Harvest was a great success. Last year we tackled infrastructure in the field, this year it was all about perfecting the harvesting and drying parts of the process. Since a whole year’s work can be lost in one hour in the drying table it was a moment of great pride and joy when Scott at Odell’s gave the Hippie Chicks an “A” rating on our dried hops! The dehumidification system was designed by local HVAC contractor, and good friend of the Hippie Chicks, Mack Newman. Mack enjoyed researching the hops drying process — it was a fun challenge for him. “In my trade, the jobs we take on are pretty repetitive and similar. So it was fun to do something a little different this time,” he said. After braving about a six inch stack of research, his resulting design managed to achieve ideal moisture content without using ANY heat, the hops were dried quickly with high airflow in the barn which is naturally warm during our sunny Colorado summers! As beer lovers know, heat kills the alpha acids in the hops… and we can’t have that! Larger farms often have to use heaters to hurry the process… but our small farm doesn’t have that problem.
We babied those bines all season, and boy did it pay off! We averaged about 5 lbs. (wet) per plant. With this being our second year in production, we are right on the mark for the data, as quoted in the Expected Yield Tables for Second Year Hops Field.
Our alpha acids were amazing! We surely see the power of clover, composted chicken manure, and fish emulsion! And let us not underestimate the power of Hippie Chick love and energy!
Thanks to the hundred thousand lacewings eggs that were hand planted in June for keeping the pests away. They consider the aphid and spider mite the equivalent of prime rib — and they are even more aggressive than ladybugs!
Finding the apple sorter — a vintage gem — was “like winning the lottery, finding that damn machine so well preserved!” Julie said. With the help of April and Dano it was converted into a hops picker! A big thanks to everyone who helped make this year another successful harvest — including all of our diligent helpers, and our friends and fellow hop growers in Palisade, The Pinnts at Palisade Hops farm. What an amazing stroke of luck that David and Karen are willing to let us use it! We are also so grateful for all of the support from Colorado Breweries: Odell Brewing Company, Tommyknocker Brewery, Crazy Mountain Brewery, Wynkoop (owned by the governor of Colorado, and Falling Rock Brewery in a collaborative effort with Odell.
I think for the time being, it’ll be quality not quantity posts (so: random, long posts are going to be coming your way).
Since the last time I saw you guys:
Tori’s sister got married! I got to spend last weekend on the coast with @themidwestpeach and @unexpectedsmile and my family and witness the nuptials and have libations with my friends and laugh a lot a lot.
Tori asked me to be her MOH. It is such a serious honor and I will use that cup while fulfilling my duties in Kansas come October. (Also I accidentally dropped my box in the hotel parking lot just minutes after being asked, and confetti went everywhere…starting it off on the right foot, folks)
The Fall semester is over. Final grades submitted, final last ditch efforts for higher grades denied. I am taking a few days off from any and all things school related.
Currently: IN COLORADO. I hopped a plane Tuesday night, 24 hours after my last class, and I get to hang out with Oso for a wholeeee week. By some crazy coincidence, a big snow storm rolled in Tuesday, too, which cancelled school and work in CO and a lot of morning flights out of DIA. Luckily, my flight was late enough that I missed all off the delays and cancellations and landed on time, getting to experience 16 degree weather and real, legit Christmas snow.
I also: have slept in, worked out a few times, got a Christmas tree with the OS (which is still currently frozen, since it hasn’t gotten above 32 degrees in the last few days), and started the Star Wars movies.