Hemp! Not Just for Rope!

Now that Colorado has thumbed their collective nose at the Federal Government, farmers in that state are preparing land for the first hemp planting in this country for over 60 years.

Hemp is a relative of marijuana, although the plant is said to offer a high right up there with smoking newsprint. So here’s the thing: our Federal Government’s response to the fact that there is a botanical relationship between the two plants (hemp and marijuana) is akin to hanging you because they think your cousin robbed a bank. Maybe that’s good enough for government work, but the War on Sanity, AKA the War on Drugs has done a lot of harm to farmers, as we’ve watched our friends to the north in Canada happily grow the lucrative crop and then SELL the end result here in the States, while growing it ourselves carries the same legal liabilities and dangers as growing marijuana. Brilliant!

There is a congressional effort afoot to change the Federal law; see:

but since keeping hemp and marijuana illegal is a collusion of  revenue enhancing government asset forfeiture and a corporate prison /legal industry in itself, I’m not holding my breath. Although, I have always said that the War on Sanity will come to an end when enough of the kids graduating from high school and in college today arrive in the halls of power. The utter idiocy of their parents’ and grandparents’ long standing support of this ignorant injustice will be thrown into the ashbin of pigheaded close minded, foot shooting stupidity where it belongs.

That said, in the spirit of paving the way to a greater awareness, enjoying the fruits of our Canadian Hemp growing farmers is easier than ever. Sprouts now offers Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest, and I’m telling you, they are really tasty. You don’t have to be a health food advocate to enjoy hemp. Honestly, they rate right up there with macadamias, they’re that good. After purchasing, I thought I’d need to cook the grain like rice, but the product I tried is best right out of the bag, raw. Here’s the message from Mike Fata; the co-founder of Hemp Hearts:

“In 1995, I was unhealthy and unhappy. At over 300 lbs., I was unable to live the active, outdoor lifestyle I desperately wanted. Then a friend introduced me to hemp foods. Packed with nutrition, these versatile hemp foods provided the nutrients my body was craving. Before long, I had enough natural energy to climb a mountain, and a message to spread once I got there.

Honestly, these nutty little nutrient-packed seeds changed my life. Because hemp foods did wonders for me, I wanted to share them with the world! So in 1998, I, with my friends Martin and Alex, started Manitoba Harvest.
Today, we’re proud to bring you Hemp Hearts, the very best and most nutritious part of the hemp seed, the heart. By shelling the hemp seed, you get only the center..with its raw nutrition, rich nutty flavor and tender crunch. It’s a delicious, it’s sustainable and it’s packed with goodness. Try hemp–it could change your life.”

Frankly, I know,  it sounds like hyperbole until you try this stuff!  I’m hoping that enough people try hemp, that a ground swell of common sense will eventually whittle away the current, multi-faceted injustice against farmers, property owners, and consumers alike.



Notes From The Farm

Ha! First year in many that we beat the local apricot thieves to our harvest and can actually offer apricots at all. Only large boxes, but it’s better than last year, or the year before, or….

I have to admit I’ve somewhat sidelined taking care of the apricot grove after years of pointless care, so the trees are in need of caretaking. As soon as the fruit is gone, we’ll do the summer pruning, mulching and feeding. Perhaps my local, vocal, neighborhood remarks about stealing from others finally sent the message needed. Or the thief moved away. What’s true is that sometimes locals don’t see stealing a neighbor’s fruit as, well; stealing. And in this case, it’s not just stealing from us here, but from everyone participating in our CSA.

Too, our loquats weren’t stolen this year, either; and large shares got a taste of this unusual back yard fruit. Similar in flavor, I really prefer loquats to apricots; the skins are tart and bursting with flavor. The seeds are almost always viable, by the say, so you can easily start your own tree from one of the large black seeds found at the center of the fruit. When I first grew loquats in San Clemente, I had to be careful not to toss the seeds onto the lawn, because we’d have so many loquat trees growing in the lawn in a couple weeks. So, they are really easy to get started! You won’t usually find loquats in the grocery stores because they don’t store or travel well; and are rarely as cosmetically perfect as has come to be expected. But those challenges aside, they’re worth enjoying, especially if you like to try different fruit.


Harvest Ticket June 4-5 2013