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Hemp Products are Growing a Reputation in Health Food Market

Asheville Citizen-Times
By Carol Motsinger
January 16, 2008
Hemp Products are Growing a Reputation in Health Food Market

ASHEVILLE — Hemp is moving from the counterculture to countertops.

More hemp food products, from brownies and milk to cereals, have hit local grocery store shelves since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the Drug Enforcement Agency could not ban the sale of hemp foods in 2004.

Because of this ruling, there has been a “huge boom” in the United States hemp food sales, said Maria Emmer-Aanes, director of marketing for Nature’s Path, a hemp food maker.

For more than 6,000 years, sails, ropes and even gruel have been produced from the hemp plant, said John Roulac, founder and CEO of hemp food producer Nutiva.

Parts of the hemp plant are also made into clothing, floors and shower curtains.

The Laughing Seed Cafe in downtown Asheville makes a burger with hemp.

“I use hemp quite a bit on my raw tapas plate, in desserts, etc.,” said Jason Sellers, chef at the Laughing Seed.

Hemp farming remains banned in the United States. Industrial hemp, which is the type cultivated for food products, shares the Cannabis genus with marijuana.

However, the hemp seeds used in food do not contain any THC, the drug component in marijuana, manufacturers said.

“Hemp and marijuana are like a Chihuahua and a golden retriever,” Roulac explained.
Ross Long, grocery store manager for Earth Fare in West Asheville, said hemp products are “an excellent food source” because of its protein and amino acid content.

“It really does have a nutty flavor,” he said. “The texture is nice.”

Hemp may be gaining a reputation as a health food, but Emmer-Aanes said the plant might never shake its association with marijuana.

“It’s a fun product; it’s a little bit naughty,” she said.
Hemp tabbouleh


1 cup whole bulgur wheat
1 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoon Nutiva Hemp Oil
dash of garlic powder
1/2 cup Nutiva Shelled Hempseed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
4 green onions, chopped

In a large bowl, mix bulgur wheat and salt. Pour boiling water over the wheat, mix, cover, and let sit for a half hour. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Chill and serve.


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Hemp recipes

Italian Hemp Dressing


2 parts hemp oil
2 parts olive oil
2 parts vinegar


Shake with herbs and hempseeds for zesty flavor.


Hemp Guacamole


Several avocados
1 tomato
1/8 cup onion
1/2 cup shelled hempseed
Sea salt
Herbs to taste
Lemon or lime juice


Peel several ripe avocados, remove the seeds, and mash the pulp in a serving bowl. Add a chopped tomato, 1/8 cup of chopped onions, and 1/2 cup of shelled hempseed. Mix well, then add tamari, sea salt, and dried herbs to taste. Lemon or lime juice is optional, to add flavor and help extend the freshness.

Sprinkle some hempseed on top of the guacamole for a neat visual effect, and serve with chips or sliced veggies.


Nutty Fruit Cake


1 cup sweet butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 2/3 cups whole wheat
1 1/4 cups hemp flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup raisins
1 cup candied ginger
1 cup dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, or apricots)
1 cup nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecan)
1/2 cup toasted hulled hempseeds


Slowly melt butter in pan and mix with sugar.
Mix in eggs and milk and add salt.
Combine wheat and hemp flours with baking powder and slowly add into butter/sugar/milk/egg mixture.
Stir until smooth and mix in other ingredients.
Spread in greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.


Copyright (c) 2008 Asheville Citizen-Times

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