HempX Asheville publicist Jill Lieberman ticks off reasons why organizers of the upcoming event — two days focused on farming, cultivation, processing, uses and legal status of industrial hemp — are eager to have chef and Plant restaurant co-owner Jason Sellers return for this year’s gathering. “He’s an accomplished chef,” says Lieberman. “He is supercreative and loves to experiment.”
But perhaps the most important thing for Lieberman is something she learned about Sellers while planning last year’s inaugural function. “When we first approached him last year, he informed us he’d been cooking and experimenting with hemp for years,” she says.
Sellers will kick off the second iteration of HempX with a two-hour lunch event, A Taste of Hemp. Among items planned for the menu are hemp cheese ravioli, a vegan cheesecake with hemp crust and a dreamsicle — a creamy ice pop with a hemp twist. Throughout the meal, Sellers will offer guests insight on the benefits of cooking with hemp.
Lieberman notes the difficulties many vegetarians face when trying to meet their daily protein needs. “It can be challenging,” she says. “That’s why hemp seed is great. It has it all. It’s super healthy and a complete protein.” In addition to protein, hemp seed is loaded with 20 amino acids, omega fatty acids and fiber, she adds.
Proceeds from A Taste of Hemp (which is the only ticketed event throughout the weekend gathering) will benefit two organizations: Growing Warriors and Accelerating Appalachia. The former is a nonprofit organization that teaches farming skills to military veterans; the latter is an incubator that helps grow nature-based businesses.
Lieberman hopes folks will come for the food but stay for the speakers and panels. “It’s really aimed at bringing people together that are interested in the possibility of hemp,” she says. “It’s a great way for anybody interested in applying for industrial hemp [permits] to come and learn more about everything from the agricultural side of how to grow it to the legal side of what you’re going to have to do to apply to what you’d be able to do with the crop once you do grow it.”
For details on HempX Asheville, visit hempxasheville.com.