Today we’d like to introduce you to Jammie Treadwell.
Hi Jammie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I come from a 100+ year Florida farming family dating back to the post-Civil War era. One on side, we grew a variety of crops, including okra, which was specifically produced for the Campbell’s Soup Company while in the Panhandle. Once the family moved to central Florida, we focused on citrus and other agricultural crops. Eventually, we became foliage experts, specifically for gardenias. My paternal grandfather was one of the founders of the Apopka Foliage Festival to highlight Apopka as the “Indoor Foliage Capital of the World.”
I am one of three sisters and we all grew up working in the family nursery – everything from weeding, planting seeds, potting plants, pulling orders and helping in the office. I moved to attend Florida State University, where I earned my BA in Communication and English. Eventually, I became a senior healthcare executive for Accenture LLC, a Fortune Global 500 company that provides multinational services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations.
Although I loved helping my clients implement digital platforms to serve their customers and make healthcare more accessible, I always struggled with being stuck in a cubicle and missed the satisfaction of watching the plants grow and be made available for others to enjoy. When the opportunity came to help, my family develop a business plan for operating in Florida’s medical cannabis program, it was a chance for me to bring together my agricultural history with my healthcare skills to get back in the greenhouse.
Since returning, I’ve handled business development and led my family through the process to bring this new crop to Florida – specifically Central Florida – by creating business plans for low-THC cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing. Industry experts asked me to travel back and forth to Oregon for a few years to lead a start-up focused on hemp farming and processing. I gained the necessary insight and knowledge of how to best grow the plant in Florida’s soils; and how best to control the supply chain, handling everything from planting to extracting.
I also traveled throughout parts of the western United States – and even Israel – to understand more about farming cannabis and hemp. I completely immersed myself to determine how a family with a farming background from Florida could successfully transition into medical cannabis and then later, the CBD hemp space.
Today, along with my parents, I run and operate Treadwell Farms. We create and curate natural, healthful and helpful small-batch, artisanal hemp products that are trusted and tested with the community in mind. We converted a former citrus processing plant into a hemp processing plant, which also houses our headquarters. We also provide guidance, support, education, opportunity, friendship and hope to ten central Florida farmers growing Florida hemp.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Well, we received our hemp manufacturing and cultivation licenses and launched a product line in the middle of a global pandemic for a brand new industry in our state. While we had a more successful year than many other startups – we launched and expanded the product line, got onto local retails shelves, harvested in a greenhouse five times (for an industry that typically harvests once a year) and formed partnerships with ten central Florida farmers to help them successfully plant and harvest hemp – all of this did also come with its challenges.
There’s sometimes a stigma around what we do so we’re all about educating our community about it. Because hemp is a cannabis plant, people automatically think anything that comes from it will intoxicated them like marijuana. Cannabinoid products that come from this particular plant – like CBD and CBG – contain less than .3 percent THC, which makes them non-intoxicating. These cannabinoids are more widely known in other parts of the country where the crop has been cultivated for years. Treadwell Farms basically makes cannabinoid essential oils and ingredients that help with inflammation and anxiety – amongst other benefits.
While I grow hemp in a greenhouse, most of our farm partners grow outdoors. We had a very rainy season in the first year, so we worked hard to support and educate our farm partners about the proper field placement and timing so they were set up for success. Hemp plants don’t like “wet feet” or their roots sitting in water constantly so proper soil drainage is critical. Also, excessive moisture and humidity can cause exposure to plant diseases, like botrytis, which is a mold within the buds that also impacts other fruits and vegetables too. If you’ve seen that one gross, brown blueberry in the bottom of the container or a strawberry that gets mushy, you’ve seen botrytis in action. Florida can produce hemp year-round unlike many other parts of the country but we need the right types of plants and practices to handle the challenges just like any other crop.
Because hemp must remain below the .3% THC level, an independent third party comes to take samples from your crop and the state of Florida issues approval to harvest. Determining the right time to request the State to test the crop for harvesting is a constant challenge. You want to make sure the crop is mature enough and not what we call “hot” or mature to the point where the THC level could be above that .3 percent. If the crop does not meet the standard, the farmer must destroy it. Treadwell Farms and all of the farmers we work with were able to successfully navigate the challenges of growing a new crop and were able to complete multiple harvests.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp a crop like any other, we still have challenges due to the Federal prohibition of cannabis. These include higher fees for financial processing and challenges accessing banking services. Luckily we have been able to navigate those challenges – knock on wood! Also, there are complicated and confusing restrictions on where and how we advertise our products even though they are legal at the federal and state level. It has been a real learning experience to figure out how to navigate this ever-changing landscape and we hope to see further clarification of these issues at the federal level.
Regardless of the challenges of this time and this industry, we remain optimistic about Treadwell Farms and Florida’s ability to take a leadership position in this new space. We hope Florida consumers will help us out by looking for and buying locally grown and made products – after all we can be Fresh from Florida all year round!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
One of the things you learn when you grow up in a farming family is how to work hard and persevere. I brought those skills to the corporate arena but I am so much happier now that I can keep my hands in the dirt while building a business for me and my family that has the potential to help so many. Hemp can feed us, clothe us, help us feel better, shelter us and offers a renewable source for industrial uses. We are just at the tip of the iceberg of what hemp can mean to Florida and our world. It is a blessing that I can use my professional experience as a strategist and project planner to contribute to developing the Florida hemp industry for Treadwell Farms and build a supply chain that benefits other farmers and businesses. As a person who suffers from an autoimmune disorder, the fact that we make high quality products that I can count on to help me manage my condition is a major blessing too.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
One of the most exciting things for me about the hemp program is that Treadwell Farms can work with hemp farmers and entrepreneurs who either want to incorporate hemp into their current offerings and come up with something new. We love collaborating with other small businesses to help them see how they can fit Florida grown hemp and ingredients into their businesses. I never thought I would be growing and making products from hemp/cannabis with my family but I can’t imagine being anywhere else doing anything else! Florida can be the best and all kinds of businesses can participate in making that happen.
Treadwell Farms products can be found online at TreadwellFarms.com or in many local Central Florida retailers. Our product line includes tinctures/drops, topicals, bath bombs, Citrus-C Gummies and Fresh from Florida hemp pre-rolls and loose flower for inhalation or culinary uses. We use organic practices and train our farmers to do so as well. Because we believe that there is a huge need for consumer education on hemp you can find a plethora of educational materials on our website along with recipes and upcoming events.
Treadwell Farms has been recognized as a pioneer in Florida’s hemp industry and we are proud to continue to build Florida agriculture in new and important ways for the future.
CBD Tinctures $44 – $85
CBD Salves $29
CBD Bath Bombs $12.50
CBD Tincture Starter Pack $32
Today we’d like to introduce you to Jammie Treadwell.