Since its founding in 2015, our farm has been a small, independently owned operation located far enough off the end of a gravel road in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont to be considered off piste (pronounced peeste), or "off trail" for all you non-skiers and non-French speakers. Our focus is always on quality, and supporting the local community as much as possible in everything that we do.
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Our mission is to grow and produce the highest quality products that we possibly can, with as little negative impact on our environment and ecosystem as possible, and while supporting the local economy as much as possible. We do this by using locally sourced organic inputs and materials, working with other small, independent, locally owned businesses as much as possible, and using off-grid solar power to generate our own electricity.
Ben Wilcox is the head grower, as well as the owner and founder of Off Piste Farm. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2008 with a B.A. in history, Ben traveled out to the Western U.S. ultimately landing for awhile in Lake Tahoe, CA with the goal of working just enough carpentry and odd jobs to be able to ski as much as possible.
It was by pursuing one of his many passions and career paths in his early 20s that he found himself on the edge of the civilized world at the end of the road in the wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in McCarthy, Alaska. It was through deep friendships made, from his short time spent in this quirky Alaskan bush town, that lead him ultimately to another opportunity as a carpenter on a farm in a remote part of Northern California. It was here that Ben was first introduced to the world of cannabis cultivation. Not being someone who has ever been drawn to the typical 9-5 job, Ben quickly took to cannabis cultivation finding it engaging as something new, interesting, challenging, and rewarding. He also found he had a good skillset from several years working in the building trades, and from his time spent in remote living for how to develop cultivation sites.
A lifelong goal of his had always been to get a small piece of land and use his skills to build a small house to live in. He realized that cannabis cultivation was a way to achieve that and also attempt to earn a living from the same land. After spending enough time "roughing it" to save money and pinching his pennies bouncing around the west, Ben ultimately decided to move back to Vermont to be closer to family and make an attempt at starting a small farm in April of 2015. By September of that same year he had purchased and moved onto the land he now calls home, and Off Piste Farm was born.
He began developing the land for food production by first putting in a vegetable garden, and developing the infrastructure to raise pigs and chickens. In 2018 he registered as a hemp farm and from 2018-2021 was a licensed hemp cultivator. In 2022 Ben was awarded one of the first small cultivator licenses allowing him to legally cultivate cannabis for THC production in the state of Vermont. He now is fully engaged in bringing the best possible cannabis flower to market that he possibly can, and learning every year more and more about cannabis cultivation, and off-grid homesteading. In his free time away from cannabis he enjoys spending time with his partner Meg, friends, family, and dog Spartacus, working on his land, skiing, and traveling.
The locally sourced organic inputs we use to supplement our soil include composts generated here on the farm, or neighboring farms in Sutton, pelletized organic fertilizer produced by North Country Organics in Bradford, VT, and locally purchased dolomitic limestone. The application of these supplements are carefully calculated based on soil test results to fine-tune soil pH and nutrient content. We mulch around each plant with hay harvested from the nearby fields on Pudding Hill which helps to suppress weeds without the use of plastic, and improve soil health as it decomposes. We plant organic cover crops of clover and annual ryegrass, produced by High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, VT, in between all of our plants and rows, to minimize soil runoff and help keep our soil healthy. All of these practices help us to build organic matter in our soil which feeds our cannabis plants and produces healthy crops without the use of synthetic fertilizers.
We space our plants several feet apart from each other and prune them throughout the season to increase airflow and reduce the risk of ever-present molds and mildews from growing. We utilize only OMRI listed bio fungicides (beneficial microorganisms), produced by Bioworks in upstate NY, to help prevent and combat common plant diseases and pathogens. We also opted for a tier 1 small cultivator license so that we can monitor the health of each individual plant, and recognize disease and pest pressures before they develop into major problems. We rotate our cannabis planting utilizing 3 different plots, allowing each plot to rest for at least 2 seasons in between each cannabis crop in an effort to keep disease and pest populations at healthy levels. With prevention and early detection, we can nip these problems in the bud without the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides.
Harvest season for us typically begins in the middle of September with our earliest finishing cultivars, and goes until mid to late November by the time all of our cannabis flower has been cut, de-leafed, dried, and bucked from the stalk. All of our buds are inspected and harvested by hand, quadruple rinsed immediately after cutting while still fresh (yes you can wash fresh cannabis like other produce!), hung to dry in our drying shed, inspected again and bucked by hand once dried to the proper moisture content, sent to an independent third party lab for extensive pathogen and potency testing, and finally hand trimmed and inspected once again before being packed and sealed into glass jars ready for market.
It is labor intensive to cultivate and harvest this way, but we believe it is worth it. These practices are all around better for our environment, better for our soil, and boost the local economy when we purchase our inputs from friends and neighbors. It also enables us to carefully inspect every single bud several times before it leaves the farm to go to market, ensuring each bud is clean and ready for consumption.
Our high THC smokeable flower is the product of our labor and multi-season cultivation practices. We have carefully selected our offering of cultivars from plant stock bred either here on the farm, or by other talented local breeders. These local heirloom cultivars have been selected for early photoperiod flowering, nose, effect, yield, and pest and disease resistance. We carefully select the best of the best of all of our strains throughout our harvest process to ensure only our best flower goes to market as smokeable, assigning the remainder to extraction and edibles. When you purchase a jar of our smokeable flower from one of our retail partners, you can be assured that it has been handled with care throughout the cultivation and harvest process, quadruple rinsed, closely inspected at each step along the way, and fully tested for microbial pathogens, pesticides, cannabinoids, and terpenes by a licensed independent 3rd party lab so you know what you are getting.
Our full spectrum CBD oil is also the result of our labor, and our partnership with a local manufacturing facility. We use only the high CBD cultivars of the Cannabis Sativa L. (hemp) plants that we produce on our farm. It is formulated using the extract from the female flowers of these plants blended with organic cold pressed hemp seed oil we source from either the U.S. or Canada, and that's it, just two ingredients! The result is a high CBD health supplement formulated 100% out of hemp.
Our full spectrum CBD oil has been lab tested at multiple points throughout its lifespan, including as raw flower, crude extract, and finished product. It is 100% free of any detectable amounts of heavy metals, both concentrations contain less than .3% delta-9 THC by weight, and appropriate amounts of decarboxylated cannabidiol (CBD) ready for interaction with your body’s own endocannabinoid system. We know our products are clean and free of toxic contaminants, but we do this testing and disclose our processes with you so you know too. When you purchase one of our products, you can feel confident that you are purchasing a clean, locally sourced product, and helping to support a small family farm, and we thank you!
We have been offering seasonal (May-Oct.) nightly camping to folks visiting the area since 2021. We enjoy the chance to meet new and interesting people, and share the farm with respectful travelers. All booking is done through our third party booking partner Hipcamp. Click here to learn more about camping.
We have been offering farm tours, with our tour partner Vermontijuana, to folks interested in cannabis cultivation since 2020 back when we were a registered hemp farm. Now that we are a licensed cannabis establishment, there are few extra rules to consider than when we were just growing hemp. Tours are only available to folks over the age of 21 with a valid state issued photo ID. Guests are not allowed to touch plants, or allowed to enter spaces where cannabis is cultivated, dried, or stored. However, since we are a sungrown operation, folks can still come to the farm and peek "over the fence" to see and smell plants. No cannabis is for sale, however responsible consumption of legally purchased or homegrown cannabis is allowed. We will walk you through how we do things here on the farm from seed to sale, and answer any of your questions about all things cannabis to the best of our ability. Discounted tours are available to guests camping here on the farm and can be booked when booking your campsite. Other interested potential tour guests can click here to learn more and book a tour.
Along with growing cannabis from seed to sale as our main cash crop, we also raise our own pigs, chickens, vegetables, firewood, and maple syrup with the same mission, and aim to keep our homestead true to the enterprising frontier and community oriented spirit of Vermont!
Thank you for reading this information about our farm and products, and if you choose to purchase either our smokeable flower or one of our oils, we hope it helps with what ails you. If you decide to camp or visit for a tour we will see you soon! We appreciate your feedback and feel free to send your comments, questions, or concerns to us directly in the "contact us" section of the website, and don't forget to like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Disclaimer: Cannabis has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For use by individuals 21 years of age and older or registered qualifying patient only. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS. DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING. Possession or use of cannabis may carry significant legal penalties in some jurisdictions and under federal law. It may not be transported outside of the state of Vermont. The effects of edible cannabis may be delayed by two hours or more. Cannabis may be habit forming and can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Persons 25 years and younger may be more likely to experience harm to the developing brain. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product.
National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.
Vermont State Cultivation License No. SCLT0031
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