Tetra Organics, a two-acre, organic, family hemp farm across the freeway from Ashland, won first place for Top CBD entry in the 2020 Golden Grow competition in January for its Lifter strain.
Winning that honor in the contest — put on by Hemp Inc. and Hemp University’s New Leaf Symposium — will help Tetra gain consumer credibility, as will the “organically grown in Oregon” cachet, say Spencer and Morgan Pierce, a duo of late-20s brothers who grew up on the scenic family farm where they started some years ago by growing hops, using two vertical wind generators.
Spencer describes their winning hemp like this: “It’s 17.5% CBD. I would say Lifter’s flower is dense buds that have hints of purple surrounded by an array of dark and light greens. The nose on it has a sweet-and-sour aroma that at times can have a spicy/cheesy earth undertone with a trichome content that sparkles with just a hint of light.”
The brothers, who hopped on the hemp boom in 2017, call their modest operation a boutique farm. “It means it’s done organically and with love,” Spencer says.
It’s a lot of work, walking the land every day to remove fertilized plants, most caused by less considerate growers who, they say, don’t cull male plants very well.
The brothers process smokable flower and get the main crop processed locally by Frosty’s Extracts. They use heavy-grade, permeable mulch that lasts about seven seasons and rolls up after harvest.
They hire half a dozen hard-working Woofers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for the hops and take on local workers for the hemp.
The demand for CBD is well-established globally now, and consumers are eagerly awaiting research and development, Spencer says, into CBG, CBN and other cannabinoids that promise new health benefits, as well as enhanced activation of familiar ones.
Who buys their product? “It mainly goes to anxieties, effects of cancer treatment, anti-inflammatory, neurological disorders, lots of other things,” says Morgan. “I use it myself when I get sore muscles. Works great.”
A lot of people have learned that CBD pre-rolls are great for kicking cigarettes, as well as addictive drugs, as they satisfy that social hand-to-mouth habit. However, adds Spencer, “some people still demonize any form of it and need to learn the difference between cannabis and hemp.”
They see little point in the low 0.3 percent THC limit permitted in hemp products and note that percentages can differ considerably from one testing to another and one testing agent to another.
The brothers were still in grade school when their dad retired from his Navy career and bought the farm. Dad sometimes helps and mom cooks for workers. The brothers have a combined four toddlers. They’re connected with many family farms in the region and keep meeting young owners they went to school with in Ashland, graduating around the turn of the century.
Standing out with their dogs earlier this year in their about-to-be-planted fields, taking in stunning views of Grizzly Peak and Mount Ashland, Spencer says, “We love farming in this beautiful place, working on the land, being environmentally friendly, with the kids playing in the vegetable garden and eating lots of veggies. What more do you want?”
The Golden Grow Awards is a regional branding initiative of the Southern Oregon Hemp Co-op. Sophia Blanton, who helped organized the January event at New Leaf Symposium, says the competition was the state’s first hemp-dedicated flower contest. Third-party testing of entries was done by Green Leaf Labs.
The People’s Choice winner was Victory Banner Farm’s “Hawaiian Haze.” The awards for Top Terpene and Judges’ Favorite went to Singh Research Farm’s “Lifter.”