Check out this story and recipe from one of our awesome community members:
I’ve always been interested in a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of that lifestyle – so when I met Shayne Hamilton and the True North Cannabis team, I was immediately drawn to their products.
As someone who knows a lot about how to nourish my body, I usually don’t put a lot of stock into protein alternatives, but the addition of True North’s hemp hearts on my everyday meals has kept me fuller, longer and provided me with tons of benefits. I love putting them on everything from popcorn to salads and smoothies – even meat for an extra protein kick and crunch!
My favourite way to eat True North hearts and oil is on salads and to spread hemp oil on a good piece of sourdough with some sea salt.
My favourite recipe involving True North products involves the following simple salad:
Fresh Greens With Hemp Green Goddess Dressing
One freshly cubed garden tomato
Handful of baby spinach
¼ cup pickled beets
2 tablespoons of fresh goat cheese
½ cubed avocado (save ¼ of this for dressing)
1 bbq’d chicken breast rubbed with a little seasoning salt
1 tsp of True North Cannabis hemp hearts
1 tsp of True North Cannabis hemp oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
¼ of chopped avocado from salad
Salt and Pepper to taste
Yours truly, Corey S.
They say that to become a master at something, it takes a thousand hours of intense dedication. Be it a craft, a skill, or even your own health, devoting that much time to anything can only be sustained as a labour of love.
When it comes to mastering the art of growing hemp, True North is well on its way to becoming master of its domain.
Founder Shayne Hamilton is on the front lines of this mastery, and it is with great pleasure he reflects on the third growing season for the company.
As you can imagine farming life in general is a compromise of highs and lows. So many factors contribute to turning potential into reality, but many of these factors are acts of nature and not easily navigated.
One of this year’s greatest challenges, as I am sure you can imagine, is with rainfall. This was, in fact, a drought year for most farmers.
“We only seeded 160 acres this year,” said Shayne.
“But we still saw about 80 - 90% germination.”
He explained that one of the most challenging times is getting the seeds to germinate. Once the germination has begun, there is a sense of relief and the focus can shift to making the plants grow.
“There are definitely some bald spots,” explained Shayne.
“But it is still the best looking crop when you look out over the fields. This is because hemp grows with a tap root, so it is typically pretty hardy.”
Because of this tap root, Shayne explained, hemp is the perfect plant for withstanding drought. It also gives it a leg up when it comes to soil type, making it suitable for sandy soils or nutrient depleted farm land. In this sense, hemp is wonderful to add into crop rotations.
It is also why some farmers refer to it as a cash crop - hemp is likely to do reasonably well regardless of the challenges thrown at it.
“The only thing we have discovered that it does not do well in, is hail.”
Referring to his first attempt at growing hemp on a farm scale, he recalls a sad looking crop decimated by some record setting heavy hail.
Typically though, if the plant is hurt for some reason, a part of it can still be utilized. Be it the hearts, CBD, or even the fibre. It can be utilized in so many ways, it is versatile.
“The goal still is to optimize CBD production, and dry is good for that.”
The other incredibly versatile products that are born from hemp production in Shayne’s mind are happy side benefits.
“Hemp hearts are just so good to add to your food, not only for the taste but for the protein content as well.
“Hemp oil has incredible properties that complete your omega requirements and act as an anti-inflammatory.”
Shayne explained that one of True North’s biggest challenges has been in the distribution of these products.
Getting the correct packaging together and putting it on the shelves has been a bit of a long haul, but he is excited to say that True North is currently represented in more than five local retailers and by the end of September, that number is expected to increase.
Shayne himself is devoted to health, and as an extreme athlete with a rather intensive training regime, he understands the importance of what you put in your body.
As he perceives to end off this season on a good note, he looks forward to harvesting and reflecting on True North’s growth over the winter.
Every growing season can only be better and better!
What does it truly mean to invest in something? To give it money, time or energy? Investing typically means that the return is greater than the initial cost, whatever it may be.
On that note, is it safe to look at our health as a point of investment? The answer is absolutely.
Investing into your health now will obviously benefit you in the future, and unless you have been living under a rock, that certainly is not news.
Investing in your health is less like buying into the stock market, and more like buying a home. If you do regular maintenance on the house, it will not fall to shambles.
Think of it this way: if you put some decent renovations into the house, it increases the value. Putting in incremental improvements over the life of your home will help you end up with an asset that will likely draw you some profit. The more you put in, the more you will get out.
Your health, body and mind, is much the same. Let’s not get the term ‘renovation’ mixed up though - we aren’t talking quick fixes or plastic surgery.
So let’s come at it from the standpoint of food alone, there are many things to consider. It is an unfortunate truth that eating heathy often costs more. So if you are truly putting your money where your mouth is, you want to do so intelligently.
Here is some wisdom. Consider the source of the food you put into your body, from its initial conception to its delivery to the store. What happens to the food that makes it to your fridge?
Consider an orange, and pretend it is December. Chances are that orange was grown in some warm state far south. It had to be trucked up to your grocery store for you to buy. Already, it has spent some time in transit, so the freshness window is narrowed and nutrients are lost.
So right away it is safe to consider that local foods are a smart choice.
What about optimal nutrition? Buying local foods are great, but if you want to get the best value, you reach for something that fills many needs.
Nutrient dense foods with high amino acid complexes are great for filling many nutritional needs, as long as those nutrients are accessible. Some foods are nutrient dense but a challenge for the body to break down. Or, they deliver nutrients in a way that the body has difficulties recognizing. We call the ease of this nutrient extraction ‘bioavailability’.
Local, bioavailable foods are the best for investing in your health. Guess what hemp is? It is very bioavailable, and local grown if you have a good source! Hemp thrives in Alberta, and offers up bioavailable proteins and omega fatty acids amongst a host of other good stuff.
If you are investing in your health, and you truly value the richness that a healthy life has to offer, hemp is a must.
On July 1, 2017 celebrations will kick-off all over the country to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our great country then to hike a few of Alberta’s most popular mountains and do a giveaway at the same time!
For all of July and kicking off tomorrow (on Canada’s birthday) we are stashing geocaches stocked with a giant #TrueNorthCannabis hashtag on four of Alberta’s most beloved mountains. Once stashed, we are encouraging YOU to head up the same mountains all throughout July, find our geocache and complete a few simple steps in order to win a gift basket full of True North hemp hearts and oil as well as multiple other products from some of our favourite local partners.
Interested? Here’s how we do:
Step one: Starting tomorrow, stay tuned between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the True North Cannabis Instagram account and watch our Instagram stories to follow our first mountain trek up the beautiful face of Mount Yamnuska to see where we stashed our first cache.
Step three: get out to Mount Yam and grab that cache! Pull out the hashtag, which looks like this:
and take a selfie, video or boomerang with it. Post it on your own account using the #TrueNorthCannabis for #Canada150 hashtags (or tag us) to win! The first 20 people to do this over July will win the gift basket, valued up to $150 and FULL of delicious local goodies and True North hemp products.
Step five: keep checking back to our Facebook and Instagram channels each week in July to learn where we will stash the next geocache to get more opportunities to win! We will be hiking a new mountain each week, starting with Mount Yamnuska tomorrow (July 1, 2017).
#getoutside with us this summer and #hugsometrees for #Canada150 - contest winners will be contacted via Instagram the week of August 7, 2017.
I met the True North Cannabis team in late 2016 and learned about their hemp heart and hemp oil products. A huge fan of the ability to support anything local as well as someone who places a high value on health, I opted to try some of True North’s hemp hearts and hemp oil after being disappointed in what I found in-store.
I’ve lived with asthma my whole life and have been able to combat it with running but still have to take the occasional inhaler. During the winter months, I also experience extremely dry skin. Since trying out True North’s hemp oil and hearts, my dry skin has cleared up, my face is glowing and my energy levels have skyrocketed, making running easier and asthma more and more manageable.
In the past I had purchased run-of-the-mill hearts at the store and although they were ok for coating chicken or adding crunch to other dishes, I never saw a health benefit from them. True North’s hearts and oil are SO fresh and have lasted in my fridge for up to three months (but are nearly gone!)
Some of my favourite meals include hemp and I’d like to share my top two with you below:
Hemp Heart and Walnut Crusted Mustard Chicken
This recipe is perfect for a weekly dinner option for you or your family. My little family of two loves it as a topping on a yummy bed of greens and below is how we make it, but feel free to adjust yours for yields or taste.
Two boneless skinless chicken breasts
Two cups of fresh arugula
One large avocado
One large tomato
One tbsp. of pulverized hemp hearts (pulse in food processor on high until hearts yield a fine dust)
Quarter cup of crushed walnuts
One tbsp. of grainy mustard
One tsp of Canadian-made honey, Drizzle Honey is a great local find
One tsp of apple cider vinegar
Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie
¼ cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
¼ cup of fresh spinach
¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt or dairy alternative
1 cup of vanilla or plain almond or cashew milk (I find these are best)
1 tbsp. of True North hemp oil
Protein powder of choice
Learning more about hemp as a superfood.
When people think hemp, many things come to mind. It is true that the quality of hemp has been enjoyed for decades by a diverse group of people, but just how beneficial is hemp, what is it (and how is it related to cannabis), and why is it the up and coming superfood?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a derivative of the cannabis plant. It is traditionally bred for its fiber, giving it a low THC content compared to some other forms of cannabis. Yes, this makes hemp non-psychoactive (it won’t get you high). Although we know the fibrous stalks of the hemp plant to be beneficial for making twine and fabric, it is also quickly becoming a popular material for paper, fuel and even building construction. It is one of our oldest domesticated crops and it actually benefits the environment by consuming four times the amount of CO2 than trees do. This means that by planting crops of hemp instead of say corn, or wheat, there is a far greater potential to cleanse the air by consuming CO2 and producing O2.
How is hemp beneficial for consumption?
Hemp seeds contain an insane amount of naturally occurring omega fatty acids. You can gain these fatty acids from other sources of course, cod liver oil to name one, but hemp delivers them in a way that is highly bioavailable (meaning it is very easy for our body to utilize this nutrition). The seeds are also high in protein and fibre, resulting in a slow absorption perfect for regulating blood sugars. They also have a good dash of amino acids, making them perfect to aid in healthy cellular function including muscle control and mental function. The list really goes on and on from here, but we will save it for another day.
Why is it growing in popularity as a super food?
The root to all of hemp’s goodness is in the seed - naturally. The derivatives from the seeds varies, and each form that the seeds take - powder, shelled, oil - are packed with nutrients. We mentioned its omega fatty acids, but it is also an excellent source of vitamin E and of course protein. Although there is no set criteria for what defines a superfood, they are typically foods that consist of a certain level of nutritional density and are beneficial to health and well-being. Hemp is in line with this description, and it provides the benefit of being a good growing choice for the environment. One might say, that with all these factors combined, hemp is actually the super hero of super foods!
When the sun rises over the farmlands of Alberta’s prairie landscape, a multitude of agricultural cultivations are illuminated. From the soft neutral tones of a wheat field to the vibrant chartreuse of a canola field, our agriculture in many ways defines our province. If you are heading east toward the Saskatchewan border, just North of Oyen, it is possible you will catch a glimpse of a crop a little different from the others.
For the past two summers, True North’s conceptualizer, Shayne Hamilton, has been developing practices to effectively grow high quality cannabis crops. In amongst the traditional growing fields of barley and corn, there is now 340 acres of land dedicated to growing hemp. A city boy with a green thumb, Hamilton has had a keen interest in the world of agricultural cultivation for decades.
Embarking upon a growing endeavour of this magnitude was completely foreign to him. License to grow in hand, Hamilton approached a 3rd generation farmer in the fall of 2014 with the proposition to grow cannabis on a large scale. The farmer and his family welcomed Hamilton into their operation with a contagious passion. The family had been farming the land for over 100 years, accumulating a bank of experience and knowledge. Blood, sweat, and tears accurately describes the emotional peaks and valleys that are associated with learning to farm in this fashion.
Hamilton poured all of his resources into the idea of producing quality hemp products - he compares it to jumping off a bridge with hopes there is water underneath. Sleeping in his truck on the land, waking up early to perform rain dances, and measuring tiny sprouts - the first year was a tough one. No amount of money, or hope, can make it rain. Hamilton built a giant sprinkler in that first summer with attempts to add some moisture to the arid landscape. The contraption allowed him to water only a half inch over ten acres in a four day period. Although it was a challenge, they were still able to germinate over 30 acres of hemp. A hail storm eventually rolled over the land, causing major damage to Hamilton’s crop amongst other farmers losses. Cannabis is resilient though, just like Hamilton. Although the crop yield for that first season was low, the learning experience was invaluable and Hamilton was proud.
It was the lessons learnt in this first year that contributed to a greater success in the second year. Hamilton used his harvest to test strains for CBD and THC levels. Although the current goal is to create healthy edible hemp products for the majority - an ultimate ability to produce CBD products from a therapeutic perspective motivates the whole process. True North has a mandate to create a happier and healthier future for individuals. Being able to see hemp products through from the stage of purchasing seeds and harvesting plants, to packaging and distribution, creates a level of connection unsurmountable by other hemp companies. From seeds and soil to passion and dedication, True North is about as grass roots as it gets.