- Brandon Cantarella
NJCTA Member Spotlight: Hillview
HillviewMed, Inc. (Hillview) is a New Jersey-certified Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) focused on cultivating well-being. Founded in Pequannock, N.J. in 2018, Hillview is primarily owned by the VandeVrede family, who have more than 60 years of broad horticulture growing and retail experience – including over a decade in cannabis.
The VandeVrede family’s longevity comes with a proven track record of delivering high-quality products from its greenhouses both directly to consumers and through long-term relationships with industry partners. Today, Ken VandeVrede, Hillview’s CEO, is proudly continuing his family’s legacy of living and operating their businesses out of Morris County.
Setting the Standard Out West
In 2011, a West Coast cannabis company with aspirations of professionalizing its operations and taking its cultivation and retail operations to the highest levels, approached the VandeVrede family to advise and join them in this new venture. The VandeVredes set a new standard in the cannabis industry for excellence and quality during their time on the West Coast, where they oversaw cultivation operations and ran several dispensaries in California and Nevada.
After honing their craft and expanding their skillset with cannabis, the VandeVredes were ready to come home and contribute their skills to New Jersey’s burgeoning cannabis industry.
Growing New Jersey’s Industry
In 2019, the VandeVredes set the course to establish Hillview in the Garden State and applied for a medicinal cannabis cultivation permit in response to a Request for Applications (2019 RFA). They worked to assemble a team of top-notch professionals and proudly earned the highest score in the state on Hillview’s medicinal cannabis cultivation application. In less than a year after the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved its application, Hillview became the first entity to become fully licensed from the 2019 RFA cohort, and the fastest entity to become licensed in the history of the State of New Jersey.
Due to state-level delays including litigation, awardees from the 2019 RFA were not announced for more than two years after the applications had been submitted. But the VandeVrede family and the Hillview team did not sit idly by. During the earliest days of the pandemic, the VandeVrede family deployed, almost overnight, a company called Harvest to Home, which delivered produce, meats and eggs to underserved communities at a time when there were supply chain disruptions, closures and increased food insecurity.
And while continuing to operate their other non-cannabis businesses, the VandeVredes expanded operations to include hemp - they earned hemp cultivation and processing licenses in the newly established NJ Hemp Program, and developed an innovative hemp beverage company, Kalo, which is now distributed in over 20 states. Kalo offers eight seltzer flavors and four iced tea flavors, and utilizes a proprietary extraction technology that produces an incredibly clean, low-calorie wellness beverage with kosher, vegan and non-GMO certifications.
Hillview debuted its Hillview Farms product line of high-quality cannabis flower at the end of 2022, which is currently available at select medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state. A year from now, cannabis harvest output is expected to be 40 times what it is today and will continue to grow beyond that. The feedback from the initial rollout has been incredible.
Hillview is just getting started, and it was approved earlier this month by the state regulator for a cannabis manufacturing license, which it hopes to use to produce cannabis beverages, edibles, topicals and other manufactured products.
To learn more about Hillview, you can visit their website: hillviewmed.com