Popular New York cattle rancher teams with craft lettuce farmer to grow pot
Who’s behind the New York cannabis brand Alchemy Pure?
Chris Regan and Jerry Peele have been neighbors in the quaint farming town of Millerton, New York, for fifteen years. One grows produce, and one raises livestock – both built well-known brands committed to creating the highest quality food in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
In 1998, Regan, an artist, began to channel his creativity and passion into growing exquisite hand-crafted salad greens and started Sky Farm Lettuce, where he has been supplying high-end restaurants and locals in the Hudson Valley for over 20 years. In 2003, Jerry purchased a run-down dairy farm across the valley and transitioned it into Herondale Farm – a mixed livestock farm with grass-fed beef, lamb, and pasture-raised pork and chicken wildly popular among locals.
Both became licensed hemp growers in 2018, where they honed their growing skills and found a shared passion for natural growing practices and a vision for a cannabis farm. Chris and Jerry teamed up to start Alchemy Pure, organic cultivation combined with the purity of cannabis products made with a solventless extraction process.
Pure Sunlight and Cattle Dung
As farmers of 20-plus years in the Hudson Valley, they use organic and regenerative practices, from soil husbandry to releasing beneficial insects that work with nature to produce a clean, pure product.
They prefer to grow with natural sunlight because they believe it produces a higher terpene, cannabinoid, and flavonoid content than artificial grow lighting. They enrich their soil and mineral content with fertilizer made from livestock manure from their fields. This helps regenerate the soil, improve soil structure, and allow plants to reach their full potential. Most pot farmers aren’t lucky enough to have the benefit of co-existing with a cattle farm to supply them with dung.
It’s challenging to decide on strains because there are a lot of good breeders and genetics, but the plants need to withstand the cold and wet New York climate. While some plants are very resilient, some are not at all. It makes a big difference. Since the Northeast doesn’t have a qualified production system of breeders except for the underground market, Alchemy Pure currently sources seeds from California. This year, the farm will grow strains that will work well for hash production in preparation for their infused product launch of edibles and tinctures.
“You can’t have top-shelf flower without top-shelf genetics,” Regan explained.
One of Alchemy Pure’s notable strains is Trainwreck, a legendary hybrid cannabis strain dating back to the 1980s and believed to be a cross between three landrace strains: Mexican Sativa, Thai Sativa, and Afghani Indica, resulting in a complex and potent hybrid.
Organic Farming Paired With Solventless Extraction
There are a few ways to extract oil from a cannabis plant to infuse it into edibles or smokable pre-rolls. Many use chemical solvents like ethanol, hydrocarbon, and butane, but the 100+ valuable terpene and cannabinoid compounds can barely survive the harsh process.
Alchemy Pure will be using a solventless extraction to create hash and rosin-based edibles and tinctures once they finalize their manufacturing license. This process uses ice water to freeze off the valuable and cannabinoid-potent trichomes that also pack a THC punch.
Kief Infused Pre-Rolls
Kief is the “dust” that trichomes make when they gently fall away from the outside of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are the most potent part of the plant, and their glands hold the treasured resin, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.
Alchemy Pure gathers its kief when trimming the bud by hand and then runs it through a screen to separate it from other plant matter. They use the King Kong strain for its kief-infused pre-rolls.
The Bug Farmer
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a seriously important job on an organic farm because they don’t use chemicals or pesticides to prevent bug problems.
Ashley, Alchemy Pure’s IPM manager, can be found shaking the plants onto a card to see what bugs are around and inspecting the plants with a microscope or an eyepiece. While keeping an eye on the bugs, Ashley also releases predatory bugs like the larvae of lacewings and specific wasp eggs and larvae to attack a specific caterpillar that becomes a stem borer.
“We’ve had almost no insect trouble both last season and this, primarily because we are releasing beneficial bugs on a schedule and based on what bugs we see. It works,” Regan shared.
Natural outdoor predators put a lot of pressure on bugs and help to manage the pests. But indoors, you can have aphids that can quickly take over a greenhouse in a matter of days if not careful.
Support Your Local Farmers
While New York has had its share of stumbles as its legal market ramps up, the team at Alchemy Pure hope that people choose craft over corporate.
“It’s a big state, and it takes a lot of hard work to get our brand known,” Regan said. “We plan to stay organic craft and solventless because we know it creates the purest and cleanest form of the cannabis plant. Let’s hope we can stand up to the big corporate guys once they enter the New York market.”
This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The statements within do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GreenState, Hearst, or its subsidiaries. The author is solely responsible for the content.