The Inspiration behind Hemp… and the Queen.
For 10 years before embarking on the hemp foods adventure, Tonia Farman ran a nonprofit — Project Koru — that helped young adults get their lives back after cancer. She was a pioneer in developing experiential programming to help address the psychosocial effects of cancer to improve quality of life. She won Self Magazine’s Woman of the Year award and Livestrong’s Young Adult Cancer Survivorship award for her work, however after 12 years she sighed witnessing an ongoing challenge with the people Project Koru served.
…. to curiosity.
The more she worked with cancer survivors, the more she recognized roadblocks that kept coming up during and after battling their disease: a broken food system and a failed healthcare system. In her research to seek out something better, she kept running into the many beneficial properties of hemp. In fact, her only experience with hemp was the bag of hemp hearts in her pantry… yet she had no idea what a superfood it was. This is what initially inspired Tonia to launch into hemp as a superfood.
“I couldn’t walk for six weeks.”
After six months producing and packaging nutritional hemp seed oil, hemp seed coffee, and hemp hearts, customers were inquiring about CBD. A year prior, Tonia’s husband, Gregg, had two herniated discs, experiencing excruciating pain and reducing his mobility to a desk and a bed for six weeks. Surgeons and pain doctors suggested cortisol shots and ibuprofen, but he refused and lived with the pain. A friend had given him a CBD salve and hemp oil that drastically reduced inflammation and pain around his back, giving him his mobility and quality of life that he couldn’t quite explain at the time. That was enough for us to work toward developing and producing a top-shelf Oregon-grown CBD product.
From the Pickle King to a Hemp Queen
When coming up with a name, we looked to our roots. Tonia’s grandfather was the Pickle King of the Pacific Northwest, working with farmers from the Skagit Valley in Northwest Washington State to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to grow cucumbers for the family pickle business. As a producer, Grandpa Farman and Uncle Fred had family-like relationships with their growers, inviting them to family reunions, pickle parties and holidays. Dick and Fred were in the fields as well… it was part of being connected to the product and the quality every step of the way.
So when we decided to bring hemp hearts (the yummy, nutritious core of the hemp seed) to market…. it only seemed natural to carry on the legacy of working with, and supporting, American farmers to do so. Just this time, we thought it was time for a Queen. And so Queen of Hearts began.