Vermont Select: CBD Hemp Buds at the Peak of Freshness
Derek Mercury, Ryan Podd, and Dan Silver met while teaching snowboarding and skiing at Smugglers Notch Resort. The trio realized they had a common passion – cultivating the finest-quality cannabis. With the legalization of hemp at the national level, an empty garage with space to house the operation, and a close network of family farms around Northern Vermont, they founded Vermont Select.
“We work with family farms that are committed to their craft,” said CEO Mercury. “Some of the farms we work with are certified organic by NOFA, and others are working toward that goal.”
“We wanted to be sure that our buds and pre-rolls get to our customers at the peak of freshness.”
He added that Vermont Select prefers small-scale farms over large, industrial hemp farms because their purchases are helping fuel a future of craft cannabis and sustainable growing practices. Some of Vermont Select’s hemp originates from partnerships with retired dairy farms whose fertile, nitrogen-rich soils are the perfect environment for thriving hemp plants.
Connoisseurs of Fine Bud
Although all three business partners have an uncanny natural nose for cannabis, Podd and Mercury are what one might call Cannabis Sommeliers; their noses and palates have a natural gift for detecting subtle terpenes and aromas. They have both submitted winning entries to The Headies, Vermont’s Premier Grower’s Cup. Their slow-cured hemp flower secured first and second-place Heady finishes with Northern Roots Nursery’s flagship strain, Ceiba.
Northern Roots Nursery produces feminized hemp seeds and seedlings and was founded by Podd in 2018. The natural synergy between Northern Roots and Vermont Select helps to complete a much needed supply chain loop for small Vermont growers. Northern Roots supplies farms with quality seeds and seedlings that will position them to produce unique, marketable, top shelf flowers that stand out in the marketplace. This network consists of some of the most dedicated and conscious growers in the state, and allows Vermont Select to showcase what Vermont craft cannabis is all about, quality.
“We’re really excited to be creating a distribution path,” said Podd. “It brings those flowers from the field, greenhouse or indoor grow onto store shelves and our online store.”
The trio also collaborates on Maple Plus, Vermont’s original CBD maple sugar. The granular maple sugar can be added to foods and beverages for custom infusions.
Sealed, Nitrogen-Charged, Recyclable Containers
Vermont Select’s emphasis on flavor and freshness prompted them to rethink the whole packaging puzzle. They chose a method that evacuates oxygen from a recyclable, childproof canister by adding a microdose of liquid nitrogen before sealing. This stops the “aging” process and locks in freshness, bringing the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes to the consumer and providing a whole-plant experience instead of the stale remnants of a bud’s potential.
Each canister has a label that lists the strain of hemp varietal, the farm name, and the cannabinoid content. Lab results of each harvested lot are posted on their website. These canisters protect the structure of the delicate buds from crushing, preserving the precious trichomes. The resealable childproof lids of these cans makes them reusable as nug jars, before ultimately recycling them. The canisters also do a great job of sealing in the aroma of the hemp, which ensures discreet delivery to their mail-order customers.
“We wanted to be sure that our buds and pre-rolls get to our customers at the peak of freshness. This can be a challenge with the lead time between packaging, transport, shelf life, and ultimate retail sale,” explained Mercury. “Nitrogen-charged canisters sourced from N2 Packaging seemed like the best option. The rapid expansion of nitrogen gas evacuates the oxygen from the can, preserving the hemp for up to two years unopened.”
In early December of last year, Vermont Select launched their web store, offering hemp buds, pre-rolls, CBD crumble, and kief. The focus right now is online sales, but Vermont Select also sells to brick and mortar retailers, mostly around Vermont who are waiting for the Covid-19 pandemic to subside. Their ecommerce platform has proven to be invaluable during this health crisis, as their online sales have been on the rise in 2020.
Now CBD lovers near and far can crack open a freshie of Vermont’s Finest bud whenever they are ready to enjoy!
Editor’s Note: This profile was written as part of a paid business partnership. Heady Vermont members can get 15% off all purchases with a special code – log in to view your discount!