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When All Else Fails, Do It Yourself

One of the perils of being a farmer is that things often don’t go as planned.


Case in point, our five acre patch of Wigrich Corn. We started looking for someone to harvest our corn back in July, not long after we planted it, and kept searching for four months but found no takers. “Five acres is too small,” they all told us.

By the end of October we were feeling a little bit desperate, so rather than letting our first crop of Wigrich corn go to waste in the field we decided to pick it ourselves by hand.

We began picking under dreary November skies.
We began picking under dreary November skies.
Picking corn by hand is hard, difficult work even in good weather.
Picking corn by hand is hard, difficult work even in good weather.

This is the kind of problem that small farmers have faced for centuries. Back in the 1950s, when mechanized hop picking was introduced in the Willamette Valley, many of our fellow hop growers discovered that their crop was, “too small to bother with.” Those growers went out of business. We weren’t about to let that happen to us.

One by one, our guys tossed the ears into the back of the tractor.
One by one, our guys tossed the ears into the back of the tractor.
After several hours of work we filled up  16  bins and were ready to hit the road.
After several hours of work we filled up 16 bins and were ready to hit the road.

Over the next day we’ll drive our load of Wigrich Corn over the Cascades to our Farmstead Malt House at our farm in Tygh Valley. There we’re going to shuck and shell the corn – again, all by hand. That’s because the fancy equipment we bought for shucking and shelling isn’t up to the job. Besides, we figure, doing it the old fashioned way will give us better results. After all of the kernels are removed we will kiln and floor malt our first ever batch of Wigrich Corn.

When all else fails, do it yourself.

Come visit Rogue Farms this season and see how we grow beer, spirits, ciders and sodas.

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