One of the most valuable resources for any farmer is dirt. While most of us take dirt for granted, a farmer knows that the right kind of soil is crucial to growing crops.
Dirt isn’t cheap. It took millions of years of Ice Age floods and winter flooding of the Willamette River to create the alluvial soils we love so much at Rogue Farms. So we do what we can to protect our soil from the devastating effects of erosion.
Meet the guardians of the dirt.
Those little green shoots are the barley we planted in the hop rows a few months ago. We won’t harvest this barley, nor malt, mash, brew or distill it. It will never become an ingredient in our proprietary palate of flavors. This barley is a winter cover crop. Its only job is to protect the soil in the hopyard during heavy rains and floods.
The barley roots form a tight web that keeps the top layers of the soil in place during heavy rains. And if it floods, the shoots lie down over the soil like a woven blanket for added protection.
We get the irony of what we’re doing. It took eons of flooding to build up the layers of soil at Rogue Farms. But flash flooding can undo all that hard work by Mother Nature and wash some our precious soil downriver. Planting a cover crop to guard against short term erosion puts the odds in our favor of holding on to as much soil as possible.
At Rogue Farms we know that beer and spirits begins in the dirt. It’s why we planted several acres of barley with no intention of ever harvesting it.
Come join us at Rogue Farms this winter. We’re open five days a week with free tours on the weekends. See how we grow beers, spirits, ciders and sodas from ground to glass.