Year Two: SUMMER: Its always difficult when faced with learning new tasks, the uncertainty, the lack of knowledge, and the fear of failure. However, its always been my intention to view these temporal periods as times of excitement, or times of innovation, or times of adventure. I tell myself, "this feeling of being lost is fleeting, soon it will be wrote, routine and usual. But for now, its pretty uncomfortable.
Yesterday, we went into a home brew shop, with such apprehension. We both felt it, heavy with thoughts of who to speak to, should we ask for the owner, should we play it cool, and casual. like, "no big deal, we are hop farmers...whatev." We entered the cool building still undecided on our approach. We milled around trying to act casual. The saleswoman with rainbow sherbet hair, whom I categorize as hipster, with an east coast flair, asked if she could help us. We spoke about how we were new hop farmers and wanted to introduce ourselves. Our greeting was met with deadpan. Ouch! Moving on, we gave her our business card, and she in turn, asked for our website. "Its on the card", I pointed out, and quickly learned that it was NOT on the card! DOH! How could we submit a business card for printing without our website? I rationalized, because its so easy to just Google Meyerhof Farm, and there it would be, the first result! I mean who actually types out web addresses anymore? But still, ouch again.
By the time I walked over to Matt, he was deep in conversation about hop sales with the helpful, beer nerd dude (I mean 'beer nerd' as a good thing). He prided himself on knowing the history of beer making, and trying to brew old English recipes that craft brewers would make for long sea journeys hundreds of years ago. Beers that had a long shelf life and were meant to be watered down once arriving at port, but never were. The conversation was helpful, and enlightening especially when he showed us a poster of hop genetics.
After a few minutes of conversation, which was more like hop intellectual sparing, rainbow sherbet hipster politely interrupted and asked if she could start an order for us. "No, we are not brewing, we are focusing on growing", I replied, but quickly realized that was her way of saying, "time to go, you novice scum, we've got work to do".
So we thanked them for their time and left...feeling uncomfortable about the interaction.
My manta came bubbling up, "this time is fleeting, enjoy feeling uncomfortable", blah! Instead I'll just think on how great our hop yard looks, and our next stop, Home Brew Shop in Chico...
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.