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Connecting Food, Science and Medicine with Chef Melissa Parks

We love connecting with other individuals who share our values and truly believe that cannabis can change the world. From medical values to recreational enjoyment, there are many ways that marijuana has helped increase the quality of life for its users.

We recently spoke with Chef Melissa Parks, Executive Chef of VERT Edibles and author of Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis about her new products, thoughts on the industry and personal reasons for cannabis consumption. Here’s what she had to say about how she got into the business, and where she sees it headed in the future.

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What new products have you just released?

VERT Edibles – A bite size shortbread cookie line that includes: Key Lime Bites, Chocolate MMMMint Bites, PB& J Bites and Berry Bombs. The cookies are individually dosed, around 10mg each, and have very unique flavor profiles making them a fun new twist on edibles.

What do you like most about cannabis?

I love that cannabis has given me an avenue in which I can express my creative and artistic side through the food that I produce, but more importantly that food can help individuals who are suffering from various ailments.

How / Why did you get into the cannabis industry?

Initially I was approached by friends, seeking edibles, to help them through some very serious diseases. I was apprehensive, at first, until I began to research all the medicinal value cannabis possessed. Not long after my friends approached me I began to look into making edibles professionally.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your products?

There is an overall misconception on edibles as a whole. My goal in working with edibles and food is to make this a common ground. I want everyone to feel more comfortable talking about it.

People are afraid of what they don’t know. Also, not having proper education or information and intimidation can play a large role with these misconceptions.

How do you ensure that your products are the best they can be?

We source as many organic and naturally derived ingredients as often as we can, and incorporate them into our base recipes. For example, we use organic freeze dried strawberries in our Berry Bombs and PB & J cookies, and key lime juice from a local purveyor located in Key West, Florida. VERT products go through rigorous testing to ensure consistency of dosing, size, moisture levels as well as overall flavor.

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Do you have any advice for novice stoners?

I believe in the start low go slow methodology. You can find a lot of useful information, about edible consumption, on the consume responsibly website.

What would you say is the best way to consume cannabis?

I do not believe one way is superior to another. Each individual needs to find what works best for them. Cannabis consumption can be wildly different from one person to the next.

Do you prefer sativas or indicas?

I use cannabis as a natural sleep aid and for pain regulation, so it is hard for me to say whether or not I prefer one better than the other. I use both but for very different reasons.

What is your favorite strain of all time?

I wouldn’t say this is my favorite of all time, but recently I have been using Black Berry Kush. It really is a beautiful strain with its bursts of purple and orange throughout. The smell has a subtle berry sweetness to it while still remaining earthy and robust, and its effects are spot on. It helps me with chronic back and hand pain, destressing, and allows me to relax enough to fall asleep.

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What is your favorite product you make?

I like to work with seasonal ingredients, especially in the summer months, but to be honest I love working with chocolate. I have a 60% dark chocolate cake bite that I cover with more chocolate and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and I’d have to say that was probably my favorite edible to make.

How has marijuana helped define who you are?

I have always wanted to find a way to bring together food, science and medicine. Working with cannabis has provided me an outlet in which I can do just that, and in the end hopefully help those who need it most.

How have you dealt with canna-bias throughout the years?

With openness and willingness, but fortunately I have not experienced much of the bias.

What are you working on next?

I am always working on something new, so keep an eye out for new VERT products. J

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Where other disciplines have competition, the cannabis industry has camaraderie. The sense of camaraderie will sustain this industry for years to come.

Chef Melissa Parks is the Executive Chef at VERT, and she just released the new line of VERT edibles. Click here to learn more about VERT.

Photos: Shared with Permission from VERT / Chef Melissa Parks

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