Pumpkins, apples, raspberries and other traditional crops no longer are the only focus of Blake's Farms, a family business that has adapted and grown since 1946.
The third generation helping run Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill in Armada sees hemp as a promising way to diversify by adding CBD bath oil, teas and dog treats to its lineup, Crain's Detroit Business reports. About seven acres of hemp -- the cannabis strain that doesn't get users high -- are planted.
"I've got eccentric farmer blood and have always been interested in what we can grow here in this state," says 30-year-old Andrew Blake, grandson of founders Gerald and Elisabeth Blake.
He's co-owner of Blake's Hard Cider and manager of the Macomb cider mill owned by his father Paul and an uncle, Pete.
A couple of months ago, Andrew Blake and his cousin Rebecca Blake and friend Gino Roncelli launched Kinder Products Unlimited, which sells hemp-based self-care products and CBD teas.
The hemp harvest taking place over the next couple of weeks is symbolic of a new direction and potential new revenue source for Blake's. Some of Kinder's products are already being sold online and at the farm's three retail outlets. The hemp is being grown in a greenhouse closed to the public and outdoors at one of its more remote farms. . . .
Blake's plan is to invest $400,000 to $500,000 for the processing infrastructure as soon as next season. Kinder aims to harvest 20-50 acres next year.
"The ultimate goal is to be the processor for other growers," he said. . . .
Paul Blake said the farm has no plans to grow marijuana, a crop that might not jibe with its target family-oriented audience.