The Harvests of Autumn

We’re halfway through the hop harvest at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon. Our Rebel hops are coming off the trellis wires today and we have three more varieties to pick over the next week.

When that’s done, we’ll have a brief respite and then it will be back to work to bring in our crops of Autumn. Wigrich sweet corn and our neighbor’s hazelnuts are two of the crops grown for Rogue Spirits.

Our 4-acre field of Wigrich sweet corn.
Our 4-acre field of Wigrich sweet corn.

This is our first ever crop of sweet corn at Rogue Farms. We tried planting a small patch a couple of year ago, but just as soon as the first shoots appeared, the Free Range Chicks moved in and ate everything. We learned our lesson. We planted our 4-acre field of Wigrich sweet corn so far away from the Hop-N-Bed that the chicks never found it.

The corn is now seven feet tall and the kernels are filling with a liquidity substance called milk. We expect it to be ready to harvest at the end of the month.

This year’s crop of Wigrich sweet corn will be harvested to ears which we’ll shuck, shell, floor malt and micro-malt at the Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley. This is truly revolutionary. Most brewers use flaked or torrified corn. There’s not much information out there on how to floor malt corn, so, this has been a real learning experience for us.

Then it’s off to the Brewery and Distillery in Newport where John Maier will use the Rogue Farms corn malt to mash our first ever batch of Rogue Spirits Bourbon and Corn Whiskey.

The Kirk family raises 98-acres of hazelnuts on its orchard next to Rogue Farms.
The Kirk family raises 98-acres of hazelnuts on its orchard next to Rogue Farms.

Next door, at Kirk Family Filberts, the hazelnuts are ripening quickly in the hot summer sun. The harvest is expected to start in late September when the fall winds arrive here in the Wigrich Appellation. The wind and the colder temperatures cause the nuts to fall from the trees all on their own. When about two-thirds of the nuts have fallen the Kirks begin picking them off the orchard floor.

We will roast the hazelnuts at the Distillery in Newport, put them in a sack and then place the sack inside the distilling column to infuse the rum with that only in Oregon hazelnut flavor. Nearly all of the hazelnut crop is grown within a few hours drive of Rogue Farms.

With just a month left to go in the harvest season, we hope you’ll join us at Rogue Farms to see how we grow beer and spirits.