Blue Ridge Cold Press President Kermit Hundley stands in the middle of two rows of hemp which are nearing the time of harvest. The company recently had its application to be a food-grade hemp processor approved by the State and looks to have locally-grown and pressed CBD oil ready in October. – David Broyles | The Carroll News
This is a view of some of hemp in bloom which Blue Ridge Cold Press Company looks to press and make into CBD oil. Davis Farms of Oregon provided some of the genetics and some of the plants in this field had grown more than six feet tall. Kermit Hundley said his local fields were planted around July 18 and will be ready to harvest and process soon. – David Broyles | The Carroll News
In the midst of the inherent uncertainty of Virginia’s hemp grower’s first year, consumers in Carroll will soon have the certainty of a local source of food-quality CBD oil…Blue Ridge Cold Press Company.
“At the beginning of the month (September) we were approved (as a certified producer of food-grade hemp oil containing CBD). We are hesitant to outsource any hemp right now just because of all the junk that’s in the market,” said Kermit Hundley, President of Blue Ridge Cold Press Company. “Hemp seed is also not the easiest thing to find so we’ve been fortunate to find a connection with the hemp seed… out of Canada. You can’t compete with those prices. We’d thought about seeing if we could get some farmers locally interested in growing hemp seed but the return is $600 an acre, so I really don’t think we’d be able to get interest in that.”
He says Davis Farms of Oregon provided some of the genetics and the crop here has shown some inconsistency in sizes from seeds grown from plants from other sources (some in this field locally were around seven feet tall.) He said his local fields were planted around July 18 or a few days after that.
“We had some plants growing ten inches a week. They really do love it (here). We haven’t really seen any major bug issues. Deer haven’t bothered the plants a bit. None whatsoever,” Hundley said. “We’re about to squeeze this field through a three-inch tube…literally that’s what is going to happen. We’re a no-solvent method. That is one thing which separates us from everyone else. People need to be aware when you use ethanol (for instance) to extract cannabinoids, they are tested in parts per million to see if there is ethanol still in the oil. Your body breaks things down in parts per billion. They do a good job of getting most of the solvent out but you cannot get all of it out.”
He is referring to the crop being harvested and then processed with cold presses. Hundley said the firm will make a food-grade CBD oil.
“Our main focus is to make a safe product, fit for human consumption. Virginia really came through when they put out the applications allowing processors to apply. The fact they are inspecting and following up means Virginia is recognizing certain processors to make product for human consumption should filter out a lot of junk that’s on the market, in my opinion. Not all of it, but some of it,” said Hundley. “There’s a lot of frustration in the industry right now. It’s the first year. Everything is new. Nobody is completely sure of what they are doing. Mistakes are being made. This is an expensive crop to plant. If you’re paying $5 per plant and plant 1,200 to 2,000 plants per acre, and that’s not counting the labor, many have overlooked how labor intensive this plant is to harvest and dry.”
Having cleared the paperwork hurdle, the firm is set to undergo a state inspection, tentatively slated for October. The company’s Standard Operating Procedure, labeling and methods of production are also subject to state approval. The company is also talking with several local merchants about selling their oil.
“We planted late. For everything to not get into the ground until July 18 through July 21 and to have six- to seven-foot tall plants pretty consistent is wonderful,” Hundley said. “This has been fun. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been fun. Since we look to make our first batch soon, we hope to actually be able to land some contracts. That’s been one thing. No one will commit to a contract until they have product in their hands with a COA (Certificate Of Analysis).”
Although earlier plans talked of including locally-grown and pressed pumpkin seeds for an oil to homogenize the CBD product, Hundley said it was later determined to concentrate on just locally-grown and pressed hemp. He says, right now, he anticipates processing 50,000 pounds.
“It’s better balanced in Omega 3 and Omega 6, which is exactly what you’re looking for (for the health benefits). It’s easier for us right now to stick with hemp. Now that makes us a one-ingredient product. It’s hemp flower and hemp seed. We don’t have to worry about allergies as much. We are going to be cold pressing other seed oils and will be doing other seed oils with CBD but for now it’s a focus on completing the crop-share agreement we have with local farmers.”
The firm looks to also use a facility in Hillsville for climate-controlled storage of hemp, which will be a help for farmers who have had their contracts cancelled.
“There’s been a lot of processors canceling contracts on farmers. I know of 60 in North Carolina that grew some pretty large acreage and the processors came and said, ‘Sorry, we’re canceling the contracts and they just walked out on them,’” said Hundley. “If you don’t have a good storage facility there’s a large risk of your product degrading. What might be 10 percent CBD at harvest might be two percent in six to nine months if it is not stored properly. Then it’s worthless.”
Interested persons may obtain more information about Blue Ridge Cold Press Company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave
Blue Ridge Cold Press President Kermit Hundley stands in the middle of two rows of hemp which are nearing the time of harvest. The company recently had its application to be a food-grade hemp processor approved by the State and looks to have locally-grown and pressed CBD oil ready in October.
This is a view of some of hemp in bloom which Blue Ridge Cold Press Company looks to press and make into CBD oil. Davis Farms of Oregon provided some of the genetics and some of the plants in this field had grown more than six feet tall. Kermit Hundley said his local fields were planted around July 18 and will be ready to harvest and process soon.