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No Floods, No Rogue Farms. Why We Put Up With This Weather.

After Monday’s crazy windstorm we drove to Rogue Farms to check up on things.


We never made it. About a quarter-mile out we ran into this.

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Seriously? We drove around and kept moving.

And then we ran into this.

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High water across the road and into the hazelnut orchards as far as we could see.

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We know when not to fight with Mother Nature. We turned around and headed back into town.

It’s been more than a week since the flooding began at Rogue Farms and, if the forecasts are right, it’ll be several more days before we can return. The small crew that stayed on the farm to watch over things assures us everything is okay. But it would have been nice to see it for ourselves.

During flood season, someone somewhere will eventually ask us this question, “Why do you put up with this?”

Here’s our answer.

A Rogue Farms Revolution hop bine emerges in spring. Beer begins in the dirt.
A Rogue Farms Revolution hop bine emerges in spring. Beer begins in the dirt.

Ice + Rain + Floods = Dirt
The ground where we grow our seven hops, pumpkins, marionberries, jalapeños, corn, wheat, rye and garden botanicals is some of the best soil a farmer can wish for. It’s alluvial loam, a rich mixture of clay, sand and silt that was deposited here by floods.

When it floods at Rogue Farms, the water deposits a new layer of sediment on the floor of the hopyard. Repeat this over thousands of years and it becomes topsoil.
When it floods at Rogue Farms, the water deposits a new layer of sediment on the floor of the hopyard. Repeat this over thousands of years and it becomes topsoil.

Winter floods along the Willamette River have been a fact of life here for centuries. The Native Americans who lived on these river banks learned to adapt to its rhythms, as did the pioneer farmers who began growing hops here 150 years ago.

Before then, massive Ice Age Floods filled the Willamette Valley hundreds of feet deep with rich, volcanic soil it scraped away from Eastern Washington, Idaho and Canada. The soil we farm today is the legacy of flooding that goes back 15,000 years.

The start of this year’s flood season at Rogue Farms.
The start of this year’s flood season at Rogue Farms.

Farming comes with risks, and around here one of those risks are floods. We knew that when we planted our first crop of hops at Rogue Farms nearly a decade ago. It’s because of the floods that we’re able to grow the ingredients for our beers, spirits, ciders and sodas in rich bottomland that would make most farmers jealous.

Floods are not something we put up with, they are a blessing.

When all this is over, and the road is passable again, please drop in on us at Rogue Farms and slosh around in the mud to experience it for yourself. Join us as we Grow The Revolution.

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