Farming Hops...

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OMBrewer

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Interesting to find out...

Today I am having a conversation with my dad. I have expressed my interest in having a hop farm, right...

I am an eight generation family member to this certain geographic area.

My great, great, great, grandfather moved to these parts in 1860 and farmed hops until the prohibition. He used a local deep water port to ship his hops to Chicago where local breweries used his hops to make beer. When the prohibition started he removed all his hops and put cherry trees in their place.

It was very interesting to here that today, it was the first time I learned that a long long time ago my family were hop farmers.
 

FishinDave07

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It's in your blood! Now you got no excuse, grow a ton of hops and make your great, great, great, grandfather happy. :mug:
 

david_42

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One of my neighbors' family grew hops. He talks about hand harvesting the crop as a kid (he's 77). There are still feral plants in the drainage ditches.
 
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OMBrewer

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I am going to grow mad hops. Did some ancestor history today its true. I contacted a cousin of mine who still farms apples and cherries about buying 40 acres of his farm for hops!
 

mand0080

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If you're still thinking about farming hops, you might want to look into gorst valley hops.
They do some work with the small market hop growers in WI and MI.
 

GVH_Dan

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First, hey Mand0080. Welcome to the forum and thanks for the plug.

Next, OMBrewer you may want to do a little more research before committing to buy 40 acres. I have no doubt that the hops will grow, but 40 acres is a lot of land to plant unless you have a lot of labor. It took 4 of us over a month to set up 1.5 acres. Most of the work (i.e. planting, stringing cables, installing drip irrigation) must be done by hand.

Then you have to look at harvesting. 40 acres is way too much to do by hand, but its not quite enough to justify purchasing your own Wolf harvester, which is the smallest unit commercially available. How close are you to Traverse City? There is an outfit there that has a picker I could get you in touch with.

Finally, you need to watch out when planting by fruit trees. Part of the hop aphids life cycle requires the use of various fruit trees...I'm afraid I don't remember which at the moment. Keeping yourself far enough away from orchards breaks the life cycle so you don't get the aphids and sooty mold that comes with them.

Our advice to everyone is to start with a small patch...1/4 to 1 acre with a few different varieties to see what grows well for you. But if you plan to do it this spring, you need to get rhizome orders in pretty soon.

Also, there is a group in Michigan called the Great Lakes Hop Growers Consortium that is planning a gathering for Feb. 20th. You may want to look into that. I can give you contact information of the couple organizing it.
 

cheezydemon3

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..................dude posted this 18 months ago.

He may have already done this, or he may be dead for all we know......

Hopefully not, but he hasn't re-visited this thread in a year and a half.

Where are you dude????



edit: he did post earlier this month. So hopefully not dead!;)
 
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