Forbes: Oregrown’s Terroir Tastes Like the Forest

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Oregrown’s Terroir Tastes Like the Forest

I love Oregon’s weather. The climate reminds me of what New Jersey’s weather is like. Weeks of hot and dry, followed by weeks of damp, dark and raw. It’s familiar to me because I appreciate this “chill me to the bone” weather. It goes along with the cocktails that I enjoy this time of the year. This type of weather brings brilliance to my Oregon visit months ago, when I stayed at Portland’s best Bud n’ Breakfast, the Doctor’s House.

The energy in Oregon is of farmers markets, local and fresh, and of course the terroir of the cannabis, grown in the verdant soil and rocky schist that rings the metropolis of Portland for miles upon miles. They make incredible table wines in this region, that for some reason or another tastes just like the high quality cannabis that is propagated in the soil that formerly produced fruits and vegetables, and in some places even flowers!

There is life in the soil with biodynamic and organic farms run by really laid back folks who have the time to make things like cannagars and grow fields of hemp where daylilies once grew. There is an intensity and distinct humility in Oregon, a laid-back manner of speech and lifestyle. Lucky is the person who gets the chance to visit the cannabis farms that produce some of the finest herbs in the land. I seem to think so anyhow, and I’ve seen many great grows in the past six months or so in places like Salinas, California, Humboldt, and Palm Springs, up to Oregon to Washington State and Nevada, too. I never thought my life would have followed this path with flavor, or terroir, as my guide. Lucky me. I never lose track of this success. It’s a good thing!

During that visit I discovered Oregrown, Oregon’s premier farm-to-table cannabis company. I met Kristen Bailey, Vice President of Sales at Oregrown, and we shared a rare afternoon of conversation over Pax Era pods filled with magical oils created with organic cannabis from Oregrown’s 84-acre farm perched on the eastern edge of the Cascade mountains in Bend, Oregon. Each beautiful plant, nurtured with mineral-rich water drawn from the Deschutes River Basin.

Forbes: How is Oregrown making an impact on the cannabis industry? What is a major difference in the cannabis industry from other, more mainstream, industries?

Aviv: Oregrown’s high-level goals are simple: #1) Place clean, tested organic cannabis and cannabis products in the hands of as many consumers and patients as possible. #2) Educate the world on how to approach cannabis and cannabis products by teaching them the right questions to ask when purchasing cannabis and cannabis products. #3) Destigmatize the plant and the antiquated stories that surround it. Remove the mystery and make either a) our lifestyle or b) cannabis products, accessible on everyone’s home turf. #4) Continue furthering the representation of the Oregrown lifestyle.

Chrissy: I think that there is a general impression, or stereotype if you will, that working in the cannabis industry is super relaxed, fun and free spirited. On one hand, this can be true in the sense that those who find themselves working in this industry are all mostly here for the same reason, and that is the love for the plant and our belief in its medicinal properties and its place for responsible recreational use. Therefore, you often find yourself working with like minded individuals which can create a positive and engaging working environment. On the other hand, the reality is the legal cannabis market is a constant battle of over regulation and full of logistical nightmares. From banking and taxation and ever changing laws, to licensing and compliance, owners and managers of state licensed cannabis companies have to constantly be on their toes in a faced paced, ever changing environment. I can’t think of one other industry held to such high standards as the current legal cannabis market. Given that truly insane pressure, it is a complete balancing act to run a successful and compliant cannabis business while still remaining grounded in what made you want to get into the industry in the first place.  

Forbes: Why Cannabis?

Aviv: Cannabis has played a significant role in my life since I started self-medicating in high school. I had a tough time sitting still in class, paying attention and staying engaged in what the teachers were saying, so I was misdiagnosed— alongside so many other teenagers and children— with ADD/ADHD. My parents, thankfully, decided to avoid all of the pharmaceutical pills that were being offered to us. I eventually made my way to find cannabis, which was very illegal at the time. Again, luckily and thankfully, I was able to self-medicate and stay focused enough to make it through my formidable years with the odds very much stacked against me. Getting involved in the cannabis industry was one of the best decisions of my life. After literally being woken up in the middle of the night from a cold-sleep because the idea for Oregrown popped in my head, here we are five years later, with 60 employees, four stores, and a sprawling 84-acre campus in the heart of Oregon. It has been a miraculous whirlwind. Every day continues to amaze me.

Chrissy: Like Aviv, my first introduction to cannabis was in high school, but more for recreational purposes. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, there was no shortage of good cannabis. When I later went to college out of state and told people I was from Oregon, one of the first things I would always hear a reference to was how amazing “ the herb from Oregon” is. I still think Oregon produces some of the finest cannabis in the world.

Forbes: Do you cook? What is your favorite food memory from childhood?

Aviv: Food is a deep love of mine. I’m not the best cook, but I try! Chrissy, my wife, is a master cook/chef. She’s absolutely amazing. By mastering some of my grandma’s authentic Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes, she is able to transport me straight to that place in Israel where I grew up. I have endless memories from being in Israel, around my grandmother and mother, while they cook and infuse the home with aromas that warm my heart. It’s very true with me that getting straight to my heart and soul is through good, clean food.  

Chrissy: Yes, I love to cook. But neither of my parents really cooked for us kids growing up. My mom jokes that she has no idea where my love for cooking comes from. I think it comes from my desire to eat good, nutritious food without having to leave the house. Not currently a huge fan of going out to eat. And now with a new baby at home just starting to eat solid foods, it has opened up a whole new world of culinary exploration with an emphasis on eating clean, organic foods.

Forbes: Is there anything that brings a tear to your eye when you eat/drink/smoke it? Why?

Aviv: My wife Christina Hadar has mastered some of my grandmother from Morocco’s classic dishes. Everything from handmade meatballs and olives, to schnitzel and couscous; matzo-ball soup, saffron rice and challah, walking into the house when Chrissy is whipping up one of these dishes makes my heart buzz.

Chrissy: One of my favorite parts of cooking is feeding others and making them full and happy. So I get a lot of joy cooking food from Aviv’s ancestry (his favorite) and keeping those traditions alive in our home.

Forbes: If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would that be? Doing what?

Aviv: As cliche as it sounds, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. In this moment, my one year old son is sleeping in the other room. The fire is going, my dogs are resting, and the farm is asleep. These are the moments that make life beautiful. The other side of me would either be snowboarding in chest-deep, fresh, cold smoke powder in Alaska, or surfing perfect waves in Mexico. But really though, my life is paradise. I am thankful every single day and I would not change a thing. This is our mantra with Oregrown.

Chrissy: With our baby, Kingston, Aviv, and our dogs on a beach in Mexico eating tacos and sipping on good mezcal.

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