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Hop Farming In Your State?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cavedave, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. More_Cowbell

    More_Cowbell Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2013 Washington

    Well I'm in the Tri-Cities of WA (southeastern corner) which is in the Columbia Valley (a premier wine grape growing region in the US)and right next to the Yakima Valley. Driving through Moxee and Yakima is quite a sight. Hops everywhere!
  2. ArchEnemyBrew

    ArchEnemyBrew Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2010 Washington

    Once they are shipped out of state and used to brew world class ipa's, they become rare.
  3. Flashy

    Flashy Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2003 Vermont

    I have 10 acres in VT if anyone wants to bankroll me.
    cavedave and 1up like this.
  4. 1up

    1up Disciple (361) Mar 5, 2013 District of Columbia

  5. BadJustin

    BadJustin Initiate (0) Dec 18, 2010 New York

    Damn, thats a good amount, We decided to stick to smaller for now just because we are concerned with the picking aspect even with an acre that's going to be a full time job itself to harvest. There is a community co-op picking machine that can be used but we have to look further into that. Figured start small and see how it goes and can always increase if/when needed.
    NanookinTexas and cavedave like this.
  6. ncaudle

    ncaudle Defender (602) May 28, 2010 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    in the colonial days VA was the hop growing center of the US... have heard quite a bit of wild hops just growing beside backwoods roads in central VA and Shenandoah Valley.
    cavedave and bushycook like this.
  7. WelshBrewer

    WelshBrewer Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2013 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Willamette Valley Oregon, In recent years, Oregon farmers have worked an average of 5,000-6,000 acres a year to produce between 8 to 11 million pounds of hops (5 percent of the world supply). And Yakima Valley (Washington State (which produces 25 percent of the world supply)), yahoo, the Capitols of Hops, ok maybe not the Capitols but pretty close.
    cavedave likes this.
  8. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (1,954) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Supporter Subscriber

    Here is a link to an interesting newspaper article about this hop farm. It appeared in yesterday's Battle Creek Enquirer, but I don't know how long it will be available for reading online without a subscription. The accompanying video starts out like it is technically-challenged, but a view of the new processing equipment is shown toward the end. http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013308240010&nclick_check=1
    cavedave likes this.
  9. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (624) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    I suspect there's no commercial hop-growing at all in my "state" (the Netherlands).

    Hops seem pretty fussy bastards so I'm sure there are plenty of areas in the US where it's not practical to grow hops commercially.

    I wonder how they're coping with disease in the New York hopfields? That was one of the reasons the industry disappreared from the state in the 20th century. A New York state resident has tiold me that it's coomon to see wild hops shooting up in the spring, only to be cut down by disease later in the year.

    Unless China or Russia go crazy on hop-growing, I can't see anyone challenging the US as the leading producer in terms of quantity. I think the Germans and Czechs might disagree about where the best-quality hops come from, though.
  10. PackPride

    PackPride Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2011 North Carolina

    A couple of months back I got to meet the owners of "Farm Boy Farms" in Chatham County, North Carolina. I think they are near Siler City, but I could be wrong. They provide 2-row and 6-row barley, wheat, and a couple of different kind of hop varieties. They've got a pretty good size operation going on out there, and I know a few microbreweries in the area buy from them. Here's their website if anyone in central NC is interested: http://farmboybrewery.com/
    Cottontown201 and cavedave like this.
  11. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (624) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Too late to edit

    Unless China or Russia go crazy on hop-growing, I can't see anyone challenging the US as the leading producer in terms of quantity. [I see the US isn't the leader in quantity, but Germany. Having spent much of July looking at hop production statistics, I should have known that. Incidentally, there were years in the 20th century where the USA out-produced Germany, 1911 and 1912, for example.]
    cavedave likes this.
  12. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,228) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I know of nothing but complete success for every one I know growing hops, and my second years did wonderfully too. Dutchess Hop Farm pulled in a bumper crop of very high quality on their four acres. I know that research is ongoing.

    Had no idea it was four things, not one, that sank NY hop agriculture; PNW got greater yields and competed well, downey mold, plagues of hop aphids, and finally prohibition did the rest of the damage.

    Good info here,
    including this:
    So is it possible to grow hops again in our area? Dr. Leonard Perry, head of the University of Vermont’s Plant and Soil Science Department, has been conducting hop-growing research for several years. According to Dr. Perry, "There are no adverse climactic or soil conditions which would absolutely prevent the growth of hops in any locale, so that the reasons for the presence or absence of hop growing in any region are largely economic or reflect the cultural heritage of the agriculturalists." It is not doubted that hops can grow here, but direct economic competition with the west coast growers is doubtful.
  13. MIbeerGUY

    MIbeerGUY Initiate (117) Sep 18, 2012 Michigan

    I was at my brothers on Sunday and his neighbor brought a hard copy of this article about Hop Head's farm down to his house, pretty cool! Jeff is wearing a shirt from the High Five Farm if you flip through the pictures, also pretty cool. The hard copy had a nice photo of him wearing it also. Unfortunately I failed on grabbing a copy.

    Also check out this overhead footage at Hop Heads:
    cavedave likes this.
  14. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2011 Maine

  15. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,015) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I've been toying with the idea of investing in the equipment and doing something on a commercial scale if there is profit potential and its low risk. I think I may test the waters in doing to try some backyard stuff next year (I think I read to get the rhizomes in the ground in Feb/Mar timeframe?). Our region in central MD is similar to the VA winecountry (Charlottesville) area so if hops grow there I would assume they'd do about the same up 100 miles north in central MD.

    2 questions: Growing a couple backyard hop plants (6 or less), how much hops gets harvested off of 1 plant and how far does that go into brewing process? Is 6 or less plants enough for home brewing batches in full or just a supplement for buying hops to make a batch of home brew from a standard kit (I have no homebrewing experience but have family and friends who do)?

    How much acreage / plants do you need to grow for any small/moderate sized craft brewers or the industry to have any interest in doing business with you?
  16. DougC123

    DougC123 Devotee (476) Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    Cape Cod beer has a few lines growing outside their building, and they actually use them.
  17. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,228) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Great video really spotlighting all that this thread is about.
  18. BadJustin

    BadJustin Initiate (0) Dec 18, 2010 New York

    Yup, saw that yesterday. All those places (with the exception of Saratoga) are within a 20 mile radius of me. The Foothills Hop Farm is less that 5 limes from my house and those are the folks, along with Jim Wrobel from Wrobel Farms, that have helped the wife and I on our little hop growing adventure. I am going to track down that dude they showcase as it seems from the video we are on the same page and about at the same point in our "careers".
    MIbeerGUY and cavedave like this.
  19. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Disciple (316) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I was wondering if anyone here has experience with pick-your-own hop farms. I have been growing hops and live on 9 acres and considering expanding and starting a pick-your-own. Also, any input on varieties and what you might feel is a good price range would be great.
  20. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Disciple (316) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I know this thread was started a while back but I was wondering how those varieties did in your yard this past year? Planning on ordering approx. 3 to 6 varieties for a small 2,500 sq ft hop yard here in PA. Grew Cascades last year and they did very well.
  21. BryanReed

    BryanReed Initiate (87) Apr 7, 2015 Idaho
    Beer Trader

    Lots of hops coming out of Idaho. I think we're 3rd in the nation for hop production?

    Fresh hop season is AWESOME around here.
  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,300) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Yes Idaho is number 3, and growing in acres planted.
  23. NizzleEGizzle

    NizzleEGizzle Devotee (431) Feb 25, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    I read about From the Ground Brewery (http://fromthegroundbrewery.com/) in last month's BA magazine. They're committed to using all NY local ingredients, hops included. Located in Red Hook upstate. @cavedave
    jimboothdesigns and cavedave like this.
  24. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,228) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Absolutely excited to make it over there. Are you around here (Mid Hudson Valley)? Let's go.
  25. eppCOS

    eppCOS Devotee (494) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
    Supporter Subscriber

    VABA and Dan_K like this.
  26. NizzleEGizzle

    NizzleEGizzle Devotee (431) Feb 25, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    Man, I wish. I'm smogged down in NYC. But I'll give you a shout next time I'm up there and we can grab a brew!
    cavedave likes this.
  27. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (179) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Oddly enough two hop farms have opened within the past year in two small towns here in south central PA. Sunny Brae Hop Farm has been teaming up with Troeg's quite a bit.
  28. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Disciple (316) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I have heard of Sunny Brae. Very popular around here. I am hoping to start a "pick-your-own" hop farm this year for friends and home brewers.
  29. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (179) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    That would be interesting. In the Carlisle area? The brewery presence seems to be a bit stronger in that direction.
  30. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Disciple (316) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I am actually north of Harrisburg between Halifax and Lykens (near the Carsonville Hotel), if you are familiar with the area. I have been talking with some of the land owners and farmers in the area to discuss a sort of hop growing co-op as well.
  31. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (179) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    That fits. I guess i should have given some context to my post. I'm in Chambersburg, so the activity North of me is a lot stronger. I'm not too familiar with the Halix area but i do like the concept.
    jimboothdesigns likes this.
  32. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Disciple (379) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    If I wound up retiring in VA, my home state, I'd like to try my hand at growing hops here.
    foundersfan1 and jimboothdesigns like this.
  33. akolb

    akolb Crusader (709) Aug 8, 2015 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I know that High Hops, in Windsor, CO, grows at least some of their own hops. Haven't had any of their beers yet, but I guess it's possible.
    Dan_K likes this.
  34. beergrrl

    beergrrl Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2003 New Hampshire

    I've been growing organic hops commercially in New Hampshire for six years. First 3-4 years were maturation harvests.
  35. ElijahRivera

    ElijahRivera Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2009 New York

    I know this was a while back but they have all been doing really well. I've used them to make some decent homebrewed farmhouse ales. They grow well and produced a lot of hops. Very hardy. Very little maintenance required, because they have tons of sun and enough rain. They smell great and produce good results in beer as far as aroma and flavor goes. However, I think the alpha acid level is lower than the normal expected for each variety, but that is purely based on expected IBU's based on projected AA levels. I have not tasted the actual AA levels of the flowers. Cheers!
    jimboothdesigns likes this.
  36. lester619

    lester619 Devotee (493) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I've never heard of hops being grown in Wisconsin. I've always assumed the winters are too long and or cold. But if Idaho can do it, I don't see why we couldn't. Maybe it's elevation or some other factor? I guess I really don't know. If there is something brewed with local hops, I'd like to check it out.
  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,300) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Hops in Wisconsin? Here is some reading for you!
    lester619 likes this.
  38. lester619

    lester619 Devotee (493) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,045) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Colorado has a few operations popping up. But as long as there are trademarked hops like simcoe and citra it will always be hard to get some varieties.
  40. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,077) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    There's a small hop farm about 50 minutes north of me outside of Ithaca. I'm not sure what the state statistics are, though. I'll have to look into that.
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