Thursday, March 18, 2021

March Farm Update: Farm Happenings, New Vegetables for 2021, and Survey Report!

By Andrea Yoder & Richard de Wilde

The greenhouses are filling up!
We’re less than seven weeks away from our first CSA delivery and this weekend will mark the official first day of spring!  For those of you who have already signed up for your 2021 shares, we want to give you a huge “THANK YOU!”  We are happy to report that we are 75% of the way towards our maximum capacity for this year and we are still accepting sign-ups for all types of vegetable shares at all sites right now.  We do anticipate we’ll sell out earlier this year, so we encourage you to get your order in soon if you have not already signed up!

We want to update you on a few farm “happenings.”  Our greenhouses are filling up quickly and our small winter crew is doing their best to keep us on schedule with plantings.  This week we saw the first celeriac sprouts poke through along with head lettuce and broccoli!  We also planted the savory and oregano for the beloved herb packs we’ll be delivering with your shares in May.  Next week we’re scheduled to plant more head lettuce along with fennel and our first planting of kale and collards.  We’ll also likely run out of space and have to move into our third and final greenhouse.  Once that’s full, the only option we’ll have is to move plants to the field!  We’re looking forward to welcoming more of our field crew back, hopefully the last week of March!   Cross your fingers that we get some nice, mild spring weather so we can start preparing fields for planting as soon as they arrive!

Richard's sample harvest of overwintered parsnips
Before the four inches of heavy, wet snow we received earlier this week, it was actually starting to look like it might be an early spring!  Rafael, Isidro and Moises spent a little time trimming pussy willow and curly willow hedgerows.  They also pulled the cover off the garlic field and started loosening the straw mulch so the garlic sprouts can push through.  Richard dug a few overwintered parsnips just to see how they looked.  The ground was still a little frozen and after the snow, it’s very wet.  We’re happy to report that they do look like they’ve fared well over the winter and the few we cooked up tasted like candy!  Many of you are wondering about ramps, asparagus, and overwintered spinach.  We haven’t seen any signs of ramps yet and it’s still too early for asparagus.  Richard did sneak a peek at the overwintered spinach which is under a cover.  It looks rough right now, but that’s always how it looks this time of year.  There is new growth coming from the plants, so we’re hopeful for a good crop this spring!

Pie-Pita Pumpkins
(photo from HighMowingSeeds.com)
It’s crazy to think we could be doing our first field plantings in 2-3 weeks, but it is possible!  We’ve received the majority of our seeds, but are still waiting on some backorders.  Every year we trial some new vegetables, so we thought we’d give you a little glimpse at some of the things we’re trying this year.  Pie-Pita is a new pumpkin with this description that caught our attention:  “…A brilliant development in pie pumpkins……delicious, high Brix pie pumpkin flesh with the added bonus of hulless seeds inside.”  They say you get an average of ¼ pound of seeds from each pumpkin.  When I called this order in, the customer service rep taking my order got giddy with excitement and then confessed it is one of her favorite new vegetables being offered by High Mowing Seeds this year.  With her endorsement, we’re excited to see it for ourselves!

GinFiz Tomatoes
(photo from OsborneSeed.com)
We also have a few new tomato varieties on the list.  Our friends at Osborne Seeds had a couple new ones including Darkstar, GinFiz, MaiTai and CubaLibre.  We’re looking forward to Darkstar because it has a “rich purple color with brown hues and incredible flavor……with the look of an heirloom tomato and the added bonus of Late Blight resistance.”  Some years can be very challenging for growing tomatoes in our valley and leaf diseases can mark the early end of a tomato crop.  We always try to select varieties that taste good and are attractive, but also have disease resistance so we can actually keep the plant alive long enough to produce good fruit!  CubaLibre is a black tomato with “heirloom appeal,” but we also selected it for its “excellent disease package.”  GinFiz and MaiTai are eye-catching varieties with hues of orange & yellow mixed with splashes of red….. “like a sunset!”  We know you appreciate variety, so we’re hoping these varieties will add a little fun to your summer tomato salads and BLT sandwiches!

We received favorable feedback last year from our trials of purple napa cabbage, so we’re trialing a few more varieties in this class this year.  The Amy melon from last year’s trials also received high marks from the members who had the chance to try this melon.  Amy is a canary type melon with a bright yellow rind and creamy, sweet, smooth white flesh.  We are looking forward to growing more of these so everyone can try it this year!

Garlic sprouts poking through the mulch.
We do value your feedback and use it to help us refine our plans, make changes, etc.  We had an excellent response to our "2020 End of Season Survey" with 999 participants!  Thank you for taking the time to do the survey and offer your feedback.  We wanted to share a few highlights from the results.  Overall, we received a very positive response with high ratings for satisfaction with the overall CSA experience as well as customer service, product quality and communications.   We selected a list of 30 crops and asked for your feedback about how much you received.  We try to strike a balance, yet offer variety and keep things interesting.  Thus, we wanted to know how close we were to the bullseye.  Of the 30 crops, 21 crops received a "Just Right" rating from 60-70% of respondents who felt they received a good amount of the item over the course of the season.  We had 8 crops that received a "Just Right" rating from 70-75% of respondents.  In some cases, the remainder of responses were nearly evenly split between "Not Enough" and "Too Much."  When the pandemic is past and we can go back to having a Swap Box at the sites, those who feel there is too much of something can leave it for those who may want more!  In the meantime, consider striking up a trade with a neighbor or friend after you take your vegetables home.  There were some crops though where the remaining responses were more strongly weighted in one direction.  20-30% of respondents indicated they would like more green beans, garlic, sweet peppers, sweet corn and tomatoes along with Brussels sprouts, spinach, salad mix and kale.  The takeaways from this feedback for us are that overall we're doing a pretty good job, but we have some room to tweek the quantities of some things.  Some items, like sweet corn, are difficult.  There's a limit to how much we can put in the box and still have room for other items!

Broccoli sprouts just pushing through the dirt.
We also asked you to choose your top 3 favorite selections from your CSA Box in 2020.  Here are the top 10 vegetables that received the highest number of responses:  Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Greens, Ramps, Salad Mix, Winter Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes.  

We asked the same question but asked the children in the household to answer the question.  Here are the top 10 responses from the children:  Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Cucumbers, Melons, Potatoes, Strawberries, Sweet Corn and Tomatoes.  We’d have to agree with both the adults and the children--these are some of our favorites too! 

Farmer Rafael scouting out ramps (2020)
Most of the top 10 favorites are fairly short season, with some coming on in the peak of the summer and a few in late fall.  While we all enjoy eating these in  the peak of their season, we have to be realistic  that we need more vegetables in our diet over the course of the year than just these top 10 favorites!  This is one of the reasons we’ve worked hard to extend our season early in the year with some unique spring specialties like asparagus, ramps and rhubarb.  At the end of the season we rely on a wide variety of storage vegetables to sustain us when fresh vegetables from the field are not an option.  If you were to ask either of us what our top three favorite vegetables are, the answer would probably be different depending on what season we are in!  That’s the beauty of seasonal eating.  You can have many favorites throughout the year which means you always have something to look forward too!
Colorful Mini Sweet Peppers!

Last year we had a phenomenal response to our “Produce Plus” offers, both during the year as well as with our “End of Season Special Offers.”  This is another great way to “stretch” the season so you can continue to eat local the entire year.  Last night we enjoyed our final bag of green beans we had frozen back in August and we’re still using frozen mini sweet peppers in everything from scrambled eggs to soups, stir fry and pizzas.  They taste just as delicious now as they did in the summer!  Some of you may still be enjoying jars of salsa or tomatoes you canned last summer and there are at least a few of you who have some pickled jalapenos on your shelf too!  Just this week I spoke with two members who still have sweet potatoes and winter squash they got at the end of the season.  They are storing well and they have found many ways to continue to enjoy them.  We’ve received a few emails from members who ran out of carrots and other winter roots earlier than they anticipated and have made some notes for themselves that read something like this “Order more vegetables at the end of the season so you don’t run out before spring!”   

There are many ways to extend the local Midwestern growing season and your CSA season.  Whether it’s canning, freezing, fermenting or drying vegetables; stocking up on storage vegetables; or simply making large batches of recipes you can freeze and tuck away in the freezer, they all help bridge the gap between growing seasons while keeping your body well-nourished and healthy.  So, this year we’ve tried to build in a little extra to our planting plans so we can better provide for those who would like to take advantage of stocking up beyond their weekly vegetable shares.  If there are specific items you are interested in purchasing in bulk, please let us know.  If we are able to do so we’ll add it to the list!

That’s a wrap for now.  It’s time to go water the plants in the greenhouse, finish the fertilizer order, work on the spring training plan, and do the final edits to the 2021 CSA calendar so we can send it to the printer!  Enjoy the rest of this month and we’ll catch up again in April!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Efficiency Versus Resilience

By Andrea Yoder

Beautiful produce displayed by one of our
Twin Cities Food Co-Op retail partners
If you have ever doubted the impact your personal purchasing and lifestyle choices may have on the environment, society, economics, the supply chain or our food system, stop and consider the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had.  As we come up on nearly a year since COVID-19 fully infiltrated our reality, we now have the ability to reflect on what has happened and glean valuable insights that can more carefully steer our individual and collective ships into the future.  The Washington Post published an article earlier this month entitled “The Efficiency Curse” written by Michael Pollan who opened with this statement:  “The first teachable moment of the pandemic, for me, was the supply chain.”  When shelter at home orders went into effect, the market place changed, literally overnight.  Consumers made immediate and drastic changes to their behaviors.  No more eating at restaurants, no more going to work or school, less frequent shopping trips, nearly all meals at home and more food preparation happening in home kitchens.  Shelves became barren with shortages of food, cleaning supplies, and of course…toilet paper.  While hoarding may have been happening in some cases, it didn’t account for the entirety of the shortages.  And while one segment of the market couldn’t keep product on the shelves, another segment of the market now had surplus.  What was happening to our supply chain?

Tomatoes & Tomatillos, just two of over 80 
different crops grown on our farm!
Pollan’s observation was this:  “In times of crisis, resilience counts for more than efficiency.”  Suppliers to the industrialized, institutional food chain were dumping food, while the other side of the food chain saw shortages.  It was hard to watch the news stories of farmers dumping milk and burying vegetables in the field when their markets literally dropped out from under them.  Perishable foods that normally would’ve been funneled into the industrial, institutional food system to be turned into products such as onion rings and French fries to be served in restaurants, schools, event venues, etc no longer had a home and a quick pivot to handle this large excess wasn’t available or possible for many farmers and producers within the context of the “hyperspecialized system” that was created for these products.  The system is efficient when it’s working—production of larger quantities of one item with larger quantities per delivery to larger accounts means lower prices and greater efficiency.  However, Pollan’s observation was the overriding reality, “When the coronavirus came, we realized the system was fragile, rigid and therefore vulnerable.”

Rafael changing the plates on the vacuum seeder
to adjust to different sizes of vegetable seeds

It is one thing to go without a cleaning supply or your favorite brand of toilet paper, but when a basic human necessity for survival, food, disappears from the shelves it can be more than unnerving.  In the midst of a fracturing and collapsing industrial food system, the demand for local food increased across the country.  Consumers stopped looking to the system that was failing and they started finding ways to source their food that were more direct and closer to home.  All of those sayings that have been adorning bumper stickers started to have true meaning.  “Know your farmer, Know your food…..”  The strength of a local food system is not always efficiency, but as Pollan identifies—it’s resilience.

Manuel & Juan Pablo planting salad mix,
baby spinach & arugula in early April 

There may be many farmers in the world who would look at our field plans, shake their heads and call us simply crazy for growing more than 80 different crops!  But there’s a reason we do this and that reason is diversity.  First of all, we value CSA and in order to feed the same group of people for 30 weeks out of the year, we need more than 5-10 crops!  But beyond that, diversity within our business has always allowed us to have some flexibility and a bit of built in resilience.  Even in the most successful growing season, we are going to experience crop losses.  If we play our cards right, we can absorb the losses with the success of other crops, or at the very least have enough wins over the course of the entire season to stay in the game.  Pollan’s insight into diversity is spot on.  “There is a price to diversity, but it creates a cushion that can be very important in times of crisis.”

1.5 acre potato field with 9 different varieties!
We too strive for efficiency and work hard to find it anywhere we can.  We do need to remain profitable and so we need to be cognizant of our resources and find ways to use them efficiently.  We mechanize where we can, find more efficient ways to manage weeds, maximize nutrient inputs to produce healthier crops that will yield better, and review our processes frequently to make our day to day work as efficient as possible making the most of every hour of our days.  But when you grow over 80 different crops, everything isn’t going to always be efficient.  We have to get the potato planter out, grease it, set it up and maintain it so we can use it one time every year to plant about 1.5 acres of potatoes.  This is like one loop around the sandbox for the big boys who are planting hundreds or maybe even thousands of acres of potatoes!

Green bean harvest....use both hands!
What about green beans?  Wouldn’t it be easier to pick those with a machine?  Maybe, but green beans only represent about 2% at most of our overall acreage and we know that we’ll break a lot of beans if we pick by machine.  We’ll also lose some that will fall on the ground and get missed.  If we were sending them to a cannery or processing facility, we really wouldn’t worry too much about a few broken beans.  In fact, we’d grow a tougher variety that could take a little rougher handling.  But that’s not our end market and so we pick them by hand.  Efficient?  We try to be, but we know beans aren’t one of our most profitable crops due to the high labor cost.  We do however make a few friends in our CSA membership with those who appreciate having a flavorful, tender bean and we’ll consider that our payment for the sacrifice of efficiency because we know that these are the people who will stick with us when we face challenges and crises.  Monocultures invite vulnerability, whether that is a monoculture in a field, a feedlot, or a business.

Irrigation sprinklers watering a field to
germinate freshly planted seeds in a drought year
Over the years we’ve had to learn to pivot and be resilient in many different circumstances.  This pandemic is not the first challenge or crisis we’ve had to deal with.  We’ve had to adapt and respond to weather, shifts in the marketplace, changes in the economy, and fluctuations in our membership, etc.  We have been trying to find ways to be more resilient in our business long before the pandemic set in.  Most of our pre-pandemic thoughts around this issue have been related to climate change and our increasingly more erratic weather patterns.  We have tried to find ways to mitigate our risks and losses through strategies such as succession planting, planting a variety of crops, planting in different locations, and devising creative strategies for farming that will help us be more resilient when faced with challenges that impact our crops.  This is also why we have diversified our business and grow for both CSA as well as to supply wholesale and retail accounts.  Over the years we’ve been able to flex up on sales to one area when sales are lacking in another.  So when the phone started ringing and the CSA orders started rolling in last March and April, we didn’t have to turn anyone away until very late in the season. We simply changed our planting plans, redirected our resources and shifted to match the demand so we could maximize our capacity to feed people through our CSA program.  In the end, our ability to be resilient because of the diversity within our operation actually did help us realize greater efficiency!  The overhead to facilitate a CSA program was now spread out over more shares.  Our trucks were full, our time invested in harvesting, preparing and packing CSA vegetables was more efficient as well.

Gratitude for our front-line crew members!
In many ways the pandemic has forced us as a society to be more conscious and mindful about where our food is coming from and what it takes to get it to our plates.  It has also shed light on those individuals who previously have been overlooked in the shadows of our food system, “…the essential and front-line workers many of us never noticed before but whose well-being can no longer be separated from our own.  It turns out we’re all in this leaky boat together, so, like it or not, we’d better start building systems and supply chains resilient enough to withstand the shocks to come.”

Please don’t ever underestimate the power you as an individual have to impact society, the economy, the environment, your community, and our food system simply with the day to day choices you make.  You can, and do, make a difference.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Community, Communication and the Wisdom of Trees

By:  Andrea Yoder


A frosty January sunrise over the farm
We have always been intrigued by the intricate design of the natural world around us, whether it be the short-lived sunrise or sunset, a clear sky filled with bright stars, or the peace we feel after a soft, gentle snowfall.  The natural world surrounds us with awe, wonder and mystery every day.  Recently we read an intriguing New York Times article entitled
“The Social Life Of Forests” by Ferris Jabr.  The article focused on the work of Suzanne Simrad, a professor of forestry at the University of British Columbia.  Simrad has focused her career on exploring the ways trees communicate and interact with each other and their surroundings.  She has spent much of her life studying trees in the old growth forests of Canada, including her childhood days playing and exploring the forests where her grandfather and uncles used horses to log the forests with low impact methods.  In May of this year, Simrad’s memoir entitled “Finding the Mother Tree” will be released.  This book chronicles her life’s work proving that “the forest was more than just a collection of trees.”  I am anxiously awaiting the release of her memoir, but my interest has been piqued and I wanted to share a little glimpse of Simrad’s work with you.  Perhaps this topic is of interest to you as well, and if it is, I encourage you to check out some of the resources at the end of this article.

A hillside forest provides the backdrop 
for fields of sunchokes in bloom
While our attention is on vegetables growing in our fields for most of the year, we acknowledge the fact that trees are an integral part of our valley landscape and ecosystem.  For much of the year, they provide a quiet backdrop for our activities and we really don’t pay much attention to them.  They quietly exist and are, for the most part, self-sufficient.  Several times a year their appearance changes, which catches our attention for a moment.  In the spring we notice when the brown, skeletal hillsides start to take on a green hue as the trees start to push out buds, then leaves, until finally the canopy of the forest has fully opened.  In the fall we notice once again as their leaves start to lose their green and turn to shades of red, yellow and orange, marking the transition into a new season.  
And finally, the trees release and drop their leaves, opening up our view of the forest and giving our wooded hillsides a whole new look while the green of the valley fades to exist only in the evergreen pines.  Perhaps we notice trees more this time of year because they are more prominent on our landscape that is otherwise white.  Or perhaps it is simply because we lift our eyes from the ground and look up long enough to see the trees.  How often do you take advantage of the opportunity to lift your eyes to notice the trees in your surroundings?  Upon first appearance trees appear to be solitary in their existence.  Occasionally their branches may become entangled or vines may grow around them, but otherwise they appear to stand on their own.  But Simrad will quickly point out that a forest is much more than just a collection of solitary trees.  A forest is actually a living, breathing community of trees, plants and lifeforms that is intricately connected by a vast network of underground fungi called mycorrhizae  In Jabr’s article he writes:  
A ghost plant growing from the rich forest 
floor near a fallen tree

“Before Simard and other ecologists revealed the extent and significance of mycorrhizal networks, foresters typically regarded trees as solitary individuals that competed for space and resources and were otherwise indifferent to one another.  Simard and her peers have demonstrated that this framework is far too simplistic.  An old-growth forest is neither an assemblage of stoic organisms tolerating one another’s presence nor a merciless battle royale:  It’s a vast, ancient and intricate society.  There is conflict in a forest, but there is also negotiation, reciprocity and perhaps even selflessness.  The trees, understory plants, fungi and microbes in a forest are so thoroughly connected, communicative and codependent that some scientists have described them as superorganisms.”

Laetiporus Sulphureus Mushrooms 
growing on a log amongst other understory plants
Simrad, along with her colleagues and other foresters, have found that individual trees are connected within a forest through this mycorrhizal system that intertwines itself on the roots of trees and plants.  This is a symbiotic relationship where the mycorrhizae feed on the sugars produced in the process of photosynthesis by the trees.  In exchange, the mycorrhizae have the ability to scavenge nutrients and transfer them to the tree roots while also forming an intricate system to connect trees and plants in an area.  They have found that this underground fungal system allows trees to “communicate” with each other.  Now, tree “talk” is not the same as human communication, so you have to look at tree talk from the perspective of a tree.  Trees communicate using chemical, hormonal and electrical signals—in a sense they speak a language all their own which means we as humans have to try to interpret what they are “saying” and most of the time we don’t even realize what’s happening.  They communicate through their root system which is directly tapped into the mycorrhizae, but also in the air using pheromones and other scent signals.

Trees line the river winding through our valley
When the vast mycorrhizal system is present, trees are able to translocate nutrients and water from one tree to others all across the forest.  Remember, trees cannot get up and walk to the river to get a drink and trees in a forest usually don’t have a human built irrigation system to move water to their roots.  So, they have essentially built their own irrigation system!  They also send nutrients through these channels, releasing nutrients to move to other trees in need, and receiving nutrients when they need them.  In this way, the forest, with all its trees and plants, becomes a community which takes care of the different members.  Simrad has also observed the value of “Mother Trees” in a forest.  These are mature trees that seem to nurture and care for young trees, imparting not only nutrients and water to help them thrive, but also tree wisdom.  Trees communicate through pheromones and chemicals to warn other trees of danger, insects, disease, drought, etc which allows the trees to then mount their own defenses to help them withstand whatever may threaten their survival.

A "birds-eye" view of Harmony Valley Farm
But why should we care about trees or how they communicate?  Why does any of this even matter to us?  In an interview Simrad did with Yale Environment 360, she was quoted as saying, “A forest is a cooperative system.  To me using the language of ‘communication’ made more sense because we were looking at not just resource transfers, but things like defense signaling and kin recognition signaling.  We as human beings can relate to this better.  If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more.  If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes.”  Simply put, we need trees and forests.  They are an important part of our ecosystem and help us in many ways.  They help us combat climate change by capturing carbon and storing it in the soil.  They are a part of the amazing way Mother Nature purifies our air and water.  When we destroy forests, we take more than just the tree itself.  We destroy an entire organism that is an important part of our ecosystem.

Frosty winter trails 
Our health and well-being are also impacted by trees. 
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing.”  It is the practice of casually walking through the woods, a simple practice that we’re learning can contribute in meaningful ways to our overall wellness.  In Japan, they have over 60 official forest therapy trails and many doctors are becoming certified in forest medicine.  They are using this type of nature therapy as a means of combatting the negative impact stress has on our bodies.  It is a low cost, natural way to improve health by preventatively lowering stress levels while improving quality of life and fostering a greater overall sense of wellbeing.   There’s a growing body of research to support this practice, as researchers measure and document the physiological and psychological effects on the human body when in a natural environment.  Some of the observations they’ve made include reduction in blood pressure, increases in factors related to immunity, and increased relaxation.  You see, we too can be part of the forest community and whether we know it or not, perhaps the trees sense our presence and respond to us as well.

Whether you choose to explore this topic more on your own or not, at the very least I encourage you to spend a little time this winter exploring the winter landscape around you.  Get outside and walk in nature.  Notice the trees around you and enjoy their presence.  Garner a newfound respect for them and be part of their community.  After all, we as humans have the choice to be their advocate, allies and protectors, or their opposition.

RESOURCES:


Simrad, Suzanne.  Finding The Mother Tree.  Penguin Random House, 2021 May.


Wohlleben, Peter.  The Hidden Life of Trees:  What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World.  Greystone Books, 2016 September.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Harmony Valley Farm CBD – Information and Uses

Hemp plants growing in the field at HVF
All Harmony Valley Farm (HVF) products are certified organic, which includes our CBD oil and CBD flowers. Our hemp products are grown in highly mineralized soil which includes trace minerals, and are subsurface irrigated as needed.  In other words, our hemp plants are grown in conditions which allow them to exhibit their full genetic expression!

Initial Lab Testing: Before we harvest our hemp plants, a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) comes to the field and collects samples.  These samples are lab tested to verify that the THC content is less than 0.3%.  As a reference, marijuana typically tests between 15% to 30% THC content.

Hemp plants air-drying after harvest
Harvest: All HVF hemp is harvested by hand, and only the best buds are harvested.  The main stalk buds are harvested separately to use as CBD flowers, and the rest of the high quality buds are harvested to make into CBD oil.

After harvest, the hemp buds that are destined to become CBD oil are hung to dry in a clean space that is free of birds and rodents. When the flowers are dry the leaves are first removed, then the flowers are stripped from the stalks and stored for oil processing in small batches.

The main stalk buds are also hung to dry in a clean, pest-free space.  However, these flowers are more slowly dried and then cured.  After the curing process is complete these flowers are ready to be smoked or made into edibles.

HVF Single-Source CBD Oil
CBD Oil Processing: The buds that have been dried for CBD oil are transported to Driftless Dreams’ facility for processing.  Their new ‘white coat’ lab facility is also certified organic, ensuring that our completed CBD oil is certified organic each step of the way.  The Driftless Dreams facility is one of very few certified organic labs in the Midwest.  In order to maintain this certification they use a small batch press which uses only high pressure and heat to extract the CBD from the hemp flowers.  Heat is a necessary component of this process. Heating removes molecular carbon from the plant material, which activates the CBD making it available to the body.  One benefit of pressing the oil in small batches is that it allows for the individual inspection of the flowers before pressing.

Due to the organic certification of our CBD oil, it is guaranteed that no solvent extracted processing was used.  Solvent extracted oils are typically produced using ethanol.  This extraction method is used by other companies because it is cheaper and can be done in large batches.  Unfortunately, this method results in a lower quality oil which does not contain the full profile of 85+ cannabinoids and terpenes, and likely will contain unwanted solvent residues.  CBD oil from Harmony Valley Farm will always contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, and will never include unwanted solvents or chemicals.

CBD Oil Testing: After Driftless Dreams extracts pressed rosin from our hemp flowers they have a sample lab tested for CBD content.  These lab results are used to precisely mix the CBD rosin with MCT coconut oil for bottling.  This ensures that each bottle of HVF CBD oil contains the same concentration of CBD no matter which batch it was made from.

Storage: We store the dried flower buds at a cool temperature, and have batches of oil pressed as needed.  Once pressed and bottled we recommend storing the oil in the refrigerator for up to one year.  After refrigeration the MCT coconut oil will have a cloudy appearance, but will return to a more clear oil at room temperature.  Make sure to shake the closed bottle of oil before each use to maintain a consistent CBD content within the solution.

When storing the dried hemp flowers it is recommended to use an air tight container and to store the flowers at a cooler temperature, although they do not need to be refrigerated.  This will ensure that the flowers maintain their quality until you are ready to use them.

Carefully selected Hemp Flowers,
Dried and ready for use 
How to Use Hemp Flowers: When using the hemp flowers there are two delivery options- ingesting orally (edibles) or inhaled (smoking or vaping).  Ingesting CBD in the form of edibles is a tasty option.  For example, you can make CBD butter which can then be used to make baked goods such as cookies or brownies, or simply spread on a piece of toast.  The benefits of the CBD will be delayed 30-90 minutes, and some will be lost in the digestive process.  By contrast, smoking or vaping the flowers is a fast and efficient way to feel the effects of the CBD in just a few minutes. However, the effects of the CBD when inhaled will only last for a couple of hours

How to Use CBD Oil: CBD oil can be taken orally or used as a topical treatment.  When taking the oil orally it is recommended to use the sublingual method.  To do this you place the oil under the tongue and hold it in place for one to two minutes without swallowing.  When used this way the CBD is able to bypass the digestive system and enter the bloodstream directly. The effects of the CBD will become apparent more quickly with the sublingual method than if the oil is simply swallowed. However, swallowing the oil is still an effective, though slower, delivery method.

For shallow physical aches and pains CBD can be administered topically.  To use the CBD oil topically simply massage the oil into the area where you are experiencing pain or discomfort.  The oil needs to be massaged into the area for only a few minutes to be effective.

A Note about the Taste of the CBD Oil: When HVF CBD oil is held under your tongue you will notice the taste of a full spectrum CBD.  Along with the distinct flavor of hemp flowers, you will also taste the unique characteristic of our chosen CBD strain “Suver Haze”.  Oregon Organics, the producers of this strain, describe the flavor profile as a “walk through an orange orchard in bloom”.  There is also an after taste with a bitter profile, which is completely normal and is the result of the beneficial terpenes. We choose not to mask these tastes with artificial flavoring as some do.  The strong, distinct flavor is your guarantee that you are getting the full CBD spectrum and potential benefits.

A Note about the Legality of CBD: Our CBD products are completely legal and conform to state and federal regulations.  Our products are tested by a third party and ensured to contain less than 0.3% THC. Use of our CBD products will not produce any psychoactive effects or feelings of being “high”.

Benefits of CBD: The use of CBD products may provide some relief from:
  • Anxiety disorders and PTSD *+
  • Depression *+
  • Arthritis Pain *
  • Chronic Pain +
  • Inflammation *+
  • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting *
  • Sleep deprivation +
  • Oxidative Stress +
  • Metabolism and body weight +
  • Some pet owners are also using CBD to treat their animal friends’ discomfort. Our old dog Jack receives a high dose of CBD for his weight, and despite his severe arthritis he is able to make it to work every day on his own four paws.
Side Effects of CBD: CBD has been shown to be safe for humans, even with regular high doses.  Also, side effects for CBD are rare.  The most common side effect is tiredness/drowsiness, which can be mitigated by splitting up your CBD dosage throughout the day, or by only taking CBD before bed. Other possible side effects include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite
  • Lowered blood pressure

Dosage: CBD dosage is very individual, and is dependent on a variety of factors. Your body weight, personal body chemistry, sensitivity to CBD and medical conditions can factor in, as well as the condition you wish to treat and the method with which you use the CBD.  It is necessary to pay attention to your own experiences with CBD to determine the dosage that produces your desired effects. Your daily dose of CBD can be divided into 2-3 doses throughout the day to maintain the effects all day long.  A simple formula for determining your initial daily dosage is 5 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight.  (Source: CBDoil.org/cbd-dosage-guide) Our CBD oil contains 1200 mg of CBD per 2 ounce (60 mL) bottle of oil, so a full dropper (1 mL) contains 20 mg of CBD.  The following chart is a more detailed estimation of daily dosage levels based on body weight, and may be helpful for figuring out initial dosages:

Sources:

* CBDoil.org/cbd-dosage-guide
+ Acres USA, June 2019 issue, “The Low Down on CBD” by Maryam Henein