Sheepscot General Farm, of Whitefield, will test a new crop this year — and a new way of selling the crop — when it opens a pick-your-own hemp field in September.
Ben Marcus and Taryn Hammer Marcus, owners of Sheepscot General Farm LLC and Sheepscot General LLC, hope the crop — and demand for the active ingredient of cannabidiol, or CBD — will supplement their already popular pick-your-own organic strawberries.
Sheepscot General led a tour of its hemp fields, then hosted a presentation about CBD, Aug. 2. The presentation was given by Dr. Dustin Sulak, a medical cannabis expert and founder of Integr8 Health, which serves more than 8,000 medical cannabis patients in Maine.
Marcus and Hammer Marcus opened their farm and general store in Marcus’ hometown in 2011. In a July 18 interview, they said they would like to see most of their 3-acre hemp crop picked right off the plants and taken home by the end users, even though they have had inquiries from processors who would buy the plant material and likely extract the CBD for use in popular tinctures and concentrates.
Sheepscot’s hemp crop is one of a few in the state to have been certified organic through the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ Certified Clean Cannabis Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not expect to have federal guidelines in place for federal certification of organic hemp until the fall.
The federal and state governments both define hemp as a cannabis sativa plant with a concentration of less than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that makes the user feel high.
Because of the similarity in look, smell, and feel of the CBD-containing hemp plant to the THC-containing varieties of the cannabis plant, Sheepscot General has posted signs stating its plants are legal, licensed hemp.
Hammer Marcus said these low-THC hemp plants naturally have high levels of CBD and vice versa.