Photo by Rob AustinThe hops tour in Buncombe County yesterday was informative, fun, and a great way to spend a late summer day in western North Carolina. Thank you to Melinda Roberts and Chris Reedy for taking the lead and making it all happen. Thank you to our tour stop hosts, Julie Jensen of Landfair Farms, Van Burnette of Hop 'n Blueberry Farm, and Dave at Pisgah Brewing Co. http://pisgahbrewing.com/. I don't have all the details on how many people were there (about 100?) or many photos yet (coming soon), but I can tell you that there is tremendous enthusiasm and support for this budding new industry in western North Carolina. This was first made evident last February when Chuck Blethen and Jeannie Blair of Jewel of the Blue Ridge Marketing and David Kendall of the Madison County Extension office hosted a Hops Confab in Marshall and 130 people showed up! At our "in the field" event yesterday, a number of growers, brewers, and homebrewers from other areas told me how envious they were of the enthusiasm and support that hops get here. They do not have the support from their land grant universities, county extension offices, local non-profits, and communities the way we do. We are so fortunate to be in an area where it seems that everyone embraces "all that's local".
Because of the number of people who are interested in growing hops or buying local hops, Chris Reedy has initiated a local hops group. This is a brand new idea, so we don't know what the structure will turn out to be, who will run it, etc. But Chris is willing to take the lead to help us set up a good communications network so we can readily share information. On Friday night he named the group the Eastern Hops Guild and set up a blog for it at http://easternhopsguild.blogspot.com/. Sign on and help us grow this group!
You can also read a recent article about Van's hop yard at http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090819/BLACKMOUNTAINNEWS01/90818091/1117/blackmountainnews
Labels: buncombe co, hops, nc, tour