img1

Fires Or No Fires, The Harvest Must Go On

First the bad news. We’re canceling our plans for a harvest celebration this weekend at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley. As many of you know, the wildfire season is off to an early start here in the West, and the National Weather Service has issued a fire weather alert for this area on Friday and Saturday. For all of you who were excited about being able to see our barley farm for the first time, we’re so sorry. But the last thing we want is to put our guests in any kind of danger.

Meanwhile, the harvest goes on. We’ve been watching our 100 acres of Risk™ malting barley over the past week and all signs say the barley will be ready to harvest in just a few days. Hard to believe that only a few weeks ago we were planting jalapeños. Mother Nature isn’t giving us much down time this year.

Rogue Brewmaster John Maier inspecting the Risk™ barley just days before the harvest.
Rogue Brewmaster John Maier inspecting the Risk™ barley just days before the harvest.

Here’s how we know when barley is ready to harvest. Bite down on the kernels and if we can make a dent, it’s too early. But if they’re hard as rocks, then they’re ripe and ready.

Because of that big “heat dome” lingering over the West Coast, the Risk™ barley is ripening fast. When we conducted our bite tests earlier in the week the kernels were still a bit soft. Last time we checked they were so hard we nearly cracked a tooth.

Inspecting barley samples.
Inspecting barley samples.

How Do You Know For Sure When To Harvest?

This is when we break out the fancy tools. Every day or so we cut a small sample of barley and test the kernels for moisture levels. When moisture falls below 12%, it’s harvest time. Based on our most recent samples we’ll send the combines rolling into the fields early next week.

Last year’s barley harvest at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon.
Last year’s barley harvest at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon.

The Risk™ malting barley harvest kicks off a four-month harvest season here at Rogue Farms. From now until October, we’ll reap, thresh, winnow, pick, sort, separate, kiln and bale more than a dozen ingredients we grow for Rogue beers, spirits, ciders and sodas. Our proprietary palate of flavors includes seven varieties of hops, two type of malting barley, Prickless Marionberries, McKercher Wheat, Wigrich Corn, jalapeños and honey from our 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees. And that doesn’t count the half dozen or so botanicals we’re growing in the Revolution Garden for Rogue Spirits and Rogue Soda.

Come on out to Rogue Farms in Independence for the harvest season. This is the most exciting time to see the farm in action. Watch us work as you relax on the back porch of the Chatoe Rogue Tasting Room while enjoying a beer that was grown in the ground right under your feet. Join us for the Revolution!

img5