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The Latest in Agritourism: U-Pick Hemp

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The Latest in Agritourism: U-Pick Hemp

u-pick hemp agritourism

If you’ve ever wanted to pick your own hemp field, now is the time! “U-Pick” activities abound during Autumn when folks venture to their nearest farmlands to participate in harvesting apples and pumpkins and milling their way through complex corn mazes. This year, the newest addition to the U-Pick fall frenzy is, in fact, industrial hemp. Hemp farmers are opening their fields to the public as a way to cultivate fun, family-friendly activities and a hands-on, educational approach to facilitate the growing interest in the cannabis plant. While the public is generally familiar with hemp’s end-products, the most popular being CBD, the public may not be aware of the myriad uses of hemp. Hemp fibers can be processed into textiles and bio-plastics, the seeds provide protein for humans and animals and the flower can be processed into CBD tinctures, salves, balms, concentrates and more. By providing the public with a fun way to interact with the hemp fields through u-pick hemp farms, farmers hope that the interest in the plant itself will grow and encourage more people to use hemp products. Cannabis agritourism provides a way for people who are not directly involved in the industry to learn more about its benefits.

Industrial Hemp

The pick your own hemp field phenomenon is centered around industrial hemp. This form of the cannabis plant contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound found in its sister plant, marijuana. It is most commonly referred to as the plant that supplies the cannabinoids that are turned into CBD, the same cannabinoid touted by wellness advocates for their health benefits. Hemp is a cannabis plant, but grazing through the hemp mazes won’t make guests feel “high”. Legally, cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC are considered hemp, while cannabis plants with greater than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana. 

Hemp farmers engaging in this form of cannabis agritourism are encouraging their guests to touch, smell and familiarize themselves with the hemp plants that they are growing in their fields. Guests can pick which hemp plant they would like to take home and the farmers employ cutters to help clip the desired parts of the plants. Once taken home, these hemp plants can be processed and made into various items from tinctures to candy edibles. The farmers encourage their guests to ask as many questions as they’d like and offer tutorials and educational materials on how to process the hemp once they are ready to work with it at home. From farms in the North East to the North West and beyond, U-Pick hemp is becoming a popular fall activity.

More than Just U-Pick Hemp

Across the country, hemp farmers are creating hemp mazes and opening their fields to growing crowds of the cannabis-curious. The hemp fields aren’t the only activities being offered at these events. Food and beverages, live entertainment and gift shops create full experiences for their guests, much like farms that capitalize on seasonal U-Pick crops like berries and apples. This new phase in cannabis agritourism is a welcomed addition as hemp cultivation has been federally legal since the 2018 United States Farm Bill was passed. Farmers that grow hemp can now utilize their excess crops by hosting pick your own hemp events for the public while simultaneously educating the attendees and empowering the hemp community.

Opportunities for Growth

Many of the farms that have opened their fields to the public also sell their own CBD products and by inviting the public to their location they are increasing exposure to their products. It’s a win-win. This hands-on, agritourism approach is a fresh take on hemp education and a new and novel way to spend an autumn afternoon. The farmers involved have personal reasons why they want to open their fields to the public. Many believe that introducing people to the hemp plant will open doors for the industrial hemp industry overall; others want to share the positive aspects of hemp’s cannabinoids.

Since hemp is typically harvested around mid-September and the mazes will remain through the fall season, farmers will instead use the lanky plants for their fibers rather than their seeds. Overall, this contributes to less waste and allows farmers to actually profit off of the excess crops rather than losing time and money on plants that cannot be used for CBD products or seeds. Cannabis agritourism is on the rise and so is public interest. As the industry continues to expand, more farms will see the benefit of opening their doors to the public and will in turn, hopefully, stir up interest in hemp farming and the wide variety of uses of industrial hemp. U-Pick hemp is just the beginning; one day soon, hemp-derived products will be common household items.

At CannaCon, we love sharing the latest news and information in the industry. As the leading cannabis business conference, we can help you not only learn about what’s happening in the industry but also about the latest products and innovations. Follow along and check out one of our upcoming shows

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