We’re over a week into the harvest and things are going great–weather’s been a little challenging with some cold rain and a fair bit of wind but we’ve been able to work around that. Not a week too soon, either, as we’re starting to get those cold October rains and heavy winds that give every hemp grower heartburn.
Plants are always cut just before daybreak because that’s when the terpenes are strongest. It’s been pretty magical being out in the field under the moonlight when everything is completely silent and still. After cutting the plants are hung upside down in the shade while we do a “wet trim” by removing the fan leaves and separating branches. Then each branch is gently rinsed in fresh water and hung to dry–outside for the rest of the day and then into the drying shed for 1-2 weeks.
Once the plants have had a chance to slowly dry out in the shed they get a final hand trim and then the flowers go into glass jars for curing, which takes 2-3 months. This is a crucial phase: the moisture content of the flowers has to be kept within a specific range to allow the chlorophyll and other “grassy” compounds to break down, leaving the flower with a delicious fragrance and flavor.
Although it’s not always possible to time the hemp harvest with the moon cycle, this year we harvested under a waxing quarter moon that culminated in a full moon a few days ago. This was of course the aptly-named “harvest moon” and it rose big and orange on the eastern horizon as promised. By some traditions, harvesting as the moon approaches full is the ideal time.
Hard to believe another growing season’s come and gone. Already thinking about preparations for next year, although there’s lots of work yet to be done to process this year’s harvest. Easy to take for granted but the process of sowing seeds, nurturing the plants, and reaping the harvest is quite a miracle. Grateful to experience it.