On Wednesday, five scientist came to the farm and spent a couple of hours working in my hop yard taking leaf samples for tissue analysis. In the above picture from left to right are Rob Austin, Jeanine Davis's assistant Tyler, Bill Yarborough, Scott King, and our very own Sue Colucci.
Rob and Scott are soil scientist at North Carolina State University and have received a grant along with Jeanine Davis at the Mountain Horticulture Experimental Station in Fletcher to study the nutritional aspects of hops.
Bill Yarborough is the soil expert for Western North Carolina and works with the Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation District in Waynesville. Sue Colucci is a dual Area Specialized Agricultural Extension agent for Henderson and Buncombe counties and is our regional pathologist.
There are four farms in the area that are presently being studied. A complex soil structure analysis has just been completed and this tissue sampling will complement that report. We should be able to determine more accurately the nutritional needs for the plants.
I am very excited to be a part of this study and hope that these folks get more funding to continue studying the feasibility of growing hops in Western North Carolina. You can see more about this project by going to easternhopsguild.blogspot.com and reading an article about this project in detail.