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US (NY): They're betting the family farm on cannabis

Come summer, the warehouse at Hepworth Farms will be filled with Cherokee Purples, Pink Berkeley Tie-Dyes, and dozens more of the heirloom tomato varieties produced by this seventh-generation family farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.

But this winter, the space is piled high with something else: cannabis flower.

In January, workers there stood elbow to elbow over stainless steel tables, trimming them by hand. Nearby, thousands more pounds of herb awaited processing in apple crates or sat curing in plastic drums. All of it will find its way into New York State’s newly opened recreational dispensaries as bagged flower, pre-rolls, vapes, blunts, gummies, bubble hash, and more, in many cases bearing the venerable Hepworth name.

In the organic vegetable world, Hepworth Farms, in Milton, N.Y., is a regional power player, a name brand in everything from lettuces to leeks, and the rare grower that has managed to combine farmer’s market bona fides with serious scale. Hepworth’s produce graces C.S.A. (community-supported agriculture) boxes and is beloved by the discerning members of the Park Slope Food Coop, in Brooklyn. As grass-roots organic growers go, Hepworth is as pure as they get. But the farm also supplies supermarkets and restaurants all across the Northeast; in peak season, its owners said, Hepworth moves 15,000 cases of produce every day.


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