Two things I’m very excited about arrived at the farm this week. First is the endomycorrhizal fungi I’ll tell you more about later. The second are the first of our Cascade and Centennial hop rhizomes! They’ll go in our freshly cut beds as soon as the weather permits.
Half Hill Farm is the only farm in Tennessee providing a local source of USDA certified organic hops (certifying April 2013). The Tennessee Department of Agriculture stopped keeping records of Tennessee’s hop production sometime before Prohibition when machine harvesting began concentrating the nation’s hop production in other states. The USDA could find no records of commercial production in Tennessee.
Half Hill Farm is proud to serve the needs of a growing craft beer culture in Tennessee that celebrates an American craft spirit of community, ingenuity, and sustainability. If you are a local craft brewer and want to visit our farm, get in touch, and grow with us!
I spent part of the morning in the woods cutting three 20 feet cedar posts for our first bed of organic hops. The “bines” will grow that tall every year starting around the second or third year.
Realizing we will be harvesting by hand, I came up with a design I’m testing on this 40 feet bed of 15 plants that lowers the mature hops rather than climbing ladders. I’ll share the design once I can see it will actually work.
After speaking with a few local craft brewers, I’m slowly narrowing my choices of organic varieties. I’m not sure what to expect this year, but I’m hoping for at least 5-10 pounds. If everything looks good after the first year, the hop yard should have roughly 250 plants in 2014.
In 1860, Tennessee reported producing 1,541 pounds of hops. – Agriculture of the United States by Joseph C. G. Kennedy
That’s a lot of beer, for sure, so the idea of hosting a volunteer hop harvest down the road sounds real appealing, and from what I’ve read that’s the way it used to be.