Lets us know about your next hemp event!
Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual Hemp History Week – June 1-7, 2015.
Guest 1: Brad Ervin, Co-founder and Chief Hemp Officer, Hippie Butter
Hippie Butter makes a variety of hemp seed-based food products and supplements, all of which carry high super food qualities. From the natural and simple hemp seed itself, to cacao hemp seed butter, all Hippie Butter products are free of GMOs, gluten, THC, herbicides, and pesticides.
Co-founder Brad Ervin had first gotten his hands on hemp seeds at a convenience store in Canada when he was on a music tour. Not only did he love the flavor, but he noticed a positive change in his energy and stress levels. Soon after, he and his wife, Melete, founded Hippie Butter in 2011 in an effort to create an American source of high-quality hemp seeds. Now based in Texas, Brad and Melete have expanded from selling toasted and hulled hemp seeds to offering an impressive assortment of gourmet hemp seed products.
- Hulled Hemp Seeds: Can be eaten as a snack straight out of the bag, or added to soups or salads, even baked into desserts
- Toasted Hemp Seeds: Roasted and seasoned with sea salt and are perfect for trail mix or homemade granola
- Hemp Seed Oil: Great alternative to olive oil and can be seasoned for marinating
- Organic Hippie Hemp Seed Butter: A nutty butter that can be spread on bread or added to smoothies as an extra source of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids
- Organic Cacao Hemp Seed Butter: Can be added to anything for a nutty dark chocolate flavor
- Hemp Seed Protein Powder: An organic protein powder with a 50% protein content that serves as an energizing supplement and as an alternative to energy drinks
- Hemp Seed Coffee: Combines the superfood qualities of roasted hemp seeds with Fair-trade Mexican coffee for a full-flavored coffee without a bitter after-taste
- Hemp Seed Flour: Can be used as a gluten-free alternative in baking breads and pastries
Hippie Butter shares many of their favorite hemp seed recipes such as pesto sauce and granola on their website. Hippie Butter hemp seed products can be added to just about any recipe to add superfood goodness. There’re also several hemp seed video recipes, including an ultimate hemp seed butter smoothie and chocolate hemp seed bark.
Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business? Hippie Butter, L. L. C. was founded in 2011 by Brad and Melete Ervin.
What inspired you to start your business? Former Chef and Sound Engineer Makes Good on His Hemp Seed Dreams. I’m Brad Ervin, former chef, 25-year rock ‘n’ roll sound engineer, and now the CHO (Chief Hemp Officer) of Hippie Butter Hemp Seed Food Products. As I toured the world with such artists as George Strait, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, and many others, I discovered the “superfood,” hemp seeds. During a tour in Canada, I became sick and exhausted from the long hours and bad food that are so common in the entertainment industry. I was hungry and stopped at a convenience store that happened to carry hemp seeds. I bought some, loved the nutty, crunchy taste, and started to eat a handful a day. It wasn’t long before I was feeling more energized and less stressed, with a heightened sense of well-being.
What was your AHA moment? Since hemp seeds were too good to keep to myself, I brought home a small stock to my wife, a thyroid patient, who also found that the hemp seeds made her feel better, increased her energy, and her sense of well-being. She passed them along to her friends. Soon, many people were clamoring for my hemp seeds. I couldn’t keep up with the demand and decided to start buying hemp seeds by the case but ran into a problem – it was hard to find United States companies who carried hemp seeds, and finding quality hemp seeds was next to impossible. “There should be a company that makes a wide variety of high-quality hemp seed products in America!” That was my AHA moment and three years ago, I created Hippie Butter and launched the website.
Where do you currently make your product and how did you find the process of finding a kitchen to be like? Hippie Butter sells hemp-seed-based food products directly to customers and to wholesale grocery markets. We receive first-phase goods from a Canadian hemp seed supplier and then process and manufacture our final products. When we first started, we were lucky to have friends in the food manufacturing business who suggested several kitchen co-ops. Kitchen co-ops are a great way to get started.
Did you have a background in the food/drink industry when you started? Yes, as a co-founder I have a Culinary Arts Degree.
A business idea that was left on the editing room floor? We always keep ideas on the back-burner. You never know when a paradigm might shift and open a door that was previously closed. Some ideas might just need time to grow or adapt.
What are some of rookie mistakes you made when starting out? Trying to do everything on the cheap from packaging to website development was an initial mistake.
How do you stay motivated in the face of competition? That’s one of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur! We keep our nose to the grindstone and work at it, knowing that no one is an overnight success.
What’s the strangest customer request or feedback you’ve gotten?
We really haven’t gotten any strange requests but we have lots of fun stories of our customers calling just to chat.
What’s your main business goal for 2014? Hippie Butter is growing quickly. We are currently seeking verified investors to help us expand operations, purchase equipment, outfit a production facility and warehouse, and support operations.
Where do you see the business in 10 years? We hope that Hippie Butter is in every 7/11 convenience store, and contributing to our school lunch program goal, which will contain healthy delicious hemp seed foods.
What’s your team or company motto? Hippie Butter’s mission is to purchase, promote and deliver a growing line of delicious, nutritious, and organic gourmet hemp seed food and skin care products for people who live a natural lifestyle, love healthy foods and work to leave a healthy planet for future generations. Hemp is health and health is wealth!
Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea? Go for it! Ask lots of questions. If you can’t figure something out yourself, ask someone else for input or suggestions. Artists and artisans love to help other like-minded artisans.
Guest 2: Everett Swift, Executive Director, Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project (MIHEMP)
The Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project has the stated goal of “Working to expand hemp as a natural resource for industrial and private enterprise.”
Our mission is to educate the public and state government officials about Industrial Hemp and try to clear up the myths and teach the facts through meetings and seminars and setting up booths at public events.
We also will be working to connect consumers and vendors of hemp products in Michigan and in the United States.
We are a Michigan non profit organization and funded through membership dues, fund raising events, and donations. If you are interested in helping out or becoming a member please do not hesitate to contact us.
Looking to directly work the halls and offices of Lansing, our direct geographically focused action plan involves YOU in the legislative process. With your 9-digit zip code, we will target both who your State Senator and State Representative in Lansing are. When we meet with your legislators, we will alert you with their contact information, allowing you to contact them to voice your support for our efforts.