What Goes Into Growing Blühen Hemp

Saying we care much more about our hemp than most CBD companies may sound like a boast, but it is not an exaggeration.

Consumer demand for CBD products is huge, and “the current supply chain — from plants, to extraction, to labs — is riddled with issues,” as a March 2019 CNBC article puts it.  Many companies import poor quality hemp from overseas; many hemp farmers, new to a crop that only became fully legalized in the US in December 2018, are growing it like tomatoes.  That is not efficient and no federal laws are on the books requiring companies to test CBD, yet.  That is unacceptable to us.

At Blühen Botanicals, your wellness is our mission — and that starts with the earth.  Our hemp is thoughtfully grown and intentionally sourced from our partner farmers who run farms throughout the Southeast and receive deep guidance from our farm team.  With backgrounds in farming, entomology, genetics, plant pathology, and agronomy, the team advises our farmers on the optimal production practices for the region and year: this runs the gamut from fertilization programs and soil pH to the optimal number of plants per acre.  The team offers support during the season via farm visits, community meetings, phone calls, emails, and newsletters.

Hemp soaks up whatever is in the soil... so, any field used for Blühen hemp production must first be soil-tested for pesticide residue and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic.  Here is how strict that can look: if animals were fed hay treated with herbicides, and their manure was used to fertilize a field, that field cannot be used to grow hemp we will accept.

When farmers test the soil, which should be well-drained and loamy, they are making sure it is missing certain things — but contains others.  Our farmers pay particular attention to key nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.   Hemp is a fast-growing plant so ensuring plenty of nitrogen has been applied to the field is essential for proper growth.

But that is just the dirt; the plant that goes into it involves just as much consideration.  Blühen Botanicals team members traveled to Oregon to procure the best feminized seed in the market, relying on breeders who have been working on stabilizing genetics for at least five years.  The cannabis plant has both male and female plants; the seed we obtain produces female-only hemp crops.  That is key because CBD oil comes from unfertilized buds on female hemp plants; if a single male appears in a field it can fertilize an entire crop of females.

Many companies claim to have high-quality CBD genetics, but they have all taken someone else’s work and destabilized the line.  That generally results in a higher percentage of hermaphrodites aka male pollen sacs grow on the female plant.  The selections by Blühen’s genetics team are stable, uniform, and high CBD.  The seeds are grown at a proven commercial greenhouse in Tennessee and seedlings are transported to the farmers on the day of planting.

When most of the flower buds change from white/yellow to orange, it is time to harvest... something that is mostly done by hand in a way much like tobacco.  Plants are hung upside down on tobacco sticks that are then hung in repurposed tobacco barns or other structures, like warehouses and greenhouses.

After two to four weeks of drying, the plants are prepped.  The buds are carefully stripped off the stalks and stems, packed in breathable containers, and delivered to Blühen — where the care and consideration continue.