A pleasant, sweet aroma with citrus notes.
We are a family run farm that has been growing hops since 2015. We purchased our 82 Acre property in 2009. It is a beautiful parcel of land located on the outskirts of Strathroy Ontario. The property was already being farmed with a rotating crop of Winter Wheat and Soy Beans, but we soon realized that we wanted to have a crop that would generate a greater income and something that we could work ourselves.
We really didn't have any farming experience, since we were both born and raised as city folk. Michele from the city of London Ontario and Grant from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The country and farming was new to both of us, but it was something that we were quite excited to experience. We switched out the one section of our farm to Hay and then debated on what crop we could farm ourselves on the other area. We researched and debated a few other crops. We looked into Hazelnuts and Lavender but realized that these crops would not work. Once we researched Hops, we knew that this was the crop for us.
We started with 16 plants. We wanted to make sure that the hops would grow with our soil and would overwinter without any issues. We were successful, and have expanded our crop each year. We currently have just over 6000 plants. We have incorporated a combination of Bittering Hops and Aroma Hops with 9 varieties in all.
Most people do know that Hops are needed to make beer, but really have never seen a Hop Plant or understand how they actually grow. The Hop is a perennial vine that is hand trained to grow up twine hung on 21-ft wire trellises. You can't be afraid of heights when working in the hop yard. Even with modern pruning and harvesting equipment, it requires lots of skilled hand labour. We have our own harvest equipment. We do our own Drying, Hammermilling, Pellitizing and also lab testing.
We didn't follow the design of a conventional Hop Yard. We wanted to change things up and incorportate more plants into a smaller section of land. This was a challenge, for equipment needed to be made to accomodate the tighter rows. So we have designed and made a special sprayer, ladder system and smaller scale plow was needed as well.
With growing hops, we wondered what flavours our hops were imparting on the brews. We decided the best way to see.... was to start brewing ourselves. As a part time hobby and growing interest, Grant has started brewing and has created a number of beer recipes on his own. He loves to experiment and has come to realize the different types of brews that he can actually acheive with our selection of hops. It is really endless.
We love to give tours of our hop yard and Grant will always offer a taste of some of his brews to anyone interested. We are quite excited that our hops are now being used in quite a few craft breweries in Southwestern Ontario. We have had the pleasure to interact with some amazing brewers.
Though farming has never been easy, we are very optimistic about the future and thankful for the opportunity to work in such an interesting and dynamic industry. .