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Old 10-06-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
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Default Interesting Read

an old article on the history of Hop Growing in NYs "hop belt"

http://www.nysarchivestrust.org/apt/...mag_fall06.pdf

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Old 10-06-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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yeah, here in Oneida/Madison counties it was the big thing! My grandfather owned several farms and hops were grown on at least 2 of them, from what I'm told. We used to take family drives on Sunday afternoons when I was a little kid and we'd frequently go down along the NY Rte 8, 12, and/or 28 (sometimes Rte 80) corridor(s) and my father would point out to us the many old, abandoned hops barns along the way. Now almost 50 years later, most of those are long gone. The stone ones are truly works of art.

Did you know that hops was first brought to Madison County by James Coolidge in 1808, and by 1875 Waterville (in southern Oneida County, only about 9 miles south of me at NY 12 and US 20) was regarded, at least from the historical accounts I've read over the years, as the world's hops capital? Among a ton of other hops inventions that came out of this area, the first-ever liquid hops extract. By 1880, Madison, Oneida and Otsego Counties produced more than 80% of the nation's hops! Not sure if the article goes over that, I didn't read it all so I apologize if I'm repeating stuff.

In fact, so popular was the hops industry here and so sudden its demise, that today it's relegated to the history books and few beyond those whose families were involved with it even know (knew) much about it. For instance, when you talk about farming around these parts for at least the past 60-70 years, virtually everyone thinks: "DAIRY!" Well, guess what? The first Holstein brought to this area back in the early 1800's was for the sole purpose that its sheer size would produce more manure (fertilizer) for the hops industry! Dairy took, for the most part, a significant back seat to the hops industry back then. Yes, I am well aware of the impact of dairy in this area from even before hops came into its own; in fact, I live in a tiny place called Chuckery Corners, named after the Chuckery Creamery, the world's largest (because it was the only) creamery of its day back in the late 1700's. Point is, dairy never took off like it did around here until around WWII... wow, sorry, I guess you got me started.... I just have a love for local history..................

Anyways, if you ever get the chance, go to the Madison County Historical Society's annual Hop Fest; it's a great time, and I met a bunch of guys that are on this forum, and their homebrew tent was THE epitome event!!! Absolutely awesome bunch, and the meads were amazing!!!! I can't wait 'til next year.....

BTW, hops is back, and back big time. More later, I'm late for dinner!

- Tim

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Old 10-07-2010, 05:07 PM   #3
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Never apologize for being a history buff. I can go on for hours about Wisconsin's hop history.

Any chance your going to be at the Northeast Hop Alliance's workshop this weekend? Here's the latest info:
http://www.madisoncountycourier.com/...-course-18871/

If you are, look for me and introduce yourself. (I'll be the very loud, large guy standing on stage talking about drying.) Hopefully a couple will be there that showed me the most amazing sight last time I was out in your area. They own an old double oast that sits next to a double ice storage barn with its own pond. Of course everything had been renovated over time for dairy farming because up the road was one of Doc Borden's original creameries. It was a sight to behold.

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Old 10-07-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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A LOT of Wisconsin came from here, LOL!!! Including the Wisconsin branch of the Oneida Nation... but the list (and debates) could go on forever. Many years ago, my Dad (he'll be 93 this year) spent some time in Wisconsin and loved it; he said aside from not having the mountains (Adirondacks, Catskills, and Allegheny), Wisconsin was most like NY (our area, at least) than any other state he'd seen. Although I've not been to all 50 states yet, so far I agree completely. Absolutely beautiful out there.

I was just over to Larry Fisher's yesterday (Foothill Hop Farm - www.foothillhops.com) and we were talking about the classes. As much as I want to make it (only Hops 101 is still open, Hops 201 filled up awhile ago), I can't. I did get some hops, though! He's got a nice brew and wine shop there, looking to make it even bigger. (shameless plug for Foothill! ) I got some of his Willamette hops, they'll be going in the next wheat I make.

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Old 10-07-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
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I have 1868 map of Cherry Valley, NY (near Cooperstown), that has my wife's Great-great-great grandfather listed with his Hop Kiln marked on the map. Pretty cool. Doesn't appear to be there anymore though when you look at recent aerial photos. Long Long gone...

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