Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hop Harvest Tour At The Farm

It is that time of the year for the revealing of this years best overall pale ale ever. The "Burnette's Brew" produced by Pisgah Brewing Co. will be available around August 1st and is made from hops picked fresh from the vine to the kettle in less than 6 hours. MMMmmmmm, it is good and good for you!

There is a limited 20 kegs produced so be sure and test it out at Pisgah or other popular establishments in Asheville. Be sure to get some this year. And one sure fire way to sample this brew is to come out to our farm on August 6 at 1 pm. and join me as I give a hop harvest tour of the farm. You will learn just about anything there is about growing hops and be able to sample that delicious aromatic fresh beer.
Here is a press release for the occasion:

Grand Hop Harvest Tour and Sampling --showcasing hops from the vine to keg.Hop’n Blueberry Farm and Pisgah Brewing Company invite you to experience a dual hop tour on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

Arrive at the Farm (24 Middle Mountain Road – Black Mountain) by 12:45pm for a 1:00pm tour. Then take a short drive down the road to Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Drive – Black Mountain) to continue your experience. Tickets are $8.00 per person and include a beer sample (or two).

Pisgah Brewing Company has been producing a “wet hop” beer with fresh hops grown at Hop'n Blueberry Farm for the last three years. This unique beer only happens once per year when hops are picked and added to the brewing process at the brewery within hours after leaving the farm.

The tour will start at the farm, where owner Van Burnette, will share information about growing hops from the ground up going from the vine to the kettle. Van will also talk about the many other things his farm is producing including the new butterfly flighthouse and exciting new crops for Western North Carolina.

The farm tour will end with a sampling of Pisgah’s wet-hopped beer, appropriately named "Burnette's Brew". According to Burnette, “This is the best batch yet with a fresh aromatic taste that will delight anyone. With an addition of more fresh hops obtained from Blue Ridge Hops in Madison County, the flavor is even more pronounced.”

After the farm tour, participants will leave for Pisgah Brewing Co. where they will enter the brewery to hear about hops from the kettle to the keg. Once the tour is complete, participants are invited to the taproom to purchase other great Pisgah beers along with more “Burnette’s Brew.”

Tickets are limited so be sure to get over here to secure a place for the tour!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life After Harvesting Hops

Life does not stop after the first hop harvest. It is business as usual because I don't cut down my vines. I allow them to produce cones again for a 2/3 smaller second harvest. These hops are for friends, and other home brewers.

Check out the latest YouTube video here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hop's Get A Media Boost

How can I describe a paradoxical day? Well, it has to do with weather and media. Today was my delimna on this situation. First of all it was Saturday, not that it matters to me as a farmer, but because it is my wife Martha's chance to maybe relax from her stressful job. Second, and a big drive for me was that there was cold front in town and cloud cover her that offered an opportunity for me to work on my hop yard with long sleeves on (protctetion against the abrasive irriating vines).

The trouble was that I did not get to work until 1 PM. I had an obligation to go over the Mountain Horticlulture Experimental Station in Flecture, NC. to visit their newly established hop yard.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Black Mountain Primary School Summer Camp Visits

It was a cool day for a change here. Temperatures were in the range of what I would call comfortable, average. And what was even more comfortable here was a fantastic visit from the Black Mountain Primary School's After School Care and Summer Camp Program that came out to see and learn about butterflies.

The first group were the first and second graders. Cindy Debrull, the camp director warned me that this group loved to get their pictures taken and it was easy to see.
After a session of butterfly lifestyle with some videos that I have produced in the study area, the kids were eager to get to the butterfly house to see the wonders of the butterflies up close.
We had just missed seeing two monarchs hatch out from their chrysalis and also had just missed a caterpillar changing into a chrysalis. Both of these events are going on now for the next week or so.

Some butterflies landed on our visitors and the kids were awful excited to feel the butterflies on their hands. They didn't want to leave but finally had to because they stayed passed their lunch hour.

In the afternoon the third through fifth graders got to come out and had just as good of time as the earlier group.

I am always amazed at how much these young folk know about butterflies and farms. It makes me glad to see. Maybe there is hope for the small sustainable farms and the insect pollinators that make them work!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our First Hop Harvest For 2011

Our hop harvest was completed on time Friday in conjuction with Pisgah Brewing Company's beer kettle boil. The fresh hop beer, called Burnette's Brew, will be available in about two weeks.
This is the special brew done by Pisgah for the last three years that features hops that are picked from my farm fresh and put into the beer making process within six hours after the pick. Called a "wet hop" beer, this brewing technique has to take place within 10 hours after hops are picked.
This year I was able to get Blue Ridge Hops, located near Marshall, NC. to bring in an extra 10 pounds of their certified organic hops to add to recipe with my 12 pounds of chemically free hops, making for a nice hoppy aromatic pale ale that taste really good and is probably good for you as well!
Watch the process below from my post on YouTube.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Sculptures Arrive At The Farm

My friend, Dan Foy, landscaper and lawn care specialist, is also a very unique garden sculpturing master. Today, the 4th of July, he brought a new addition to the farm. A unique red, white, and blue butterfly on a sunflower. Dan's talents are really spectacular when it comes to unusual one-of-a-kind yard and garden art.
We already have one of Dan's replicas of a Native American grain grinders that not only looks like a part of real American history, but also serves as a bird bath/or in our case a butterfly bath!

I pondered a while on where to put Dan's five foot high work of art. Then it came to me as I was looking at my hops that I am going to harvest this week. What a perfect location. High atop my 18 foot trellis pole for the cascade hops!

Here is a shot of the new art on my slanted hop poles down near the Collins flighthouse. I was able to frame Dan's butterfly with one of the many blooming sunflowers on Nectar Lane, the walkway up to the flighthouse.

It is a great time to visit the farm and the butterflies and hops are at their peak right now. There are many, many, native butterflies and flowers in bloom at this time. The start of the most active butterfly season will be this week. Make a date to visit.