Inside The Hemp Harvest On Small American Farms From Oregon To New York
We sometimes forget that, while not a fruit or veggie, CBD and hemp products still come from farms! Do you know where your CBD tincture or pre-rolls were grown or how? As the new CBD industry booms, the sourcing of these powerful and newly legalized plants matters just as much as where we buy our salad greens. Supporting sustainable brands means we could help get this market started on the right foot right from the very start.
oHHo is a cannabis and botanicals wellness company dedicated to crafting ‘plants with benefits’. The brand caught our eye from among the uber-crowded CBD brand space because of their dedication to small American farms and farmers, even going to far as to craft specific CBD tinctures named Oregon, Colorado, and New York with their own territory-specific flavor profiles you have to taste to understand. Intriguing, truly sustainable, and giftable AF!
We spoke with oHHo co-founder and Head of Education, Tim McDonald to learn about what it’s like to harvest hemp from these small farms and why they’ve gone to such great lengths to do so! Sit back, enjoy our interview, and then indulge in a little CBD shopping for yourself or for holiday gifting with 20% off the full site!
The Chalkboard: Why did you decide to work with small farms and why does it matter so much?
oHHo’s Tim McDonald: We want to support the small, independent, family run farms who grow hemp organically, sustainably and regeneratively, who have found a life line in hemp after years of struggling to make ends meet. We want to protect their livelihoods, their local knowledge and support them through their struggles, whilst providing exceptional quality, purity and efficacy. The cannabis plant reflects the appellation from which it is grown (see the varieties here), we want to celebrate this and share the differences in our products with our consumers.
There is no need for the cultivation of hemp to be damaging to the land. Huge quantities of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones are used in Big Agriculture (Industrialised farming) which currently has around 80% of the control in the market. Enormous areas from 200 to 2 million acres are industrially farmed using mechanical methods that — although effective in the short term — are not environmentally kind.The long term effects of this kind of farming are well known; depleted soil, erosion, desertification. “Mono cropping” on such a huge scale disrupts the local biological diversity and healthy soil systems to a devastating degree. Many studies show Big Agriculture to be the single largest contributor to the global climate crisis.
Our mission is to work with sustainable cultivators to create bespoke products. Producing a premium quality product requires nurturing from seed to sale.
Small scale farming allows a degree of personal nurture that is not possible on a large scale. Bespoke products come from people respecting and understanding the cannabis plant.We’re not interest in being part of the chain that sticks a label on the same product that 1000’s of others are selling — we want to provide something special like a vintage wine and at the same time celebrate the people and region from which it was cultivated.
TCM: Wow, so these are truly small farms. What are the farming practices you’re looking for when you choose to work with a farmer and his land?
TM: We typically work with farms that are cultivating only 5-40 acres of land for their crops. It takes a lot of effort to grow organically and with sustainable and regenerative methods. Our farms practice, amongst other methods: Hand planting, nurturing and harvesting; no till drilling, no use of synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides or growth hormones, 100% natural pest prevention (special teas made from willow fingerlings) and 100% organic fertilisers (AKA organic chicken poop).
We also look for farms that use chemical-free biodegradable plastic, drip irrigation systems, green cover (chopping and dropping green crops to add nutrients to the soil via earthworms and to stop unwanted weeds), the selective grazing of animals (goats, for example, who clear weeds, turn soil, add manure), and also farms that leave fields fallow — to avoid exploiting the soil’s resources. Our hemp is 100% sun grown in native soil — preserving the unique terpene profile.
TCM: We love everything you’re saying. Farming this way sounds so much more idyllic for the farmers, plants, animals and land. We’re excited that these practices are becoming more popular again.
These farms must be incredibly interesting places. Could you share a quick anecdote about a person or farm you work with specifically?
TM: Our farms are such a calming escape from the noise of 2020, being in pristine nature really does sustain us. The wonderful thing about the people on the ground farming hemp is that they are some of the most modest and humble people you can wish to meet. We have established strong friendships with our farmers. We visit the land, listen to our farmers experiences and learn from their knowledge.
We recently spent a lot of time with Dennis, the owner of one of our partner farms in Vermont. In 1999 he bought a fifty acre farm in Pittsfield. The farm had been abandoned since the 1960’s and the land was happily doing it’s own natural thing. With hemp becoming federally legal again in 2018 he finally found a crop that could provide for him and his family. He ensures the farm runs sustainably, installing a solar array to power the processing facility, building his own barn for drying and curing the crop and cultivates in the most natural way possible. He’s a really cool dude.
TCM: Let’s talk a little about oHHo’s state-specific products. We love this idea! Foodies and wine lovers must especially love these – they’re amazing gift ideas.
Can you share more about the tasting notes? do the benefits vary?
TM: Yes, our three region-specific CBD oils (all full-spectrum) are very popular. The ‘tasting notes’ are as follows…
Full Spectrum CBD Oil – New York
Woody, Hoppy, Sweet, Rose & Pine
Best For: Rest
With the exception of New York, our oils are always the same CBD strength – 5%. Too often companies sell products that barely contain 10 effective CBD doses and the range in strengths adds to confusion in the market. We sell 2 different sized bottles but the strength is kept the same.
CBD works on a cellular level so how much you need doesn’t depend on height or weight. We knew that 15mg provides and effective dose and we wanted to ensure our customers had at least 1 months supply per bottle. At 5% we are able to offer 100x15mg doses from our 30ml bottles and 50x15mg doses with our 15ml.
Our New York oil is a reflection of our home state. It is our signature blend and comes in at 7.5% strength. Each 30ml bottle offers 150x15mg doses, 15ml – 75x15mg doses.CBD is trending so hard, but it’s here to stay.
TCM: Would you share a fact or study you’re privy to that might convince a skeptic or trend-averse person that CBD is not only here to stay, but going to grow and evolve?
“Cannabis was historically recognised as a medicine with over 100 different targets and used as such prior to becoming prohibited.“
As a company, we needed to be sure ourselves about the efficacy of CBD – we did not want to join a fad! Cannabis has been used as a medicine for centuries prior to it’s prohibition. Demonising THC has led to lost years of research and it is only since Colorado and California led the way in 1996 with the medical programs that we have been able to unpack the treasure trove of cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant.
The global uptake of medical cannabis programmes is a key indicator recognising the therapeutic applications for the plant.
A crucial study by Ethan Russo MD provided the evidence for us to launch our full spectrum oils. Russo is an authority on cannabis medicine and was a key researcher with GW Pharmaceuticals. Coming from the pharma space Russo brings a rigour that is not required in the wellness space. A crucial conclusion he has drawn, and a major element convincing us to join the space, is that a full spectrum CBD extract has the potential to offer a greater degree of efficacy than a single molecule isolate. This means that the natural extract from hemp provides the most potent, therapeutic consumer experience. We set about sourcing the very best in terms of potency and purity to ensure we offer a premium consumer experience.
“Over 140 clinical trials have proven CBD is a powerful anti-anxiety and anti-inflammation agent.”
CBD is also a stimulator of our serotonin and dopamine receptors, presents no risk of dependency and no risk of overdose. CBD is already being used to effectively treat:
+ Autoimmune disease inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis
+ Neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury.
+ Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity
+ Neuropsychiatric illness such as autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism
+ Gut disorders such as colitis and Crohn’s
+ Cardiovascular dysfunction, atherosclerosis, arrhythmia
+ Skin diseases like acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis
TCM: It’s impressive. We can’t wait for further studies to be done as, even this election cycle, legal access to the plant expands.
TM: Organic, well-cured, smokable flower, provides the consumer with an ingestion methods to suit their preferences. The onset time for inhaling CBD is about 1 minute, compared to an oil which takes around 20 minutes.
People experiencing acute needs or who are looking to take the edge off the day can find immediate calm by smoking our flower, without a high. It is important to ensure no chemicals or other pollutants are used in the cultivation process as these will be in the flower.
A lot of people are wanting to find alternatives to alcohol, a lot of people don’t like getting high on cannabis…our CBD flower offers a social alternative that helps keep the vibe mellow. Also, smoking hemp flower reduces the unwanted effects of smoking THC — paranoia, feeling out of control — and brings you to a good place. Check out oHHo’s CBD Pre-Rolls for 20% off.