Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lots of Eastern Hops Activities Going On

There is so much happening with hops production in the eastern U.S. that I can't keep up with it all, but I thought I would make you aware of just a few hop happenings and farms that you might find of interest.

The 2nd Annual Hops Tour was held in western North Carolina last Saturday.  Winding River Hops and Hop 'n Blueberry Farm were the two hop yards on the tour.
Scott Grahl describing his hop operation, the first stop on the tour. 
A very nice article was written about the tour by Giles Morris with the Smoky Mountain News. It has been posted on the Southern Appalachian Hops Guild Blog at http://southernappalachianhopsguild.blogspot.com/

Rita Pelczar and John Wright took a few minutes to describe their certified organic hop yard in Madison County.


Most of the hop cones in this yard have been harvested already.


Blue Mountain Brewery and Hop Farm in Virginia just had a big hop harvest. They posted amazing pictures on their Facebook Page. You really need to see these:  http://www.facebook.com/bluemountainbrewery.  They had a festival with music and over 100 volunteers to help.  The hop yard pictures are beautiful.

There is a small hop yard in Rhode Island called Ocean State Hops that seems to be progressing nicely.  They are new and small, like many of the rest of the eastern hop yards.  I'll be interested to see how they do.  You can follow their blog at http://oceanstatehops.blogspot.com/.

Cone & Bine Hop Farm in Conover, NC is just getting started with their organic hop yard. They got a late start this year but I'm enjoying reading about their experiences on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CBHopFarm.

There are many people interested in growing hops in the eastern U.S. Before you start your own hop yard I strongly recommend that you read everything you can on the topic, visit as many growers as possible, and have a long discussion about it with your county extension agent or appropriate extension specialist at your local land-grant university.  There is a reason why most of the hops production in the U.S. is now in the Pacific Northwest.  There are significant challenges to growing hops in the east, most notably diseases and insects.  That said, there are many opportunities for selling locally grown hops.  But before you start, I want you to know it will be expensive to establish, involve lots of hard work, and you'll be challenged with production problems that local agricultural experts will have limited experience with.  But there is a great group of growers, extension agents, researchers, breweries, home brewers, and other interested people who are working together to help rebuild the eastern hops industry.  The more we work together and share our successess and failures, the faster progress will be had. 





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