How did you get into Hemp Breeding? What is your family background with agriculture?
I got into breeding because I saw the potential to be both creative and consequential. I love being able to develop new strains that showcase interesting terpene profiles, plant structures and effects that I find pleasant, all while making a living and impacting people’s lives in a positive way. My family owned and operated an edible business in Denver when cannabis became legal. As we moved away from THC and towards the hemp space, we sold our recipes to Cheeba Chew. We were actually the first people to farm hemp in the US since Prohibition! The great thing about this is that we were able to bring our extensive knowledge of high value THC cannabis breeding and production to the US hemp market and share our experience and our genetics to help support our farmers in growing high quality hemp profitably.
What about the Hemp industry is exciting to you?
I transitioned to hemp along with my family because I noticed the cannabis space becoming flooded and wanted to have an opportunity to take on the same plant but for a new audience and market. My family’s positive impact and success in the CBD and hemp market, from farming and education at Colorado Hemp Project, to their award-winning product line, “Natures Root,” made me want to contribute to such a booming and long-term industry. My focus on breeding was the thing that got me most excited, so I spend my time creating beautiful and stimulating varieties that will provide the market the same high-level of smokable flower that the THC cannabis market enjoys.
We are constantly learning more about how certain cannabinoids affect the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) – the body’s natural regulatory system- and that’s very exciting. In bringing the plant to its full potential, we can not only keep our bodies running at optimal levels, but we can also change our physical world with more sustainable construction materials, industrial products, textiles and energy generation. Hemp can help us clean up the mess we have made in this world and give more people and companies an opportunity to have a truly sustainable crop that contributes to global health and wellness. How could I not be excited to work every day?!?!
What is your breeding philosophy? What is the most important thing (to you) that you breed for?
My philosophy in breeding is simple, I focus on hitting LST: Look, Smell, and Taste. The first thing a consumer does is look at the flower, then they smell it, all before being consumed. My focus is on creating genotypes that provide a boost to all the senses involved in consumption and provide a way for the consumer to get the most positive experience in both flavor and health benefits. The most important aspect I select for is the terpene profile, because terpenes are the organic compounds that are responsible for the smells that directly affect the end process of consumption. I love knowing that when people open a container of well-grown Purple Mesa flower for the first time, they are sharing in the same sensory experience I had when I first selected the variety.
However, that doesn’t mean I neglect how the plants perform in the field. I know first-hand how important it is for farmers to have healthy, good-looking plants with optimal habits and sturdy structures, so the crop is easier to grow and harvest.
How is Purple Mesa raising the bar in the smokable hemp flower market?
Purple Mesa is a high-end, product focused, breeding company. If I can provide the farmer with a well growing, high yielding plant and the consumer gets a tasty flower with an intoxicating nose and delivers pleasant effects, then we all win. I’m excited about the future and what we can accomplish with hemp. There are so many new varieties coming and I can’t wait to share them with cultivators and consumers around the country. The best is yet to come!