Our production story in pictures.
Alta Sierra Botanica started as NaturalWonOil in 2013 personally discovering the benefits of hemp.
A friend of mine in Granada was growing mountain hemp and had a whole stock left. Buying it and doing the first products, we started on Etsy.
The first year or two our philosophy was like a tea brand: looking for the best farmers and best fields in Spain. The Iberian peninsula has the advantage of a intense sun during summers, as well as altitude to give plants more essential oils. These are typically sought in medicinal herbs (for ex lavender) and it’s the same for hemp.
I travelled from Granada to Seville, Galicia and the Ebro delta to meat with different farmers. The results weren’t always up to standard and there were problems establishing a proper working procedure in the correct post treatment of the raw product. So eventually we bought land in the interior of Alpujarras – a remote part of Granada leaning on the southern slopes of the 3500m high and 100km wide Sierra Nevadas in the southern part of Andalucia.
Berchules is the old center of fruit cultivation with cold nights due the proximity to the peaks. Snow generally tends to stay into May on the northern slopes. This is similar to the conditions in the Himalayas.
Here the first year we planted hemp in a small field. I did a Sri Yantra in stone inspired by Bill Witherspoon’s 1990 Oregon Sri Yantra
Next year we planted larger and started organic certification. For those that don’t know, many organic certified products actually are allowed certain chemicals like high grade copper or sulphur. We seek a biodynamic certification that proves our farming is 100% natural but in remote Spain it’s not yet easy to renew Demeter licencing.
Our 2015 Cataloge: here
The crops were astronomical quality the years 2013, 2014, 2015. Here are some pictures.
After harvesting, the hemp is dried in large indoor sheds with shade and gentle breeze. This is to prevent the important essential oils evaporating and not having the plant contaminated from airborne dust particles.
Thereafter, due the climatic conditions and increasing UV levels in the higher end of the spectrum we started having quality drop close to the levels of the industrial farming used for the typical regular market hemp/CBD products. Our edge was slowly going away until last year where it seems a cycle change and rains returned. It seems like the mountains have another chance.
The style of farming in the latter years have changed towards indoor farming as the outdoor conditions become more and more difficult.
Most product today in the market is so generic, like a UHT treated milk, that it’s difficult to separate quality. With the particular extraction method the actual raw material doesn’t matter much. There’s a growing market for specialty buds the last years from Switzerland and it seems also terpenes (esential oil) have grown in popularity.