One of the things we love about farming is watching our ingredients come to life.
This week, we’re stringing and staking our 42-acre hopyard. The transformation from empty field to a living, breathing trellis is something every craft beer drinker should experience at least once.
The why of this is straightforward. Hops crave sunshine. Each spring we rebuild the trellis system the hop bines use to climb up to the sun.
By string, we mean coir, a twine like material made from Sri Lanka coconut husks. We need miles and miles of it. Here’s how the numbers add up.
Each piece is 21 feet long. A crew of six rides high between the poles, tying six strings to each section of wire. That’s 126 feet of string going up every ten seconds, or a quarter-mile of string every minute.
Repeat this thousands of times.
On the ground, another crew is staking the loose ends into the soil.
They wrap the string around a stake at the end of a pole.
And push it deep into the ground.
This year we’ll tie and stake 63,637 pieces of string. All by hand.
It takes a few days to complete the work and when we’re done, this is what the hopyard looks like.
Here’s how it all adds up. 63,637 pieces, at 21 feet apiece, totals 253 miles of string. Which by some weird coincidence is the same driving distance between our farm in Tygh Valley and the Rogue Brewery and Distillery in Newport, Oregon.
Soon, the bines will be long enough for us to train them to the strings. Then as the days get longer, the bines will grow up the strings at incredible speeds. Towards the end of spring they’ll grow a foot per day.
Here’s what our hopyard will look like in a few months.
The season of growing beers, spirits, ciders and sodas is here. Join us at Rogue Farms and witness the entire journey from Ground To Glass. You’ll appreciate beer as you never have before.