How does a farm go from specializing in raising water buffalo to pioneering CBD and industrial hemp production? That’s a great question for Loudoun farmer Jeff Boogaard – a U.S. Navy veteran and corpsman with experience in the health and sciences, finance and technology – who recognizes an opportunity when he sees it.
Up until 2018, Breezy Meadow Farms (as it was then known) was Virginia’s largest water buffalo operation, producing a wide variety of meat and dairy products, sold at farmers markets all over the region.
The 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress removed hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC, from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. In 2019, the Virginia Industrial Hemp law passed, clearing the way for hemp to be grown commercially in Virginia, and creating a market for Boogaard.
Naturally, he started by growing 420 plants, to test how it would work with his current farming operations. Loudoun’s rich soil and mild climate proved to be perfect for hemp production.
Then Boogaard got the call that changed everything.
“On Christmas Eve that year, our daughter was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkins Lymphoma. At just 22 years of age, a college senior at the University of Nebraska, her life was turned upside down with the thought of never seeing herself walk for her diploma,” he recalled. “The tumor was large, wrapping around her lungs and heart, and was slowly moving its way up her chest.
“We immediately got her the best care, and her road to kick cancer began.”
Hodgkins Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system, causing node cells to multiply uncontrollably, producing malignant cells that have the abnormal ability to invade other tissues throughout your body. The road to recovery involves chemotherapy and radiation, and can be exhausting, painful and anxiety-inducing.
Alongside traditional treatment, the Cannabreeze hemp harvest and CBD production was put to the test and passed with flying colors. In less than six months, she was cancer-free.
“We realized at that moment we were ‘all-in,’ and made the decision to phase out our livestock farm and turn it over to hemp,” Boogaard recalled. “In 2020 we planted 12,000 CBD & CBG hemp plants over 10 acres, to harvest into more premium-grade products so others can experience the life-changing results this plant has to offer.”
At around the same time, Francesco Marino was a construction worker on a high-rise construction project in New York City. One day on the job, he suffered a devastating injury that tore his triceps muscle off the bone at the elbow. His recovery process took years and left him unable to return to the job site.
His career was over.
“When I was going through recovery, I put myself into a dark place. I was super depressed and super stressed out,” he admitted. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t realize that when I was going through it, I didn’t feel like it was ever going to end. I felt like I was stuck.
“I just started using CBD as a way to relax and I felt like I was able to feel a little bit happier. I wasn’t in such a bad mind-state. Using CBD made everything a little bit better.”
After his experience with CBD’s pain-management properties, Marino crossed paths with Boogaard and saw his vision for what Cannabreeze could be. After losing his livelihood in New York City, Marino has a new lease on life as the director of markets for Loudoun’s largest hemp farm.
“I felt like it was something that I should be a part of…I could be on the ground floor of starting something special,” he said. “That’s what really helped rejuvenate me.”
Justin Everhart, a Loudoun local, rounds out the leadership team at Cannabreeze, overseeing organic cultivation extraction for tens of thousands of hemp plants.
Everhart was diagnosed with arthritis as an 8-year-old and was placed on a progressive regimen of steroids and pain medication. While effective, he knew it wasn’t great for his body and was largely just masking the symptoms.
“I was lucky enough to have cannabis introduced into my regimen and slowly weened off all these pharmaceuticals. I just used cannabis and that helped curve me into remission, to the point where I was healthy again. I feel great again,” he said. “I use just a CBD regimen now, and I find those benefits to be just as good. I can use it without the high, so it’s great for use during the day.”
True to his values, Everhart spends his days focused on growing non-GMO, high-yield plants without the use of pesticides or chemicals of any kind. Using only organic fertilizers based on fish waste, he earns a living and helps people in his home community.
“After growing the first plant I ever grew, I knew this was the industry I was going to work in for the rest of my life. Being born and raised in Lovettsville, it was a no-brainer to find Cannabreeze and work there,” he said. “I like knowing that I can learn something and have a passion for it. It’s really nice to know that you can change other people’s lives.”
You too can learn about the health and lifestyle benefits of CBD and other industrial hemp products by supporting Cannabreeze Hemp on the Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown Marketplace. Products currently available include:
- 1g CBD Pre Roll, Queen Dream
- CBD 1000mg Intensive Relief Rub with Emu Oil
- CBD 150mg Pet Treats
- CBD 300mg Mints
- CBD 500mg Instant Freeze Rub
- CBD 500mg Relief Roll-on Gel
- CBD 600mg Mint Full Spectrum Oil