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Hemp Products Are Growing A Reputation In Health Food Market

Herb Fellow

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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 Café 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
Ingredients: 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.

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times
Copyright: 2008, Asheville Citizen-Times
Contact: Carol Motsinger via e-mail at cmotsing@gannett.com
Website: CITIZEN-TIMES.com: Hemp products are growing a reputation in health food market
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