Hops Blog

The Hops Blog is intended to be an area where we can share our thoughts and experiences in the Hops world with our website visitors. Check back often to see what we're up to now.  More updates coming soon!


We invite your input.

Contact us at: info@oldmissionhops.com


October 9, 2009 - Old Mission, Michigan

The much anticipated harvesting of our local 1st and 2nd year hops was successfully completed during the 2nd & 3rd week of September.  Fresh hops were harvested for immediate distribution to local microbreweries.  We also harvested & processed hops for pelletizing.  The hop pellets were sent to 2 labs for analysis.  The analyses for alpha, beta & HSI values fell within generally accepted “norms” for each variety (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Golding, Mt. Hood & Willamette).This year’s crop has been distributed to Michigan microbreweries to fulfill our previous commitments. The response from our fresh hops supplied to Right Brain, Jolly Pumpkin, Shorts, and New Holland Breweries has been extremely positive. Make it a point to visit these breweries to partake in the local hop experience, but hurry, it is all going fast. Look for more brews made from Old Mission Hops at each of these fine establishments in the near future.


October 2, 2009 - NW MI Horticultural Research Station, Traverse City, Michigan


SUSTAINABLE HOPS PRODUCTION WORKSHOP & TOUR



Approximately 80 current and potential hop growers assembled for a 1 day information seminar hosted by

Dr. Robert Sirrine of the MSU Cooperative Extension Service.  A comprehensive, practical program on hop growing and processing practices in the upper Midwest was presented.  Topics covered:  History and Horticultural Practices & Economics, Infrastructure, and Drying (GORST VALLEY HOPS), Hops Pests and Disease Identification and Management (Joanna Woods, Oregon State University), Local Hops Processing (OLD MISSION HOP EXCHANGE), Michigan Brewers Survey Results & Hop Yard Tour (Dr. Sirrine), and Brewer Panel and Beer Tasting (NEW HOLLAND BREWERY, RIGHT BRAIN  BREWERY & SHORTS BREWERY).  This program gave attendees the opportunity to ask plenty of questions as well as form new relationships.

September 13, 2009 - The hop harvest for our first "meaningful" year is winding down.  This year's crop is in.  Some of our crop came from 2nd year hop plants which yielded hops in promising quantities.  Some of the crop was allocated as "fresh hops" (separated but not dried) to microbreweries.  The remainder is being dried, pelletized & vacuum bagged for future sale to both microbreweries and home brewers.  Monitor our website for

future details on processing and sales.


Old Mission, MI - Center Road hop yard

"Taking measure" of our first year Cascade hop crop.

Roberto is flanked by Lois & Rob Manigold.



September 1, 2009 - Last week, the O.M.H.E. invited Ali Hamm, a graduate of Colorado State University, to tour our hop farm & processing facility.  Ali has a M.S. in Horticulture from C.S.U. and has been studying hops since 2007.  She has been conducting research at the University hop organic hop farm which is funded by the New Belgium Brewing Company, the Odell Brewing Company and an A.B.S.C. Graduate Scholarship.  Ali took time away from their harvest season to "eyeball" our facilities and share some of her hop farming and beer brewing expertise with us




Hop Processing Line Experimentation

(L to R:  Ali, Lois, Kevin, Jordan & Nikki sort out hops on a preliminary "test run".




August 18, 2009 - As harvest time approaches, work on the hop processing line continues.  The photo below

shows fine adjustments being made to the hops pelletizer.




August 15, 2009  - Old Mission, Michigan - The month of August has FINALLY brought summer warmth to northern Michigan and with it, rapid maturation of the hop cones in our Center Road hop yard (see below).





August 6, 2009 - Old Mission, Michigan - Seeking a "spiritual edge", the OLD MISSION HOP EXCHANGE invoked an Orthodox Christian tradition of "Blessing of the Crops" in our own hop yard.  August 6th is a significant date among Orthodox Christians because they observe this annual "Blessing" in conjunction with the Feast Day:  The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ.  This is the traditional date in Greece, Russia and other Balkan countries where such crops as grapes are harvested and brought to Orthodox Churches to be "blessed".  Obviously the timing is different here in northwestern, lower Michigan, so immature crops such as grapes and hops are "blessed" in the field with the belief that a successful harvest will result.

  

Father Iakovos Olechnowicz of the Traverse City Orthodox Mission Church

is shown above conducting the "Blessing of the Crops" on warm, sunny day

in northern Michigan.


August 4, 2009 - Old Mission, Michigan - Timely rainfall has eased the need to irrigate somewhat.  Some bines have reached the top of the trellis.  Flowering began in late July and quickly transitioned to a prolific "fruit  set" (hop formation).

Shown above is our Center Road hop yard in early August.

Notice the arugula/mustard seed cover crop growing between rows.


A typical hop shown within 1 week of flowering.


Meanwhile work on the hop processing line continues.

Shown above is our team of mechanics re-wiring the

hop separator machine.


July 30, 2009 - Old Mission, Michigan - The hop bines at our Center Road hop yard have grown to heights ranging from 5 to 12'.  Milder temperatures coupled with 2 1/2" of rain in July have perked them up.

Our Center Road hop yard in late July.


Hop flowering means the actual hops can't be far behind.


Our rose bushes are in bloom!

We are growing roses at the end of our hop rows -

a European cultural tradition employed with grapes.

We are growing them purely for ornamental

reasons but formerly they were also grown to act

as an early "sentinel" against harmful insects and

diseases - the principle being that they are more sensitive

than the host crop.  Currently we are using trained IPM

specialists to alert us to "trouble".


July 16, 2009 - Old Mission, Michigan            Since our last update,  the hop bines at our Center Road hop yard have grown to heights ranging from 3 to 9’.   The weather continues to be unseasonably cool & dry. A proactive spraying program has averted any major disease or insect outbreak to date.



“Meanwhile back at the ranch”, the hops processing line is taking shape for our September harvest.
  Shown above are our mechanical wizards whipping the hops separator machine into shape.
  Pictured above (from left to right) are:  Kevin, Gary & Sonny.


The OLD MISSION HOP EXCHANGE is preparing to “pelletize” hops also.
  Sonny, Gary & Kevin are shown off-loading a pelletizer for eventual positioning in our hops processing line.


June 11, 2009 - Progress Report - Irrigation is in, hop plants are growing and warmer weather anticipated.


Old Mission, Michigan

Since our last update, the 7 1/2 acres of hops rhizomes planted on Easter Sunday at our Center Road location have emerged. Throughout May, the weather has been unseasonably cool & dry.  Recent rains during the first week of June have provided temporary relief but warmer weather would be helpful.



This view to the south shows the hop yard rigged to receive a single “flush” of 2-3
bines anticipated for our first year growing season.

A close-up view of typical hop plant now 6-8” high already trained around the climber twine. 
Note the drip irrigation/fertigation line directly on top of the ground.
The area between the rows has been seeded with a cover crop.


A separate (but allied hop yard) owned by Graham Kelly is in its second year of cultivation. 
The photos below show some of the differences in plant growth between 1st & 2nd year plants
and some subtle agricultural refinements.



A view of the Graham Kelly hop yard looking north.  Note the hop bines (now in their 2nd year) have already grown 5-6  times the length of 1st year plants planted at the Center Road location (previous photo). 
Also note that the increased vigor of the hop bines has necessitated the rigging of the hops trellis into a 
V-shaped configuration to receive 2 sets of 2-3 bines each.

 

A close-up view of the V-shaped trellis configuration.


April 22, 2009 - Progress Report - Main Irrigation Line Installation


                 

Main irrigation trunk line pipe set in the trench ready for pressure testing & backfilling.


April 20, 2009

Hi,

My brother, Dana and his son-in-law, Jake spoke with Roger from the Old Mission Hop Exchange this past weekend regarding starting HOPS on the peninsula.  We, my siblings and I, are looking at the possibility of growing HOPS on our farm that used to be a cherry orchard years ago.

Do you have any open meetings to come and learn more about this venture?

Thank you for your time on this,

Holly C.

Traverse City, MI


April 22, 2009

Dear Holly,

We have not conducted informational meetings to date.  Instead, we prefer to provide HOPS growing information on an individual basis.  I suggest that you contact Graham Kelly at:  Graham@oldmissionhops.com for more specific information.

Roger Dunlap


April 12, 2009

FINALLY! Spring Is Here!!

It’s Planting Day at the Hop Yard.


After 10 months of planning & preparation, the “hop bunch” gather to oversee the planting process:


The planting crew was divided up into

2 groups: planting side-by-side,

Here Comes One Group On The Left!














Planting stride-for-stride comes the other group led by Adolpho on the right!


Utilizing refrigerated, budded rhizomes, the 7 acre hop yard was planted in 6 hours using an 8 man crew.

LET THE GROWING (& LEARNING) BEGIN!





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