Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our Harvest Of Cascade Hops and The Cycle To Farm Tour

Owen Grooms and Tony Mackley
 My much needed helpers got our Cascade hop harvest in full gear this morning at 6AM..  Most people don't realize that 6 O'clock happens twice a day!  Here is a picture of Owen Grooms and Tony Mackley eagerly helping out at this time of day?  You gotta love it. 
This was our best year yet, regardless of wet conditions and disease problems which I predicted 6 years ago.  I am still a firm believer that if this crop is to work in NC. then we have to develop varieties that can survive our short days and wet conditions.  Otherwise, have a lot of friends that like beer and like to work--think about that one, or be prepared to make $2.00/hour--about the most conservative amount I could come up with-- not even discounting my labor, what farmer really does.
Owen Grooms, my hops partner in the crime of "grooming hops" this year, examines the next hop to pick, only the best are selected.
 We only picked the cream of the crop this year, still we got on average 1/2 pound more than in the previous 5 years.  A whopping 1+pound per vine grouping.  But, we  should be looking at 2 to 3 pounds of wet hops at this time given the right conditions needed to successfully grow hops. 

 I am sitting next to 15 pounds of wet hops, part of a 20 pound total.  This batch is going a local brewery to experiment with  We are sending them 20 pounds.  I will disclose this brilliant well established brewery in two weeks. I have been associated with them for while and appreciate their move to try brewing with wet hops. 
  Our first pick went to our newest and truly most local brewing company, Lookout Brewery located in Black Mountain.  They received our first fresh hops earlier this week. 
We are happy to hook up with them and other local breweries that are interested in brewing local beers.  Because of Lookouts good tasting brews and their commitment to dealing with local products like hops (mine from 4 miles away), Riverbend Malt  (based out of Asheville), and water from the deep wells of Black Mountain, I can think of no other fresher beer made in America.  Talk about a low carbon footprint!
Tony Mackely sits in front of 21 pounds of wet Cascade Hops

It's like a bag of gold!
Be sure to check out the Black Mountain Newspaper this coming week, Thursday July 24.  They are featuring our farm and Lookout Brewery and will have more on our Hop Harvest Tour,August 3, 2013..We will start our tour at the farm at 1 PM.  Learn about hops and see them on the vine and then sample the fruit of the vine fresh form Lookout Brewery.  After the farm tour, continue your tour to the Brewery itself.   Their John Garcia will lead a tour of his brewery and of course enjoy his wide selection of their other products from the tap.  Be sure to follow up with this on our Facebook page, the "Hop'n Blueberrry Farm" and the "Lookout Brewery".

My pride and joy, Cascade mommas
Now, before I forget, which I wouldn't of course, I would like to mention a great event taking place at our farm this year.  We are so pleased to be a part of the Cycle To Farm Tour, this Saturday, July 20.  It is our first invite to this great event that raises money for the Buncombe County Greenways here in Black Mountain. We are gearing up for this event and are especially proud that the Center For Food Safety has chosen to set up here on the farm as well.  Wow!  What a week.

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