On this episode, we have Michael Ham who is the Co-Founder and President at Wild Orchard.
Wild Orchard is the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified® tea brand and boasts 27 SKUs of tea products.
In this episode, we learn about the incredibly unique growing conditions for Wild Orchard’s teas on Jeju Island in South Korea. Michael gives us a deep dive education on the wild differences between Wild Orchard’s products and the conventional tea industry. Plus, we talk about opportunities to bring regenerative brands to market through leading “tastemaker” channels like MICHELIN Star restaurants and other high-end food service operations.
🤯 Their 1,000-acre regenerative farm in Jeju Island, South Korea
🆒 Michael’s background in nature photography & air quality
🏆 Winning global tea awards and becoming Regenerative Organic Certified®
😯 How all types of tea actually come from the same perennial tree
🔬 Plans to lab test all products for nutrient density, antioxidants, etc.
🧑🍳 Selling to MICHELIN Star restaurants and other high-end foodservice accounts
Heavy rainfall, volcanic soil, wild geese and other unique aspects of their farm
😵💫 Wild Orchard Regenerative Teas versus conventional teas
🥳 Recent retail wins (Jimbo’s + MOM’s) and plans for the future
⚡ What regen can learn from the clean energy movement
ReGen Brands Recap #37 - The World's First ROC Tea - (RECAP LINK)
Disclaimer: This transcript was generated with AI and is not 100% accurate.
Kyle Krull - 00:00:15
Welcome to The ReGen Brands Podcast. This is a place for consumers, operators and investors to learn about the consumer brands, supporting regenerative agriculture and how they're changing the world. This is your host, Kyle, joined by my co-host ac who's going to take us into the episode
Anthony Corsaro - 00:00:33
before we dive into our episode. Today, I gotta give a big shout out to our first ever sponsor at Third Street. You might have noticed that the audio quality has significantly improved in this episode and the last one and that is definitely due to our good friends at Third Street with their sponsorship, we were able to go out and get ourselves some very nice professional but affordable microphones. And in this work, there is no shortage of high fives, backslaps atta boys, but sometimes it is challenging to find people who really put their money where their mouth is and we appreciate Third Street doing just that and we cannot recommend their team and services enough. So check them out and big thanks to their team for supporting us financially. Now, without further ado on this episode, we have Michael Ham who is the co-founder and president at Wild Orchard. Wild Orchard is the world's first Regenerative Organic Certified tea brand and boasts 27 skews of tea products. In this episode, we learn about the incredibly unique growing conditions for Wild Orchard teas on the Jeju island of South Korea.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:01:21
Michael gives us a deep dive education on the wild differences between Wild Orchard products and the conventional tea industry. Plus, we talk about opportunities to bring regenerative brands to market through leading taste maker channels like Michelin star restaurants and other high-end food service operations. Michael is just one of those energizing people that leaves you feeling better after every single conversation. This one was super insightful and entertaining. We hope you enjoy it. Let's dive in. What's up everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the ReGen Brands Podcast already.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:01:53
Lots of laughs circulating today because we have our good friend Michael from Wild Orcher joining us. So welcome Michael.
Michael Ham - 00:02:17
Thank you so much for having me guys
Kyle Krull - 00:02:20
for sure. You know, I remember, I don't know how long ago we first connected. Uh it was a while back, but I remember getting off that call like Michael is a good dude and he is whip smart was like the main thing I remember coming away with. Um you're too
Michael Ham - 00:02:34
Kyle Krull - 00:02:35
I appreciate that, but I mean, you're fun to talk to, you got a wealth of information on the regen side on you know, air quality, like just just a wealth of knowledge. So we're looking forward to diving in with you there. Um Right now, I, I, I was actually contemplating this yesterday. As I was thinking about this podcast episode, I asked the same question on every podcast and I, it's like I feel like I need to ask it in a different way because I'm tired of saying the same line. So I still haven't figured out what the new way is gonna be. But, you know, for, for people who have yet to see Wild Orchard who don't know about your brand and your products. This is really hard uh consistency.
Kyle Krull - 00:02:59
Anthony Corsaro - 00:03:16
consistency is not a bad thing, brother, you know.
Kyle Krull - 00:03:19
All right. Well, then just give us the lay of the land and tell us like, what excuse do you produce? What flavors? Where can people find your stuff?
Michael Ham - 00:03:27
Sure. So just to give a 30,000 ft overview, we are a regenerative tea brand, meaning that we focus on the soil health, the microbiome of the soil, we believe by doing that, it will produce the best tea and, and it'll actually maximize the potential of the terroir. So maximizing what that land can produce in terms of quality of tea flavor wise, environmentally many, many different aspects. So we launched three years ago here in the US. Although our partner farm, it's located in South Korea, it's on the southern tip. There's an island called Jeju. It's like the Hawaii of South Korea. And we actually have 1000 acre tea farm there. It's the largest in the history of Korea. And so, um we're extremely proud to be associated with it. Uh We just came to market last year.
Michael Ham - 00:04:04
We've been selling like B to C Amazon. But last year, pivotal moment was when the world renowned Noma, the three-star Michelin voted five times the best restaurant in the world. They selected our keys at their New York City pop up. So that really like energized us. Uh until then we were kind of like, how do we get out there? How do we build our brand? But then from there, we started to get into more Michelin restaurants, higher end cafes. Now we're in more hotels and restaurants throughout the country.
Michael Ham - 00:04:38
And um but we also wanted, we also have the mindset to democratize high quality teas, like bring high quality cheese to the masses. And so we just launched our tea bag line uh at Expo West. And uh we just got recently into um Jimbo's. They're always forward thinking out there in San Diego, right? Uh Mom's just mom's organic on the east Coast.
Michael Ham - 00:05:11
Another one, they just put a P O to put us in all of their stores and we're talking to some of the larger ones right now to try to get into some of their stores. So it's exciting time for us. We have 27 skews. It's a mix of loosely traditional teas, botanical blends. Yeah, I can't even believe we have 27. I was just looking it up today preparing for this, right.
Michael Ham - 00:05:30
So uh loose leaf um we have uh both traditional which is your green black and then the botanical blends which do really well as iced teas in restaurants and hotels. And then uh and then the tea bag line and then for our cafes are black macha, which is very unique. It's macha from the black tea leaf that's really, really popular because it's very difficult to find a good one out in the market. So that comprises of uh 27 skews. And we've, it's hard to come up with skews, right?
Michael Ham - 00:06:06
But we pretty much have been developing those over the last 34 years of our existence and the goal behind that is really to create a breadth of variety so that anybody can find a tea that they can enjoy. Hm,
Anthony Corsaro - 00:06:27
let's go, lots of, lots of stuff to chat about today. I mean, we're starting off, we're getting off with tea, which I can't wait to dive into that. And, you know, I want to give you a shout out Michael for being the first Regen Regenerative Organic Certified Tea company. I think that was a big accomplishment and just kudos to you and the team for that. Yep. Absolutely. Um, but you know, take us back, take us back, man. You have a, you have a really interesting and I think compelling personal background.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:06:46
How did you get into the tea business and, you know, you, you work on some other similar things in the
Michael Ham - 00:06:57
health and wellness space as well. Right? No, thank you. Uh So, uh I majored in Kines like you. I'm a huge sports guy. I mean, the first time we talked, uh we're talking football, we're talking sports, right? And there's a lot of parallel in sports to life, uh especially going through challenges and making sure you have a diverse team. Uh a full, a team full of superstars is not gonna win you a championship, right? You gotta have a good mix. And I think uh agriculture is very similar, you have to have that biodiversity. Uh It's not just about soil, it's about like livestock, it's about integrating insects and bees and creating that ecology that allows nature to do what it's supposed to do, what it's designed to do, right?
Michael Ham - 00:07:23
And when that happens and magic happens and I, I've heard a lot of the guests you had on your podcast. I think we have that similar vein that goes across, let nature do its thing. Let's stay out of it as much as we can. And so my history because I have a ma uh I majored in college, I minored in human nutrition, even though it's been a while since my college days. I, I remember distinctly when I chose my major, I was like, I want to do something that can help um elevate the human condition. Like whoever I come across I can be of use, I can be of value. I can help them.
Michael Ham - 00:08:04
And then from that it's really about connecting with people. Right. So little did I know back then that I'd be here talking about tea because I was never really a tea fan. Uh, I play sports. We'd go to the 7-Eleven after we'd have the Big Gulfs and the Slurpees, you know? And that's pretty good. Wow. That, that's what I remember when you're young. Right.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:08:43
You treat yourself a little differently, you know?
Michael Ham - 00:08:45
Right. Right. Right. So, but ever since I got through college and I understood better how important it, what comes into the body, obviously being more mindful of it. And I would drink tea once in a while. I knew it was great. Actually, the, the uh part partner that we've had, I've been drinking their tea for 20 plus years, but I never really took a great interest in it. I was just like, this is a good tea. I know it's the highest quality, but it was only like four years ago when my, our founder, my co, my colleague, we've been working together for about 20 years. He was like, let's, let's talk to the farm. I mean, we know they have world class tea.
Michael Ham - 00:09:10
They're not really, uh they don't have any vision to expand outside of Korea or plan. We take this and introduce it to the world. So it was like really quick, quick movement. Within a couple of months, we got to talking to them. We're like, we really want to introduce your kids to the world. This is what we can do. We're in the health and wellness space and they were like, OK, so that's how it started. And yeah, and so here we are today.
Michael Ham - 00:09:39
And um uh the two things that we did when we started was we need to validate the product because in Korea, they were winning all the national tea awards. And so we were like, that doesn't really translate to the global market. No one really cares if you, if you want an award in your native country, right? So we were like, we gotta get on to the world stage. So we started entering all the top tea competitions. There are the four uh most prestigious in the world.
Michael Ham - 00:10:05
I call it like the Grand Slam because it's from the UK, the US, France and Australia. And uh to our delight, we actually won the best green tea in three of those and second in, in the fourth one. So that's when we got even more like energized. We were like, OK, now we're in the game, we have validation. And then the next thing was OK, how do we create not only the best tasting teas according to the tea experts, but how do we uh infuse it with the message of sustainability tea that we know the farm has been focusing on for, you know, since their inception.
Michael Ham - 00:10:39
And so that's when a good friend of ours, Max Goldberg, he was like, have you heard of Rock? I was like, what's that? And then he said, you know, you should apply. And then, so we looked into it, we looked at all the stringent regulations and we're like, we talked to the farm and we said, do you think we can do this? And they were like, this is stuff we've done since the very beginning, right?
Michael Ham - 00:11:08
So, um we decided to do it and, and then we got certified last year. So it was extremely uh gratifying.
Kyle Krull - 00:11:28
It's huge. And um there's a lot that I want to unpack there. Uh Number one, I, I like the parallel. You can talk, talking about these competitions with tea and we're talking about sports and it really feels like you love to compete. So this is like an opportunity to compete on the world stage in this way. Um You know, obviously tea is a little bit different than playing actual sports. Um But a competition is a competition, right? And you've got that competitive nature. Um But I'm curious to kind of dive in a little bit deeper on the farm. You said they've been doing this stuff for 20 years. Why 20 years ago? Did they decide to start growing tea this way? Where did they get their education and you know?
Kyle Krull - 00:11:50
Yeah, it, it sounds like the segway into rock was really, really simple because they already had that, you know, foundation of
Michael Ham - 00:12:10
knowledge that that leads right into the origin story. And it's something that we are the most proud of or that I'm most proud of to be associated with. Because the farm actually had an uh originally they had a, a farm in the traditional tea growing region of Korea called and that's the typical slope mountain where you see the rows of tea, tea bushes looks very well manicured. And uh they started that about 30 35 years ago, right? And so from that farm, they started winning all the medals domestically. So when we look at Jeju Island, there was um a barren piece of land. It was just filled with uh it was untouched, but it was filled with weeds and grasses. And actually our founder's father had the vision. He was like take the seed from let's prepare the land and let's create the largest uh highest quality tea farm um in the world.
Michael Ham - 00:12:51
And so before that could happen, they, they had to get a lot of volunteers to remove all the rocks, like prepare the land to plant the seeds. And the reason why the Jeju Island is so ideal for tea, it's copious rainfall. So you don't need separate irrigation, right? So with climate change, we know one of the biggest challenges for farmers. It's just it drought conditions, you know, they're not getting enough water. Right. And so there's no problem like this on Jeju Island.
Michael Ham - 00:13:31
It's just co copious amounts of rainfall that are irrigating the land and then it's a volcanic soil. There's a, a Hala mountain, it's a volcano. Um Hopefully it doesn't erupt during our lifetime. But uh I mean, we, we've experienced the wildfires and everything recently out east. But anyways, the volcanic soil is very permeable. So it allows for that drainage. And then when you implement regenerative practices, you're actually creating a rich microbial or microbiome within the ground.
Michael Ham - 00:14:02
So the way that like when we show pictures of our, our, our tea farm, it's not so well manicured like it because we let it grow wild. We let, uh, pet, we let wild animals come in and so it may not look. So what kind of wildlife on the
Kyle Krull - 00:14:35
island? I I I'm trying to take the picture. I also, what, how big is the farm relative to the island itself? Is it like? Oh, the
Michael Ham - 00:14:42
island is much bigger? Oh, no, no, no. I wish, I wish, uh, it's even though it's 1000 acres, it's a very, very, it's a blip on the map because the island is pretty big, right? Um But animals, everything from birds, bees like we just, it's just so rich with wildlife. A lot of deer come in. Um, we had geese on the property. So the interesting thing is when you plant the, the tea by seed. It was already amidst weeds and grasses.
Michael Ham - 00:14:54
So it's a constant battle. And, um, the, the reason why that was done is so that if the tea just like competition, right, if it can overcome the grass, if it can overcome the weeds, then it will be much stronger in the long term. Right? And we all go through that playing sports that, that, that process. So, um, the geese played an awesome role and the reason why we have it in our, in our logo here, we have the geese here is because when the tea seeds were just sprouting and very young, the geese would go in and eat everything but the tea because they don't like the tea, they don't, they, they never ate the tea, they would only eat.
Michael Ham - 00:15:35
So we call it a little bit
Kyle Krull - 00:15:58
too bitter for them.
Michael Ham - 00:15:59
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So we call them born. Yeah. Uh, that could be part of it but it's more of the, that they don't like so
Kyle Krull - 00:16:11
well, I mean, we honestly, there's nothing, there's nothing scarier to me that living in Bend Oregon where we have aggressive Canadian geese, like a caffeinated goose is like a horror story waiting to happen. You know, like that. That could be like a really trippy and like horror film. Yeah,
Michael Ham - 00:16:27
we need to bring them over to the farm. Right. Yeah. But we call them the natural born weed killers, right? Yeah. Yeah. So they really helped the tea teas, uh teas grow to the point where now at. So it took 6 to 10 years before the tea could then thrive. So it was a very patient process. It, it's not normal because in this type of operation, it's like the accountants looking at the books. OK, you have one year to do this and produce product, but they took it as a long term project to create something special.
Kyle Krull - 00:17:02
Yeah, I mean 6 to 10 years alone. Is that just the growth cycle or does that include the preparation of the land? Because it really feels like this like like you said, this is a decade plus in preparation before you've been having a product to sell which is to your point in the in the typical economic model like no brand has that kind of runway.
Michael Ham - 00:17:20
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, it was, it took 6 to 10 years before you could actually harvest high quality tea
Anthony Corsaro - 00:17:27
and that level of diversity. Michael, does that affect how the tea is harvested? Does it have to be harvested by hand? Is there like no mechanical intervention because
Michael Ham - 00:17:34
of it? Yeah. So the the the other thing, the extent to the way that the farmers go, they don't even allow any gas powered uh stuff to get on the farm. They don't want any of the pollutants or toxins to touch the tea leaf. And um and so we have a future road map of implementing battery powered machinery that can harvest um late spring tea, which is a larger part of the tea tree. So uh just to give a brief overview of how tea is harvested for people who aren't familiar. So when there's a tea tree, the very first shoot in the spring and April, that's the most precious tea. It's called the first flush. That all has to be picked by hand because you can't like, you can't just cut it like that.
Michael Ham - 00:18:08
That exact with the machine, you have to pluck it for that.
Kyle Krull - 00:18:25
Michael is making hand gestures that are very small. They're quite small. Like we're talking, you know, a centimeter in size. So power tools on that size of a leaf. Yeah, plucking these things out. Not, not really
Michael Ham - 00:18:37
gonna work. So that's the most precious first flush. The taste is the smoothest um has the most antioxidants uh different balance. But um people that's typically considered like the, the premium tea and then you have a week or two later, you, you start plucking the leaves below it. So that's like second f plush or mid spring. And then as you move into like a uh May June, then you go later spring and then those are those ones you can actually harvest and then uh have more mass production. So all of the ones that win the awards are really the handpicked ones and then the later harvested ones are the ones that we will use. They're still the highest quality. It's just a different part of the tea tree and we will utilize that for our tea bag line and for our iced tea line, the things that will be more mass production
Kyle Krull - 00:19:33
Anthony Corsaro - 00:19:35
I I want to continue with the, how does this happen or how does this work behind the scenes of like OK, processing? That was a great illustration that we haven't dove into on the podcast of like how tea is harvested and grown. And I, I don't know how, how does tea end up like as loose leaf tea or bag tea? Like what happens after it's
Michael Ham - 00:19:51
harvested? OK. So a lot of people don't know that black tea, green tea tea are all from the same tree. The only difference is Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So the only difference is so I'll take you through the harvest. So let's say April we hand pluck and we harvest it um when we process it right away and stop the oxidation, that's green tea. So that's the soonest from harvest. Processing is green tea because there's no time to oxidize it when you half oxidize it, that's and then you have a much different taste to it, right? It's uh control
Kyle Krull - 00:20:31
the oxidation process. Is that simply time or is there some other stuff?
Michael Ham - 00:20:35
He heat heat? So you, you spread it out in the sun that stops the process. But then you can also, you also bring it in. Uh there's heating drums that will also stop that oxidation process. Um but there's so many different uh processes, right? And each of them have to be dealt with at a artisan level to produce a world class tea. So um for example, black tea is fully oxidized. So green is no ox the least amount of oxidation, very little. If any, then half is and then is uh black and then in between there is white tea and yellow tea. So you have the B and
Kyle Krull - 00:21:17
so what about how do those ones work? What I need? I need to know how do all these things come from the same plant?
Michael Ham - 00:21:25
Oh So it's all about where you stop the oxidation. That's what it is. So where you stop, it will determine if it's green, white, yellow uh black and uh yeah.
Kyle Krull - 00:21:38
And is that the white, yellow, black and like that's like
Michael Ham - 00:21:43
the white, white, white, white is first white, yellow green, the darker black square six major sub type. I'm picturing Michael
Anthony Corsaro - 00:21:55
with like a security like a secure briefcase, like putting away the samples that are for the, the, the the grand slam shows like in a, in a briefcase and like getting them ready for the judges.
Michael Ham - 00:22:06
Well, you know what the funny thing is, we didn't, we didn't even know uh to optimize the tea. So the first competition we submitted, I just took it off the shelf and told one of my team members send it in and then later on our farm is like, why did you do that? We could have sent you our like most cared for ones. So after that, they, we would ask the farm. Ok, send us the competition grade ones.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:22:30
What crazy Michael. What's it like as AC P G operator to manage a supply chain that far away? I mean, it sounds like production processing is all happening on the island and then you're just getting a finished product. But like I'm assuming just like hours of operation communication, like just talk us through that experience.
Michael Ham - 00:22:48
Sure. So the hurt is starting now because before our volumes were not very big now, we have to like we sent out like 40 cases the other day. And now we're like, oh shoot, we gotta do this properly because we don't want to be out of stock. But at the same time, we don't want to store too much. So we're really doubling down on software now right now. And uh our V P who handles the supplies, she's actually at the farm uh in Korea now to work out all these things. But it's a lot more advantageous because we have a, it's direct source to farm, single origin. Um uh The tea industry is the traditional supply chain is the tea farm sells it to someone in the country uh at auction and then it goes at auction.
Michael Ham - 00:23:15
Then the there's the exporter, then there's the importer then there's the broker, then there's a wholesaler. So there's so many middlemen and the farmer loses out and it's like that in other industries, right? So what we wanna do is show by example, if you direct source it and there's a lot of great Regen brands that are going direct, right? They're benefiting the farmer. That's one way that we can scale Regen because when the farmers are actually feeling the benefit, they are more um incentivized, but it's actually gives them a future, a sense of hope and a future that they can do this long term.
Michael Ham - 00:23:54
So that's really what uh we're really happy that we have that access.
Kyle Krull - 00:24:13
Yeah. You know, I want to spend a little bit more time talking about, you know, you mentioned sort of the comparison between direct source and commodity tea from a growing perspective and a practices perspective, walk us through the differences between how most tea is grown in the world and how the tea grown in. I'm not gonna pronounce the name of the island, right on this, on how the tea that you all grow on Jeju, how that's different and why that impacts the flavor and the nutritional profile of the products differently.
Michael Ham - 00:24:46
That's a great question. And it's something that everyone should know because uh when people go to the shelf and they pick a tea, there's no one that can say, oh, I buy this because it's from this farm in this country. And I know how it's grown and I know the nutrient levels are gonna be at the highest possible because of the way that it's going. No one can say that. So typically a consumer will go to the shop and look at the package and whatever appeals, whether it's the colors, the design or certain keywords or this helps you sleep, this helps you get energy, uh those things. So the message that I wanna kind of share with everybody is the majority of tea is grown, whether it's in uh India, China are the two largest tea growing regions, the majority of them are not grown organically. So the first thing is if it's not grown organically and you have pesticides and fertilizers, the tea plant especially is very efficient at absorbing what's in the soil. So then you have to be mindful of when I consume that tea, what's actually coming into my body.
Michael Ham - 00:25:33
So that's why uh there was a very concerted decision or effort to plant it by seed because when you plant it by seed, the roots are deeper, you have a better absorption of nutrients and water and you're producing a stronger and healthier tree which is gonna pay dividends over the long term, right? Um Not many farms are
Kyle Krull - 00:26:14
be, would it be like planted via cutting like an existing plant that you just like
Michael Ham - 00:26:18
cutting? Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So that's the other option and most people do it that way. So you're not getting as much nutrient absorption. And the other uh uh the other area I wanted to tackle your question is because the typical supply chain has so many middle people. There's a lot of pressure on the farm to lower the price and then they're kind of like trapped by that commodity model and they can't escape out of it. And as you guys know, we're trying to show the value of regenerative to conventional farmers saying if you engage in this, your farm will be more resilient, you'll be able to uh mitigate against climate change and these uh one-off events or, you know, chronic events, so to speak and then um you're gonna get a better return. Uh And we have to collectively create that market for that return and that value to the consumers because unless we provide that value proposition to consumers, we can't really gain market share, right?
Anthony Corsaro - 00:27:21
So what 33 things there? Yeah. Um So one, if people really want to support organic agriculture, uh Michael mentioned, Max Goldberg definitely check out his platform, Organic insider. It's awesome work and just thanks to Max for his leadership there, Abby Ann at um Cats Spring, yupon talked about this whole kind of pesticide chemical issues in the tea industry too because not only is it being grown that way, but when you steep the product, when you, when you heat it up with hot water, you're basically making that more bio and more bioavailable to then be received into your body. So I just wanted to add that on to kind of the chemical issue. Um And the third thing was all that, of what we just said, I want to add to what you're saying there, Michael about kind of direct sourcing and breaking down some of these barriers that are created by too many parts in the middle is like, what do we need to make that commercially viable? What do you need at the end? You need a brand. And that's the whole point of what we're talking about here.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:28:13
And the whole point of like why all this works is like that last cog in the wheel that makes the whole thing spin
Michael Ham - 00:28:21
is, is a brand totally, totally. We have to get away from chemical cocktails that so many people are exposed to. And because we're in this business to elevate people's experience and health, right? So if that, that's why uh the farm is uh we have so much trust in the farm because they've set that precedent. Like there's a radish grave in the middle, like right by the farm of 3000 radishes. And uh the reason why um this is so prominent is because they were, you know, everyone knows Kimchi is a popular Korean dish, right? And it's because of the fermentation aspect of it, it's really growing globally. But it soon after this farm was set up in the late nineties they were actually in another part of the farm that's not tea.
Michael Ham - 00:29:04
They were harvesting the radishes and they were ready to make Kimchi like on mass and they were washing it three times, making it clean, like making sure that it was the cleanest, purest, healthiest for people to consume. And then later on the organizer, the person who was leading that found out that some of the people uh seasoning the radish put in Saccharine and then all hell broke loose, right? And the precedent was set. It's a art, it's a sweetener, but that's a car. It's like, not good for you. It's like, it's, it's a, it's like an artificial, like, so I don't know the chemical makeup of it, but it's like akin to an artificial sweetener.
Michael Ham - 00:29:46
And so they're
Kyle Krull - 00:29:58
putting in the Kimchi itself, not in, in, in part of the growing process, but in like the finish right,
Michael Ham - 00:30:03
right after, after. So it's like a, it's one of the best Kimchi products you can find anywhere, but then this was added to it to it. So the person who was uh running all of that or overseeing it was like, you know, this is not good. I, I, I would not give this to. So I would not give someone something to eat that I would not eat myself. So, unfortunately, I don't like wasting, but we're going to make a grave and there's a big grave on the farm site. That's a constant reminder that we should only produce teas that we would want to consume ourselves and want our Children to consume. Yeah,
Kyle Krull - 00:30:41
that's really cool. And I really respect the, the decision to do that. And I, I think it makes a lot of sense and, and this is to Anthony's point, the power of the brand. When you're that close to how the food is produced, that level of integrity can go through the entire process into the end product. And when it's an aggregated commodity, tea radish, whatever, like you lose out on that identity. So I think it's really great that, you know, the brands brand, brands like Wild Orchard are doing this direct trade model. Uh And it's, we desperately need it and it, it makes telling the regen story all the better. Um I do kind of want to zoom out a little bit because you do have a really interesting background. So what were you doing prior to Wild Orchard? What sort of health and wellness space were you existing in at that time?
Michael Ham - 00:31:27
So um two things prior to t that I was doing was um I was uh involved with uh nature photography and nature art and we would do exhibitions around the world in Europe and hundreds of thousands of people visited. And that's really where my uh development or understanding of biopic design really started to take shape. I could see the way that people would look at photographs of nature and these are like world class printing, world class exhibition venues and they would look at it like if you go to the lou even like when I was uh there looking at the Mona Lisa, people are just there take a picture but they wouldn't stay there for like five minutes just looking and admiring the brush strokes and all the elements of how it was crafted by this famous historical artist, right? They would it's more like a photo opportunity, right? But when we were doing the exhibitions, people would just stay in front of the photos for minutes, I would see people crying and I would ask them, oh, what, what, what made you like get so emotional? They would say this image brought me back to my youth and I'm just reminiscing about my youth that see is long ago. But it just seemed like yesterday when I'm looking at these photos. So I really got appreciation for art and the ability that it has on wellness.
Michael Ham - 00:32:41
And there were actually people who were running hospitals like and they were like, can we purchase these and hang in our hospitals? Because we think it would be a great for their mental health and stuff because uh people are in, when they're in hospitals, they're in a very dire mental state, right? Um And they like
Kyle Krull - 00:33:14
the most artificial environment ever created like the hospital, you know, so having that little total there. Yeah, would be so beneficial
Michael Ham - 00:33:23
totally. So I spent a few years doing that, which I really enjoyed. But then I um and my colleague kind of took over that uh department and I, you know, being uh really my, my uh philosophy on health is we all have a system uh that we have to understand holistically. And the, the core of that system is really what I've learned, talking to so many mentors and medical practitioners and scientists is that it's really the blood that is the key to our health. If our blood is healthy, clean, filled with nutrients, it's gonna supply all of our cells throughout our body. It's gonna protect our brain, uh balance our immune system. So we can ward off things like COVID. But the blood is the key.
Michael Ham - 00:33:59
So what makes clean blood and healthy blood? It's the food that we eat, right. So the nutrient density of the food, it's all gonna impact the health of the blood, which will in turn, because it's going throughout our body, feeding every cell in our body. That's gonna create a strong foundation for our health. But then the other aspect of it is what are we breathing in? What are we drinking water and air that also has to be clean, otherwise it's gonna affect our blood.
Michael Ham - 00:34:26
So that's why I got into creating healthy environments because 20 £2 the average weight of what we eat per day is about £2. Anthony I think you're a bit higher than that. I'll just
Kyle Krull - 00:34:54
say speakers for sure,
Michael Ham - 00:34:56
for sure, you gotta, you gotta fill up that big body, right? So water, the average, it, the average amount of water we consume a day is about £4 but the amount of air that we consume is almost £30. So the what the quality of the air that we breathe in is going to have a tremendous impact on our long term health. So um the reason why I'm so passionate about air water and tea is because the tea is gonna bring in a lot of nutrients, antioxidants to repair any of the environmental damage that's going on in our cells. Um The free radicals and the oxidation and then preventing the bad stuff from being breathed in through our air and the water we drink is actually gonna compound into a healthier state short and long term. So that's really where my focus is. Yeah, that,
Anthony Corsaro - 00:35:50
that super hits home for me because of the issues I've had with mold toxicity and how that's really spurred some of the autoimmune issues that I've had. And you know, it's, it's so important and you know, that's what I also love about regen ag is we can reduce overall environmental toxicity by, you know, this work that we're doing. And you know, I'm, I'm like picturing us doing a podcast too on the island. So whenever Netflix and Amazon wants to pay us to do a stream week show. We're going, we're going to the island and we going live. Um But Michael, that kind of spurred a not like a question in my head of you have a really interesting background to talk about how you would market this product then to consumers based on this all this wellness experience you have. So like, what's that been?
Anthony Corsaro - 00:36:20
What's that been like? It's obviously still early days on the retail front. But what's that experience
Michael Ham - 00:36:37
been like? So for tea, it's been challenging because as I said before, I was not like a tea lover from the beginning, I'm kind of, we're all learning as we go, C P G is very new to me because the other businesses are totally different business models. We go B to B um And so we rely on partners uh that do all of the outreach and selling and marketing. But for tea, you have to kind of like have a very buttoned up story. We're still working in it. Like even the stuff that I'm talking to you about, it's not refined. Like if I go on an elevator, it's tough for me just to do a one minute and just wow somebody cause there's I I'm having a tough time narrowing everything and synthesizing it into like an elevator pitch. So we need to work on that a bit more.
Michael Ham - 00:37:09
But um I think it was always,
Anthony Corsaro - 00:37:25
you want my two cents as, as of what you know as of what you're laying down brothers, I just wanted to give you
Michael Ham - 00:37:30
Kyle Krull - 00:37:31
agree as somebody who doesn't consume caffeine. Like every time I hear you talk about tea, I'm like my, I really want to drink this tea and I don't even drink tea. So
Michael Ham - 00:37:40
I, I remember at the event at Expo si was gonna say
Kyle Krull - 00:37:46
I feel so bad about this. I still feel bad about this. So please tell the story.
Michael Ham - 00:37:51
No, no, I, no, I'm just gonna say that um the caffeine and coffee is different than the caffeine and tea, not the caffeine molecule, but I'm sure you know all this but I in just to educate the audience, right? If they don't know the tea has something called LP. And so when it mixes with the caffeine, it gives a very slow release. So unless you're like the 1 to 3% that are just super sensitive for caffeine and call you maybe but super sensitive to caffeine, the tea and caffeine, the caffeine and tea for the most part. I know a lot of sensitive people to caffeine. And then when I introduce our teas and I say just try a cup a day or try a sip a day and see how it is. I've never met anyone that's like, OK, I can't have it because it just got me too too uh racy, right?
Michael Ham - 00:38:31
So I'm not gonna like, I'm not gonna put any pressure on you Kyle. But I'm just saying uh that because the the amino acid mixes with the caffeine, you get a slow release over a long period of time. So you don't get that spike like you do with coffee and then it also adds calm focus. So you get energy but calm, focus to it as well. So you have multiple synergistic kind of uh things happening with tea that I think a lot of people like because we've been doing this for years, I've talked to a lot of people, farmers markets. Oh I can't have caffeine. Just try this. Are you ultra sensitive?
Michael Ham - 00:39:04
Just try this and then they end up being customers. So it's pretty, pretty, pretty cool.
Kyle Krull - 00:39:26
I appreciate all that insight. My, my caffeine, I gave up caffeine in high school and for me, it's, it's actually more of a I don't want to be relying on a substance to feel the way I want to feel model. Um And that combined with the just the lack of consumption I had like if I eat a really good piece of like 80% dark chocolate too late in the evening, I have a hard time sleeping. Um So I think I I could be a little bit of
Anthony Corsaro - 00:39:52
that is I was, it's like having like seven of these shots. I was like I gonna serve me up another macha
Michael Ham - 00:39:59
Kyle Krull - 00:40:01
Well, and that takes us back to the story. We're, we're in a a rock conference room and they spell West and Michael very graciously comes up to both Anthony and I with it, it was a Black Macha. Correct. Yeah, it was, yeah, Black Macha, you know, with um Alexander Darry, which I consume on a daily basis. You know, love that. These are two regenerative brands working together like everything I stand for and believe in and Michael, the founder makes it for me. And I'm like, oh sorry, dude, I don't drink caffeine. I felt like such a jerk. I thought so bad.
Michael Ham - 00:40:31
You know Kyle, what I'm gonna do for you? I'm gonna create a herbal tea just for you.
Kyle Krull - 00:40:37
I will buy, I mean, you'll get plenty of R O Y, I'll buy it all the time. So if you make that happen, I will purchase it.
Michael Ham - 00:40:44
Uh So uh so
Kyle Krull - 00:40:47
um I don't know where, where I was going. There was some other question that popped up at some point and now I completely lost it. Um
Anthony Corsaro - 00:40:54
Yeah, we derailed Michael talking about marketing the product and I want to add a question to that question as he finishes it, which is around Michael. Have y'all done studies around the nutrient density or do you like, are you preparing to put any data together whether it be like retailer or consumer facing? So like just back back to that marketing topic?
Michael Ham - 00:41:10
Sure. So, regenerative by definition with the soil health immediately, the the the topic of nutrient density comes into play and there's a little more trust, but we eventually have plans to lab test all of our uh teas for caffeine content, nutrient density antioxidant E G C G, all the stuff because that's the ultimate transparency, right? Um There's so many claims that can be made and having regenerative certification actually builds, there's built in trust that because you do it the right way. Of course, there's gonna be higher nutrient density. But like anything we want to be able to show how much and probably in the next year or so, we'll kind of go through that process of lab testing everything for those major markers that people are interested in. And that's another marketing point
Kyle Krull - 00:42:02
totally. Um That brought me back to the question I had in mind and this is something that as a brand looking to scale it, it feels like you got a finite farm, your direct trade, you source all of your tea from this 1000 acres. What can you do? Like, do you do? You already know what your ceiling is like? We, we can move this amount of product per year. And if so from a growth strategy perspective, is it like, OK, we can, we can get into this many doors at this philo like what does that equation look like? Because it kind of feels like a zero sum game.
Michael Ham - 00:42:34
Yeah. So um it's, we know that it's very hard to find another partner like our current one in other countries, like we talked a lot internally. So South Korea Jeju has a, there's the word again, very unique geographically. So the key is if we maximize the potential of it through regenerative agriculture principles and applying them, then we're maximizing the tea for that region. Let's let's start scoping out a tea region in djing where we can apply the same level of standard to that and then have a very, a different type of tea which is more black tea centric. So Asia, uh Japan, China Korea is more, they have the tea variety called Caia that's more associated with green tea. And then in Sri Lanka and India, it's the Cali as and that's where most of the black teas in the world come from. So you're gonna get a totally different dynamic of taste. But we also are interested in creating the highest quality from that variety as well. And so uh getting to your question, it's 1000 acres in Cheju, we are using less than 10% of it. Right now.
Michael Ham - 00:43:34
We think we can handle all of the North American market, uh retail with tea bags, hotels, restaurants, um food service, all the places that are fit for us. And we want to get into, we think the uh if we maximize the 1000 acres, we can handle the North American market. But then that's why we're talking about going into other regions and applying what we're doing in Jeju to those new regions now ahead of the game and we are talking to people in India. Can you help scope out a region that is ideal for us to enter maybe 34 years in the future?
Kyle Krull - 00:44:26
I mean, that's the number one shocking to me that 1000 acres can produce enough tea to handle the North American market. That's incredible and awesome to hear. And it gives you that. Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.
Michael Ham - 00:44:37
Oh, the reason why is in a typical tea operation? It can't because harvest season is typically from April to maybe May or June. But we have a plan to harvest all year round, all year round. So even when it's snowing, we're Harve we would be harvesting because because the because the seasons will also uh result in a different taste of the tea. So we want to be able to say this one was harvest in December and someone will be like my favorite out. All of your months is December. So they will like wait for December or they will drink tea all year long, but they will look forward to December the most because they like that the most.
Kyle Krull - 00:45:15
Just when I think that tea can't get any more complicated. Now, you're bringing seasonality into the equation. So there's like the three different tiers of when you can pick the tea, there's like the seven different oxidation periods and now there's four different seasons. So I can't do that math in my head right now. But there's a lot of possible tea varieties coming from that 1000 acre plot, which is not exactly. But, but what I also really love about what you shared is it it. And we've heard this from a few other regenerative brands that we talked to. And it's this sort of proof of concept model start at a small farm.
Kyle Krull - 00:45:38
Prove out that regenerative works that you can tell the story there that you're making the the benefits, you're improving the nutritional density of the product, etcetera. And then take that and apply it to new pieces of land to scale. You know, not just uh the community that you can serve the tea drinking community that is benefiting from your products, but also the impact you're making on more acres around the planet. So really, really looking forward to seeing like how those projects develop over the next few years.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:46:13
Is the Michael is the plant? This is a dumb question. Is t perennial or is it manual? Like I'm, I'm picturing you. You know, like you, you mentioned this long timeline to basically develop the farm. I'm picturing y'all harvest this by hand. Like is that a yearly thing? And then you replant it, is it like, you know
Michael Ham - 00:46:29
what, what's no, it's a perennial, it's a perennial. It's not a stupid question. Uh It's very important and it's another reason why regenerative works so well with tea because you don't have to tell you don't, you don't have to do much. It's you, you, you're always protecting the soil. Actually, the, the um the, the way that we add more uh to the microbiome of the soil is all the tea leaves, we just, we don't do separate compost. Uh It's a good thing and a bad thing because we're not utilizing the full aspect of the farm. So a lot of the tea leaves are just falling on the ground and then that's actually contributing to the microbiome of the soil. It's like feeding itself, right?
Michael Ham - 00:46:57
So it's a bad thing because we could have so many people benefit from it if we could package it and deliver it, but we'll get there over time. Uh But yeah, it is a perennial and it's uh I think one of the best crops to apply regenerative to and we want to, we wanna like shout that message to the tea growing world. Uh It's the second largest consumed drink after water in the world, right? So there's a huge impact that can be had with tea converting to regenerative.
Kyle Krull - 00:47:42
What I'm, you know, so what's
Anthony Corsaro - 00:47:46
the life expectancy of a tea plant like this, this 10 year plant? 20 year plant like
Michael Ham - 00:47:52
uh decades? Yeah, I don't know the exact actually, I will, I'll find out for you. Exactly. But I, I believe from the plants that we've uh uh planted in the late nineties. They are the ones that are, we are harvesting from right now. So 20 it's already been 25 years, right? So yeah, and our key, the reason why we call it Wild Orchard because if typically people say tea farm or tea estate or tea garden, uh some people say tea plantation, but we're getting away from that because of the connotation. But we say tea orchard because we let it grow wild and some of these tea trees are 10 ft tall and you don't see that normally. So people need ladders to go up and, and pluck it. So it's very unique
Kyle Krull - 00:48:38
that that was gonna be one of my other questions. And you mentioned the potential of four harvests in a single year. Is that coming from different parts of the uh the 1000 acres, you know, so is it like broken up in the 250 acre grades? And you, you would harvest from one or do you have the ability to actually harvest the whole thing? Four times like how fast does this plant grow?
Michael Ham - 00:49:00
So um we, we plan to have it split up into two sections, one for the early first flush ones for, you know, the more um the tea enthusiast who can, who knows how to appreciate it because one of the things you can say, yeah, you know, so, so the the the market is so uh used to consuming uh commodity cheese. I often find it kind of fascinating but frustrating at the same time. So when I serve them a, they don't know how good it is because they're used to a certain amount. Right. So, we want to change that and the only way to change that is to say, oh, our are in this Michelin restaurant or this restaurant or that, uh, if you don't do that, people are not gonna be able to discern that just on their own. right?
Michael Ham - 00:49:39
And then when they see that they'll be like, oh, I guess this is what good cheese taste like? Ok, I'll try it a bit more and they develop that taste, right? But um, at least four harvests throughout the year because once you pluck it, it's gonna keep growing right. Once you harvest it, it's gonna keep growing. But um, the first flush, the, the early shoot is really after the winter. That prime early flush. That's mid April.
Kyle Krull - 00:50:18
Gotcha. It's funny you mentioned like the, the tea palate of most consumers. I couldn't help but immediately to think back to chocolate. You know, people who eat Hershey's bars and think that that is chocolate, you know, quote chocolate, you know, and then they try like a really good high quality single origin dark chocolate bar that's like maybe 70 75% like whoa, like this is, this is way too much for me. Yeah, that pal doesn't developed. So I didn't realize you have the same type of problem with tea um but I would imagine is probably a tough hurdle to have to overcome.
Michael Ham - 00:50:49
It is. But one way that I think we are able to overcome it now is so five out of every cups, uh four out of every five cups of tea consumed in the US is iced tea. And as we know, the typical iced tea is the black tea bunch of sugar, right? Uh The typical Lipton tea that we see in the refrigerators. So, you know, the world is getting hotter, people are looking cold drinks are getting more popular because the weather is getting hotter. But what we see in the market is sodas, caffeine, um anything with um sugars, they're diuretics, they're gonna start to dehydrate you. So even though it may be refreshing for that split second with the fizz and all that, you're gonna start to get more dehydrated and you're gonna have to look for more and then then it's not healthy and the younger generation is more attuned to, ok.
Michael Ham - 00:51:30
I don't want to put bad stuff in my body more, right? So the what we're doing with our cold brew teas when you cold brew over like six hours or overnight in the fridge or in the on your counter, you brew it in ambient temperatures or in the fridge, the bitter bitterness is reduced tremendously and our teas are not bitter, that bitter to start with. So, and then when you add a bit of maple syrup in it. Our, our, our cold brew teas are just like garnering a lot of attention from hotels, spas, poolside, uh, restaurants in California and they're drinking it. It's tasty. They know it's healthy.
Michael Ham - 00:52:04
It's at the highest quality and, uh, it's quenching the thirst. Right. So, I think this area is, there's a huge room for growth for us. I think that's where we can really make a footprint and, and then it evolves into, ok, this green tea is so quenching tastes good and then it's just gonna spread from there.
Kyle Krull - 00:52:43
Well, I know you the quality of the water for your iced tea has got to be off the um it's gonna be a whole other level. Um but I I'm curious why do you choose maple syrup as the sweetener?
Michael Ham - 00:52:57
Um It, it can be honey. Uh I that's my personal preference. I like maple syrup. It tastes the best for me but other people would be honey. Um you know, things that are maybe a little better on the glycaemic index. Um Honey is good. Yeah. How much
Kyle Krull - 00:53:15
you put in? Like what's the, what's the sugar per serving on, on these iced teas?
Michael Ham - 00:53:19
So very little. Um All I, I, I don't know the gram but we put very little because the tea itself because they're blended teas. They already have notes of fruits and other things. You don't need a lot of sweetener in it. It's just that very little amount just to optimize that taste for people's palates because it's so much on this side in terms of sweetness. So
Kyle Krull - 00:53:41
like sub sub five g per serving for sure.
Michael Ham - 00:53:44
Oh Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, much. I would say much even lower than that I would say. Yeah,
Kyle Krull - 00:53:49
I'm from like an RT D space. I'm like, OK, so this is like spin drift or less like slightly sweetened just to get like enough. But uh you know, very, very low inconsequential amount.
Michael Ham - 00:54:01
Kyle Krull - 00:54:02
Anthony Corsaro - 00:54:04
The commercialization strategy you keep touching on Michael around kind of going to the curators of if I could ever learn how to say that word, which is the food service industry, right? Especially like your high end food service operators and then kind of backing that into retail distribution and using that as you know, you're having this influential group kind of spur maybe some demand or some velocity there just like talk us through how you came to that and like more on that because I feel like the if, if you're an avid listener to the show, you've gotten probably a good education on, hey, you want to get into Whole Foods or you go to the category manager, you go to the buyer and like this is how you get on the shelf and this is how you, you increase velocity. But I, I don't think we've done as much of a deep dive into that food service side. So I would love to just have you educate the audience on that high level strategy and then more execution on like who are you calling? How are you getting in front of these people? Like, what are their decision making criteria,
Michael Ham - 00:54:54
et cetera? Right. So, food service, it's the main reason why we're uh exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show because we definitely want to go heavier into food service. The margins are typically better but interesting for the audience. So uh we got a lot of cold emails, cold calls and there was a distributor of Biodynamic and Regenerative wines in Colorado. Uh who I'm gonna meet in two weeks. Maybe we can meet together at. Um Yeah. So he reached out because he said uh with food, there are some wines that do not pair well with food. It's just, it's just the fact that chefs know it, but tea is way more versatile.
Michael Ham - 00:55:23
So when we go to a tea pairing, you can fill in those gaps. So his mindset was I heard you're the first regenerative tea brand like traditional chaia tea. And he said I'm very bullish on tea pairings in restaurants and he was interested in working together. So we just sent them samples. We gave him the story and he was like, hey, I'd like to work with you. So be in Denver end of June, let's meet up and do a strategy planning session.
Michael Ham - 00:55:54
So he's already servicing the top restaurants and bars and places in Colorado. Now, the goal is to get in, uh our, get our teas into that distribution there. And, uh, by doing that, uh, because we talked to dot We talked to all the big food service distributors and they're like, you don't already have some inroads. Uh, don't think that we're gonna open an account for you. And it's similar to uh natural and organic too. Right?
Michael Ham - 00:56:15
So, um, so at, at, at, uh before Fancy Food, I'm like doing my reach out right now and I reached out to one another top food service distributor that was just bought by K and we're on K E. So there's actually a talking point there right now, right? We're like, we're in K E, we're moms just picked us up. Jimbo's picked us up once you guys are gonna have a uh you know, I know the transaction just took place, but once you're integrated with K E, we love to get the ball rolling. We're in these restaurants. This Michelin restaurant. Can you come to our booth? Have a meeting? We'll get you some uh taste of our teas. And there's this trend because we're talking about tea pairings. We're talking about tea infused into alcoholic drinks, nonalcoholic drinks.
Michael Ham - 00:57:01
And you know, I wasn't expecting much, but the head of sales was like, OK, I'm gonna come to your booth, right? So that's how we start this. And uh it's very beginning for us. But if we can show traction and then get an account into D P I. Uh have him introduce us to the top uh retailers that are a good, who he thinks is a good fit for us. Then we go and do tastings and that's, that's the hustle part of it right to go there and do the tastings.
Michael Ham - 00:57:32
But we found that whenever we do the tastings, share the story, it's a very high conversion rate. Mm
Kyle Krull - 00:57:52
I believe it. And just to expand on that a little bit, how does that story translate? You know, because food service in restaurants is it's a whole different beast. How does that, how do the restaurants tell that story to their, you can't even call them shoppers that they're eaters. The people come to the restaurant food. So I should know that term but I don't.
Michael Ham - 00:58:16
So we give like uh two star in, in New York City. That's our partner. Uh they ask for the product description so they can put it on their menu. So obviously it's just an overview. But what they were telling me is what they're seeing amongst their customers. And these are people that are paying 500 bucks plus a meal, right? And they are coming in and they're not ordering alcohol like they used to, they're not ordering wine like they used to, they're kind of, they're seeing a downward trend in alcohol. They need something to fill that revenue up, right? And so they want actually a premium tea that they can charge a much higher. Uh So that's where the appeal for a product like ours comes in because they can say, ok, there's a cup of tea that's gonna be $15 that's gonna be $20 not only the
Kyle Krull - 00:59:07
price though, but, but it also feels that storytelling aspect that you can have with the tea, you know, talking about the origin and the way it's grown and all these other things, you know, I don't know if he has the same level of varietals as wine, but it it still if it feels more than just the price niche, but like that desire to feel connected to place and that you're you're experiencing something unique, right? So I can definitely see why that works well as a good substitute,
Michael Ham - 00:59:30
right? Totally. Uh the tea pairing one is um something I'm very interested in because there's a huge room for growth. And there's another trend uh you know, there's wine and cheese pairings, right? So now there's a trend, tea and cheese pairings because tea is so versatile, it can really accommodate all different types on the spectrum, strong to mild cheeses, right? And so I've also been talking to one of the top cheese distributors, hey, let's let's kind of pioneer the tea uh cheese caring movement, right? And he's like, I can't even get my sales team to like learn more about a new cheese. So right now is not the good time. But I like your idea. Let's work on it. So it's, it's all foundation building right now for these things.
Kyle Krull - 01:00:15
Yeah, totally. So, I mean, we, we, we sort of just talked about the future and a few different like channel perspectives and opportunities which all sound really exciting. Well, let's bring it back to, you know, retail C P G North America. Um So for the future of wild, you guys are utilizing 10% of the total property right now, right? So it feels like there's a lot of room to grow. We talked about the North American market. What does the future look like for Wild Orchard? The brand specifically at like grocery in North America? Is it, you know, focusing on distribution wins? If so, is that you know about growing different demographics or different channel strategy? Is there different product innovation down the pike? Like we talked a little bit about ice tea.
Kyle Krull - 01:00:41
Is there an R and D in the future? Walk us
Michael Ham - 01:00:58
through that? Ok. So for retail, um every young brand wants to have distribution whole food, especially regenerative and organic brands. And of course, we are looking for that but over the last couple of years and looking at all the different channels and I have to say, uh I have some great mentors that I've been introduced to and I talk to them regularly. But one of my uh mentors, right Hughes, he said that every channel is like a child, right? So the more the more Children you have the resources, the energy you have to spend and we're still a small team of five. So when he said that it really kind of we had, we, I really thought we needed to refine our strategy. So for our retail distribution, we are tackling the first phase, that first phase is getting into retail with retailers that are the best fit for us.
Michael Ham - 01:01:35
So Jimbo's, they, they're on the, they, they're pioneering regenerative in the retail space, right? They're pioneers of organic uh moms as well. They're, they're like way up there in terms of fit uh whole foods would be a great fit for us. Wegmans um is a uh a great fit for us. So I'm just trying to limit it to like a handful, maybe 10 where we can go in and do demos and really help educate and work with them and even work with like uh other Regen brands to talk to those retailers to build in more educational opportunities at store level in front of the consumers.
Michael Ham - 01:02:10
We that's the foundation building that Regen really needs right now. So instead of just like, OK, you're interested in going nationwide, OK. Like instead of really focusing efforts there, we're for retail, we really want to focus on fit and then getting a stronger message out there to their customer base, right? And then when we start to see traction and velocity then we can go into phase two and really to go to other like uh national retailers and, and scale it out that way. And we also need time to do that uh to that scalability because we're not really fully equipped right now. At the farm, we're at 10%. Yeah, we could probably scale it to 20% without major problems.
Michael Ham - 01:03:01
But when it starts like booming into 30 and 40 we need to have another facility. We need to have more uh machinery. It has to be battery powered. Nothing that's gonna put the environment. So there's a lot of work to do that. We need to get there.
Michael Ham - 01:03:13
And then with our hotels and uh restaurants, the iced tea part which I really believe is gonna result in huge growth for us eventually. Like right now it's cold chain refrigerated because it's the healthiest. It's the most refreshing and it, we can deliver it and people hotels are ok with a week or 14 day shelf life. But we see that evolving as that business grows into the R TV. Drink that we want to design and R TV, we want to do it in a way that maximizes doesn't the pasteurization kills a lot of the nutrients and that you have to put in all this like preservatives to keep it for a long shelf life.
Michael Ham - 01:03:54
We still have to work on doing it in a way that like matches our ideals or the type of product we want to deliver to the.
Kyle Krull - 01:04:14
So are you looking at like U V light pasteurization or some other process other than like H P P or some of the more convention,
Michael Ham - 01:04:22
I gotta give a shout out to our friends at. So Ryan, like they do it really the good, the right way. They do reverse ossis so, so clean water. Uh and then they put it in glass, right? So um yeah, I, I talk to him a lot and um yeah, we have to come up with something that meets the standard in all of the other areas that we set, right? So
Kyle Krull - 01:04:45
right? Because you don't want to put Sacar in your Kimchi, you know. That's right.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:04:49
Michael Ham - 01:04:50
Anthony Corsaro - 01:04:53
Michael. This has been super fun man, super informative conversation. Um I'm gonna take us home with our final question that we ask everybody that I'm sure you're, you're prepared for, which is how do we get Regen brands to have 50% market share by 2050.
Michael Ham - 01:05:09
So we need to support people like you more, we need to give you more love and spread the news like we need to like like your post and spread it across and get people more um engaged with to say that
Anthony Corsaro - 01:05:25
I just want to say that on the record. That was
Michael Ham - 01:05:27
not, no but no, I I I think everyone does already appreciate you guys, but this is not your full time job, right? This does not earn you your living. So what you guys do is a tremendous support. We need to support uh you know, advocates like you. But it also has to extend to brands like us, we have to do our own education within our audience. And then the brands need to come together like the coalition, right? We need to have uh collaborative efforts, but then we need to bring in retailers and then um policy makers like the Farm Bill, like people that are going to Washington and creating incentives for farmers to transition from conventional to regen. Everyone has a role to play in this holistic. I look at it as a body like you guys are the mouthpiece right now, right? We are like the hands and feet, right? Um Who's the brain? The brain is nature, the brain, the brain is nature. Yeah.
Michael Ham - 01:06:14
Yeah, we let we let nature speak for us, right? And then um and then we need policy make. All of this has to work in tandem if we have any shot at getting to 50% right? And some of the uh industries that we can look at to model is maybe the clean energy movement because so many incentives are being made. And as people like brands like Tesla, they pretty much accelerated that movement to clean energy.
Michael Ham - 01:06:45
And why can't we do it for clean food, clean agriculture, right? So there are many models in place that we can try to model after. Uh But really, it's just about resilience like being uh this pounding the payment every day providing value to consumers. There's no one answer we have. The answer is in all of us,
Kyle Krull - 01:07:27
I super appreciate that feedback. Um You know, gotta give Anthony credit. He does 95% of the work for this podcast, the newsletter and everything behind the scenes. I get to show up here, talk to people and leave. Um So ac deserves all the credit in the world for that. Um I also think, you know, your, your model of the E V I talk about it on a regular basis. It really feels like we are in the early adopter phase of regenerative agriculture where if you think about Tesla way early on selling over $100,000 for a Roadster with, I think it was like 100 and 20 miles of range. People bought it. I think they only made 4500 of those cars and that was step one and it really feels like we're in that step one phase. You know, we need to that proof of concept, it's gonna be premium.
Kyle Krull - 01:08:01
But then as we get more adoption, more education and more people to understand that this is important and we give them viable options to support, we can scale prices could come down and we can capture more market share. Tesla is now the most valuable car company in the world, you know, and there's an opportunity for a regen and, and not necessarily be, you know, the bigger, more profitable companies than big CPG, but to have that type of an impact. So I think it's a really good analogy and a really good movement to kind of like, follow in their footsteps and learn from what they've done because it, it, it seems to have worked so far.
Michael Ham - 01:08:46
Great. Yeah, totally
Anthony Corsaro - 01:08:48
Michael. You're a legend brother. This is, this is so fun. This is one of my favorites.
Michael Ham - 01:08:53
Thank you. Now, it's really a pleasure to talk to you guys even better to meet up. So looking forward to the next time we can meet up in person.
Kyle Krull - 01:09:02
Yeah, absolutely. I may maybe I'll drink if you come up with the right noncaffeinated beverage for me, I will drink it and not be a jerk
Michael Ham - 01:09:10
on my call today with my team. I'm gonna, I'm gonna put that on the agenda. We
Kyle Krull - 01:09:15
appreciate you Michael, man. Thank you so much for the time.
Michael Ham - 01:09:18
Thanks a lot guys be well, be well
Anthony Corsaro - 01:09:24
for show notes, episode transcripts and more information on our guests and what we discuss on the show. Check out our website Regen dash brands dot com. That is Regen dash brands dot com. You can also find our Regen recaps on the website. Regen recaps. Take less than five minutes to read and cover all the key points of the full hour long conversations. You can check out our youtube channel ReGen Brands Podcast for all of our episodes with both video and audio. The best way to support our work is to give us a five star rating on your favorite podcast platform. Subscribe to future episodes and share the show with your friends. Thanks for tuning in to the ReGen Brands Podcast brought to you by the Regen Coalition and Outlaw Ventures.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:09:53
We hope you learned something new in this episode and it empowers you to use your voice, your time and your dollars to help us build a better and more regenerative food system. Love you guys.