Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's That Time---Hop Harvest!

Pickers in the hop yard
We have had a generally good year for production.  Our numbers are up, although still short of expectations compared to out west with just a little over a pound per vine average, some of the cone sizes just have to be admired. Just look below at these cascades.  Of course these are some of the "top picks", those from the top of the vines that receive the most sun, but the rest were easily three fingers long.
These are what I call four finger hops!
This year our first pick went to Hi Wire Brewery in Asheville.  Here they made a 1.5 barrel run of wet hops from our farm.  We picked early in the morning and got the pounds over to the brewery by 12 noon where they were put directly into the boil by Luke Holgate, the head brewer.  

Our next pick went to Lookout Brewing Company here in Black Mountain.  During the morning of the delivery, I had at one time 6 volunteers from around the area, including 3 from Lookout, that came over and made short notice of the harvest time.  We were able to bring in nuggets and cascades to add to their boil within just 2 hours.  A truly fresh "fresh hop" beer.  
Head Lookout Brewer Tanner Frizzell gets a bowl of our hops from Sara Gulotta
One happy moment!
I will tell you that I am really excited about tasting these beers in about three weeks and bringing them to our Hop Harvest Tour event on August 23.  We are going to have a great time at the farm for this years tour with lots of education about the art of growing hops, live music, and of course, samples of the beer that has been made fresh from our hops!  

Stay tuned for more info on this upcoming event and cheers!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chrysalis On A Stick And Milkweed

We just now have our first monarch butterfly chrysalises!  This is great news as I am starting to do my part in helping with the declining monarch population.  These chrysalises were from 4 monarchs that visited my farm in April more than likely returning from Mexico.  I have over 100 and am offering them for sale attached to a stick stand so you can watch the transformation yourself in the confines of your own home.  I call it a "Chrysalis On A Stick".

This is a great opportunity for self educators, summer camps, schools, and individuals to be able to see the transformation from a green chrysalis to a transparent shell where you can actually see the butterfly inside and, if you are patient enough, to watch the butterfly hatch out.  When the butterfly hatches out, you to can do a part in increasing the population by releasing them.

We don't really want to ship these guys out, so coming by the farm is the only way to get one of these at a cost of $8 each.  Give us a call and set up a time to pick them up.  All the info is on our

And if it is milkweed you want, we also sell some here at the farm.  Plant it and do a big part in providing a food source for the monarch caterpillar insuring that the monarch migration may not disappear.

See you soon!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hop Harvest Is Near

It is getting close to our hop harvest and we have three breweries that would like to try our hops this year. We always guarantee that our hops will be in the boil in less than 8 hours from the vine  if it is done locally.  Watch our promo here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Help Save The Monarchs

Monarch Cats On The Move
Young one week old Monarch caterpillars
Our first batch of Monarch caterpillars are eating their way through tons of milkweed right now and are for sale at the Hop'n Blueberry Farm, call us.  These cats were hatched from just a few monarch butterflies that were on the farm in early April.  These Monarchs were from the few returning butterflies coming up from Mexico this year and were the original butterflies that flew down to Mexico last year from the northern US and southern Canada.

In case you weren't aware, the migrating Monarchs are in grave danger of becoming an extinct event.  The numbers are incredibly low this year.  In fact, less than half of last years numbers and down 75% or more than just 4 years ago.  Much of this it is generally accepted due to Monsanto's generically modified "roundup" ready crops and the over spraying of herbicides killing thousands of acres of milkweed, the only plant that the Monarch caterpillars eat.
Female Monarch on Buddleia
One way you can help save the monarch migration is to plant milkweed!  As much of it as you can.  We generally have seed here, but a we had mice get into our stock and clean us out.  Check with your favorite nursery to see if they have one or two of the many species of milkweed (Asclepias).  And, of course another way is to purchase one of our caterpillars and follow it as it changes into a chrysalis and finally hatching into your very own Monarch.

If you are interested in getting your own caterpillar, you must have access to milkweed to feed it.  They require fresh leaves every day.  Call us for more info.