The new Greybeard Growers hemp farm in Aquebogue (credit: Felicia LaLomia).
You definitely smell it before you see it. On Main Road in Aquebogue is an enterprise new to the area: Greybeard Growers, a four acre organic hemp farm starting out their first season on the North Fork. The new company is run by the Jurows, the same family behind Long Season Farms, known for its heirloom tomatoes, herb plants and flowers. The hemp farm is on that property, along with an additional four acres in Cutchogue.
Kyle Jurow, general manager of Greybeard Growers, said growing hemp was a way to produce another crop that could be harvested later in the season. “It was a crop that we thought we could pull off, maybe better than someone who hadn’t been introduced to it in the past,” he added. “Because it is a little finicky, it is fairly easy to make some mistakes that could really doom your entire crop.”
In two weeks, the field will look entirely different: The crop will be harvested, processed and dried. From there, the Greybeard team will ship off the crop to a processor who will make it into CBD oil products — oil droppers, gummies, gel tablets and smokable flowers.
“We have a machine called a bucker that takes away all the stems,” said Ken Jurow, Kyle’s father who owns Long Season Farms and is also the grower for Greybeard Growers. “Trimming machines take off most of the leaf and the flower. Then we are left with a very small volume, comparatively, to dry.”
The Jurows felt like keeping the two businesses — hemp growing and Long Season Farms — separate allowed the family to brand them differently.
“Our main demographic with Long Season is families who own homes. I don’t think that’s necessarily the biggest users of CBD,” Kyle Jurow said. “I think there is a much younger demographic who are actually really interested in CBD for everything from anxiety to a whole list of different ailments.”
When it came to thinking of a name for the hemp and CBD product business, they wanted something that was different from the medical named businesses out there with names like True Leaf CBD or cbdMD. Instead, they aimed to emphasize the years of farming experience they bring to the table.
“I was looking at my dad and his growing partner Joey — these guys are [agricultural] veterans,” Kyle Jurow said. “My dad’s 66. He started a garden when he was six years old. He’s more experienced. He’s a grey beard.”
Despite the farm’s novelty (and that love-it-or-hate-it smell), many passersby have been supportive of growing hemp on the North Fork, Kyle Jurow said. “People drive by constantly and I see them pull over and they’re like, ‘This can’t be what we think,’” he said. “I think a lot of people are really excited to see a CBD product that was grown right around the block from them.”
The Greybeard Growers team says its main goal is to make locally grown CBD products accessible to North Forkers. “We don’t want to price gouge. A really big part of our mission is to help people,” Kyle Jurow said. “At the end of the day, we’re growing hemp. We want to make that available to the local community.”