At last - the cones are here!
As we approach mid-August, our hop plants are transitioning from burrs to cones and beginning to develop the yellow lupin near the lupin glands in the hop that we value so much. Here are a few photos of our Cascade cones, which should be harvested at the end of the month.
Our quest for an automated irrigation system
In the middle of July and during a heat wave, having an irrigation system to drip feed water to hops on a daily basis is paramount. Our system was a few years in the making, but we now finally have it up and running. That's to the credit of Fred (aka Dad) who worked tirelessly to oversee the project to completion. And this automated system would not have been possible without the support of Northumberland Community Futures Development Cooperation (NCFDC) to help us obtain grant funding. Their expert assistance and a lot of hard work on the farm has allowed us to take one big step forward in producing the best local hops possible.
Why should a brewer pay more for Ontario hops?
Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition (GOHCBC)
To kick off 2019, we are excited to team up with Church-Key Brewing Co. to participate in The Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition. The competition will be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Wednesday 20 February during the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention and brings together Ontario brewers and hop producers to showcase beers crafted in our region. This year's style is a New England IPA and thanks to John's innovation at Church-Key will feature our hops harvested in September 2018.
The NEIPA is now available at the brewery.
Our harvester has arrived
This week (2 Aug 18) we received our Hopster 5p from HopsHarvester LLC. We've spent a lot of time researching the best harvester for our size of operation and are excited to incorporate this machine into our line up given the flexibility to harvest where and when we like. The machine is extremely well manufactured and we'll look to post lots more images and notes when we start running it in a few weeks.
We received an invitation to join a panel of producers (Barn Owl Malt, Escarpment Labs, Ironwood Organics, Dominion City) for an information session dubbed 'Beer School' to speak to our experiences growing local ingredients for beer making. It was a great event during Dominion Day celebrations (Canada Day) at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa. Here are a few excerpts of the points we made regarding the importance of local:
I've always found it interesting to see the eternal optimism of a farmer. Despite a horrible year in 2017 where we lost our entire hop crop, we've elected in 2018 to expand our yard and confront the elements, pests and disease states that haunt hop growers. You see - we decided that if we truly want to grow hops that will meet the needs of our brewers, we need to start getting serious about growing a suitable quantity and purchasing the right equipment to do the job right.
One of the commitments we've made this year is to plant clean plant stock in a new section of our yard where we are improving our trellis design. That's the bulk of the work we are tackling this week as we finally enjoy some good weather.
So far this spring we've already been challenged with quack grass in our rows, what we believe is a flea beetle eating plant folliage and the discovery that several of our mature plants did not over-winter well and the rhizomes rotted. Thankfully we've been able to apply some products to assist with these pressures and had some plants in the ready to fill in the empty spots in our rows.
The adventure continues... More updates to come.