Our Homegrown Hemp
Turkish Hemp Fiber Production
The Turkish hemp used in our cordage products such as rope, pet products and doormats is produced by local subsistence farmers growing a heritage variety as they have for centuries. Hemp is a sustainable and environmentally friendly crop. We grow our own hemp crops on small farms free of pesticides and herbicides. Hemp Bouquet works with about twenty farming families each year in two villages in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
What Is Hemp?
True hemp is the long and strong fiber found in the stalks of all Cannabis plants, while edible seeds and medicinal drugs are products of the female plants alone. Across Eurasia traditional hemp fiber crops grow in regions with fertile soil, abundant sunshine and year-round water. Hemp fiber crops are densely sown in the spring, so the plants will be crowded together as they grow rapidly through the warm summer. This traditional strategy encourages the growth of tall stalks rich in soft fiber, and creates a canopy shading out weedy competitors. Hemp fiber crops are harvested in late summer, and seeds are collected in early autumn. Hemp fiber is extracted by soaking the stalks in water to free the bark, and then peeling off the fibrous strips by hand. Hemp fibers are always kept parallel during processing so they can be easily spun into yarn for twisting ropes and weaving fabrics.
Humans have relied on the fiber and seeds of the Cannabis plant since prehistoric times. Archeological sites reveal cultures using hemp dating back millennia, and hemp was among our earliest cultivated plants. Hemp fiber clothed our bodies, tied our bundles, secured our loads, rigged our sailing ships, and fought our wars. Human history would not be the same without hemp.
Throughout our lengthy relationship with the Cannabis plant we have selected it for a variety of uses. Traditional cultures that embraced it as a drug plant selected varieties that were higher in drug content, while those that favored fiber and food uses selected varieties that were lower in drug content. This legacy lives on today in our modern hemp varieties which are so low in drug content they cannot be diverted into the drug trade. Present-day legislation assures that hemp remains drug-free.
Onward and upward
Modern-day humans also recognize the amazing potential of hemp fiber and seed. Hemp seeds are rich in essential omega fatty acids and easily digested protein. Traditional hemp fabrics vary in weight and texture, and they are employed in utilitarian rug, grain sacks, bedding and other domestic textiles, fine clothing, and ritual costumes. Buying Hemp Bouquet products helps preserve traditional crafts and a way of life that otherwise may be lost forever.
Cannabis was grown for millennia for its many uses with few restrictions. During the past century, hemp has suffered from continuing prejudice because people confuse it with botanically related drug varieties. In the United States, Cannabis cultivation for any use was made illegal in 1937, yet the next year Popular Mechanics magazine hailed hemp as the “next billion dollar crop”. The US Department of Agriculture’s 1942 film “Hemp for Victory” encouraged farmers to grow fiber for the war effort, but following the war hemp cultivation became illegal once again, and remained so until the end of 2018. All the while, Europe and Asia continued to grow hemp fiber and seed crops on industrial levels. It’s enough to make your head spin!
Hemp is one of the world’s most versatile and sustainable crops. Hemp crops thrive on fertile land with sufficient water. In many regions, hemp grows well with only natural nutrients and seasonal rainfall, and requires little if any additional inputs. Healthy hemp crops are attacked by only a few pests that rarely reach economic thresholds, and dense stands shade the ground and suppress weed growth, so no pesticides and herbicides are needed. Hemp makes an excellent rotation crop, lightening the soil, recycling nutrients, and reducing weeds in the following crop.
Plants are harvested by pulling them from the ground, which opens and lightens the soil. As the hemp stalks are dried, the leaves are returned to the soil. Traditional processing methods require flowing water, that when carefully released back into waterways poses no environmental consequences. Hemp fiber is biodegradable, and is easily recycled into other products. Hemp presents a win-win scenario for humans and our planet.
Hemp textiles become softer as they are worn and washed. Hemp wears in, most textiles only wear out. Hemp fibers absorb dye well, and colors mellow slowly as fabrics are washed. Hemp fiber textiles are naturally anti-microbial, anti-allergenic, and non-irritant. Pure hemp rugs and cushions are well-suited for households with wool-sensitive family members. Hemp fibers “breath” and do not hold odors like other fibers, so hemp fabrics remain fresh after prolonged use. Hemp fibers can be spun into fine yarns and woven into light-weight fabric, and also blend well with fibers such as silk and wool. Hemp makes durable and long-lasting textiles.
Resistance to ultraviolet light and mildew makes hemp fabrics appropriate for outdoor uses such as tarpaulins, sails, boat and automobile covers, awnings, and deck rugs. Hemp fabrics offer a more sustainable alternative to many of the products we use today, such as cotton and synthetic fibers that rely heavily on petrochemical inputs. Hemp fiber textiles are biodegradable and recyclable. Hemp is well-suited for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
Hemp ropes have been used for millennia for ship’s rigging, fishing nets and other nautical uses. Hemp rope stretches little, is strong when wet, and remains durable after decades of exposure to sea salt and sun. Hemp rope becomes soft with age yet remains strong. Hemp ropes will last longer than your lifetime.