Barrie Hemp Company Taking Root

Barrie Hemp Company Taking Root
Posted by CN Staff on October 14, 2003 at 07:20:49 PT
By Roberta Avery, Special To The Star
Source: Toronto Star 
Dalston, Ont.—Hemp grower Greg Herriott is getting high — off success. Hempola Valley Farms, which Herriott and his wife, Kelly Smith, started in 1995 as a marketing project for his graphic design work, is growing at a rate of 50 per cent annually. Sales are projected to top $1 million this year."So many good things are happening. We're thrilled,'' said Herriott, 45. Some of the feathers in Hempola's hat this year include:
* The company's products were selected as gifts for the 120 nominees and presenters at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles last spring.* Hempola's Healthy Brownies received the ``Best Baked Good-People's Pick'' award at Toronto's Good Food festival in May.* In an independent test by Arcturus Testing in Guelph, Hempola's DEET-free insect repellent — dubbed "West a-Nile-ate" — showed a 95 per cent performance rating against mosquitoes in a field test on humans for 30 minutes post-application. Initially, Herriott used hemp seeds imported from China. In 1998, when Ottawa lifted a ban on hemp growing that dated back six decades, Herriott started Canada's first dedicated commercial hemp farm on 20 hectares of land near Dalston, a village about 15 kilometres north of Barrie The company, which employes seven people as well as Herriott and Smith, grows, manufactures and sells hemp seed and hemp seed oil products through national distributors throughout Canada and the United States.`The word got out that our hemp won't get you high, and now they leave the crop alone.' -- Greg Herriott, hemp growerHempola, which also contracts farmers to grow hemp on 160 hectares of farmland in southwestern Ontario, has about 30 product lines, including hemp oil salad dressing, high-protein pancake mix, lip balm and hemp oil used as a wood finish.Two machines in the basement of Herriott's converted barn squeeze the hemp seeds to produce the oil that is then used in the company's salad dressing and beauty products. The process leaves behind a mush of seed husks, which are milled into flour used in pancake mix and brownies.Commercially grown hemp contains only a trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the mood-altering substance found in marijuana — but that didn't stop people sneaking into the fields just before the first harvest to raid Herriot's plants.``Eventually the word got out that our hemp won't get you high, and now they leave the crop alone,'' Herriott said.The cash yield per hectare of hemp is comparable to products such as soybeans, but the yield could increase significantly with the right type of soil acidity and fertilizer, said Herriott.``The best thing is that hemp will grow in almost any climate,'' said Herriott, who points out that 200 years ago, hemp was an important crop across North America. ``In some states you could pay your taxes with it.'' About 20 per cent of Hempola's products are sold in the United States, where it's still illegal to grow commercial hemp.While most of Canada's hemp production is in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, it's also taking root at a handful of locations in Ontario, said Arthur Hanks, the executive director of the recently formed Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance.Four years ago, as much as 10,000 hectares of farmland across Canada was dedicated to growing hemp, but production exceeded demand and there was a glut of hemp seed until recently. Now the seed from the remaining 1,600 hectares of hemp growing across Canada is being snapped up as soon as it's harvested. "Yes, there's a lot of demand but I would still recommend that a farmer gets a contract before turning a field over to hemp production,'' said Hanks, who estimates that sales of Canadian-produced hemp products will top $33 million this year.The alliance, which represents about 20 hemp-related businesses across Canada, is holding its inaugural meeting in Toronto Friday.Hanks is closely watching an action launched earlier this year by Chatham-based Kenex Ltd. under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The company sought $20 million (U.S.) compensation after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ruled that hemp food products came under the 30-year-old Controlled Substance Act.Note: Sales projected at $1 million. Items include lip balm, pancake mix.Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)Author: Roberta Avery, Special To The StarPublished: October 14, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Toronto Star Contact: lettertoed Website: CannabisNews Hemp Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by Jose Melendez on May 03, 2004 at 07:05:31 PT
see also:
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment