ Sour, made by non-other than MTL Cannabis. Curious about the company that made such a quality flower, the staff asked our manager to bring in more MTL Cannabis products – especially if they were making pre-rolls or vapes with the same quality. Sadly, we discovered that they only had the Sage N’ Sour available at the moment. At first, seeing that they only had one product was kind of disappointing. But, with some reflection, we deduced that maybe the reason why Sage N’ Sour is so good, is because it is the only product that they produced. 

Fast forward to January 2022. MTL Cannabis has announced they are releasing a new strain called Cookies N’ Cream. Everyone is excited as heck to get this new product in and give it a try. It doesn’t disappoint. Cookies N’ Creme is a hit at the store and customers are asking for more MTL Cannabis. It’s at this time that we think it’s time to talk to MTL Cannabis about their products and methods. So we reached out to them and they hooked us up with their Master Grower Patrick Pagé. Patrick has been working for MTL Cannabis for a little over 2 years at this point – since December 2019 to be exact. Below is a written out version of our conversation. 

DISCLAIMER: This interview is meant for customers and general consumers of cannabis. The interviewer knows very little about the subject and is looking to learn and educate. The point of this interview is for educational purposes and general knowledge about MTL Cannabis. This article is more of an accurate interpretation of the interview conversation rather than a direct transcript.

Where exactly does MTL Cannabis grow their cannabis? 

The main facility is in Pointe-Claire, Quebec – a.k.a the Island of MTL. The facility is 13 flowering rooms large and runs all the time. Our cannabis flowers are grown using a hydroponic system that was developed by the owners Rich and Mitch. 

Master Grower Patrick Pagé with founders Rich and Mitch Clement (Photograph provided by MTL Cannabis)

What are some benefits of growing your cannabis indoors as opposed to an outdoor grow? 

From our personal experience, growing indoors gives us control, cleanliness, and consistency. This allows for a highly customizable environment that can be made to fit any plant we are looking at growing. Cleanliness is a very important aspect to us and growing indoors allows for a pharmaceutical-level of cleanliness. 

We are able to keep all of these factors consistent, rather than the randomness sometimes experienced with an outdoor grow. This allows for a consistent product to be released that consumers can rely on. 

What kind of grow medium is used by MTL Cannabis? 

MTL Cannabis uses multiple grow mediums which include, rockwool, coco coir and perlite.

I noticed on the website that it says your product is hang dried. What are some other ways to dry cannabis and why is hang drying the preferred way for MTL Cannabis? 

There are many ways to dry cannabis but the three main ways I’ve seen include whole plant hang-dry; bucking the flowers wet and then drying them on a rack; and the last option, fully trimming the bud wet then drying on a rack. We choose to hang the whole plant. Throughout the owners’ legacy experience, they have found that the whole-plant hang-dry keeps more integrity of the plant. It gives you a more flavourful, smooth, and consistent smoke.

What exactly does ‘cold cured’ mean? What are some other methods of curing and why do you guys choose cold cure? 

Cold curing is curing the product at a cooler temperature. All terpenes evaporate at different temperatures. The benefits of the cold-cure is that it allows for the terpenes to lock into the flower, rather than evaporating. This gives a really nice smell and taste that smells like the grow room. 

Can you quickly explain MTL Cannabis’ 5-step process? Has this process always been used or was it recently implemented? 

The 5-step process was created by the founders Mitch and Rich. The first step is indoor grown, second step is hang-drying, and the third step is cold-cured (see above questions for deeper explanations). 

The fourth step is thumb trimming. This helps us keep our product looking tight and consistent. The fifth step is hand-packing and making sure quality flower pack our jars. We don’t want half gram nugs making up your eighth. All these steps ensure uniformity and a positive overall experience for the consumer. 

Master Grower Patrick Pagé inspecting his crop (Photograph provided by MTL Cannabis)

Why did MTL Cannabis start out with the Sage N’ Sour? What was it about that strain that made that the primary product for MTL? 

Sage N’ Sour is really a beautiful mystery, “unicorn genetic”. The founders phenohunted the strain during their time in the ACMPR days. Once they found it and dialed it in they decided to focus on the strain due to its high quality flower, its consistency, and yields. Every medical patient, and now recreational user, really enjoys the strain and so we continued on growing it.

How did you guys go about deciding to introduce your newest strain ‘Cookies N’ Cream’? 

Cookies N’ Cream was a genetic that has been in our strain vault, along with a few others. The company was looking to put out a new strain that everyone can enjoy daily. At the end of the day, we decided on Cookies N’ Cream because it checks all the boxes (appeal, smell, smooth smoke) and we would be able to maintain the same quality and consistency that everyone loves about the Sage N’ Sour. 

A lot of people here at MTL Cannabis are functional stoners, if you will, and we really wanted to put out a strain that people can smoke everyday. I personally love the plant – the mother plant is so beautiful. Everything about it is amazing. We really believe it was the next strain to put out and the reception has been great. The library is always expanding. 

The MTL Cannabis grow team responsible for the awesome flower (Photograph provided by MTL Cannabis)

Why does MTL Cannabis specialize in certain strains rather than focusing on releasing multiple strains? 

For us, we really believe in cannabis. We come from the cannabis community. We’ve been in the cannabis community, and we care about staying true to our roots and the community. It’s really about putting out products that we, and the community, can be proud of. We don’t want to put something out, that in six months, we’re like: “Ugh. That was a bad idea,” or “Why did we put that out?” We don’t want to be that company. We want to be that company, where every time you get something from MTL Cannabis, you know it’s going to be fire. You know you will get a consistent high quality product. 

We’re not about putting something on the shelf that we ran two or three trials on, but hey – we have it, so we need to sell it. We really want to honour the cannabis community and the standard we have set. For that reason, we make sure we try to dial something in, and get it the best we can. Then when everything is consistent, we release it. 

We like to pride ourselves on having that quality standard and having that product the community can trust. Being a brand that the community can trust is really important to us. Putting out strains that check all the boxes take a little time but at least we know it’s always going to be good.

Anything you can tell us about the new strain being teased on social media? Can we get a hint as to what it might be? 

Unfortunately, that is proprietary information that cannot be shared. Things are always evolving as well so it wouldn’t be fair to say something knowing it can change. All I can say is that quality goes hand-in-hand with consistency. I am excited about what’s in the grow room, and you should be too.

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