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!