When you think of North Canterbury in mid-summer, green flourishing fields of hemp may not be the first thing that springs to mind. Given the long sunshine hours, soil types and forward-thinking farming families this is however set to change. Enter, Mainland Hemp.
Seeded by Brad Lake, rural bank manager in the region at the time, the idea to grow this emerging crop in North Canterbury was driven by the desire to offer local farmers a profitable and sustainable diversification option. As part of hemp food production company, The Brothers Green, Brad knew the demand for New Zealand grown hemp was set to explode and he wanted local farmers to get in on the action.
Without contracts, or the processing facilities needed, hemp was off the table for the Hurunui. To future proof their hemp business and to meet the future consumer demands of paddock to plate traceability, having their own supply was the only way forward.
The Mainland Hemp factory is located on one of those farmer’s properties in Culverden and it is here that the seeds are processed, ready for distribution to The Brothers Green (food), Kōaka (natural skincare), Ritual & Rise (protein supplement) and other businesses looking for locally grown, quality hemp.
With the first seeds planted in the ground in November 2019, a number of local families are now growing hemp crops and seeing some impressive results. With increasing demand, the ideal growing conditions in North Canterbury, you can expect to see a lot more hemp popping up across North Canterbury in summers to come.
Why North Canterbury? North Canterbury provides us with not only ideal growing conditions for our crops, but the beauty of the region adds so much value to our paddock to plate story. We have had the support of some great families in the area and want to keep growing in the area for years to come.
What’s your favourite thing to do in North Canterbury? I love taking my mountain bike up to Hanmer Springs and exploring all the surrounding trails followed by a soak in the Hot Pools. We are spoilt with a number of outstanding wineries and breweries in the region so finding somewhere to satisfy the taste buds is never an issue!