Winter is coming at us from all sides.
Heavy rain and more floods are on the way to Rogue Farms in Independence. We’re shutting down the farm tomorrow. On the east side, it’s a massive blizzard with near white-out conditions at our farm in Tygh Valley.
In Tygh Valley, where we grow our two varieties of malting barley, we received 6-8 inches of snow as of this morning. That’s more than double what the forecasters predicted – and more snow is on the way. All the local schools are closed and the roads are slick with ice.
But that didn’t stop our maltster from showing up to flip another batch of floor malt and sending us these photos.
The blizzard is some of the best news we’ve had in months. This fall was our driest in 40 years and we badly need this snow. It was so dry, our Risk™ winter malting barley was late to emerge. Shoots didn’t appear until a couple of weeks ago. The snow will protect the new shoots from freezing temperatures and wind damage, and when it starts to melt it will recharge the soil with moisture.
Just as critical, the storm is adding tons of snowpack on Mt. Hood. That’s the source of our irrigation water. We ran out of water early this year because of the drought, and didn’t know if we’d have enough water to grow our barley next summer. But since December, snowpack on Mt. Hood has doubled. El Niño may have just saved our barley crop.
At Rogue Farms in Independence, we have not one, but two more floods in the forecast. The Willamette River began rising this morning and will surge over its banks tomorrow. We’re closing the farm Friday until further notice. We may be flooded all the way through Christmas.
How To Read This Graph: The orange line across the top shows you when we expect flooding at Rogue Farms. The line of diamonds below it shows you the average river level for this time of year.
For now we’re wet, muddy but open for business.
The 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees will safe and dry no matter what happens. We moved them to higher ground last week.
All this weather is making people miserable, but it’s great for our beers and spirits.
Winter floods and snow are a part of the natural cycle of Rogue Farms and one of the reasons why we have such great terroir for growing hops and malting barley. They replenish soil moisture at a time when our crops need it the most. They fill the reservoirs of both side of the Cascade and ensure will have enough irrigation in summer, if we need it. Mother Nature is sending us exactly what we need.
Check back to find out when we’ll reopen, or call us at 503-838-9813.