Arizona officials recently legalized hemp as a leafy green crop, according to Robert Masson, an assistant agricultural agent with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. In his studies of hemp for its fiber and CBD qualities, Masson began looking at it as a salad ingredient.
Though hemp as a leafy green is not yet legal in California, Masson said, Arizona's program was certified by the USDA about midway through the winter vegetable season. There also seems to be some commercial interest in it, as some companies are currently testing it.
Hemp as a leafy green can be harvested a little sooner than baby leaf spinach, Masson said. It can be cut anywhere from 18 days in warm weather to about 24 days in cooler weather. Some have said it has a similar flavor to kale. Masson said it can be slightly minty with some bitterness. He suspects the bitter flavor is spurred by warmer temperatures during its growth. Other taste descriptors include "floral" and "fruity."