Cannabis has been in the news recently, with states like Colorado and Washington legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. But the cannabis plant is surprisingly versatile, and drugs aren’t the only thing produced from it. Paper, fabric, rope, animal bedding, and even building materials can all be made from cannabis that’s bred to have no drug value. This form of cannabis is called hemp, and one industry where it’s gaining a loyal following is food.
Young entrepreneur Jeremy Koosed has built a business around hemp seeds.
Tucked into a strip mall in Lyndhurst, Ohio, Plant Kingdom Bakery and Snackery doesn’t sell your typical snacks. Instead, the shelves are lined with items like Coconut Currant Hemp Bar, Lemon-Salted Hemp Seeds, and the popular Goo Ball.
Hemp is at the heart of the operation here, and owner Koosed serves it up in baked goods as well as on its own. “We sell hemp seeds and toasted seeds and crunchy seeds, the seed oil and shelled hemp seeds and hemp protein,” said Koosed, who could go on at length about the various ways to make use of hemp, such as on salads or in granola, pudding, dips, and smoothies. Once shelled, he says the seeds are really soft and pleasantly nutty. “It can really fit into any kind of dish -- salads or raw food preparations, or you can…mildly pan toast them with some potato salad, for instance. That’s really good.”
Another topic close to Koosed’s heart is the health benefits of hemp. He calls them a protein powerhouse. “When the shell's taken off the seeds, it's 33% protein by volume and a source for those good omegas,” he said, referring to the omega-3 fatty acids present in hemp seeds.