Whoa, what a month April was for our team at the Asheville Hemp Project! I am writing this first blog post from the farm in Asheville. Several friends I have talked to over the course of this month have suggested that we start to use a blog to share our perspectives and progress. We are planning to name our blog, so any thoughts or flashes on something relevant and catchy - please do share - good ideas come from all kinds of places!
We have just added three new hemp and CBD products - a hemp lip balm, a 10-pack of straight hemp flower pre-rolls, and our olive oil based CBD extract, to our CBD mint gum. The new products were finally ready for release in late March, just as the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus pandemic was becoming clear. All of our plans for work on the ground to share awareness and in-person trials were out the window. Time to pivot!
This time of Covid has sure imposed that need on us all. Key is to stay calm and practical. Being practical and keeping your wits about you are normal practice for farmers, but this virus has been a jolt any way you look at it. We also know that CBD and other cannabinoids can be helpful with improving focus, and calming anxiety. So part of our renewed energy and enthusiasm at Asheville Hemp Project is related to the belief that hemp can improve situations - both mind and body - for our health and wellness. And in these times, most of us can use the help.
We considered how best to begin amplifying news about what we had been working on for months. We are excited to introduce our new CBD and hemp products to the world, and are confident they will be a welcome addition to the CBD marketplace. While we are still working to build our distributor network, and are introducing sales representatives to assist with broad coverage in the retail space - we recognized that we needed to amp up our online presence. And with our local community being so dependent on hospitality - we saw a desperate need for our support.
We identified the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, and agreed that we would contribute 50% of our online sales for our first full lineup of products for the month. We have gotten some attention online, (see Forbes, Emerald, Hemp Grower), we have influencers getting their experience with our products up in social media, and we are about to send a check to support our favorite waiters, bartenders, line cooks and dishwashers. We look forward to being able to continue that support. Our goal now is to keep pushing on growing Asheville Hemp Project into a viable and stable hemp business. Vertical integration provides advantages and challenges. Now that May has rolled in, we are focused on the field. Until the plants are in the ground, expect our heads to be down close to the earth.
And speaking of it being May and having a lot of work to do around the farm, we’ve called one of our favorite crew members who typically balances being a craft woodworker and a waiter at a lovely restaurant called Plant (@plantisfood) to earn the bulk of his living. Jesse’s work can be found @sawyerwoodwork on Instagram. The impact of the pandemic has hit so many in our community, and the more we can work together to get through this crazy period, the better and stronger we will be.
We will periodically sit down and share our experiences and keep this blog alive. We’d also like to hear from you - whether you are a CBD and hemp user, an AHP customer, a retailer who’d like to carry AHP products making them available to your customers, or a fellow farmer who is currently focused on seedling propagation, planting the field, or looking ahead to a healthy summer season!