A Farm to Bottle Adventure
Who: Founders Adriaan Zimmerman + Ret Taylor
When: Est. 2017
Where: Ned was officially born one cold October morning on an alpine climbing expedition in the heart of Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Please share the backstory on how Ned came to fruition?
Ret: When in 2015, my mom, Win, was diagnosed with cancer. I was scared and wanted to help as best I could. She received excellent treatment from her doctors, however, that included little in the way of nutrition and natural remedies. I decided I’d learn all I could, first about battling cancer through natural remedies and later about using them to truly thrive.
CBD was one of the remedies that came highly recommended. I spent two years trying the various brands on the market. However, I didn’t develop an affinity toward any of them. There was no transparency around the products or the “why” of the business. I became interested in starting my own — one that would raise the bar concerning quality and transparency.
I was extremely fortunate my business partner, Adriaan saw the vision as well.
Adriaan: As Ret and his mom were beginning their journey towards her recovery back in 2015, I was 5,000 miles away, starting a big new job in the UK. While I should have been celebrating a defining moment of my career, I was privately battling severe stress, anxiety and questions about my existence.
While I did my best to suppress those struggles, the avoidance finally erupted like a volcano, resulting in a full-blown panic attack in front of my new company and my exit. I was presented with the rare opportunity to take a step back. What I initially thought would be two months, turned into two years of traveling, writing, taking photos and exploring sustainability for my life, career and existence. Which I found in nature, simplicity and human connection.
Upon my return and eventual move to Colorado, I got an excited call from my old friend Ret. He had just met farmer Curt, found out where we could produce hemp oil, and thought we should start a CBD company together.
After numerous discussions, we knew that this company would be way beyond a CBD company. It would be a wellness brand that would stand for reconnecting the world with nature.
How did you first catch wind of Farmer Curt?
Ret: I spent the summer weekends of 2017 traveling all over Colorado meeting with farmers growing hemp. They were all good people, but they were growing their hemp much like they grew their soybeans or corn, which is to say for quantity. I was hoping to find a farmer focused on quality and who brought an entirely natural approach to his or her craft. I kept hearing about this almost mythological farmer in Paonia who built his own soil and fertilizers, played music to his plants and utilized a number of biodynamic principles. It was my sister, Kat, who eventually put us together. As soon as I drove onto Curt’s land, I knew he was our guy.
What makes Paonia, Colorado’s land special?
Ret: Paonia is a tight-knit, earth-friendly community famous among farmers and chefs for its abundance of sunshine, mountain water, rich soil and amazing produce. Directly west of Crested Butte and at over a mile above sea level it benefits from a microclimate typically found at much lower elevations. It also has an incredible brain trust of experienced farmers who look after each other and share resources.
What’s Farmer Curt’s background story?
Ret: Curt is a true renaissance man and one of the smartest, most capable people I know. He comes from a long line of Kansas farmers but was drawn to the Elk Mountains where he became an accomplished climber and did what he had to do to call Aspen home. That included working several jobs and growing some extremely high-quality cannabis. Wanting to be on the right side of the law and with a dream of owning a specific farm in Paonia, he made it happen and put his considerable knowledge to work growing the absolute highest quality hemp.
Can you give us a picture of what the process looks like from farm to bottle?
Adriaan: All Ned hemp products begin with feminized seeds from intentionally selected strains. They’re planted one seed at a time right there in the farm’s greenhouse then nurtured by hand until they sprout. Once the plants, soil, moon and weather conditions are right, the plants are transferred outside where they grow under natural outdoor light cycles until harvest.
Ret: Curt uses a number of biodynamic practices, including crafting his own organic fertilizers and fermented ‘compost tea’ while making use of the astronomical calendar to determine times of planting and harvesting.
Adriaan: Through the winter months, we work on our genetics to make sure that each year, we’re improving our strains and growing techniques. The soil is replenished with rotational crops and free grazing animals like horses and chickens.
What does cold-extracted mean for those not familiar, and how does that set Ned apart?
Adriaan: We truly believe that nature knows best, so we’re committed to doing everything in our power to maintain the integrity of what nature intended.
We use our gentle and slow extraction method because it’s free of high heat and pressure that can compromise the biological profile of our hemp flowers (or buds as they’re commonly known). Beyond cannabinoids, hemp flowers are packed full of terpenes, trichomes and flavonoids—all of which hold benefits of their own. By using our cold food-grade organic ethanol process, we’re effectively able to limit what’s lost during extraction because we’re not pulverizing or over-processing our plants.
The end result is an aromatic oil packed full of the good stuff that both tastes better and is more effective in the body.
Can you tell us briefly as if you were introducing Ned to someone for the first time as to how incorporating Ned into their daily lives can impact the way they feel? Maybe with someone that has MS or a sports injury…
Ret: We would love to; however, due to FDA compliance restrictions, we are not able to speak to specific conditions. What we can tell you is, we receive testimonials every day from people our products have helped to improve their lives from one condition to another.
Adriaan: Given the limitations on what we can say, we can hopefully offer some guidance and expectations for incorporating Ned into your lives.
Namely, that time and consistency are important as they will allow your endocannabinoid system – the large system of extracellular receptors that regulates homeostasis in nearly every biological system in our bodies – to awaken and come into balance. For some, that might take several days. For others, that might take several weeks.
In terms of serving size, we always recommend our customers start slow and low at 10mg per serving. After three days of seeing how their bodies respond, we recommend adding a second serving then increase their serving sizes as needed.
Personally, I take roughly 30mg before bed and another 10mg at night. That was my sweet-spot, which took some tinkering to find. We encourage our customers to do the same!