Ruth Shamai: Mike, I'm so happy to see you again.
Mike: It's my pleasure. I always enjoy chatting with you. I understand you have several new hemp products this year.
Shamai: We always try to bring something new to the shows and so this year we've done a few things. Last year you saw my hemp protein powders: 100% Hemp, Hemp Sprouted Flax and Maca. But we wanted people to be able to travel with them conveniently, and also offer a trial size so people didn't have to make a big investment. So, we brought out the single-serve boxes. Now they can get a smaller box for travel, office, et cetera.
Mike: That's very handy because your canister is fairly large for putting in suitcases.
Shamai: It is. It's 18 ounces, so this is very convenient this way. We also brought the Soft Hemp out here. Soft Hemp is our certified organic shelled hemp seed. Tastes amazing in pesto, eaten by itself, sprinkled over salad -- there's all kinds of great things you can do. In fact, I have a recipe on my website to make vegan burgers out of them. They're very delicious, certified organic, raw, shelled hemp seed. So that's new as well. And then some time last year, since I last saw you, we brought out our maca bars with 2,000 milligrams of raw certified organic maca per bar. I'm going to give these to you and you're going to love them.
They come in three flavors: Chocolate Ginger, Lemon Hazelnut, and Ginger Almond. Lots of new stuff and there's a lot of excitement about the line. I'm very excited to be here. The response is great.
Mike: Well, it's about time, isn't it? Our readers may not know that you have been promoting hemp for many years and you've watched this industry go through some challenging times.
Shamai: Yeah, absolutely. I'm one of the people who helped legalize it in Canada. We did that in 1998 and it has definitely taken a while to get rolling. Then the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States tried to quash us but we won. We took the DEA to court -- we being the Hemp Industries Association led by Dr. Bronners -- and we won so that it is legal to ingest hemp in the states, which they didn't want.
Mike: Now let's talk about that for a second. So the Drug Enforcement Administration was going after people who were eating hemp for nutritional purposes?
Shamai: Yes. They said that it should be illegal to eat hemp in the United States and so we had to take them to court.
Mike: And how did you win that court case?
Shamai: Because we were right.
Mike: Good for you.
Shamai: And you know, basically the truth will come out.
Mike: Okay. Now what do you have on the drawing board for this coming year?
Shamai: For the fall we're planning some all-organic bars. Our bars are always Genetically Modified Organism-free, with no hydrogenated fats, no trans-fats and no refined sugar, but the current bars are not certified organic. So for the fall we're planning a range of certified organic superfood-type bars with maca as before, and with raw cacao, possibly with goji berries.
We have a few things on the drawing board, and they will be delicious, in line with our principles and all organic. Then, a product that you've never seen -- and I'm not actually sure if you'll like -- but they were available in Canada for many years: hemp tortilla chips. I did pull them off the market a couple of years ago because I wanted to change the packaging and for other reasons, but they've been off for almost three years now and every month at least somebody says, "Where can I get your chips?" I hear it all the time in Canada. So they're coming back. They should be back in the fall.
Mike: That's excellent because of the high-quality proteins and the oils. If you're going to eat chips, you might as well eat nutritious ships.
Shamai: Eat good chips. They will also be GMO-free, with corn and hemp together. I know they have a following, so people will be happy to see them back again. And believe it or not, my Hemp Burgers -- which are frozen, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free -- will probably migrate down to the States. They are in Canada now, but I think they're going to come down here.
Mike: Where can people find your products, Ruth?
Shamai: Right now they can find the bars, powders and the soft hemp throughout the United States. We heave really good distribution, so you'll find them in many Whole Foods stores and many independent health food stores on both coasts. We're not so strong in the middle. If you can't find them in your favorite store, you should ask because they are in widespread distribution. Or go to our site RuthsHempFoods.com and you can order them there.
Mike: Outstanding. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing this with us today.
Shamai: Mike, it's always a pleasure to see you and thank you so much.