When co-owner Ed and I decided to travel to visit farms this summer, I couldn’t have been more excited. While we do have very specific criteria for choosing top quality products, its the relationships we have with our farmers that sets us apart. We look for integrity and a caring passion for the crops they grow and manufacture. Ed went up through the NE US to learn more about the farms in that area. (Read his blog: A Personal Journey Visiting Farmers In Maine ) I went the other direction and visited Oregon. The area brings back childhood memories of the fog rolling in at night and the trees are so big you’d think they towered over the dinosaurs.
This trip was filled with beautiful mountains and friendly people who have a passion for what they do. Central Oregon is beautiful with mountains and valleys where all forms of produce are grown. The winters are cold and the same length as the hot summers. The fields are fertile with plants and animals of all forms and the people love what they do and want to share it with others. These are factors that make Oregon one of the top hemp production states in the US.
We, here at Artistic Organics, love outdoor cultivated plants because they are exposed to natural issues of wind, sun and pests. These natural growing conditions are a beautiful site to see …. rows of plants swaying in the wind with insects, birds and wildlife among them! You can imagine my excitement to meet with these people to expand our knowledge and share with you a bit about my trip and plenty of photos!
I was able to visit the farm who grows and blends our AO oil. I walked through each step of the process…. how each plant is started indoors in a greenhouse, then transplanted outdoors in the late Spring and harvested during a short window of time in October. Due to the dry summer weather in Oregon, the fields are irrigated with drip lines and fertilizer is 100% organic made from natural substances in support of organic practices. No pesticides are used. This means the strongest plants survive. The farmers plan for this natural selection process. They also plant a careful selection of plants to help with particular symptoms. An interesting note…. unlike other farmers, the plants are manually harvested whole and dried naturally over the course of several days. No external heat is applied, nor is the process sped up. This natural process is unique because it isn’t rushed and its the way the plant has been grown and harvested for 100’s of years. These careful, natural processes make our AO oil products truly unique and special.
In contrast to fields with a few hundred plants I was able to travel to visit with Gold Standard, which is a large farm who specializes in organic flower. They don’t try to create a variety of products, instead they excel at top quality dried flower of just a few strains. This farm started a few years ago as small, family owned. As word spread of their quality and specialization, they have grown to thousands of plants and ship throughout the US. Even with their size and growth the use very little modern technology and much of the work is done by hand. They took me on tours, answered my numerous questions, and were excited I came to visit. They really take pride in what they do and the love of the industry comes out in every conversation.
To round out my knowledge during the trip, I was also able to visit with an herbal company who has been in business for years and specializes in creating herbal blends with and without hemp. I was introduced to the very old concept of combining herbs made from several types of non-hemp plants into a mix. At first I thought it was a typical tea, but these blends can be smoked or used in a tea. Mixing the blends with hemp actually amplifies different effects such as relaxation, cutting cravings, and sleep. I was excited to try the various blends and learn about their small batch blending process. The knowledge of herbalism is a perfect companion to the hemp industry and we are excited to share the effectiveness of these products with our customers.
One of the highlights of the trip was a particularly special treat from a grower. He has a friend who owns a high-end tea shop where the tea is custom blended and served to customers. There are hundreds of choices and I was in for a very special surprise. The owner uses the farmers hemp to create hemp tea. I felt like a 5 year old bouncing in my seat as the owner explained the process he used to create our tea. I asked him for a simple version I could share with all of you.
The tea was a fantastic treat and I wanted to share with you his suggested recipe:
½ gram hemp flower, ground medium
Full fat coconut or dairy cream
Honey to sweeten
Take the ground flower and put into a tea strainer. Pour boiling water over the hemp (hemp requires very hot water to steep). Cover with a lid and let steep 10 minutes. Add full fat coconut or dairy. (The fat is needed for better absorption.) Stir in a bit of honey to sweeten if desired.
I’ve had hemp tea before, but I was very surprised at the almost immediate effect of the tea after a few sips. By the time I had finished my cup I felt very relaxed, focused, calm and my body aches lessened.
I had such a positive experience we are currently researching this hemp tea to share with our customers.
As a note….. tea, is prepared at around 200 degrees. This temperature pulls out many of the cannabinoids and terpenes, but isn’t hot enough to burn them off (which happens around 350-400 degrees)
The whole trip was fun and educational as I learned about each of these farmers and how they specialize in what they do. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the farms and the integrity of the people. We, here at Artistic Organics, are excited to bring products from every one of these crafters into our store. Their knowledge and the photos from both of our trips are part of our monthly classes where we bring a ‘hemp experience’ to our clients.