Trade & Media
TRADE & MEDIA RESOURCES
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THE FENDER'S BLUE HEMP STORY
Fender’s Blue Hemp was founded by General Manager, Aaron Williams, who discovered the power of hemp along his healing journey. Aaron made it his mission to share how cannabinoids, like CBD, have helped him recover and he is determined to share his knowledge with others.
As a collegiate football player, Aaron suffered many injuries and multiple surgeries that unfortunately resulted in daily severe chronic pain. Searching for something to relieve his physical agony and discomfort, he discovered hemp products that contain a high CBD potency and other cannabinoids to relieve some of his pain, stiffness, and inflammation. But, what Aaron loved most is that the CBD products came without any negative side effects that he often felt with stronger pain relievers, like prescription drugs. In addition to hemp CBD products, he found that the combination of consuming cannabinoids and a vegan diet began to accelerate his recovery. The only problem was that there weren’t any hemp products on the market that were third-party certified USDA Organic and Vegan. Aaron knew that if he could produce the products he was looking for, he could help others in his position, such as other former athletes and members of his family, specifically his mother, Jennifer, who suffers from a number of rare health conditions.
Aaron dove head-first into the hemp industry, helping to cultivate the plant by starting an 8-acre farm in Philomath, Oregon. Farmed by renowned veteran USDA Organic growers Dai Crisp and PK McCoy, who operate Lumos Wine Co., Fender’s Blue Hemp has undergone and achieved the same rigorous standard, which allowed the farm to be one of the first certified organic hemp farms in the country. Additionally, all products are certified vegan by Vegan Action, ensuring that our products are free of animal products, animal testing, and animal GMOs.
Decorating the hillside just above the farm is the Kincaid’s Lupine, a native Oregon flower that serves as a host plant for Fender’s Blue butterflies. The farm is named after these beautiful, endangered butterflies that Dai, PK, and their neighbors have been committed to preserving in concert with the phenomenal work of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis, Oregon. Our goal is to help continue their legacy of ecological stewardship.
Our mission is to foster mindful, balanced communities through the power of plants by producing hemp products that are organic and vegan, potent and pure, transparent and accessible.
THE FOUNDING TEAM
Aaron Williams - General Manager
Aaron, an Aptos, California, native, migrated north in 2008 to study business and philosophy at Linfield University. While playing football for Linfield, he suffered several serious injuries that led to seven surgeries resulting in severe chronic pain and inflammation. Several years into his rehabilitation, Aaron’s mindset shifted to focus on overall wellness as he discovered the effectiveness of hemp products in managing his pain and inflammation. The products he found were often too expensive, not potent enough, inconsistent, and not transparent about where and how they were produced. Having worked for several years in the Oregon wine industry and helping his alma mater launch a wine education program, now known as the Grace & Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education, Aaron decided to take all the lessons he learned and apply them to the budding hemp industry. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Aaron partnered with his family and renowned organic winegrower, Dai Crisp, and his partner PK McCoy, to grow 8-acres of USDA Organic hemp. Subsequently, Aaron and his partner, Mackenzie, led the development of the farm-to-healing brand, Fender’s Blue Hemp, and launched their first product, which is certified USDA Organic and Vegan. Aaron often talks about his wellness management toolbox, consisting of cannabinoids, yoga, exercise, meditation, and a vegan diet.
Dai Crisp - Director of Cultivation
Dai is from the great state of Oregon and started farming his parents’ farm just west of Philomath, Oregon, in the King’s Valley area in the mid 1980s. During his time as an undergraduate student at Oregon State University, he began his career in farming by helping his parents raise hay on their property. Dai went off to graduate school at University of California Berkeley for his Master of Fine Arts, but he longed for home and missed the art of farming. When he returned to the northwest, his parents had planted grape vines on their property, known today as Wren Vineyard. While Dai did not participate in a formal education program to learn how to grow grapes, he mastered everything he needed to know from local Oregon growers, but pioneered organic winegrowing in the Willamette Valley. Dai was hired in 1989 to farm Croft Vineyards. Dai diligently applied organic growing techniques for 8 years and committed himself to farming solely without the use of herbicides, systemic fungicides, and other conventional farming products and methodologies that were harmful for the overall microbiome of a farm. After a short stint farming the vineyards at WillaKenzie, Dai moved on to manage Temperance Hill, a renowned 100-acre Oregon vineyard known for producing stunning wines for 26 producers who source grapes from the site, which Dai still farms to this day. In addition to growing world-class grapes, Dai gives back to the wine industry in numerous ways, namely as a liaison in governmental affairs for the Oregon Winegrowers Association. In 2000, Dai and his wife, PK McCoy, started Lumos Wine Company, a certified USDA Organic and vegan wine company that produces honest, award-winning wines. Dai and PK partnered with Aaron and his family to create Fender’s Blue Hemp in 2019, utilizing 8-acres of their USDA Organic farm that had not been farmed since the 1970s.
Jennifer Williams - Director of Logistics
Originally from Denver, CO, Jennifer transplanted to California in the early 1980s with her family. Living in the Bay Area, she began her career in the retail grocery industry, developing expertise in logistics, computing and pos systems, food service, customer service, ingredient sourcing and buying, and product development. Jennifer spent most of her career working for Safeway Inc. and Whole Foods, leading her to open her own local, family grocery store in Aptos, California, with her husband, Bruce. Simultaneously, she built a thriving catering business serving professional tennis tournaments, weddings, and other community events. Alongside her engaging career, she raised their two children, Rachel and Aaron. But Jennifer was suffering. Afflicted with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgia Encephalomyelitis (ME), Fibro-Myalgia, and Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis (PVNS), she underwent numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, and ultimately prescriptions drugs to manager her pain and conditions. Jennifer searched for natural means to manage her health, and with the recommendation of her son, Aaron, she discovered that cannabinoid therapy was very effective in reducing her pain and inflammation. She and Bruce sold their business, retired, and moved to Amity, Oregon on 5-acres in the Eola-Amity Hills where they are building their dream home. Her passion for gastronomy persists, as she shares her world-class edible creations with family and friends. Jennifer is a founding investor in Fender’s Blue Hemp, and her contributions and work are pivotal to our success.
Bruce Williams - Director of Operations
Bruce was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He earned a degree in business from San Francisco State University as a student-athlete competing in cross country and track and field. Before completing his degree, Bruce began his career in the retail grocery industry at Safeway Inc. He was quickly promoted to Store Director. His first assignment as Store Director was to help save his location from closure due to huge inventory losses. Within a year, he discovered the sources of the losses and managed to double profits, leading the company to open a second location in the same town. With Bruce’s oversight, each store experienced a minimum 50% increase in sales volume, which often resulted in the closure of competing stores. He will tell you that the key to running a successful business depends heavily on its workforce and the leadership’s commitment to valuing their team above all else. Bruce has a keen ability to recognize and foster talent, evidenced by his training and development of more than 20 employees who later became store directors and district managers. With loyalty and dedication as his foundational principles, he ended his career after 42 years with the company. Since then, Bruce and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Amity, Oregon, to retire and build the home of their dreams in Eola-Amity wine country. He still runs almost every day, another example of his diligence and commitment to excellence. Bruce is a founding investor in Fender’s Blue Hemp, and his contributions and work are pivotal to our success.
Mackenzie Saunders - Director of Business Development
Mackenzie is a northwest native, born and raised in Washington state, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Individual and Family Development at Seattle Pacific University. After completing her studies, she worked in the non-profit sector supporting youth and young adults who were experiencing homelessness. Simultaneously, Mackenzie developed a passion for yoga, leading her to study the practice for the purpose of instructing yoga classes and facilitating teacher trainings. Her passion for yoga grew deeper, which led to a hiatus in social work as she pivoted to full-time yoga instruction and studio management. Mackenzie moved to San Diego, California, to work in the booming fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Management and Leadership. During her exploration of fitness and overall wellness, she discovered how hemp could augment her wellness, specifically addressing anxiety, mood stabilization, and symptoms associated with menstrual cycles. After a plea from Aaron to join the Fender’s Blue Hemp team, she became Director of Business Development in 2020. When not working on Fender’s Blue Hemp, Mackenzie is either continuing her pursuit of yoga education, eating at her favorite vegan restaurants, reading, engaging in activism, or her favorite activities, cleaning and organizing.
CBD Oil Drops, CBD Olive Oil
Fender's Blue Hemp Farm, Philomath, OR
USDA Organic (Oregon Tilth)
Vegan (Vegan Action, vegan.org)