It’s fall on the farm, and that means it’s go-time! Remember those 10,000 seeds from our Spring Dispatch? Well, they’re now 10,000 mature plants in full flower, ready to be harvested. We chat with Farmer Jonathan about seeing his commitment to regenerative agriculture pay off, reaping the fruits of his labor, and giving an exceptional crop an exceptional finish.
Ned: Hi Jonathan! How are you and the family?
Jonathan: Hello all! The family and I are doing well, we are enjoying the end of summer as we approach the changing of the seasons.
Ned: How was summer on the farm?
Jonathan: Summer on the farm was great. There was plenty of maintenance to be done but the season has flown by and now we are heading for a harvest like none before. The crop grew with great vigor this year which is all a farmer could hope for.
Ned: Anything new or exciting going on?
Jonathan: New and exciting is kind of the theme around here. We are in the final stages of building our house which has been a long and rewarding process. We are working on plans for new farm infrastructure that will improve our growing capabilities. We are also seeing our commitment to regenerative agriculture pay off as the soil and overall farm health is improving greatly. Although we are certified organic, our aim goes beyond that, to create a truly sustainable life that finds harmony in the world around us. I realize there will be challenges ahead of us, but around here we love a good challenge!
Ned: What was it like having the whole Ned Team together on the farm?
Jonathan: Having the Ned crew here in Paonia was fantastic. It's really a great group of people that I have a lot of respect for. It's obvious that everyone has a specific role to fill and does so with care and skill. Ned is an amazing company and I'm honored to be working with all of them.
Ned: What will fall be like on the farm?
Jonathan: Fall is go time! All of the year's work comes to fruition in the fall. No two seasons are the same and the formula for a successful crop is ever changing. Even if we play our part perfectly, there are factors that are out of our control. I am grateful and proud to say that we have done it again and soon we will reap what we have sown.
Ned: What will you be working on in September? What stage will the plants be at?
Jonathan: September is the beginning of harvest. A lot of hemp cultivars don't finish until October and beyond. The varieties we grow are selected for their incredible aromas and flavor profile but they are also known as “early finishers”. This is a major advantage to us in this geographic location. The weather in October and November can be fickle here in Colorado with the threat of freezing temperatures and precipitation. The ability to harvest mature hemp flowers in September is a huge benefit and part of our strategy.
Ned: What will you be working on in October? What stage will the plants be at?
Jonathan: After the plants are brought in from the field they are hung up in one of our drying spaces. After the material is dried to the right moisture content, the flowers are stripped from the plant and put into food grade containers to be taken to the extractor. This part of the process takes great care as we really strive to preserve the essence of the plant. Environmental factors like U.V. and heat can degrade the compounds contained in the flower that give it its potency, flavor, and aromas. This process of curing the flower is something that separates us from a lot of other farms. An exceptional crop deserves an exceptional finish. This high standard of quality is found from seed all the way to Ned's finished product which is one reason why we continue to work so well together, a shared vision.
Ned: What will you be working on in November? What stage will the plants be at?
Jonathan: November is when we are wrapping up the harvest and beginning the fall cleanup. There are lots of things to be done and though they may seem trivial after the harvest, they are necessary tasks that when done properly will set us up for a good start in the following spring. These jobs include spreading cover crops, winterizing irrigation infrastructure, breaking down and cleaning equipment and taking soil tests to determine soil fertility and soil needs for the following season. There is generally a more relaxed atmosphere during this time as we know that the hardest part is behind us, we have done our best, and the fruits of our labor are in the good hands of Ned, to be shared with the world.