March 5 2017 was our first hop harvest! Helped out by fantastic family and friends we made our way through what was not a big harvest but was a fun and productive day.
On March 4, one week and one day before the original planned harvest, Damian called, "We need to pick tomorrow." said a slightly panicked voice. So, out went all the careful planning as I desperately tried to round up helpers from near and far. It also through into a spin all the plans we had to use the hops but that's all worked out ok.
Hot weather, wind and inconsistent watering had an impact on the plants. Unfortunately the fully automated irrigation system failed, which meant a more manual watering process was required. Considering we live 30 minutes from the farm and have jobs, kids and a life, daily watering was not possible.
Regardless, it's been a massive learning for us and we're still really excited about the future. Its great to hear the enthusiasm for a local hop industry echoed back to us whenever we talk to brewers, farmers, friends or locals.
Next year the hops will be more established, more productive and grown to full height. We may also add a few more varieties just for fun. Can't wait!
But for now, we're waiting to taste our hops in a fresh hop beer collaboration with Cornella Real. Stay tuned...