Our Goal for this Blog

Over the years we have received and continue to receive numerous phone calls and emails asking many different farm related questions. Our thought is that we would try out a blog to keep people up to date on what we are doing here on Puterbaugh Farms and at Hops Direct.

We will just jump right into where we are at in the growing season with a very brief look at what it took to get the hops to the stage they are in now. If interest is actually shown and people are looking for more information we will continue through the winter and pick up the beginning next spring, which will allow everyone to get a feel for what a full crop year looks like from a hop grower's perspective and all of the many challenges involved. We hope you enjoy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

1st Year Hop Yards

In the Yakima Valley we are known for some of the greatest hop growing conditions in the world. This means that in normal years a 1st year hop yard can achieve 60-80% yields. In our current season due to abnormally cool conditions the 1st year hop yards are struggling their way up the string.

Our target date on the farm for having our hops reach the wire (the point where the coir twine is tied off to the trellis, usually about 18-20 feet) is the Fourth of July. So that the hops can start focusing on growing more lateral arms where the blooms will later occur.

Here are some photos I took of some 1st year yards on July 3, 2008, trust me they did not reach the wire by the 4th.
1st year yard only a foot off the ground.
1st year Centennial's in the foreground with mature Centennial yard behind them.
1st year Willamette's making better progress than the rest, because they love the cooler Oregon Willamette Valley like weather (hence the name Willamette).


tracysrocket said...

Are you increasing the Centennial fields from what you had in the past or are these new ones replacing old crowns?

How has the hop shortage affected your strategy of what varieties you will grow? Do you plan on dumping any aroma varities in favor of high alpha?



Hopsdirect said...

On our farm hop acreage has increased slightly. The field of Centennials from the photo is a new 1st year field (a trick would be to look at the poles in the photos, new poles are "green" they look brighter then the older fields which turn brown as they age).

Our growing strategy revolves around the prices of long term contracts (5-year contracts), this is part of the market has excited since the beginning of raising hops, but to a majority of smaller breweries and homebrewers this might seem like a new topic.

Personally we did not take out any aromas hops, but I have seen many fields in the area taken out to be replaced with high alpha varieties. The USA Hops report on strung acreage shows that a vast majority of the "new" acreage being high alpha.