On August 26th, 2017 we had our first open farm event. We invited home brewers from the northstate to come to the farm and pick wet hops and enjoy a farm meal. We had a great turn out, with brewers coming from Chico & Redding. We opened up at 8AM with fresh roasted coffee and scones made by daughter #2, Maddy.
Brewmaster John Dotter arrived at 730AM to set up his portable home brew kit in the screen room. His recipe included Cascade, Galena, and Chinook. It was awesome to have him say, "I need 12 ounces of Cascade, and 24 of Galena." Matt and I would take off with our baskets and come back with amazing smelling cones. The excitement was palpable as other brewers arrived over the next hour and began comparing recipes and watching as the malt simmered.
Django Rhinhart's mandolin playing filled the air, as we discussed our organic growing methods, and our method of making hop hash (a cleaner version of cryohops). Our daughter put on a hop & lavender salt scrub demonstration at 10AM, and lunch of local organic pulled pork & fixin's was served at noon. A special surprise was the impromptu beer tasting that erupted over lunch. All the brewers had brought their own beers to give samples of. I remarked when cleaning up, it was the first party we threw where there wasn't a single beer bottle or can to recycle!
We were humbled by all the support that local brewers showed toward our fledgling farm. We truly love to grow hops, and are so amazed at all we have learned and have yet to learn.
We will be putting the growing season to bed for 2017 shortly and we are already looking forward to 2018
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.