Sonoma Hills Farm is a place of big dreams for owner Aaron Keffer. He’d like, for example, to be known for his cannabis crop. And he could get a big hand in that this year from the state. It’s preparing rules so consumers will know what specific area their weed comes from.
Much like their grape-based cousins — the American Viticultural Area, or AVA — appellations are regulatory indicators of the geographic origin for the grown food and beverage crop. The provider may then label their package as coming from that region.
As a 17-year chef-turned rancher and farmer, Keefer hopes one day his 37-acre farm will turn into an all-day venue for guests and locals who want to enjoy the finer things about Sonoma County. The 48-year-old, who grew up on a farm in upstate New York, envisions a scene in which guests stroll around the grounds learning about cannabis grow operations, cattle ranching and beekeeping with wine in their glasses and a farm-fresh meal awaiting. The scene may amount to a dream come true for foodies seeking a destination.
First, the former French Laundry culinary gardener plans to become the first organically-certified craft cannabis grower. Paving the path to prosperity for Keefer, the state closed the public comment period on May 6 for its Cannabis Appellations Program. Now the comments are being reviewed and will be made available to the public, the California Department of Food and Agriculture indicated.
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