Inside Riviera Creek:
Ohio Medical Marijuana
A peek inside one of the most innovative Ohio medical cannabis growing operations in the Buckeye State.
Riviera Creek cannabis has been on Ohio medical marijuana dispensary shelves for quite some time now, but press about the budding cannabis company has been fairly scant. That’s for a reason.
“What we’re doing in here,” Riviera Creek CEO Daniel Keesler stated, “I’m not sure other cultivators are doing it. At least, the way we’re doing it. There are so many different ways to grow cannabis, and there’s no one right way. But we like to do our thing our own way, with our own innovation.”
Daniel Kessler was kind enough to allow #420OH to tour his medical cannabis cultivation facility in late October 2019. And what we saw should entice just about any Ohio medical marijuana patient!
Daniel Kessler was in a meeting when I first arrived at Riviera Creek. As I waited in the company’s large conference room, adorned with posters of thick, potent buds, it was apparent that the folks at RC were working hard. The white boards in the room were covered with frantic brainstorms, including ideas for innovating packaging and cultivation. This was a team that cared about the plant, tirelessly giving their hours to get Riviera Creek cannabis on Ohio dispensary shelves.
But from the outside, the medical cannabis cultivator simply looked like any ordinary factory on the edge of Youngstown, Ohio. In fact, Riviera Creek was formerly the site of another Kessler family factory, Maui Toys. That company’s CEO, Brian Kessler (Daniel’s uncle) is also part owner of Riviera Creek.
There was an unpolished, almost unfinished quality to the outside. Even the somewhat unkempt entrance to the facility wasn’t quite finished at the time I toured. But inside the protected cultivation facility — that was a very, very different story.
A Clean Environment
“What we do at Riviera Creek is rennovate a factory building from the ground-up,” Kessler explained. “The facility is built to our specifications, which ensures the best environment for the plants.”
The plants, of course, include two high-THC strains, the tasty dank lemony Chocolope and the tantalizing Garlic Cookies. These are among a few strains that Riviera Creek has growing in their facility. “Everybody loves high THC at launch, so we’ve been sticking to high THC plants that taste well and sell well with patients.”
Before anyone can see get inside the grow rooms, they must gear up with a tyvek suit or medical scrubs, complete with facemask, gloves, a hairnet and shoes provided by the company.
“All of our employees wear protective gear to prevent any outside contamination. We want our cannabis to be as clean as possible. No molds or fungus or other contaminants that could hurt the plants, and in turn, hurt the patients. To me, this is absolutely vital.”
Kessler also pointed out that all clothing worn inside the facility is laundered, even the shoes employees and guests wear.
A Peak at What’s Growing at Riviera Creek
Inside, the facility was organized and clean, pearly white in every corner … almost reminiscent of the TV room in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Even the white floors were spotless, with only a handful of dried water drops noticeable near the growing bays.
Riviera Creek features multiple cannabis cultivation rooms — a room for cannabis mothers, where the company’s top strains are kept for cloning. Of course, there is also a clone room with young cannabis plants. And last but certainly not least…there are grow rooms, where mature flowering plants are growing thick, juicy bud colas.
This is followed by the usual processing side of the industry, from a drying room to a trimming bay, packing room and even a vault where harvested product is kept before sale or packaging. But throughout each room is fascinating tech that shows signs of Kessler’s vision for cannabis cultivation.
An Exploration of Aeroponics
The crown jewel of Riviera Creek’s cultivation facility is their proprietary aeroponics setup. Kessler is both tremendously proud of this setup, but also very protective of it. In fact, he’s allowed very little press inside the facility for this very reason. This is because the tech inside is profoundly fascinating, and rather ingenious … possibly the only setup of its type in the state.
For those unaware, aeroponics is a type of grow method that allows water, air and nutrients to be evenly dispersed directly to the root system of the plant (see slide five in the photo series above). The runoff is then recycled with fresh nutrients, allowing a symbiotic environment perfect for rapid plant growth. In fact, cannabis plants grown with this method can reach harvest in nearly half the time of a soil-based grow.
The downside to this method is that it requires an extremely clean environment. If this environment is compromised in any way, the exposed root system inside the controlled fertilizing bay could succumb to fungus, molds or root rot. This is why a clean facility is key to Riviera Creek’s success.
The grow rooms also feature a brilliant method of airflow that pushes air out of the grow rooms instead of toward the plants. “Airflow toward the plants or on the plants could cause bacteria, spores or other contaminants from our clothes or outside elements to interfere with the plants,” Kessler elaborated. “This method prevents that from happening.”
Kessler also added that his method of cultivation is greener, using far less water and energy than traditional grows. The facility even utilizes a proprietary LED light setup that uses less energy and speeds up his harvest time.
Though not entirely organic, Kessler aims to get about as organic as he can with his nutrients. “There are positives and negatives to full organic. We opted against it. Ensuring our plants are pesticide free is most important to us, so there are no pesticides used here. This way patients aren’t ingesting anything harmful. When they use our cannabis, they are getting the best of the plant.”
Topping this off, Kessler can monitor his grows 24/7 via a special cultivation app, which even allows him to control nutrient and water dispersal right from his phone or tablet.
The Future for Riviera Creek
This Ohio cannabis cultivator hopes to continue making a splash in the coming years, from testing out new strains, to improving their terpene profiles and enhancing the overall taste of their cannabis.
“We hope to keep innovating and pushing ourselves,” Kessler noted as the tour came to a close, “We’d like to get fully recyclable packaging, if it’s feasible. And test out new strains and see how they do. Really, no matter what it is, we’ll find a way to put our own unique spin on it.”
Riviera Creek medical cannabis is available on Ohio dispensaries now, ranging in price from about $45-60, depending on sales, quantity and availability. Also, if you’d like to another inside peak at an Ohio medical marijuana cultivator, be sure to check out our tour of Galenas in Akron.
The educational materials, editorials and reviews found on this site are provided for informational purposes only. We are not responsible for patients or recreational cannabis users and their actions. Please consult your medical marijuana physician or pharmacist about how to properly medicate with medical cannabis, or to learn how to get your Ohio medical marijuana card.
These syringes are more economical than disposable vape pens, slightly better for the environment.