From cannoli to cannabis

Lansing may never again have paczki like Sostine and Mena Castriciano could churn out at Roma Bakery and Deli.

Cedar St., in Lansing, are even using the same countertops, mixers and commercial ovens that made the Castriciano family recipes famous — though these particular confections are filled with a bit more than just ricotta cheese.

Noble Road produces an array of concentrates and cannabis-infused baked goods that are sold at Lume Cannabis Co., with shops in Owosso and Jackson, and nearly 150 other medical and recreational pot shops across Michigan.

I’ve always known about this place,” said owner Travis Wilson, who bought the building — with help from some friends — in 2019 and launched Noble Road last spring.

The Castricianos, who started the bakery as young Italian immigrants in 1969, announced Roma was closing in August 2019.

This year, Lansing is home to hundreds of licensed marijuana facilities — growers, retailers, testing labs, transporters.

Dozens of employees, each wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt as a uniform, helped bring Roma Bakery back to life last Friday.

Instead, his business is driven purely by a longstanding passion for the recreational and medical benefits of the plant.

Roma “serendipitously” hit the market just as Wilson was ready to expand into the processing industry.

The people that work in this facility are like a very tight-knit little family,” added Sales and Marketing Director Alyssa Price.

Since December, Michigan has reported about $15 million in edible sales statewide every month.

Research from BDS Analytics suggests that the entire North American edible market tracked about $1.5 billion in sales in 2018, which is predicted to climb to $4.1 billion by next year alone.

Cookies and brownies often serve as the entry point for customers into the newly legalized market, Price explained.

The vast majority of Michigan’s processors purchase bulk flower and trim which is distilled into a sterile sort of concentrated oil known as distillate.

Hash rosin, on the other hand, is all about preserving the original terpene and flavor profiles of the plant.

We just didn’t have the set up to do our own distillation, so we decided to perfect our recipes with hash rosin,” Price explained.

The remaining ingredients are simple — eggs, butter, flour, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder.

Noble Road has also transformed itself into a business incubator, leasing production space to two other companies focused on the edible market: Northern Lights FX and Fwaygo.

Mike Thackeray, the owner of Northern Lights, also brings no culinary experience to the table.

His chocolate bars — which come in six varieties for six distinct effects — use ingredients imported from France.

“We spent a lot of time doing market research, going to other states to see what everyone else was doing,” Thackeray said.

“Everybody talks sativa and indica, but when you’re going into the shop, many new customers have never consumed cannabis before.

Perhaps this story also shouldn’t be shared with the Castricianos, who never publicly revealed that Nobel Road bought the building in 2019 while Wilson and his team sent out press releases announcing the acquisition.

Earlier, he published  “Midnight in Vehicle City: General Motors, Flint and the Strike That Created the Middle Class,” a non-fiction examination of the 1937 sit-in strike in Flint that resulted in the recognition of the United Auto Workers.

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