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.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hop Picking Machine and Kiln

People have often asked, "What is a hop picking machine?". Some think it is a vehicle that we drive through the fields somewhat like a combine or grape harvester. In reality we have a building we call our hop picking machine. They are very large and highly immobile structures that contain a network of moving parts which work to separate the cones from the bines. Our goal on the farm is to have less then 1% leaf and stem in our cones by the time they are sent to the kiln to be dried.

Hop picking machine (foreground) with the kiln in background.

The truck will be driving through the two large doors seen above and will pull up under the hooks seen in the photo below. The bines will be placed one at a time upside down on the hooks by hand to be run through the machine.

Conveyors running from the machine to the kiln and back. The conveyor in the foreground takes the wet hops to the kiln to be dried while the other returns the hops once they are dried to the baling room. (One bale in the United States weighs approximately 200 pounds)


tracysrocket said...

The buildings in your photos are easy to identify on the Google aerial pic.

On the aerial just to the east of the picker building there are two U-shaped mounds of material - hops or waste? Can you explain what it is and why it is there?

Does your picker and kiln operate only for your crops or do you also kiln for other farms?


Hopsdirect said...

Good call they are easy to see in the aerial pictures on Google.

The U-shaped mounds on the east side of the machine (the machine is the northern building while the kiln is the southern one) are the waste, which we call the "trash pile". The trash pile contains everything that is not a hop cone, and in the perfect world no cones. So it is the twine, leaves, and bines.

At the end of harvest we take the trash and spread it back into the fields and some onto our roads to help control dust.

Our picker and kiln operate only for our hops, because it runs at full capacity leaving no room to custom harvest for other farms.