Hemp flaunts its foodie credentials at Delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards

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The straight-laced cousin of cannabis is becoming a mainstream food product, with some impressive nutritional credentials.

Hemp is shaking off its stoner and hippy connotations and gaining a foodie following as more people come to appreciate the plant’s taste and nutritional benefits.

Having garnered widespread acceptance since the Australian Government declared it legal to sell hemp as a food in late 2017, hemp’s protein-rich seed has made its way onto supermarket shelves, and into products ranging from hemp burger patties to nut bars, beer, gin and kombucha.

Overall, the hemp food market in Australia is worth an estimated $14 million annually and growing rapidly, particularly as more people embrace vegan diets and look for animal protein alternatives.

Hemp’s nutrient-rich seed is used in a wide range of food products. Picture: Kindred Organics

Hemp’s nutrient-rich seed is used in a wide range of food products. Picture: Kindred Organics

The straight-laced cousin of the cannabis plant added another notch of credibility to its belt this week, with Certified Organic hemp from Tasmania’s Kindred Organics claiming the Best New Product trophy in the delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards.

Peter Daman runs the Kindred Organics farm with his parents in northwestern Tasmania, and highlights the nutritional benefits of hemp, which range from high protein content to fibre and Omega 3 fats.

“It’s not a hippy food anymore,” says Daman.

“You can eat the seeds on their own, sprinkle them on yoghurt, add them to breads, in salads and all kinds of baking.”

Peter Daman, left, with parents Henriette and Lauran Daman run Kindred Organics in northwest Tasmania. The company took out the Best New Product category in the delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards 2021.

Peter Daman, left, with parents Henriette and Lauran Daman run Kindred Organics in northwest Tasmania. The company took out the Best New Product category in the delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards 2021.

Daman and his parents migrated to Australia from The Netherlands in 2010, where cannabis is decriminalised for personal use, and the hemp industry is far more advanced.

Associations with the illicit drug hampered Australia’s hemp industry for many years, and even though the plant looks and smells the same as the psychotropic drug, sprinkling hemp seeds over your muesli won’t set off the giggles.

While cannabis and hemp both come from the Cannabis Sativa species, hemp contains negligible levels of THC – the psychotropic element.

Hemp crops, on appearance, are difficult to distinguish from illegal cannabis.

Hemp crops, on appearance, are difficult to distinguish from illegal cannabis.

Daman hopes the recognition of the produce award will help to further build acceptance and awareness of hemp foods.

“Hemp is popular as a food across Europe, and only just starting to take off in Australia, ‘’ he says.

Kindred Organics’ win in the delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards puts it among some of Australia’s top food producers, artisans, innovators and regions, across 18 award categories. Lockdown restrictions saw winners of the prestigious award revealed in a virtual ceremony on Monday night, with the judging panel including some of Australia’s top chefs.

Produce box, featuring winning foods from the 2021 delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards.

Produce box, featuring winning foods from the 2021 delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards.

Delicious. editorial director Kerrie McCallum said the winners serve as a kind of shopping list for those seeking outstanding local produce, grown with passion and regard for the environment.

“During a time of unprecedented change, including floods and the Covid-19 pandemic, acknowledging the resilience and the dedication that Australian farmers, fishermen and artisans show their craft has never been more important,” she says.

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