Volume 3, Issue 17, Summer 2001 ISSN 1498-8135
Fibre & Food
Western Canada's First Hemp Fibre Processor Opens.
Hemp fibre processing in western Canada is a reality.
ErosionControlBlanket.com is a new Winnipeg-based company, that is manufacturing and marketing Rolled Erosion Control Products (RECP) from Manitoba-grown industrial hemp. "Hemp is a tough fibre to work with, but we are making blankets." says ECB's Mark Myrowich. "The RECP industry uses coconut fibres, wheat straw, and man-made products like polypropylene. We wanted to make a substitute with natural fibres grown here."
ErosionControlBlanket.com touts hemp fibre as superior in strength and moisture retention than coconut fibre, and being grown in North America, is available at a lower cost. Situated in hemp-friendly Manitoba, the company says that they have a plentiful natural fibre supply of excellent quality.
Erosion control blankets help rehabilitate damged landscapes. Picture courtesy International Erosion Control Organization.
The hemp blankets arise of Myrowich's experience running Mid Canada Hydroseeding, an erosion control contractor active from Northwestern Ontario to Alberta. Working on a job in rural Manitoba, using blankets from coconut fibre, Myrowich looked across the highway and saw a field of industrial hemp. And he thought: since it's here, we can use it.
Since that small hemp satori in 1999, the company has been working on the hemp blankets, using Canadian-grown fibre and also importing some from Europe. They knew about hemp fibres' strength properties, tried it and it worked. Scaling-up, they imported a custom-built, computerised system from Germany; according to the Myrowich they can make blankets between 4-16 feet wide, and they have a capacity of 4000 sqm/hr. The line can handle any kind of natural fibre.
"We use the whole fibre," says Myrowich (Left)," We cut and chop it up into a fleecing unit, put two nets on it, and machine sew it together to make a rolled blanket." RECP's are for laying in slope, channels and shorelines. They are unrolled in a seeded area, and stapled to the ground. In place, the blankets provide protection for new plants to create root systems that once established will prevent future erosion. The earth-friendly blankets degrade over time.
The company's staple products are blankets made of wheatstraw. Myrowich is guessing that ErosionControlBlanket.com two hemp products, Hemtex 32 (100% hemp) and Hemtex S32 (a fifty-fifty straw mix) will become 10% of his business to start. ErosionControlBlanket.com. can also make blankets from coconut fibre, jute, or flax on request.
Myrowich says that the continent-wide market for ECP's is 100 million square metres a year: Manitoba, prone to deep spring floods along its old, swaying rivers, alone accounts for 250,000 square metres. While most of the ECP business is supplied by cheaper wheatstraw products, coconut fibres also have a strong market presence. Myrowich believes that hemp is a competitive and affordable alternative to coconut. Using hemp fibres also provides an alternative to using wood.
With a local farmer, the company is growing 200 acres of fibre hemp north of Winnipeg in the Riverton area, near their plant. And Myrowich, while he is western Canada's first hemp fibre processor, wants more people working with the hemp.
For more info, check out http://www.erosioncontrolblanket.com
Tread Softly on Mother Earth!
Tree-Free Paper, Recycled Pop Bottle Fleece, Hemp and Organic Cotton Clothing, Natural Body Care,
Fiber Options, 642 Yates St, Victoria, BC
Contact: Gord Johns, Tel: 250-725-2192, Fax: 250-725-2198
What's Hot in Hemp Stores!
This issue, we asked Fiber Options, a chain of hemp and eco stores with locations in Whistler, Victoria, Saltspring Island, and Tofino, BC what were the best sellers in their stores. Here's their list:
Eco Coast Tree Free Art Cards
All Natural Body Care
Twine as always
Hempseed Treats By "Mama Indicas"
Are you a hemp/eco-store and want to give us a HOT LIST? Send us an email at email@example.com for your point-of-sale perspective.
An Amazing, Delicious non-dairy 'ice cream'. Certified Organic and Kosher, Fairly Traded ingredients. High in Omega 3 & 6 and GLA, contains easily digestible protein. Available in Ontario and Eastern Canadian Natural Food Stores. Check it out! Christina & Robbie Anderman RR#4 Killaloe ON. K0J 2A0, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: www.coolhemp.com.
Cool Hemp -- is Not Ice Cream
By Dr. Alexander Sumach
Hippie Hemp Ice Cream first appeared 10 years ago when hempster food gypsies whipped up small batches of their rebel seed dessert and offered them for sale at hemp awareness events. Dozens of one-shot kitchen manufacturers produced a few memorable buckets of hemp ice cream that varied in quality from excellent to somewhat less so. At two bucks a scoop, this frozen hemp whatever was often the first full mouth encounter with hemp food for the curious.
This grass roots iced hemp prototype suggested better things to come. Most used steam sterilized cagebird grade Chinese hempseed, usually stale and pricey, but none the less, real hemp. Calling it "organic all natural" was stretching things, but this was what cool people in hot weather wanted. These were the days of hemp casual to the max and the industry/ movement flaunted every directive from the Narcs to the Sanitary Inspectors.
Nobody wore a hairnet or weighed ingredients, some just hammer mashed whole hempseed and mixed it in a bucket of dollar store ice cream with a stick.- a texture reminiscent of frozen kitty litter but it was hemp.
Cool Hemp In a Freezer, Far Far Away
From their organic farm/solar electric family compound deep in the bush near Killaloe Ontario, Christina and Robbie Anderman manufacture hemp candies and cookies under their label "Christina's Hempseed Treats," marketing them locally with great success. The move to frozen hemp desserts began nearly 10 years ago with a hand cranked home ice cream maker. Many litres later, the Andermans hit upon the ideal nondairy recipe that used as much hemp as possible -- this generous formula gives the right flavour, with the right texture. The pair knew they had a premium product but sweated about setting the right price.
"An ice cream business is expensive to start up" Christina admits, "We finally broke even after three years. We are still making hemp cookies." Before the Andermans started up Cool Hemp, they sought the ear of California hemp maestro Richard Rose (acting as Director of the Hemp Food Association) who shared his vast hemp food knowledge with his Canadian Shield competitors. Mr. Rose offered valuable suggestions so their Cool Hemp dreams would not melt away in the heat of hardball hemp marketing ahead. (R: Nice Ice.picture courtesy of Motherhemp)
"(Rose) recommended an improvement to our recipe, and a supplier for an ingredient, and an ideal hempmilk grinding machine, all of which were very helpful to our success, especially the hempmilk machine," says Christina.
When the Andermans were ready to go big time, their business plan attracted more than 25 eager investors -- some large, some small and most important -- regional hemp farmers with premium organic grain in lieu of cash to fuel the Cool Hemp dessert works. A guaranteed supply of hemp pretty well assures Cool Hemp a seat on the bus to hemp snack excellence.
With solid support from their investor pool, Cool Hemp was eligible for a matching funds grant from the Federal Ontario - Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC). The Andermans used the money wisely for snappy packaging design and product promotion.
I Scream for Ice Cream
In 1999, Cool Hemp sold 100 pints a month, in three flavours -- vanilla, chocolate and maple . They distributed their wares themselves to green leaning food shops and became famous for the thousands of free sample give-a-ways at health food shows and hemp events along the Ottawa-Toronto corridor. As things stepped up, Cool Hemp was on the road every weekend, meanwhile troubleshooting rising production and still managing to keep a prize-winning organic vegetable garden back at the Farm. By 2000, Cool Hemp was moving 200 pints a month. The snacking public had decided they loved iced hemp and wanted more.
In May 2001, Cool Hemp contracted production to the Centreside Dairy, (makers of Tracey's Old Fashioned Ice Cream) in Renfrew, Ontario to manufacture 13, 000 litres of their frosty fantasy treats. Adapting production to an organic kosher non dairy product line was worked out during exhaustive batch testing at the University of Guelph Food Technology Centre.
This Little Piggy Went To Market
When Cool Hemp grew to servicing 50 stores, they shopped for a distributor they could grow with. Signing on with The Ontario Natural Food Co-op that distributes across Ontario and into Quebec, the Andermans are now shipping 1, 400 litres a month. They are planning to vend in western Canada by the fall and try to crack the US border by spring.
This Little Piggy Stayed Home
Like other smart Canadian hemp entrepreneurs, Cool Hemp has made good use of waiting room energy, patiently working through the demands of moving into another country's market. New labels, another system of measurement, and keeping an eye on the future regulation of hemp products.
This Little Piggy Ate Roast Beef
They are compassionate commercial, choosing to deal with "Fair Trade" suppliers and clients when possible. The Anderman family is determined to remain masters of their own destiny, and they are in an enviable position to refuse any shortcuts that will compromise quality or nutrition. Hence, Cool Hemp uses only 100% certified organic hemp in every lick. Their product line meets all Canada-wide OCPP (Organic Crop Producers and Processors ) organic food standards. Cool Hemp is also completely Kosher and is certified DE443 by the Council of Rabbis (Now that Jehovah and the Health Minister are satisfied with the integrity of hemp food can the DEA be that far behind?)
And This Little Piggy Got None As these fireproof details are worked out, we, the dessert deservers of the world are pleased to note that Cool Hemp uses 15 % hemp in their products -- that's a lot of hemp in every tub. Elsewhere, European " Hemp Ice Cream" uses less than half this amount. More hemp inflection than hemp confection. Motherhemp UK has been importing Canadian Finola to supplement the 100 ht of FIN seed they contracted out in England
_________________________ Motherhemp- Sussex UK - 6% hemp - 500 ml @ L 3.65
_________________________ Cool Hemp - Killaloe Ontario - 15% hemp - 500 ml @ $6.99
_________________________ The mighty Hagaan Das all dairy 0% hemp 500 ml @ $5.00
_________________________ Cheap Ice Cream- air and cellulose 0% hemp is $3.00 per litre
_________________________ Frozen Hotdogs - nondairy 100%? 0% hemp 450 gr. @ $4.00
Iced hemp is a bargain, if you stop shop and compare, and it comes with a nutritious protein punch: Beat that! Doodle twist cone.
Motherhemp UK is sizing up the US market for iced hemp and like Cool Hemp, hopes to break in soon. Motherhemp wants to get closer to hemp resources and camp at the doorstep of the vast snack market to the south -- she is seeking a Canadian manufacturing partner to produce their popular line in North America.
This Little Piggy Cried All the Way Home
Hemp is not the only new/old nondairy frozen treat out there -- the Japanese government is resuming the whale hunt -- banned in the 80's. Its back under a new name but with kinder harpoons. Commercial whaling is forbidden by world law but knocking off a few Mobys for scientific research is completely legal. This is like modern hemp in reverse as the whale goodies are considered a byproduct of science. A whale cookbook featuring the nondairy/ all orca novel food -- fried whale testicle -- is being promoted by the Japanese Government. And so is nondairy Whale fat ice cream
Cool Hemp continues to experiment and is toying with a fourth flavour - deluxe hemp essence hemp dessert using Saskatchewan grown and processed essential oil provided by Gen X Research, an early supporter of Cool Hemp.
Hemp I Scream, another hemp ice snack, this one sandwiched between two hemp cookies, is manufactured by Boulder-based Original Sources, headed up by biomass fuel advocate and counterculture icon Aqua Das, is available is some regional US markets. One ounce of I Scream contains one gram of protein, a smidgen more than in an ounce of whole milk.
To go back to the Table of Contents, click here.
To go to Part 1, Canada, click here.
To go to Part 3, US & International, click here.
To go to Part 4, Research, click here.
To go to the Summer Hemp Quiz, click here.
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