The hops are waking up and shooting out their long tendrils, reaching for the trellis. The nuggets were the first out of the gate, with the three C's close behind. Our intern James and Matt did some weeding, wheel-hoeing and admneding. They mixed up feather meal (nitrogen source), rock phosphate (phosphorus), gypsum (helps to open soil and provides calcium) , goat compost, and some native soil and spread it on all the rows. The Nuggets were the first to get the mix, and of course the first to have their leaves darken in rich green color, which indicates the nitrogen is available.
Our intern James McCrigler, from CSU Chico Agriculture Department has been a tremendous help! There is nothing like having a 22 year old stoked on working with hops! We accomplished a great deal during his 4 month internship. He was our first of a long line of many to come (we hope). He helped us clear land for expansion, prep the rows for the new year, applied organic methods to our hop yard, learned to take rhizome cuttings, wild-crafted Waganupa hops, and researched application rates for conventional fertilizers (the point here is to see how much per acre of hops cultivated organically will diminish the use of the harsh chemical fertilizers that is rampant in the hop industry). Most people aren't aware that the hop industry uses roundup on their plants...but this deserves a blog post of it own.
We are very thankful to have James work with us, as our very first intern. He was always a bright spot in our work week, and always brought tasty beers to try during lunch. We congratulate James on being awarded an internship with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in the 18/19 year, and look forward to following his success in the industry.
Turning back to hops, we are really excited for this year. The books say that in the third year of growth is where you see the bumper crop! In order to make space for the new season, we are blowing out the rest of our 2017 crop. We are marking all hops down by 30% and we will start selling at the Chico Thursday Night Market by mid-May. We will have dried hops, lupulin powder, lupulin tincture, and ornamental hop plants for sale. Come see us!
On August 11th, we will be holding our 2nd annual Meyerhof Wet Hop Harvest event. This year we hope to expand the event by welcoming four homebrewers to set up and brew here on the farm! We hope new and innovative recipes will be designed. We will have a follow-up tasting and People Choice award Mid-September. We are still hashing out the details, but hope to bring out some guest speakers to the farm for the event. We will keep you posted!
Matt & Mar
The Hop Yard
We are trying an experimental way to growing hops, the side trellis design. We retrieved old heart wood pine trunks that had been burned out by a fire in 2005, from a friends property, and drove those into the ground at an incline. We planted our plants closer than traditional hop yards, due to the short trellising feature of creating hedges of hops. We will see how this works out. All of the studies that we have read, which aren't many, seem to tell a story of moderate success growing hops in this fashion. We will keep you posted here on how well this works.