According to Nature’s Medicines Manufacturing Production Manager Kristy Fischer, the company’s new edible line “begins and ends with medicine.”
Fischer said science has yielded a lot of positive results concerning the medicinal properties of cannabis over the years, and she believes that many folks need to rethink what they know about the plant. That’s part of the reason Nature’s Medicines’ edible line was named Reefer Gladness, a play on “Reefer Madness,” a 1936 film about the dangers of cannabis.
Fischer was brought on with Nature’s Medicines back in March and is heading up the product line in the new culinary facility here in Fountain Hills. The facility is located at the same location of the former dispensary at 16913 E. Enterprise Dr. The culinary facility is not a storefront, however, with products being shipped to Nature’s Medicines dispensaries in Phoenix and Glendale for patient use. Products include baked goods, as well as gummies, sodas and tinctures.
“We’re really excited for what we’re doing out here,” Fischer said. “I was hired to bake, run the kitchen and help create some of the products. With Reefer Gladness, we have an opportunity to make some really amazing products. Our bio THC oil is a full profile, full cannabinoid panel that is the highest quality you can get.”
Fischer said that, historically, edible cannabis products have been dry and not very flavorful. She said her products buck those trends.
“These are high-quality products with no artificial flavors or colors,” she said. “Everything is made from scratch.”
While Fischer has only been working on the Reefer Gladness line since March, she is no stranger to the industry. She’s held culinary jobs designing food products for PF Changs, Qantas Airlines and Disney, to name a few, as well as worked at 5-star hotels. She’s been working with cannabis for the past six years and, in that time, has done a deep dive into the science of the industry.
“Last year I began the hiring process with Brian [Beaudoin] here at Nature’s Medicines…We hit it off and I felt like this was absolutely the right move for me,” Fischer said. “For the last six years I’ve been working in cannabis, launching brands in California, Oregon and Arizona. Prior to that, I did everything in culinary you can think of. I’ve been in food manufacturing for the better part of 28 years and taught culinary for 11 years.”
Fischer said she saw Reefer Gladness as an opportunity to work on a ground-floor initiative within the industry with a company she respected.
“With COVID-19 hitting shortly after I was brought on, the process of building out the kitchen, getting everything up to code and just getting the business going took more time than expected,” Fischer said. “But while there were delays, the Town of Fountain Hills has been amazing…They saw we were doing it right and so it was a collaborative effort to get the business up and running.”
Fischer reiterated that the kitchen is not open to the public.
“Safety is our number one concern, so we retrofitted the building with security features and everything has been going well,” she said.
While the business is not a storefront, patients who utilize Nature’s Medicines can order Reefer Gladness products to be delivered to Fountain Hills from distribution in Phoenix by visiting naturesmedicines.com.
Fischer said her job is a delight because of the people she works with, the creativity and the opportunity to help people.
“It’s important to me to see this medicine reaching the people who need it,” Fischer said. “I’ve seen firsthand throughout my career…people’s lives being ruined by pharmaceuticals and immeasurably helped by cannabis. It’s an amazing plant and I’m excited to be a part of it.
“I’m a maker, but I don’t partake. But I’ve seen the impact it has. I’ve seen how ineffective pharmaceuticals can be in some cases while this natural plant has the ability to help a lot of people. It’s not a silver bullet, but it can help in the right situations. We need to educate people and continue to study it. It’s changing lives.”
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