On this episode, we have Ashley Walsh who is the Founder and President of Pocono Organics.
Pocono Organics is supporting regenerative agriculture with their 380-acre Regenerative Organic Certified® farm producing fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, microgreens, and a myriad of hemp-based CPG products.
In this episode, we learn about Ashley’s health journey with gastroparesis that inspired the farm, their farm’s journey into the myriad of enterprises they are running on-site, and their growing CBD-infused CPG lineup that they are currently scaling.
🤤 Enjoying a CBD-infused “marsh-mellow”
👎 Ashley’s health journey with gastroparesis
💫 Rodale Institute’s instrumental role in their work
🧑🌾 Practices on their 380-acre Regenerative Organic Certified® farm
🧑🔬 Research trials on-farm with Rodale + Jefferson University
🙏 The amazing medicinal power of hemp & CBD
🤯 Why Nano-Particle CBD??
🔥 Why vertical integration is so important for their product quality + innovation
👀 New CBD products coming soon!
🤩 Selling regen products to NASCAR fans at Pocono Raceway
ReGen Brands Recap #41 - The World's First Regenerative Organic Hemp - (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 - 00:00:34
On this episode, we have Ashley Walsh who is the founder and president of Pocono Organics. Pocono Organics is supporting regenerative agriculture with their 380 acre regenerative organic certified farm, producing fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, microgreens and a myriad of hemp based CPG products. In this episode, we learn about Ashley's journey with gastroparesis that inspired the farm, their journey at the farm into the myriad of enterprises. They are running on site and their growing CBD infused CPG lineup that they are currently scaling. We touched it all on this one. Folks from CBD infused marshmallows to on farm Regen of research trials to NASCAR fans buying more regenerative products. We learned and laughed a lot and we hope you will too. Let's go. What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the ReGen Brands Podcast.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:01:10
Super fired up today to have our friend Ashley from Pocono Organics joining us. So welcome Ashley.
Ashley Walsh - 00:01:35
Thanks for having me guys.
Kyle Krull - 00:01:37
Super, super pumped. Um I was lucky enough to connect with some members of you and your team a few months back to talk about some B to B stuff. I didn't even realize at the time how much branded product Pocono had. So I'm really excited to kind of dig in and learn more and share that story with our audience. Um But before we get too deep into the origin story, give us a quick high level. Like, what sort of products does Pocono Organics produce? Where can people find your stuff? And you can talk about the branded side and just like the general farm vegetables in the farm stand, like just give us the whole lay of the land real quick.
Ashley Walsh - 00:02:07
Absolutely. So we're a very diverse brand. You know, we have a lot of different vegetables and herbs that we sell to local stores and, and restaurants. Uh but our big national side product line is all of our CBD products. So everything from uh topicals to uh crazy edible infusions made by Chef Lindsay mclean who runs our Food Innovation Lab. And um and we do a lot of fun stuff on, on site. We do all of our formulation here. So we get to try out different recipes that we want to play around with. We make them and we sell them at our market to see how the public likes it. And if they do, then we, then we go national with them from there.
Ashley Walsh - 00:02:39
So it's a good little test, you know, test market that we have here on site to see what people like. But everything from Seltzers and Gummies and nanoparticle, homemade marshmallows, um the topicals and then our um our flagship products product line is the nano part collection. So we have a, a tincture, a nanoparticle bath bomb as well as a Monk fruit um infused sugar that could be added to coffee smoothies, mock tails, things like that. And that's definitely been um our most successful product line is the, the
Kyle Krull - 00:03:27
nanoparticle super cool. Uh But before we go any further, we have to talk about the marshmallow. You know, I knew this is, yeah, you know, Anthony, I both got, we got, you know, Ashley was kind enough to send us a little care package prior to so we can get familiarize yourself with the brand and the product and Anthony texting back and forth of like, do you get a marshmallow? And so I I've gotta, I've gotta understand like why the marshmallow I I was under the impression there must be a bonfire somewhere on site and somebody's making Smores and I just need to know whether or not this is like the real story.
Ashley Walsh - 00:04:03
So we're in the Pocono Mountains. We're on the plateau of the Pocono Mountains. So lots of campfires all around. So we always sell little SMS kits with uh really great organic chocolate and the, and the Graham Crackers and the stick everything ready to go. And then uh we decided to infuse it with the nanoparticle CBD and have an adult version as well. So there's 50 mg in that homemade marshmallow. I mean, they're so delicious.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:04:29
I slept good after that marshmallow
Ashley Walsh - 00:04:32
and it hits you so much faster with the nanoparticle. You know, it's, the nanoparticle makes it water soluble. so it hits you a lot faster. It doesn't have to go through that digestion. So we have a lot of fun making things like that, that are, that are different, that people like our regular products. So, hey, let's add CBD to it.
Kyle Krull - 00:04:50
Well, I, I can't wait to see that in re I one day eventually. Um Well, we'll, we'll see what happens. Um AC go ahead, kick, kick, kick us off, take us down the road. Yeah.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:05:03
No, Ashley definitely knows how to treat her podcast host. Uh That was really, really kind and we appreciate the, the care package and, you know, it's really interesting to see all the various things that uh hemp can, can be involved in. And y'all are doing even more than hemp like in the farm operation, but, you know, similar to K and I uh Ashley, I know this all stems from a health issue that you had, right? So just take us kind of back in time to that personal health journey that you had and how that turned into Poca Organics.
Ashley Walsh - 00:05:34
Absolutely. And it's, it's funny how adversity sometimes can create opportunity. Right. And you never imagine they'll end up where, where you are down the road. But, um, uh, when I was about 30 I got diagnosed with Gastro Reis, which is a paralyzed stomach. So I can't digest a lot of fruits, vegetables and meats, like, like you guys do. So I have to eat like a toddler puree, um smoothies, juice soups, all those um different forms for me to be able to digest and get my nutrients. Um I can load up on carbs to make myself feel full. But, you know, I need the, the nutrients in there. So I got to the end of the road. It took me a long time to get diagnosed and they just wanted to cut out parts of my stomach and give me feeding tubes. Obviously, not the path I wanted to go down turning 30.
Ashley Walsh - 00:06:15
You know, I wanted to start a family and, and not, not go down that road. So I started working with new doctors and I adopted organic lifestyle and just switching over everything in my life. Um, every bite of food I was taking to personal care products, plant based supplements, everything that I could to just be more nontoxic and reduce the chemical load in my body. And by using food as medicine and reducing my chemical exposure, I improved my quality of life. Like, it was undeniable results that I went from being sick five days a week to five days a month. And um ended up having like a £9.5 baby. I'm like 5 ft tall and 100 and £20. So I, the little girls end up having the gigantic babies.
Ashley Walsh - 00:06:55
But, um, but it just changed my whole life. So that was back in like 2015 that we had the concept for the farm. Uh We live in the Pocono Mountains on the, the plateau of the mountain. It's a food desert here. Most people think of food deserts as inner cities, but rural communities are the same way. You know, we have to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to a uh a whole foods or somewhere with a decent organic selection.
Ashley Walsh - 00:07:27
Anthony Corsaro - 00:07:42
for, for people that aren't familiar with the Poconos describe where that is geographically and a lot of people might be familiar because of the NASCAR race that occurs there. But just to look, where is that? It's obviously mountains, it's rural, but describe that a little bit more for people.
Ashley Walsh - 00:07:55
So we're about 90 miles west of New York City and 90 miles north of Philadelphia. Um So I'm sure if, if you're a Seinfeld fan, you've heard them say we're going to the Poconos for the weekend. Um So big ski resort towns, a lot of lakes, hiking, just beautiful mountains and still very pristine and undeveloped. So, um but we have 11 3rd of the US population lives within a five hour drive of us. So there's a lot of people nearby to the Poconos. Isn't that crazy?
Anthony Corsaro - 00:08:26
My, my Pocono story is my mom's side of family reunion was there when I was a little kid. So that's my, that's my Poconos tie is I've been there for one family reunion one time beautiful
Ashley Walsh - 00:08:36
place. It is beautiful. It is beautiful and it's, it's great to be up here with the fresh air, you know, mountain, fresh air. And uh and we don't have a lot of farms around us, so we don't have to worry about drift and a lot of other concerns, which is nice. Hm.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:08:52
So the, where, where did the catalyst come from? Personal health, journey, changing lifestyle to I'm gonna start a farm? Like where, what was the, what was the catalyst there?
Ashley Walsh - 00:09:02
So I'm the third generation of our, our family businesses. And uh I'm one of those being um Pocono Raceway. My family owns Pocono Raceway. So we have a lot of land here around the racetrack and um there's a 50 acre parcel that's sitting here and, and I asked him if I could do a small community farm. They gave me their blessing and I had no idea how to farm at all. So I cold called, I had no idea at all. Um I've learned a lot over the last 10 years but uh, I, I just cold called Rodale. Um Rodale Institute is about 45 minutes south of us and I have been following them through my health journey of really understanding and learning from them of how broken the food system is. You know, when you start scratching that itch and going from, oh, everything in the grocery store is safe, right? Like we all think and then you start scratching that and you're like, wow, no, it's not at all. Like, what are we doing?
Ashley Walsh - 00:09:47
And, and until like something happens to you or a family member, you know, you kind of don't wake up to it. So, um so they answered my phone call and we had a meeting and, and they listened to my crazy idea and partnered with us. So from day one, we've been a, a satellite research farm for Rodale. Um This is our fifth season of research and production. Um We became a regional resource center for them last year, which is amazing. There's only five in the whole world.
Ashley Walsh - 00:10:18
And uh we have two phd scientists in an on-site lab and increased our research projects from two or three a year to now 12 annual research projects a year. Wow.
Kyle Krull - 00:10:46
Anthony Corsaro - 00:10:47
And tell, tell the audience actually everything you're growing on the farm, all the different commodities.
Ashley Walsh - 00:10:53
So we're very, very diverse. So every kind of vegetable and herb really that you can imagine. And then our three big specialty programs is hemp mushrooms and microgreens. Those are our three big specialty programs that we do. But I mean, everything from tomatoes and broccoli to corn in our greenhouses. So we get the first corn of the season. Um, but a little bit of everything really diverse
Kyle Krull - 00:11:21
and out of curiosity. When did regenerative become a part of the conversation? II, I would imagine it was when you contacted Rodale and they're like, hey, we wanna, you know, were they sort of leading the regenerative charge and educating you on that front or like when did that become part of the conversation?
Ashley Walsh - 00:11:34
It was really when we first started talking to them, they kind of started talking about the Regena Organic Pilot that was happening with those original 20 farms where they were doing the pilot to kind of figure out the uh the regulations and guidelines for everyone. So as soon as the pilot was over, you know, I said, hey, I, I wanna be involved. This is how I wanna operate from day one. So from day one, Rodale helped us set up everything here um to the Regina Organic Standard and, and kept us on track. We had uh a farm manager from Rodale here for the first three years, getting everything, you know, set up with us and training all of us, all of us to steer the ship.
Kyle Krull - 00:12:15
Awesome. I I I'm, I'm thinking about this conversation and there are like five or seven different like roads. I want to go down here. Yeah. So I'm having a hard time figuring out like which one I want to go on next. But I guess let's let's stick to regenerative right now. I do, I do really want to talk about the research studies that you mentioned earlier, but let's start with more of like the on the ground practices. So like what does the, the practices look like today on the Pocono Farm from like a rotation perspective or biodiversity perspective? You mentioned there's all sorts of things around at the same time, just walk us through what that looks
Ashley Walsh - 00:12:47
like. Definitely diversity is, is number one. I remember the first year with Jeff Kat from Rodale came up. I was like, there's so many songbirds and butterflies all of a sudden in this field. He's like, because you're bringing back, you know, biodiversity. So it was amazing to watch that transformation happen. Um So everything from crop rotation to cover cropping, um you know, very low till and um and of course, using as many on farm inputs as we can. Uh So we have a, a five acre parcel that we do our own on-site compost program. We do thema culture with the earth worm castings. Um And then we are just a about to actually get a commercial composting machine here to speed up um some of the compostable silverware and plates and stuff that we use at our market on site, a market and cafe to be able to not have to take them to another commercial composer and do it here on site in five days instead of two years like out in the field. So we try to utilize as many of those natural resources that are waste to us, but you know, gold to the soil and just so nutrient dense. So those are the main, the main ones that we focus on. And uh and then we're starting to involve animals now.
Ashley Walsh - 00:13:52
So we got our, our first chickens last year. So we're, we're getting our feet wet. We're starting to add some, some animals into the mix.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:14:18
And that, that's a challenge in specialty crops because of the food safety standards. And we have not talked about that on really any episodes. And I don't, I don't expect you to be like purely the, the, the expert on that Ashley. But can you talk about that a little bit because I think most consumers, if they learn about regena, they learn about animal impact. But it's actually a challenge in some of those crops because of the regulation. So, can you talk about that a little bit?
Ashley Walsh - 00:14:42
Yeah, it's, it's just a timing game really. I think it's 100 and 20 days that you can't have any manure um from 100 and 20 days uh till it's harvested. So, you know, it's just about timing. So if you're doing a crop rotation you know, grazing different areas one year and then planting it the next, um, you know, or doing it, preseason or postseason. So, it's all just a big timing game, you know, and it, and it's hard to get into the, the schedule.
Kyle Krull - 00:15:12
Right. And you mentioned, you just got the chickens. Have you been able to incorporate that into any of these most recent schedules? Like, have they been able to fertilize and you've been able to plant on top of that? Like, and, and I guess, like, have you seen any of the impact yet the positive impact of having the chickens or is it still too new?
Ashley Walsh - 00:15:28
I think it's still too new. Uh But we do move them around every couple of weeks, we move them, they have a little mobile coop. Uh So it's been, I think about 16 or 17 months that we've had them. Uh So we move them around and, and try and um and get them pooping everywhere
Kyle Krull - 00:15:45
as they should, you know. Um So it sounds like, you know, incredible practice on the farm, tons of biodiversity. You mentioned nutrient density earlier and like how important that is. Um let's talk about some of these research studies, you know. So what is the Rodale Institute researching? And what are they finding out of the data that's coming out of your farm?
Ashley Walsh - 00:16:05
What's really cool about a lot of the research they do is is trying to figure out what is the biggest problems for farmers today, right? And then focus on those problems to figure out solutions that are nontoxic and non harmful to human health and planetary health. So a lot of our studies have to do with that and um and improving yield and quality um and nutrient density through different methods and techniques. Um So, you know, with our hemp studies, we're, we're doing different things with, with spacing and different nutri uh nitrogen applications, whether it's direct or whether it's in the soil. And so we try all these different methods and then say, hey, ok, which one, you know, had the best yield and quality from the eight or 10 different treatments that we do and, and we replicate them, right? You have to have it three years, three runs in a row uh for the white papers. So um so it takes a couple of years to gather the data, you know, depending on the crop that we're running it on. But uh one of the coolest things that Doctor Rash doctor from are working on is uh powdery mildew is a huge problem for indoor growing for our greenhouses.
Ashley Walsh - 00:17:07
So we have 380 acres out in the field, but we have 40,000 square feet of greenhouses and they're 35 ft tall. Um They're the high, highest 20 greenhouses in North America. Um So mildew can be a problem with them, you know, whether it's for egg plants or uh, tomatoes, whatever it might be. So, Doctor Rash, um, and Doctor Danni got, uh, a grant to work on a UV light treatment that would kill and prevent the powdery mildew without harming the plant, the plant cells, the taste, the yield the quality. So that's one of the biggest ones that we're involved in right now. And it's really awesome because that's something that so many greenhouse growers have problems with. And there's a lot of chemicals used to prevent it.
Ashley Walsh - 00:17:58
Um So if we can reduce that by figuring out a natural way that is not harmful and doesn't compromise the plant, then it's just a win for everybody.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:18:23
I love that. It's not chemical, right? And it's, if it's a light, like you're already probably running lights in that facility. So, from an energy consumption, like it's probably not gonna increase that much versus we need to produce some chemical truck, it in store it, you know, use it on the, the plants, et cetera. Um And
Ashley Walsh - 00:18:39
it's, yeah, it's only a few minutes of the late. It's not like they're all under there all the time. It's just a few minutes during certain uh growth periods. It's pretty wild.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:18:47
Where, where did hemp come from? Did, did, did the, did the farm bill that like made it more accessible? Was that just like, hey, let's take advantage of this market opportunity. Was it a part of your healing journey? Like where did the hemp and CBD
Ashley Walsh - 00:18:59
come into all this. It was part of my healing journey for sure. So I have about 30 medicine allergies. So I try to stay away from a lot of the chemical based pharmaceuticals. Um, so on my journey, you know, I would take okra pills for heartburn and just go back to old plant medic of what our grandparents used to use, you know, when there wasn't these chemicals and, and made by the pharmaceutical companies. So, um, you know, I had, I had tried CBD when it first came out and back then you could only get it in Colorado, you know, and, um, and I started making tinctures myself in my crock pot in my bathtub and training it out and, and it just was, it was magic for my stomach for me. A lot of my symptoms and problems were nausea and vomiting, especially in the morning. It was just like I had morning sickness all the time. So, um, it would just chill everything out. I mean, any of the nausea medications I would take would really have a lot of side effects for me. I would, I would have trouble seeing for a week, like I wouldn't be able to read my phone or drive. Everything was blurry.
Ashley Walsh - 00:19:54
So I didn't wanna take any of them. And here's this plant-based tincture that I put a couple drops under my tongue and within 10, 15 minutes I'm not sick anymore of, uh, or super nauseous and, and I actually get hungry to eat some crackers and a smoothie. Um So, but back then there wasn't any testing right there. Really wasn't. Everybody knew it was a, the hemp plant was a great bio accumulator, right? To clean up um contaminants from sites and that it had that power.
Ashley Walsh - 00:20:21
But you wanna make sure that's not the plant that you're consuming. You know, you wanna make the, the cool hemp plastic picnic table out of that hemp plant, not um not consume it. So I wanted to produce the cleanest and safest and highest quality hemp that I could. Uh we've had this land for 100 years. We know what's happened, we know the history of it. So to be able to have that clean land that was never treated and be able to grow these beautiful hemp plants and, and make a hemp based medicine.
Ashley Walsh - 00:20:54
Um Our first year we actually were under Rodale's research permit. It was before the actual real permits came out. Um So we were kind of ahead of that curve. It was already in our plan before, you know, everybody else jumped on it.
Kyle Krull - 00:21:28
It's really interesting and I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into the hemp side. You mentioned the, I think you nanoparticles previously um tell us about the development of that technology and why that's so important having the water soluble versus, you know, non nanoparticle CBD.
Ashley Walsh - 00:21:43
Yeah. So for the tinctures, um for example, most of the ones you guys are familiar with is a hemp extract, a crude extract, whether it's made with ethanol or CO2 extraction and then it's mixed with some kind of oil, MC T oil, olive oil. Well, those can take, you know, 45 minutes to an hour for you to digest and it, to get into your bloodstream. Um, so, you know, if you're nauseous like me, I don't really have an hour to wait and um, and then you don't really know what dosage you're getting, right. What are you actually absorbing from that? What is your stomach acid killing off? Uh What's your metabolism like that day? What did you eat that day? All of those then come into play of how much am I actually absorbing of this? Now, the nanoparticle technology, it's wild. It's not new technology by any means.
Ashley Walsh - 00:22:21
It's been used in the nutraceutical uh world and the vaccine industry for, for decades. Um hasn't really been utilized too much in cannabis. It's, it's expensive. It's, it's hard to do. And as far as the organic side of it, many that you see out there are not organic, there's a lot of emulsifiers and um chemicals that are added to it, like polysorbate and things like that that I just, you know, don't want in my body. So, um my husband happens to know everybody and introduced me to an old friend of his at Oregon that made of organic nano particle. And uh so we linked up with him and, and collaborated with him and, and got the ball rolling on it.
Ashley Walsh - 00:23:05
And the moment I started taking it with my stomach, I'm like, this is, this is our future of what I wanna be producing. Um So we actually discontinued like our MC T oil tincture because we were selling so many more of the, the nanoparticle ones. So um yeah, we, we have organic certification on it. We got that last year. We have that lab on site. So we make different nanoparticle milks, which is what goes into the tinctures.
Ashley Walsh - 00:23:38
And then we do a, a an infused sugar that goes into the bath bombs and then the Monk Fruit sugar that can be added to any food or drink. Um and Monkford just has the lowest glycaemic index. So that's why we chose that, but water soluble is it could be added to any food or drink. Now people add the oils to their drinks and coffee and stuff, but it's gonna be a blob on top, you know, it's never gonna mix in, but with the, the nano, it mixes right into any food or drink. Um So, you know, if grandma has Alzheimer's and doesn't like the taste of a tincture, you can mix it into her tea or whatever it might be. So I think a lot of people um you need creative ways of consumption.
Ashley Walsh - 00:24:21
You know, some people don't like tincture, some people don't like edibles so to be able to have everybody likes
Kyle Krull - 00:24:41
marshmallows, you know. So,
Ashley Walsh - 00:24:45
so you gotta
Kyle Krull - 00:24:45
get the marshmallow game rolling. Well, and I think that you've got what? Brownies? Pancakes and a few other like, you know, very common. Who doesn't, who doesn't not like those foods? Right? Uh, that you sell on the website
Ashley Walsh - 00:24:58
and we have the bake at home pancakes and brownies, which we figured out a way to do a high heat, withstanding dry powder ingredient to be able to add to those where people can bake them at home. So maybe you had too many margaritas on a Saturday night. You can have some CBD pancakes Sunday morning to calm your stomach down.
Kyle Krull - 00:25:16
So we, we talk to videos from
Anthony Corsaro - 00:25:18
time to time.
Kyle Krull - 00:25:21
Anthony gonna be the number one, you know, pancake fire. Um But so we've talked a little about, about some of the benefits of CBD and I'd like to kind of like hone in on this a little bit. Anthony mentioned he slept great. You know, you've mentioned anti nausea a couple of times. CBD to me is one of those like compounds that seems to do a little bit of everything. Um Let's dive in a little bit more and tell us like, what are the benefits of CBD and why do you feel like it's such an important additive to these foods? And how do you think it can help people the most
Ashley Walsh - 00:25:48
I think it's an, it's just an amazing plant and people are astonished by all the versatile uses, right? Of how it can help so many people with different issues. And it's, you know, we have these, this endo cannabinoid system in our body, we have these receptors. Um and it was always part of our diets for centuries, right? The animals would eat hemp, we'd eat the animals, it was just part of our diets. And then for 70 years, here's this molecule that's been lacking of our, of our body systems. And then people take it for the first time. They're like, oh my God, this is amazing. No, it's like meant to be in your body, you know, and it, and it, I always describe it as it just kind of, it regulates all of your body systems, right?
Ashley Walsh - 00:26:21
So whether it, it's, it's reducing inflammation and that, you know, has a million ripple effects of what inflammation does to people's bodies. Uh whether it helps, you know, me, with my nausea or people with anxiety, just being able to relax and, and, and uh without taking a pharmaceutical or alcohol or whatever to relax. Um So my main mission was to, you know, if I could replace 11 pill that somebody's taking a day with CBD, at least that's, that's a win to just use more of a safe plant-based option. And I think that the people that say, well, CBD didn't work for me I think they, unfortunately, maybe just got a bad quality product. You know, there's a lot of bad quality products and, and lately, you know, they've been kind of disappearing and, and more, um, good quality CBD brands are, are, you know, still standing and, and well represented and doing the right things, growing things the right way and manufacturing the right way. But I think just finding a high quality, you know, uh, CV D product can help so many people with different things. I mean, anything from putting topicals on neuropathy on your feet to bug bites and burns. I mean, it's just amazing. I don't, I have horrible hand eczema.
Ashley Walsh - 00:27:33
Uh in the wintertime my hands bleed. I, ever since I started using CBD cream, it's completely gone, like not even existing anymore. So I think it's so versatile and just, I can't wait to see it just in a multivitamin. I feel like everybody should be taking it every day and have it in your body system because you have that endo cannabinoid system that produces it on its own. Sometimes you just have to prime the pump and get it to kind of wake up a little bit.
Kyle Krull - 00:28:21
That's super interesting. You know, I, I am one of those people who in my first experience with CBD Tier or I, I said, I think I started a ting in a rub after a knee surgery. I neither seemed to do anything for me and maybe you know, I'm one of those who just had a bad batch. Um and I'm really, you know, I know a lot of people, my, my mom had breast cancer um and had really bad neuropathy in her hands because of the chemo treatments. And she said, like AC B think she was the only thing that could provide her any sort of relief. Um So II I there's all sorts of different spectrums, right? And you know, the industry I work in bone broth, like highly, highly regulated when compared to the hemp industry. But there's still, even though we're super regulated, there are a lot of bone broth companies who don't even put real bones in their product.
Kyle Krull - 00:28:54
You know, so to me like, and that's well regulated when I think about hemp like and the potential for people to make claims that are not substantiated and using low quality, either products or manufacturing practices or who knows what else? Like the variability of people's experiences must be all over the place. So I'm curious to get your take on, you mentioned that there are more high quality products coming out. You like, what does the regulation look like today? How are people substantiating claims? Are there any third party certifies out there to say this is legit, this is not legit. What's that landscape look like?
Ashley Walsh - 00:29:40
Yeah, I think certifications are definitely great. You know, we have us C A or Certified Organic. We are the first regenerative organic certified hemp in the world. Uh We also real organic project that we're certified with. But I think the biggest reason I think of why the cream is kind of RS to the top is just the reduction in hemp acreage. So the first year, 2019, the first planting year after the farm bill came out, we're to this year, we're down 80% in CBD hemp acreage planting
Anthony Corsaro - 00:30:16
schemes that didn't go well.
Ashley Walsh - 00:30:19
And so many farmers just with barns full of, of biomass, it's, you know, it's really sad. Everybody went too big without having the supply chain set up, you know, and, and um so I think that's why you see now the, the, the high quality and the really good brands, you know, are still standing and doing really well and some of the weird gas station kind of ones are, are dwindling off a little bit, you know. Um So I think it's all about people picking a high quality version, you know, and, and knowing about the farm, there's so many CV D companies that don't even know the name of the farm that their, their extract comes from. They might just order, you know, a jar of extract and make their products from that. They don't know what the land looked like, how was it handled, you know, how was it stored so many important things and, and when I saw how the industry kinda was with that, that made it so much more important to me to become vertically integrated. So as much as that we can do on site, we do on site ourselves so that we have that really clear chain of custody with our product, knowing that we're gonna offer a consistent product, you know, to our consumers and, and, and we're purists. I'm a purist.
Ashley Walsh - 00:31:15
I'm not doing any kind of crazy isolates or anything like that. I believe in the full plant, the power of the entire plant. Um and I feel like ethanol extraction is, is the best for it. Um I think it's like he moonshine and uh and the alcohol really sucks out all those great medicinal properties throughout the whole plant and, and then being able to mix that in different forms for people.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:32:00
How, how vertically integrated are you Ashley are, is every finished product that you all sell with CBD in it. You produce all the way in house or you do like the nanoparticle ingredient and then you produce like the main ingredient, like the main finished products with that ingredient somewhere else. Like what, what does that actually
Ashley Walsh - 00:32:15
look like? So we grow it, we dry it. The only thing that we don't do on site is the ethanol extraction because you need explosion proof room for that. So we have a great, a
Kyle Krull - 00:32:27
great house probably doesn't satisfy you. Let
Anthony Corsaro - 00:32:29
someone else do that.
Ashley Walsh - 00:32:31
So we, we outsource that. So we bring £1000 at a time to a third party organic processor in New York. Uh He's about 80 miles away from us. Um And so we bring £1000 at a time up to him. We just drive it up and then we pick up the, the crude oil and bring it back here and make all of our products from that. So, um and then we have a formulation lab, we have our R and D lab. So every all the recipes are, are made here and tested packaged and shipped out all from here. So the extraction is the only part that we don't do, but we do have the nanoparticle lab on site that is here in our, in our facility.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:33:12
So that happens after you get it back from the, the person in New York, you nanoparticle it or whatever the right term is and then it goes into the finished goods.
Ashley Walsh - 00:33:21
Ok. Absolutely. Very cool. So tell
Kyle Krull - 00:33:24
us a little bit more about like the brand story. We've talked a lot about, you know, the CBD products, how your products are different, how are you communicating that story effectively to consumers? And you know, what does it look like from a retail distribution perspective today, we, you know, based on my understanding of the hip industry is still kind of the wild wild west, there are some retailers who might be ok with some CBD claims, some of them, we don't want to touch it at all, you know, tell us, like, how are you navigating those waters
Ashley Walsh - 00:33:49
and the, the retail side is definitely hard, you know, you have to definitely be very careful with claims for sure. Um, but a lot of the big box stores are staying away from ingestible and just using topicals until the FD. Well, they're all hoping for the FDA to make some, you know, guidelines for that, but that's been delayed. Of course, yet again. Um So a lot of big, you know, big box stores are staying away from ingestible and just focusing on the, the topicals. Um And then of course, you know, you have Amazon and social media where all kinds of CV D triggers algorithms, you know, block you and you and you can't get out there. So going direct to consumer is difficult and the retailer space is, is difficult as well. But going with those smaller, you know, smaller mom and pop stores, uh I feel like CBD could be in 90% of main street usa stores, you know, whether it's a, a bicycle shop to a surf shop, to a spa, to the natural grocer.
Ashley Walsh - 00:34:35
I mean, so many places are relevant to buy your CBD products. So I think that's, you know, interesting with the, the products itself that they're so versatile and where they can be sold and also selling, you know, to different juice companies and smoothie shops and cafes for them bakeries, all that for them to make their, to infuse in their own products as well as a whole. Another side of it, that's um that's a lot of fun as well. So, but education is the key, that is the key to hemp, that is the key to regenerative organic agriculture, you know, teaching people and how can you teach people without preaching to them is by giving them experiences. So, our farm here is uh 70,000 square foot facility. We are open to the public. We have a cafe run by a chop champion chef, chef mclean who's unbelievable and everything that she makes. It's a scratch kitchen. Everything is amazing.
Ashley Walsh - 00:35:44
Everything is organic or regenerative, organic that she makes and everything uh that we sell at the market as well. And we have a zero waste policy. So anything that's a number two or bruised or ugly, she'll turn into jams and salsas and value added products that we sell here at our market. And then the rest would go into our compost. So being able to bring people in to the cafe to the market, we have a, a classroom. So she'll do cooking classes for kids and adults. We have a clean, clean food, Dirty Hands program was like the one that was near and dear to my heart.
Ashley Walsh - 00:36:19
So for kids to teach them how to plant, how to harvest, how to tend a, you know, tend for the plants and weed and, and then all the way through harvest and then learning how to prepare the food with Chef Lindsay. So we have these programs weekly here uh for the kids, different crafts, different activities, but teaching them at an early age. So they don't have to wait until they have a diagnosis like us, right? To make changes in your life. When do people finally make a change? Either you get pregnant and you read in the book, don't eat pesticides or you get a, you get a diagnosis and then they say don't eat pesticides. Well, like why are we doing that to be preventative? Like what's wrong with this?
Ashley Walsh - 00:37:03
So, trying to give people experiences where they can taste the best Mexican street corn they've ever had or the best tomato because it's number one fresh. It's not been sitting on a truck for days and days and at a distribution center it was probably harvested the day before they're actually eating it. The shelf life is longer for our consumers to bring home then and it has more nutrients, right? I mean, all these uh research studies are finally coming out now showing that regena organic agriculture is producing more nutrient dense food than conventional, which is awesome, which is awesome. It's great for all of us and we're taking care of the soil and sequestering carbon all at the same time. So, um it's just really a, a win win for everybody. So between our, our classes that we have on site and our crazy events. We do.
Ashley Walsh - 00:37:52
I mean, we have the funny farm comedy show in the summers where we have some New York, uh, comedian friends that come out and do some comedy shows and, and weddings and corporate events and team building and yoga retreats and compost classes. I mean, everything that we can think of. We just, we just do, we schedule it, we do it. Uh, we have an on site uh herbalist now. So she's planning a whole bunch of classes to do one class a month and, and um so just fun things like this and, and as our staff comes to us with ideas, you know, we encourage them to send us ideas to the think tank email of ideas for innovation, for classes, for blogs, you know, that they might want to see or things that might interest them. So really trying to get everybody engaged with what their passions are and then when people come in and visit us that passion, they see that passion and it could be contagious and we want them to be inspired to make a change in their corner of the world.
Ashley Walsh - 00:38:51
Like this is what we're doing in our town to try and make it better for the world and better for our community. And we hope other people can, whether it's just doing a one plant in their window sill in a New York City apartment, you know, whatever it might be to encourage them to get back in touch with nature and, and to get their hands dirty and see the process and feel the process and taste the difference. And it makes a big, it makes a big difference in people's lives. Giving them these emotional souvenirs, we call them right where you can't really preach at people. You get a much better response by giving them an experience that they will remember and have that emotional souvenir.
Kyle Krull - 00:39:49
I super appreciate everything you just said. I wanna add one piece. You talk about all the data coming out. There's also so much data to prove that regenerative food actually tastes better as well, which is fantastic. Um The picture you just painted of the Pocono organic experience makes me feel like I need to take a regenerative pilgrimage to this. Yeah. Well, I was, I was just thinking, man, I'm gonna be in Philly for four weeks. Like how far is the farm from Philly? Can I spin it? I don't know. Um But yeah, I know, II I wanna call on, you know, my, my personal experience with growing food. You know, I I'm not a plant person. I'm not good at taking care of plants.
Kyle Krull - 00:40:14
Um Heather and I have my fiance, we just put 48 by two raised garden beds in our backyard this year and I have seen the return of all sorts of life to the area. There are more birds, there are insects there are predator insects. There is just so much life there and the, the level of satisfaction I get out of, you know, if I'm having a bowl for lunch, you know, like a taco gusta bow and pulling fresh Roma out of my garden. And knowing that that was like a growing food 30 minutes before I consumed it. Like the level of satisfaction and knowing that, you know how it was grown, the, the level of care that went into it, the lack of pesticides on it. It's, it's just incredible.
Kyle Krull - 00:40:52
So the fact that you get to share that experience with so many people and teach them about that power and that impact is incredible. Um And I think if we can get more people involved in the process of like where food actually comes from to your point, that's going to do a ton from an educational perspective and empower people to better understand like the impact they can make for the planet, for their own bodies, for the food system, et cetera. Um So just really, really appreciate everything you just shared. That was super, super cool. And really how far is the farm from Philly
Ashley Walsh - 00:41:36
hour and a half? And we're having a big dinner on Tuesday night for Roc, all the brands and farms that come together. So I'll send you the
Kyle Krull - 00:41:43
I see. Yeah, let me see if I can get there. That'd be, that'd be incredible.
Ashley Walsh - 00:41:46
And we have a hotel next door uh with one and two bedroom apartments. So we do a lot of agritourism. So we have yoga retreats or corporate events. They all stay at the hotel and just walk right over here to the farm
Anthony Corsaro - 00:41:59
is sleeping on a cot in the greenhouse. He's
Kyle Krull - 00:42:03
the man, whatever works.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:42:07
I, I want to clarify one thing for myself and the audience actually, which is, there's all this amazing agritourism, local regional food system work, the the more the fresh produce kind of commodity work. And then there's the CBD line which is desiring to be a regional and or a national kind of CBG brand. And my assumption is there's probably things in the product innovation pipeline that are also coming down that that pipeline. I'm looking at my other screen, this shooting water sparkling CBD infused drink uh which makes me think of Wooderson from basic confused. Um But is that the aspiration on the, on the CBD side to be kind of a prominent national? Um really, I would say standard Bearer for Regen of Organic in hemp and CBD. And what's coming like, you know, from a product perspective, you guys are already doing a ton, but just curious there.
Ashley Walsh - 00:42:58
Absolutely. So I like, I like figuring out new ways for consumption. I'm not good with edibles because I have delayed digestion with my stomach. So my edible won't hit me for four hours and that doesn't help me. So that's why I like the nanoparticle because it's a very fast reaction. Um So putting it into the Seltzer. So we did that collaboration with the other half brewery there, uh a famous microbrewery out of New York and they have locations all of it down the east coast. And we, we know one of the founders. So we've been working on this collaboration for about a year and got it all dialed in. So we started on small scale with their best selling all Citrus Seltzer.
Ashley Walsh - 00:43:29
Of course, we did put the alcohol in and we put the CBD in instead and it was kind of, we did a small run. We're like, OK, let's see how it sells. If people like it and if it goes well, then we'll, we'll do a big run and, and go more regional and, and hopefully national with it. So it's been wonderful. Everybody loves it. I'm loving it.
Ashley Walsh - 00:43:47
Uh You know, when I'm feeding my son dinner, I'm having one of those to relax and, and not having a glass of wine. I'm just having the CBD and F Stelzer and it's, it's a beautiful color and refreshing. So, trying to come up with those new ways of consumption and like the marshmallow, I can suck on that and I'm gonna absorb it right away and it doesn't really have to be digested. So, just thinking of different things out there. Um But we're, we're crazy here. We're always experimenting with all kinds of ideas sometimes. I think my staff loves me sometimes they hate me, but we have a lot of fun, you know, being vertically integrated and not being at the mercy of a co Packer.
Ashley Walsh - 00:44:26
You know, if you go to a Co Packer, oh, it's a minimum of 10,000 units. We're like, we don't even know if anybody's gonna like this marshmallow. Right? And so here the beauty of it is trying something we want to do, selling it to the market, see how everybody likes it. And then we go to the next steps if it passes all those, all those tests. So there's lots of stuff in the R and D pipeline. We've just uh expanded our pet collection and that is uh gonna be a couple more products coming out with that and um and a lot more edible infusions. Um These gourmet infused butters.
Ashley Walsh - 00:44:56
Oh my God, there's like a garlic and herb one. So put it on bread like garlic bread or I throw some of my uh fettuccini alfredo so good and then like a a sugar and cinnamon one for toast. So just uh all these, I'm
Anthony Corsaro - 00:45:32
Kyle Krull - 00:45:33
now. I am. I was just gonna say if anybody that started this podcast not feeling hungry, they're certainly feeling hungry now, no doubt.
Ashley Walsh - 00:45:42
So you were saying about like bonfires and stuff. So when we go to different events, we, you know, we're selling these things. We bring a chef, we bring a flat top. We make the different toasts with the butters on top and then we have a bonfire pit for people to make Smores. Uh just to sample some of the new, new things that we're coming out with.
Kyle Krull - 00:46:01
Polka dot knows how to party. You know, you guys speak my language. I'm not, I'm not about, you know, the alcohol party life. I'm more about like how can I get some really awesome food in me? And this feels like you're speaking my language. Um This is kind of a sidebar, Anthony hates it when I do this. Um But you mentioned that you guys are crazy.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:46:20
I'm going for a record for, for the, for the regular listeners.
Kyle Krull - 00:46:25
Um You mentioned, you're all, you're all crazy. You like to try to do different things. What are some of the wackiest ideas you've tried from like AAA product R and D perspective and, and they could be things that like fell flat on their face. Like that was a terrible idea. But I'm just curious, like, what have you tried?
Ashley Walsh - 00:46:39
Well, the one that is coming to fruition, there's two that are coming to fruition in the next few months. They're in their final uh R and D stages, but we uh linked up with a textile company that does a lot of military contracts and particularly stocks and we made a CBD infused stock um to help people with
Kyle Krull - 00:47:02
all the route. I thought you were gonna be going to my mind is blown CBD.
Ashley Walsh - 00:47:09
So when I talk about coming up with different ways of consumption like that, to me is another form of consumption. You're putting a stock on and absorbing it through your skin. Does it
Anthony Corsaro - 00:47:17
like the CBD after a couple of wears? Like what happens when you wash it? Like
Kyle Krull - 00:47:23
one time you suck.
Ashley Walsh - 00:47:25
So there's an amazing uh Harvard and MIT scientist that has been working with us on this and he's actually encapsulated it. So it's slow release. Uh It's in wash testing right now, but it looks like it's gonna last 30 washes. But like the prototype I got, I didn't, I don't really wash it that often, you know, like I'm wearing it at home after I take a shower and I'm like lounging. I have my slippers on. I'm not running a marathon with the, you know. Um Yeah, I might want to. So um it's been unbelievable. We've given a lot of prototypes out uh to various people. A friend of ours that lost his leg, uh amputees to people with neuropathy from diabetes and other things. So, um it's been a really great response.
Ashley Walsh - 00:47:53
We've done an academic review of it with Jefferson University that we're hoping will turn into a clinical trial. Um But uh yeah, we're gonna be going into production on them very soon, very soon once the wash testing is, is officially complete and we're starting with the socks, but then we're gonna do gloves and like ace bandage material as well. And, uh, I, I couldn't believe they work as well as they do. I mean, 15, 20 minutes after wearing it. It's crazy how much, um, better you feel? I'd show them to you right now. But I gave them to my best friend's mom for neuropathy on her food.
Ashley Walsh - 00:48:37
So they're, they're helping her but, you know, they're not gonna be that expensive. They're, they're gonna be very reasonable. I like to make CBD accessible to everybody. I don't think that it should be crazy price by any means. I think it should be part of people's lives. So, you know, uh it will be inexpensive enough that after your 30 washes, hey, you just have a really nice pair of socks.
Ashley Walsh - 00:49:05
You know, that's so
Kyle Krull - 00:49:14
cool and you know, easy, go ahead. I'm picturing
Anthony Corsaro - 00:49:19
myself in a custom size CBD infused body suit for recovery and I need that so bad. That might be the greatest brand content of all time.
Ashley Walsh - 00:49:30
CBD Snuggie. Yes, I love it. Oh,
Anthony Corsaro - 00:49:35
Kyle Krull - 00:49:36
real talk. You know, for, for, you know, I've, I've been through chemo and I, I understand how difficult neuropathy can be and, and for those who aren't super familiar with neuropathy, what that feels like. Um you, you have hypersensitivity to cold in particular at least was my experience to the point where I'd have to keep gloves on my fridge if I was gonna reach in and grab something cold, it feels like an electric shock. So I can only imagine the amount of potential help this can have for people in that situation, you know, and, and the socks too, it, it tends to be hand and feet or at least for me and most of the people I know who have been through that. So, I mean, what started to me as like a hilarious, this is like, just a funny product. Innovation is really like, this could be life changing for people who are going through these sorts of, you know, treatments for years on end, you know. So I I I'm super pumped and hope that they can get access to these things sooner rather than later.
Ashley Walsh - 00:50:32
And there's not many options for people like when you were going through that and I've had family members going through that. There's not many options of, hey, doc, what should I do about this? There's not a lot of solutions. So at least this is a nontoxic plant based answer.
Kyle Krull - 00:50:48
Yeah, and the solutions they want to give you is, hey, take another pill and it's like, man, this is the last thing I want to do at this time. I mean, I used to go to bed, I'd put lotion on my hands like a like a I think it was badger hand balm with cotton gloves just so my hands would be somewhat recovered by the next morning, you know. So to have an option like this, like it, it can truly be life-changing for people in that situation. So I'm just super psyched about that type of innovation. Um And again, what, what I asked is like sort of a joke of a question really uh like, it really feels like something that is super, super empowering for those people. So I'm, I'm just psyched about the innovation you can do in there. And, and originally I was really curious, like, why would the military be interested in this? But based on your answer, it sounds like more for the amputee and people with like serious injuries is, is that correct?
Ashley Walsh - 00:51:32
That's definitely part of it. So I definitely wanna, you know, take care of, of people like our farm workers that are on their feet all day and Chef Lindsay is on her feet all day and people that are just having everyday pain, but my grandpa had diabetes and, you know, had toes cut off and had that neuropathy in his feet. And, and we all know people that have had it right? So to be able to give them a relief, but then also a very good friend of ours, you know, is an amputee and I send him everything to test with him and his girlfriend, um and get feedback on them, you know, and, and so I, we've definitely been exploring the amputee route, you know, whether it's veterans, whether it's people with health conditions, whatever it might be um, you know, as a liner as a sock before they put on their, their prosthetic limbs. Um, it's become helpful with some of them with phantom limb pain and reducing some of the nerve pain and the everyday stuff and just like friction and irritation that they get from, you know, their different um uh prosthetics that they utilize. So to be able to help them and to, to help the vets too, you know, that have given so much to us. We have a veteran training program here with Rodale.
Ashley Walsh - 00:52:43
Rodale started eight years ago, uh where it was a four month program where vets will go live at Rodale for four months and, and learn how to farm and take that back to their communities. But we expanded that program here. So that was our first building that was done was a five bedroom veteran house. Um So after they're done at Rodale, they come here for eight more months. They have a full year, they learn indoor and outdoor. Um and they can stay with us or they can, you know, go on and in their own farms or, or, or do whatever they like.
Ashley Walsh - 00:53:16
So we have a couple of veterans that are still here uh living at the house and one of them developed our mushroom program as something he was really passionate about and, and developed the mushroom program that we do. So, um so the vets and the kids are definitely sweet and dear to our heart and we want to make sure that we give back as much as we can.
Kyle Krull - 00:53:45
Man, Ashley, is there anything you're not doing? It? Sounds like you've got programs for a lot of crazy, just, just super cool, the level of passion and enthusiasm and who you're choosing to share this with. I mean, it sounds like you really want to share this with everybody, but there are particular demographics you're focusing on. I think that's really admirable work that you're doing. Um I do kind of want, I think we already
Anthony Corsaro - 00:54:07
hold on. I, I have a, I have a question right off that specific demographic. That's just a curiosity, the race track, the raceway, when I think of the NASCAR demographic and regenerative organic CBD products or just regena organic, that seems like a small sliver of an overlapping ven diagram. Are you selling any of the products at the racetrack? And if so, how has that been, if, if, if you have
Ashley Walsh - 00:54:29
so, so it's a really unique situation, right? So talking about educating people through experiences and emotional souvenirs. So that's what we use the race track for, right, to amplify our message to a greater audience. I mean, we have 250,000 people that come through our doors every year to the race shack. And now this is our NASCAR race weekend. So people are coming in in campers today and staying till Monday. That's five days that they're camping for like how many corn dogs and hot dogs can you really eat in that time? So you'd be amazed of the setups that people have at their campsites, of things that they're cooking. So we have come up with a solution for every single guest that we have on site. So we, if you're camping in the infield, we have a stationary farmers' market out there where the concert stages that's open all day and night.
Ashley Walsh - 00:55:06
And then we have a roaming farmers' market. We got a uh beverage cart from a golf course
Kyle Krull - 00:55:26
all day and all night. This is a 24 7 regenerative market in the middle of a NASCAR infield
Ashley Walsh - 00:55:32
till like 11 o'clock at night when the concert is winding down. So we sell veggies, we sell, should be water. We sell the marshmallows, we sell CBD products, everything uh from those two locations and a lot of people won't leave their campsite. So that's why we have the little roaming uh roaming farmers market. But then we also have it in our concession stands and then we have a regenerative Organic corporate sweet menu. So like all the corporate sweets that come in, get catering. So last year, we've had the same caterer family caterer for 40 years. He just retired uh last year. So chef Lindsay and the poet Organics team has taken over all all of the cooking.
Ashley Walsh - 00:56:01
So we're like,
Anthony Corsaro - 00:56:17
yeah, that's, we
Ashley Walsh - 00:56:17
got people to feed this weekend, you know,
Kyle Krull - 00:56:21
crazy. I mean, I, I'm not, I, I love sports and I've never thought that I want to be in the suite at a NASCAR event before. But suddenly that has become a priority of mine because I feel like that menu experience and just the quality of food for a sporting event that is like, you know, in comparable to just about every, every other option out there. So
Ashley Walsh - 00:56:41
what are the options for people? You know, like there's still your corn dogs and you know, your regular sports food, but there's also options, you know, if you want fresh organic food. Um And you know, it's actually not as crazy as a mixture as people think because 76% of NASCAR fans think they can do something to give back to the environment and want to support brands that do 76%. Ok. So you have, you have farmers that are fans, you have, you have fishermen, you have hunters, you have gardeners, you have all kinds of people and they care about the environment. Unfortunately. Yes, the racing is not great for the environment, but my dream, like I said, I'm crazy about things, but maybe one day these cars will be running on hemp fuel and it'll be a whole different scenario, right? So, um, so that's, you know, we're, we're, we're using it to promote a, a message of good and, and, and trying to get people to experience it and incorporate it into their lives in some way.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:57:49
That's, that's super cool. I, so I got two things that the personal connections are, are uncanny today. So Bobby and Donny Allison are actually like my sister, relatives. So that's my NASCAR connection. And um I'm officially volunteering for the race next year to drive the mobile farm. Uh the mobile farm stand. I want, I need the poking organics polo, the hat I need to be outfitted. I wanna be driving that thing and I wanna set record sales numbers for the weekend.
Kyle Krull - 00:58:17
I, I think, I think we turned that into a, a Regen podcast episode. I mean, I mean, in three a camera,
Ashley Walsh - 00:58:24
I love it. I love it.
Kyle Krull - 00:58:26
Right on. Well, I, I know we've already talked quite a bit about future innovation. Um We talked about the future of NASCAR running on help fuel. Um You know, is there anything else that we haven't touched on that is like coming down the Pike for Pokeno Organics? Whether that be like product innovation, whether that be like is the size of the farm gonna change at any point in time? Are you planning to, to get more acreage? Like what, what does the future hold that we haven't already touched on?
Ashley Walsh - 00:58:49
Um So there is one more product innovation that I'll, I'll tell you here in a minute, but it's for the, the future plan. So, you know, we only grow right now. And maybe a third of our acreage and the rest is cover crop because we're a new farm. We're five years in, we're still a startup. So we're scaling up and, and having to get a for every kind of uh crop, it's hard being a diverse farm. So I, I will be scaling up our acreage, you know, as we go here little by little. Um, but a majority of our acreage, hopefully one day will be hemp fiber production. And I really want to put a hemp um fiber processing facility on site. So we've been really working hard and collaborating with different groups to be able to make that happen on our land and, and grow the hemp here and process it here to then make it into herd that can go to construction materials and bio plastics and, and paper and then the fiber, the outside goes to the textile industry and then the biochar just kind of the waste left over can be used for farmers a great input for the land.
Ashley Walsh - 00:59:28
So um that's the, the grand plan down the line is to uh to be doing the, the hemp fiber processing and, and all the things that come with that. But in the meantime, um so my husband was a pro surfer for 25 years. We've, we've been to, we've, we've been to Bali, we've been a lot of places with the plastic crisis in the water and I think people don't really realize, um, that it's serious and that it's coming for us and what it's like in some other countries and, and what the future holds with our plastic consumption and, and the disposal of it. And I, I forget who came out with the, the saying, but this supposed to be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. So there was that stat from somewhere, but I'm sure with COVID and all the single use, sure that's gonna be sooner than 2050. So, um so we've been working with Jefferson University, we had a Pennsylvania Manufacturing innovation grant with them to make a hemp bioplasma that's compostable. So we, we have finally are like a month away from the first prototypes being made.
Ashley Walsh - 01:00:48
So we've been, they've been mixing it with different polymers and figuring out the right mixture um and density and use for different apps locations. So the two that we're going for first is I wanted to focus on things for food service, whether it's something that we can use on farm or at the market and cafe. So the first things that will be coming down the line is a hemp, plastic cup and a bowl. Um And if it goes well, then we'll, we'll put those manufacturing capabilities on site with the processing plant uh for the hemp. So it would be grown here, processed here and products made here. Um All vertically integrated with like no carbon footprint of transportation anywhere. Um, and then we already have a market for the cups and bowls, being able to use it in our cafe.
Ashley Walsh - 01:01:39
And, um, and then at the racetrack as well. So imagine, you know, every cup of beer, soda or water that's sold, um, over a weekend uses our cup. But that's also why we got the commercial composting machine because then once those cups get disposed of in the proper, uh, receptacle. right? Because there's so much um compostable products that just, they don't break down very easily, like they are plant based and stuff, but some of them just don't break down easily. So to be able to uh have a commercial composting facility on site and bring that waste right back over here to then make compost that's gonna go back on the field to grow more.
Ashley Walsh - 01:02:25
He, it's just this awesome closed loop solving problems that we have and trying to be, you know, as sustainable as we can and new in different ways
Kyle Krull - 01:02:48
totally. And I'm struck by, I can't help but think of Amazon when you talk about this and Amazon typically gets a bad rap, but from a business strategic perspective, they have this mantra, like be your own best customer and it really feels like it's sort of what Pocono is embodying because of its unique position and relationship with the race track. And it's really great to see like it's so hard to do Regen and I feel like it's so often like the regenerative founders and entrepreneurs are in such a disadvantaged position. Generally speaking, just because of the way our economic system works and the, and the, the lack of education around that type of food, it's really cool to see that the position you're in and the fact that you're taking full advantage of it in the best way possible to make the best possible way back for, you know, planet People, food, et cetera. So just really, really psyched to hear all the stuff that you've got coming down the pipeline. Good for you. Good for Pocono Organics.
Kyle Krull - 01:03:32
Just, just a really great
Anthony Corsaro - 01:03:39
Ashley Walsh - 01:03:41
We've done a lot in five years. So we'll, we'll keep on trucking.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:03:45
That's, that's incredible. And we're looking forward to episode two going even deeper on the bio plastics front when you have more to share there and all, all the other things. Um but to, to take us home, Ashley, the final question that we asked everybody is, how do we get Regen brands to have 50% market share by 2050? What do we need to do?
Ashley Walsh - 01:04:05
We definitely need more farmers to get on board. I think the amount of calls I get every week from different Roc brands that are looking for ingredients is is crazy. So we definitely need to get as many farms on board. You know, whether the and I think that really helped with like the USDA Certified Organic Program, right? When they started doing cost share, um, cost share programs for the certification and teaching people about the paperwork and, and making them not scared of it. I think a lot of farmers are in intimidated by the paperwork. So, uh, you know, we try to be a resource to help them through that anybody um that needs help and that's part of what we do with the regional resource center as well with Rodale is just trying to educate the farmer too that, hey, this isn't as hard as, you know, you think it is to, to complete. And I think the industry is really coming along every year at Expo and um more and more people coming together for collaborations because we is greater than me, you know, and, and the more of us going, you know, together to push this movement forward um is better and I, and I think we're gonna get there, you know, look at USDA Certified Organic, it was slow in the beginning, right? But then it gains, it gains speed. And I think with the more research and all these climate smart grants and the research that's being done all the carbon sequestering abilities of the hemp plant and regenerative agriculture.
Ashley Walsh - 01:05:21
Um I think it's just gonna, I, I inspire more investors and family offices and companies to invest in um you know, companies like ours and to, to get their ingredients from people that are doing things right and treating the environment, right? Um So I think, I think we're gonna get there. Mm
Kyle Krull - 01:05:58
No doubt we're gonna try.
Ashley Walsh - 01:06:00
That's right. And it's because of the work you guys do. I mean you guys are so great at sharing everybody's stories and, and connecting so many people that you guys are educating, you know, with every, every show that you do and that's what we need more people out there talking and, and educating. We're all teachers at this point.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:06:22
Yeah, we appreciate that y'all are doing the real work and the hard work. Uh We are just the people that get to be a megaphone for it. Um But yeah, it's, it's fun, we appreciate it. Yeah, I need the marshmallows. Um Ashley, this was, this was phenomenal. This was so fun and informative. Thank you so much for uh making the time during this really, really busy season for you all and just you personally, really appreciate
Ashley Walsh - 01:06:44
it. No, thanks so much to you guys. I really appreciate you having me on and look forward to seeing you guys when you come out to visit.
Kyle Krull - 01:06:54
No doubt, looking forward to that trip so much.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:06:57
Ashley Walsh - 01:06:58
Thanks you guys
Anthony Corsaro - 01:07:03
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