“To everything there is a season”, the ancient sage teaches us, and at Rogue Farms we’re coming to the end of one season and starting another.
We just finished planting our jalapeño peppers. This is one of the last crops we’ll put in the ground this year. The planting season is winding down and the harvest season will be here sooner than you think.
Just a couple of years ago we were growing our peppers in small, garden boxes. It was an experimental patch to see how they would do in the soil and climate of the Wigrich Appellation, and how they would taste in our Chipotle Ale and Chipotle Spirit. They turned out so well that we planted a quarter acre last year, and a full acre this year.
We started growing our own jalapeños because we wanted another ingredient in our proprietary palate of flavors of known origin. Most peppers sold in the United States come from Mexico, and a lot of pepper “flavoring” comes from China.
We also needed red peppers because they’re best for smoking into chipotles. But since most of the pepper crop is grown for salsa and seasoning, most growers pick their peppers when they’re still green.
Which is why the last crop we plant in the summer becomes the last crop we harvest. We allow our peppers to ripen weeks longer than most growers to give them the time they need to fully ripen and turn dark red.
If all goes according to plan, and you never know for sure with Mother Nature, we’ll pick our dark, red Rogue Farms jalapeños in mid-October. We’ll load them into baskets and then drive them over the Coast Range to the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon. There, we’ll slowly dry smoke them over fires of alder and oak into the chipotles John Maier uses to brew Chipotle Ale and mash Chipotle Spirit.
As agri-fermenters, we grow our own ingredients to know their origin and to know how they were planted, cultivated and picked. We know the soil, the rainfall and the amount of sunshine they receive. Picking our own and dry smoking our own gives us the kind of hands-on attention to quality that we’d never have if we bought peppers off store shelves.
That is the heart of the GYO and DIY Revolution.
Any day now we’ll start our honey harvest at Rogue Farms in Independence, and our Risk malting barley harvest in Tygh Valley. The seasons are changing! Please visit us this summer and he how we harvest our beers, spirits, mead, kolsch, bragott, cider and soda.