By Katy Savage
Luce Farm Wellness, the certified organic CBD company, has a new store in Killington.
After about a year of renovations to the building on Route 4, Luce Farm is open and selling everything from CBD-infused honey, to gumdrops, to dog treats. All the products are made on location and it’s one of the only stores in the northeast that allows customers to see how CBD is made.
A large glass window in the store allows customers to sit on a couch and see the extraction process.
“It’s the same exact plant grown for cannabis,” co-owner Joe Pimental said. “It’s the same exact extraction process, same exact manufacturing process. We want people to be able to come in and see the whole process. There are all sorts of methods for it. We want to show why we think that this method is sort of the healthiest.”
In the next couple weeks they are planning to launch a grab-n-go menu of CBD-infused smoothies, juices, almond milk puddings, energy bars and salads.
“I realized how hard it is for us to prepare food on a regular basis and everybody’s feeling the same; like a constant grind,” Pimentel’s wife and co-owner Rebecca Pimentel said.
The Pimentels, who live in Stockbridge, started Luce Farm in 2017 in Bethel. They currently have 400 plants in Bethel and work with three other certified organic growers. They became organic in 2019 — a label they’re proud of.
“Certifying companies are really, really strict,” Rebecca said. “Our gumdrops, for example, are super close to getting certified, but we still have to change an ingredient.”
The gumdrops are 94.5% organic. Certifying companies require products to be at least 95% organic.
“And they round down,” Joe said.
The Pimentels’ process starts with hemp, which is harvested in September and October and stored in the basement of their Killington store. It’s then ground up and frozen at 170 degrees below zero overnight to separate wastes and chlorophyll from the cannabinoids. It’s filtered, then goes through an evaporator to reclaim the ethanol to be reused. Just the cannabinoid is left, which is then heated.
Joe compared his process to squeezing orange juice out of an orange. Some try to get as much juice as they can, diluting the taste. Luce Farm extracts only the flower of the plant to preserve the taste.
“The flower carries all the beneficial properties and plant cannabinoids and the terpenes,” he said. “When you harvest for biomass, basically you’re cutting down the whole plant and grinding it up. You’re diluting those flowers with stems or leaves.”
Luce Farm products are sold in retail stores in all 50 states as well as online. They’ve collaborated with numerous companies to make CBD-infused beer, coffee and chocolate. This is their first retail store.
While there is vast focus on cannabis retail since its legalization in 2022, the Pimentels said CBD still has a place.
They view their products as medicine. Rebecca gives her kids CBD rather than Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain, for example, “I want my children to have pain medicine that I grow in my garden and it actually just takes the edge off,” she said.
The Pimentels have been partners for over 25 years. Both admit they use cannabis. Joe has regularly used cannabis for anti-anxiety and to help with sleep, aches and pains, while Rebecca regularly mico-doses.
“We see the power of this plant,” Rebecca said. “I think it’s important to say that we think cannabis THC in a recreational place is actually awesome. We’re foolish as a country to say, ‘no big deal if you drink one to three bottles of wine a night, but if you use joints’… that’s our culture.”
Rebecca said many dispensaries attempt to sell the most potent cannabis products, which doesn’t fit with their wellness mission.
“When we started our goal was to make medicine with it and not necessarily get into the recreational market,” she said.
The Pimentels, however, do also sell their existing products to cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries in some of the more established states where cannabis is legal, such as California and Colorado, sell one-to-one products that use CBD and THC equally, Joe said.
“They need a quality CBD extract that they can add to their THC. And that’s something that we’ve been talking to people about and selling our product,” Joe said. The retail store is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.