One of my true joys as an entrepreneur is discovering a new opportunity and taking it from vision to reality, especially when it involves an emerging market that is ripe for development and provides true value to the public.
That was the case back in 1999 when I launched Edible Arrangements® . And it’s true now, 20 years later, with the introduction of Incredible Edibles®, my latest venture into the rapidly developing CBD industry.
Last week I joined local and state politicians along with representatives of the University of Connecticut and Kasheta Farms in South Windsor (photo above) to introduce Incredible Edibles as part of the most comprehensive and collaborative hemp growing pilot program in Connecticut. At almost 20 acres, it represents the highest raw acreage of hemp production in the state this year.
Initially, Incredible Edibles will focus on the production of a proprietary, hemp-based CBD powder that can be used as an additive in drinks and baked goods. Our goal, however, is to expand Incredible Edibles well beyond CBD to include products derived from natural super food sources recognized as contributing to better health and wellness.
Hopefully in the not too distant future, you will even be able to shop in an Incredible Edibles store for products designed to help you live a better life.
Why hemp and CBD
Not only are Hemp and CBD products among the hottest trends when it comes to health and wellness products, they are also among the most misunderstood. Even members of my family had questions when I announced my intentions.
Of course the biggest reason for this misunderstanding is that the hemp plant that produces CBD is often confused with the hemp plant that produces marijuana. And while there are similarities, there are major differences between the plants. The primary difference is that the hemp plant that produces CBD oil has only trace amounts of THC, which produces the “high” associated with marijuana.
As it turns out, this non-psychoactive version of hemp has been widely used for centuries by various cultures to produce everything from rope and clothing to treating a variety of health issues.
The potential health and wellness benefits of the plant are the reason that Incredible Edibles obtained a license to grow hemp from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture as well as a license to manufacture hemp products issued by Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection.
How it happened
Ironically, it was an effort to protect the brand I have been building over the past two decades that led me to this latest enterprise.
As marijuana has been legalized in various states over the past few years, the term “Edibles” began to take new meaning in modern culture. At the same time this was happening, we were in the process of rebranding Edible Arrangements into Edible® as we expanded beyond gifts into smoothies and treats.
I started working with politicians, lawyers and others to see if anything could be done to protect our brand name from being abused by those within the drug community.
It was during this process that I began to educate myself about the various varieties of hemp and discovered the wide, wide range of uses for products made from certain types of hemp plants.
At about this same time, the farm bill of 2018 was passed legalizing the farming of hemp and almost overnight the market for CBD oils and products exploded as consumers increasingly discovered their healing properties.
When I would mention CBD to friends or relatives, I was amazed at how many were already using CBD creams or oils for a variety of ailments.
Incredible Edibles is born and help for an ailing industry
I’ve always believed that you have a choice — you can let the world define something for you, or you can define it yourself. I prefer the latter.
It occurred to me that rather than let popular culture define “Edible,” if I expanded my focus to hemp and eventually other super foods, I had an opportunity to redefine Edible as a verb for wellness. “Health, not high” would become our mantra!
Which brings me back to last week’s event at Kasheta Farms and one more benefit of this decision. It’s no secret that the farming industry in Connecticut has been struggling lately. Farms that once flourished have watched demand for tobacco and other crops disappear.
The farming of hemp has the potential to re-energize farming in Connecticut, and I am excited to have the opportunity to support an industry that is critical to the economy of the state that gave me my entrepreneurial start.
But this is just the beginning. There is a long way to go. There are many political hurdles ahead as well as an alarming lack of standards in the hemp and CBD industry. In fact, it’s possible that some CBD products you may have purchased don’t even contain CBD oil!
Taking a leadership role in defining how this industry moves forward is one of the missions I have identified for Incredible Edibles and our incredible COO, Ron Reynolds.
You will be hearing much more about Incredible Edibles in the coming weeks, but for now the entrepreneur in me is truly excited to see where this road takes us.
You can learn more about what we are doing at IncredibleEdibles.com.
Read more about Incredible Edibles and our South Windsor pilot program: