Hello again. It’s been a while, I know. Kinda been busy getting the hop yard prepped and planted for the last several weeks. Things are really moving along now as we have had great support through a constant stream of volunteers, some of which have even come back for more (multiple times, even!). I think part of it was Bonnie’s great food selections, free Hop Head Farms swag, and our charming personalities (lol). OVER 8 miles of organic certified weed control paper were laid by a combo of Hop Head Farms volunteers, interns, and paid seasonal labor! The ‘papering’ project was the toughest part of the season in combination with prepping the rows. The row preparation was accomplished by raking in the compost shot out by the side-spreader manure machine that Mark modified to throw in a narrow strip against the hills formed by back-blading the topsoil on both sides of the post ( another masterful job by Mark, our jack-of-all-trades). As of last Thursday we got ALL 44 rows of hop hills prepped and papered. That called for a celebration, a Friday lunchtime visit to one of our favorite local breweries, Arcadia Ales. There the team enjoyed 5 pizzas and a couple pints each among the 21 and ups at the table. We toasted to the end of ‘papering’ forever!
Although that aspect was complete, we still have been planting our starter plants all along as they’ve become ready by our local propagator. Prior to June 1st, we had only around 16 rows complete. As of today, after some great weekend work and a kick-ass day today (around 2000 planted), I’m proud to say there are only 9.5 of 12.5 empty rows to go (~3100 plants). In the final three rows we’re saving (due to an unforeseen problem in propagating one particular variety), we’re going to add a yet to be determined variety. So craft brewers, if you’ve got a favorite not represented in our current offerings, now’s your time to speak up to see if they could be had from the propagator. It’ll be roughly 1000 plants worth, a potential of 1000-1500 pounds, at maturity. So brewers & homebrew shops, give us a call or check your mail, voicemail and emails ’cause we’re gonna catch your attention somehow, sometime, real soon! Next project -coir rope- ONLY 60,000 knots to tie. I think we’ll be celebrating the end of THAT project as well, at another great Michigan brewery- so look out for Team Hop Head!
Jeff Steinman, Mr. Green Genes
Horticultural Director, Hop Head Farms, LLC