The Marcus family in Whitefield, Maine, is the first to offer hemp under the pick your own model. Just like so many different farms do with strawberries, the farmers grow the hemp throughout the year, and then open up to the public for the harvest.
Sheepscot General Farm had about 50 people show up to take advantage of their offering. Three acres were the home to some 7,000 plants grown by Ben and Taryn Markus. The strains of hemp chosen were centered around CBD production. The plants were tested by the Department of Agriculture for THC levels. None of their plants fell above the 0.3 percent threshold for THC mandated by state and federal law. The plants, when dried, were estimated to have CBD levels of 15 to 20%.
“When I heard about it from friends, I knew I had to come up,” Tribble said as she admired the orange hue of the hair that covered the plant leaves, the Portland Press Herald reports . “I had no idea how long it would take to get here, or what I’d find when I did, but I’m a big believer in this plant, and what it can do for us.”
Pickers were able to walk away with whole hemp plants priced at $25 per pound or branches prices at $35 per pound. Most of the pickers intend to turn the leaves into tinctures and salves. Picking took place for four days on the farm, after which the remaining hemp was picked by the owners.
The Marcus’ are one of the many American farmers responding to the growing U.S. obsession with CBD. They joined the estimated 480,000 acres planted in 2019. That number marks more hemp being grown than peak U.S. cultivation in 1943 when the plant was deregulated to help with the war effort. Since hemp started becoming available for farmers, there has been a 328 percent increase year after year.