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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What do we raise?

As always the questions we receive lead us to most of our postings. Many are wondering what varieties we actually raise here on our farm and why we choose to raise the ones we do.

The first part of the question is simple, we raise fourteen different varieties at this time. We raise the old mainstays Cascade, Cluster, Willamette, Nugget, and Galena. We like to grow small amounts of what we would consider specialty hops which include Tettnanger, Mt Hood (not extremely common in Washington), and Magnum. Of course we also have super high alpha varieties as well including some of CTZ varieties. For mid alpha we have Chinook and Centennials.

The question of why we choose the ones we do is a little more complicated to answer. We select varieties based on numerous factors... Ideally we like to have a hop that fits well with our soil profile and climate conditions. Hops such as the Tettnanger, Magnum, and Mt. Hood for instance do not grow extremely well in our area because it is too hot, which is why we have very limited acreage of these varieties. Each variety also has a pickability factor, that is the rate at which we can run the hops through our machine, which can be extremely costly for some of the varieties that are notoriously harder to harvest.

Two of the most important factors would be the price of long term contracts for each variety and how the varieties fit into our harvest schedule. For instance, even if there was one variety that was receiving the best price across the board we could not plant just one variety. There is a specific time frame in which each must be harvested (our harvest is 45 days long), and we have a target date for each type of hop we raise so that they can all be harvested at their peak. This is only possible with great diversification of varieties.

2 comments:

David said...

I am very happy that there are operations like yours out there that are still growing and selling the lower alpha hops. I know that often the higher alpha varieties are more profitable.

Hope it turns out to be a bumper crop out there this year.

tracysrocket said...

Tyler,

I heard Ralph of Hop Union say once that as home hop growers, we should not expect the same level of alpha acid as commercial hop farms. If this is true, what are the reasons why my hop rhizomes form Puterbaugh might not yield the same alphs acid levels as your 2008 crop?

Dwayne