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Rapunzel Products   Oilseeds

Totally legal – hemp from Austria

Eva Kiene visits a hemp farmer in Lower Austria

Austria's major hemp cultivation area is located in Lower Austria. This is also where the hemp for Rapunzel is grown. One of the hemp farmers is Herbert Schroll from the Ysper Valley. 

Already in 1991, he converted to organic agriculture and 2017 he started growing hemp - in crop rotation with spelt and clover-grass. 
Herbert takes pleasure in the Rapunzel products that are manufactured with his hemp.
Herbert takes pleasure in the Rapunzel products that are manufactured with his hemp.
Herbert takes pleasure in the Rapunzel products that are manufactured with his hemp.

Cultivation, harvest and natural fertilizer

In late spring when the soil is warm, Herbert seeds the hemp. After the sowing, he has to wait and see. From time to time, he goes to the field, enjoys the tangy fragrance and observes the formation of flowers and seeds. During this time, the fields are also controlled by federal authorities who make sure that only THC free hemp is grown.

 
By mid- or end of September, the hemp seeds have formed and the hemp must be harvested. For the harvest, a specially modified combine is used. The harvested hemp seeds are directly brought from the field to the regional drying plant. "For a good quality, I have to bring the freshly harvested hemp seeds immediately to the drying plant", declares Herbert. After the drying, the hemp seeds are transported to the processing plant.
 
By and by, the seed stems of the hemp are formed.
By and by, the seed stems of the hemp are formed.
By and by, the seed stems of the hemp are formed.
A lot of field work remains to be done for the organic farmer after the harvest. The harvested hemp stumps are good fertilizer and protect the soil at the same time. The stringy hemp straw must be cut and worked into the soil. In the next step, winter spelt is sown as subsequent crop. The hemp straw protects the soil and the carbon that is bound in the hemp straw improves soil fertility. The straw also controls the growth of unwanted weeds. After having grown and harvested the spelt, Herbert grows clover-grass for one or two seasons on the fields. Clover-grass fixes nitrogen in the soil and is therefore often used as green manure in organic farming.

Rapunzel's hemp supplier

Our hemp seed supplier is located on a farm in the neighboring Mostviertel Region. The owners, Stefan and Judith, are convinced organic farmers. In addition to farming themselves, they also process hemp seeds and produce hemp tea and hemp nibbles. 

Fiber hemp has a long tradition in this region: in the attic of their old farmhouse, they discovered old hemp processing equipment. This triggered their passion for the oil seeds. "Our climate and our soils are well adapted for hemp cultivation. And we found out how beneficial the oil seed is for the soil", justifies Stefan their decision for hemp. Since 1996, they have been growing oranic hemp Cannabis sativa spantania L, a variety that has no psychoactive substances. 

 
Our hemp suppliers Stefan and Judith in front of one of their hemp fields.
Our hemp suppliers Stefan and Judith in front of one of their hemp fields.
Our hemp suppliers Stefan and Judith in front of one of their hemp fields.

A long way to success


In the beginning, only a few farmers shared the excitement for hemp. For the traditional and conservative local population, hemp was too alternative and almost suspicious. The old tradition was long forgotten. That's why Stefan's family started to process the hemp seeds themselves and they marketed their hemp products directly: at first only roasted hemp, later also hemp cosmetics and hemp oil.

Stefan went to organic trade fairs, addressing organic food manufacturers.. Rapunzel had just started to market hemp oil in OXYGUARD® quality and was looking for additional sources of raw materials. Since both the quality and the hemp processing convinced Rapunzel, a supplier relationship was established - that has been working for more than 20 years by now. 

The search for cultivation partners


Stefan and Judith continued to farm their own fields. When the demand for organic hemp seeds grew some years ago, they started to look for additional organic farmers who were equally as excited about this traditional crop. Today, about 80 organic farmers from nearby and from all the way along the Danube river have become part of the hemp cultivation project . Farmers like Herbert bring their freshly-harvested, dried hemp seeds to Stefan and Judith for further processing.

The coordination with the different farmers in the cultivation project is a time-consuming part of Judith's and Stefan's jobs. Equally important is the hemp processing that still requires several important steps.  

Cleaning, examining, processing

The first step in hemp processing is a thorough cleaning in order to remove leftover stems, foreign seeds and little stones. Prior to other processing steps, the hemp udergoes comprehensive quality control. The sensory impression plays an important part for Stefan: "I taste the different batches in order to find moldy or rancid flavors. This must be avoided, because any such faulty flavors will also be found in the hemp oil later." Next, accredited laboratories analyze the hemp seeds for possible contaminants and with respect to their THC value that must be below 0.2 percent. Only faultless hemp is further processed. Rapunzel sources entire hemp seeds for the production of hemp oil as well as peeled hemp seeds that Stefan is very proud of: "Due to our gentle processing methods, we have an extraordinary peeled hemp seed quality. The peeled hemp maintains its golden color and tastes especially fresh and nutty."
 

Organization, counselling and much more


The five employees of Stefan' and Judith's family business have a lot to do before the processing of the hemp starts: they organize the harvest for all farming partners and coordinate the availability of the combines. During the winter season, their focus is on the organization of training courses: the organic farmers in the different regions meet, exchange their experiences and discuss last year's harvest, the effect of the climate and things that could be improved.
 

Strict rules for hemp


Cultivation of hemp is subject to strict guidelines and regulations in order to ensure that only THC free industrial hemp is grown on the field. This also includes the seeds that must be newly purchased every season, in order to avoid unwanted cross-breeding with harvested hemp seeds. Therefore, Stefan's and Judith's hemp processing company buys the seeds for all hemp farmers. 

By the way: Stefan's farm already received several awards for extraordinary product quality and for his work. Rapunzel values this long-term and reliable hemp supplier. 
 

Our products with hemp

Fruit bar protein power
Fruit bar protein power
Hemp flour
Hemp flour
Hemp muesli
Hemp muesli
Hemp seeds peeled
Hemp seeds peeled
jo. Bread spread hemp-herbs
jo. Bread spread hemp-herbs
OXYGUARD® Hempseed oil virgin
OXYGUARD® Hempseed oil virgin
OXYGUARD® Omega 3-6-9 oil virgin
OXYGUARD® Omega 3-6-9 oil virgin
Porridge Omega
Porridge Omega
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