My name is John, and I am one of the owners and operators of Vermont Farmers Hemp Company. We are a small family farm located in Glover, a quiet town in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. My father (John S.) and I, along with our wives, decided to start the farm with the goal of someday making a living out of growing high quality, high CBD cannabis. Here is a little backstory for you!
The summer of 2017 my father grew a dozen hemp plants, mostly as an experiment. He let them all open pollinate and ended up with a bunch of seeds. After a successful trial run he said that he wanted to grow an actual crop for 2018. He was passionate about it and being a farmer kind of sounded like fun. So we agreed to give it a go!
In February of 2018 I finished building my grow room and started a couple hundred seeds with my wife. These plants eventually grew into the mothers we used to clone for a portion of our crop. Over the winter my father built a greenhouse and his own grow room and eventually started a bunch of plants from seed to be transplanted. In addition to our clones and seedlings, we did some direct seeding. We ended up with a little bit of everything, which was great for learning.
This past season we grew 3 strains of high-CBD hemp. We grew all of our plants with lots of love. We never used any herbicides, pesticides or synthetic nutrients of any kind. Our mission was simple; grow our plants with the people who would be using the final product (ourselves, our family and our friends included) in mind. Our first priority is providing the highest quality medicine that we can, free of anything that could be harmful. It just doesn't make sense to approach this business any other way!
Fast forward to the fall of last year. We ended up with somewhere around 1500 plants. They were all sun grown on my parent's property, left to do their thing in the unusually hot and dry Vermont summer. Unusually hot and dry until we hit harvest time that is! We were gifted with several cold, wet weeks right as we decided to harvest. Not ideal, but it was just another learning experience!! It was longer and wetter than we had expected, but we managed a successful first harvest without and major catastrophes.
And now here we are today. We have hand bucked hundreds of pounds of flower. We have sold some to a local processor for extraction, and purchased some extracted oil back from him to sell. We are constantly selling our raw, whole-plant based topical and edible products locally. Things are really getting fun! We’ve learned so much, and are so grateful for this great community here in the Kingdom, and we are really looking forward to a great 2019 season!
John S. and wife Brenda playing in some of our star plants in the fall of 2018
Starting the first round of seeds in 2018 with the help of my wonderful wife!
2019 came and went... FAST!
Hi! John F. again, here to tell you a little more about operations in 2019. Sorry for the delay, but things have been more than a little crazy trying to make this dream a reality...
Last year's grow season started in part again in my basement, this time on February 4th, 2019. A couple hundred seeds of several different varietals were carefully placed by hand into organic soil. They were cared for meticulously from the moment they sprouted. These plants would stay in my grow room for several months, being cared for and transplanted while being sorted through to eliminate the males and to pick the best looking plants to keep. These handful of winners would eventually become the 'mother" plants that we would take cuttings off to clone and start new, perfect genetic copies from. After several months of nurturing and selection we ended up with about 20 full size plants. My small grow room quickly became a jungle!
While the plants were growing in my basement there were lots of other exciting things happening:
- In March we received the first box of our full spectrum CBD oil in dropper bottles. This was a big deal for us because it is one of the most popular ways for people to get their daily dose of CBD. Over the last almost year we have had so much positive feedback on our oil for not only its flavor but also its effectiveness.
- Then on April 15th we celebrated two VERY cool things, both the official launch of this website and our first 4 orders! This website has been a huge tool for growing our business After almost a year and almost 100 orders later I still do a little happy dance every time I get the email notification that one came in!
- Another very exciting thing came in May when we officially broke ground on new planting land (which we now own, more on that later). Lots and lots of hard work went into turning old agricultural land to hemp-ready soil. Weeks and weeks were spent plowing, harrowing, picking rocks and then amending and tilling. After all was said and done we turned about 7 acres of what had been hay field for decades back into a beautiful planting medium for our hemp plants.
In preparation for our expanded operations, back in May we had also started a few seeds in our greenhouse. Over the course of that month we hand sowed around 7000 seeds. The goal was to have plants that were 4-6 weeks old ready for transplanting as soon as our new land was prepped. The first raised bed was laid on June 9th, and the first plants were transplanted using our water wheel planter on June 12th. Over the course of the next month or so we would transplant the roughly 7000 greenhouse starts along with our cloned plants across 3 different plots of land. June and July were short on free time and full of early mornings and late nights. There were some 80, 90 and 100+ hour weeks but we knew how important getting as many plants in the ground as possible was so me did whatever it took to make that happen!
During the tail end of the planting period our family celebrated something extremely exciting when we welcomed our daughter, Aria, to the world. Our little future hemp farmer graced us with her presence on July 14th, just a bit before midnight. This earned my wife and I a little time off from hemp things, but it didn't slow the rest of the crew down! Thankfully by that time most of the planting was finished and there was a lot of plant care to be done, so I wasn't hurting operations to bad by taking a break. John S. and Brenda (now Pop-Pop and Mimi) were very understanding of my absence, which is another reason I love being a family business!
September 20th brought the biggest change for our business yet. After months of negotiations and waiting we celebrated the signing of papers on the farm that will be our operations headquarters for the foreseeable future. The West Glover farm, with large barn, farmhouse, and 350+ acres of land has been in my father's family for 5 generations. Most people know it as Rodgers Country Inn, a 4 seasons Bed & Breakfast. We grew most of our hemp last season on some of the 100+ acres of tillable land the property has to offer. We had arranged to grow there before owning the land as it was the only way we could plant enough hemp to be able to make the business plan and ultimately the purchase happen. We took a huge risk by making such a huge investment, but we knew that the property needed to stay in the family so we made it happen!
After the closing it was a scramble to try to get prepared for harvest. In reality we had hemp that could have been harvested starting around then, but we were not set up to do that yet. The barn needed to be cleaned out, cleaned up, and renovated to be usable for hemp drying. Days were spent shoveling, blowing and sweeping things clean. Old cattle stalls and equipment were removed. Dumpsters were filled with junk. It was a lot of work! Also, in order to dry large amounts of hemp as quickly as possible we purchased 2 old tobacco driers and installed them by the barn.
October 6th is when the first plant was cut. It was several weeks behind where we wanted to be, but that was the reality we faced. During the remainder of October our crew hand harvested between 6 and 7000 plants. Some small, only 4 or so feet tall, with some 8+ feet tall and weighing 40-50 pounds wet. Much like planting season it was lots of long days and long weeks. We battled the cold and the rain and ended up pulling off as successful of a harvest as we could have asked all things considering. We hung about 2000 plants to dry and ended up using the tobacco driers to speed dry the rest of the crop. We were able to dry several acres at a time in less than a week using them, and we were also able to do some drying for other hemp farmers.
All in all 2019 was one heck of a year, for both family and farm. We grew several times more plants, worked much harder and longer, and invested much more into the business this year compared to last. We put a lot on the line and are hoping it all pays of!
Last but not least we want to take a second to thank you all! Thank you for giving our products a try. Thank you for continuing to use them. Thank you for sharing about our products. And thank you for choosing to support our family when there are so many other options out there! We would not be here, continuing to do what we love so much, with our your support. Here is to an even more successful 2020!
The Rodgers Family
Vermont Farmers Hemp Company
The first 200 or so seeds of the season
The original, and now obsolete, labels on our first batch of of full spectrum CBD oil
John F. and John S. transplanting hemp up on top of the mountain
The new property - Farm and farmhouse top left, one hemp field center and one top right
Some of our largest plants were like picking up a 6-8 foot Christmas tree!