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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > Public hops harvest?
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Public hops harvest?

As a small boy in the late 1960s I traveled to Britian (about one hour outside London by car) during the summer and picked hops for several days.

Apparently, back then, factories, stores, closed for a two week period specifically so workers could participate in local hops picking.

We used ladders and picked them from bushes that were 12-15 feet high. The smell of fresh picked hops was not forgotten.

Do they still do this or do they just harvest them with machinery? Hops is an annual plant; right?

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Old 07-23-2010, 06:39 PM   #2
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They have machinery. Dirty Jobs did an episode on it once.

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Old 07-23-2010, 06:55 PM   #3
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they do have machiniery for this now but in the case of last year they actually an over abundant amount and it would have costs them more to pick/dry/package it for what they could get for it so they left them on the bine and put out signs for people to come pick their own. After that they burned them down

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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So, hops are planted new each year; right? I assume this would allow the harvest machines to whack all the hop bushes down to the stubs.

Anyway, picking was WORK; we did this with our bear hands only for 14-15 hours a day. The only tools were ladders and baskets. My hands were light green in color for weeks.

Luckily, after the experience, I became a CPA and not a migrant worker.

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:20 PM   #5
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Plus after several days of picking I have heard men have been known to start lactating... yes, you read that right! :-P (disclaimer, I read this on the webtubes)

Hops are not replanted every year. They grow from a rhizome which is perennial. It is similar to bamboo in that way.

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Old 07-23-2010, 08:03 PM   #6
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Plus after several days of picking I have heard men have been known to start lactating... yes, you read that right! :-P (disclaimer, I read this on the webtubes)

Hops are not replanted every year. They grow from a rhizome which is perennial. It is similar to bamboo in that way.
who is gonna fall for that one?
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #7
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Most hops in the US come from a small number of large farms, so the bines are harvested whole and are then stripped in a really weird machine that shakes and slaps the bines to knock the hops loose. My neighbor says that hand-harvesting was common back in the 40s and 50s. There were buses that brought students up from OSU to the farms for the harvest.

Here's a shot of bines being loaded into the harvester.



And one of a drying bin.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
Most hops in the US come from a small number of large farms, so the bines are harvested whole and are then stripped in a really weird machine that shakes and slaps the bines to knock the hops loose. My neighbor says that hand-harvesting was common back in the 40s and 50s. There were buses that brought students up from OSU to the farms for the harvest.

Here's a shot of bines being loaded into the harvester.



And one of a drying bin.

if they could only put that smell into an air freshener that would be great!
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
Most hops in the US come from a small number of large farms, so the bines are harvested whole and are then stripped in a really weird machine that shakes and slaps the bines to knock the hops loose. My neighbor says that hand-harvesting was common back in the 40s and 50s. There were buses that brought students up from OSU to the farms for the harvest.

Here's a shot of bines being loaded into the harvester.



And one of a drying bin.


i would swim in that sea of hops
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:16 AM   #10
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i would swim in that sea of hops
Then lactation...
Hops are estrogenic hence brewers droop and the dressing of men as women for the hops harvest.

And they are the miracle plant that you have for fifty years and every fall you whack down forty feet of growth and every spring the bines reemerge. Like magic....

OP I would love to hear your stories of the orginal times in England. Pm me

We still use the ladders and bags and copious amounts of beer.

The smell and the resin of the hops are not soon forgotten or removed

Here smell my hands!
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