On a recent trip to Colorado, the Poseidon team had a chance to visit with a local hemp farmer and see a crop right before harvest. We have long been big fans of hemp and believe in the hearty crop as a resource to improve our farming and bring a more sustainable resource to the U.S. The visit only increased our enthusiasm for the plant that seems to be a gift to humans, and yet has been long demonized by archaic laws based on fear and misunderstanding.
We were greeted by Veronica and her team with fresh cups of hemp coffee – a delicious non-psychoactive blend of hemp seeds and coffee beans-- far less acidic than traditional brews, less caffeine, and a beautiful, smooth taste! (It also naturally contains healthy amino acids that reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing plaque accumulation in the arteries).
Veronica has been working to cultivate ‘Colorado Star’ for years - a hemp strain she found that flourishes in the Boulder environment where she is located. Bringing up our friend and teacher, Doug Fine, she smiled.
“Yes, Doug blessed these seeds,” she said.
Veronica also has a plot of a research crop, where she is studying some different hemp strains to see how they fare. She noted that the strain is very important because it maintains the required low levels of THC. Per the Colorado State guidelines, commercial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC, and a higher density of CBD. She also noted that the state has been very encouraging in working with her to help understand more about hemp and its potential. It is likely that they are seeing the jobs and revenue this crop can help to generate and want to cultivate it further.
Through her research, Veronica has found that she has the ability to have two harvests per year. This particular crop was planted in May and when we saw it (in early October), it was well over 6’5” tall. She noted that this crop is a ‘worst case scenario’ crop, in that it was hit very early on with a massive hail storm—yet it continued to thrive. While some of the plants were knocked over, 90% continued to grow strong and tall.
Veronica also spoke of the little watering and lack of pesticides required in order to maintain the crop. Once they are planted, the hemp plants practically grow themselves. The bees love the hemp plants and work to spread the pollen. Lady bugs, too, dotted the huge, vibrant leaves, spreading pollen and acting as a natural pesticide.
As a company based in California, we are acutely aware of the effects of drought – based on the cracked soil in and around the field, it is clear that these plants can grow heartily in these difficult environments, where other plants such as soy or corn would add more strain to the water depletion.
Walking around the grounds, we were treated to samples of the hemp seeds for tasting. It’s unbelievable the nuance in flavor from across different varieties of plants there.
With genetics being critical to maintaining the strains, Veronica noted that cloning is of importance, as it is more stable to maintain the DNA than the seeds.
Last weekend, Veronica hosted a harvest and music party on her property, with the desire to engage locals and tourists alike and to educate them about the potential for hemp. Great idea!
For more information about hemp and all of the potential uses and benefits of this great plant, check out Doug Fine’s book, Hemp Bound.
As enthusiasts, we cannot say enough about this experience. Seeing these beautiful plants that have a luscious color and herbaceous scent swaying gently in the breeze, we felt we were witnessing the birth of a new era. It all starts with the planting of a few seeds, believing and seeing that through to fruition… a physical metaphor for this growing industry itself.