Wantage Township in Northern New Jersey, bordering New York State, was formed several years before the American Revolution in 1754. Recently, a new uprising has begun here in Sussex County, as local farmers have diversified their traditional crops to include fields of lush and legal hemp plants. Tree Farm owner and operator Clay Allison of Beaver Creek Nurseries has been specializing in award-winning Japanese Maples, among other rare topiaries, for years and is now gearing to harvest two and a half acres of smokable CBD-rich hemp flowers. We decided to stop by the farm and visit them while they were taking down their many thriving plants.
This is the second year of hemp growing on the land and hands-on farmer Ben Martin (of Twin Creek Farms down the road) admits that their attempt to grow five acres last year proved to be a bit too much. Without an existing market for their flowers, they struggled to move the bulky biomass and decided to pare it down this year.
Consultant Aramis “Church” Torres has had plenty of previous experience working for Altitude Organic Medicine in Colorado, and is now bringing his Cannabis grow knowledge to High Point’s hemp farm – utilizing techniques previously employed in legal THC-rich weed fields, such as training the plants extensively during growth to produce more flowering tops. Church tells me, “This year, we’re growing less plants, but yielding far more smokable flower by ‘skirting’, ‘lollipopping’ and selectively pruning the plants relentlessly as they grow in their vegetative stage, in order to be more efficient on less land.”
The farm is growing four different strains: The Wife, Cherry Wine, Box OTTO and Church’s favorite, Big Booty Judy. They put in 2,600 plants a little later than they had hoped – the first week of June – using a three person operated, water-wheel planter. Ben tells me, “Due to all of the rain this year, we only irrigated once, right before we planted. The problem wasn’t just an abundance of rain, but that the sun would come out right after and cook our plants. We’d have to be out there all the time, shaking off the rain and taking off damaged leaves and flowers. I’m used to growing corn and soybeans, but this was a little bit different.”
The harvesting at High Point Hemp is all done by hand with the tops being hand-trimmed and the rest going through the Centurion Pro trimming machine. Church continues, “We cut off the selected tops first and wet trim all of those to keep them pristine. The rest of the plants hang dry and get the machine trim after they’ve been up there for a while. We dry low and slow to preserve terpenes and make sure all of our hemp looks and tastes good. We are committed to treating our smokable hemp with the same care that marijuana farmers treat their crops to maintain flavor, integrity and the effectiveness of the CBD for patients.”
**Smokeble flower and other products available from LBS Lab Builder Supplies (LBS) labbuildersupplies.com**