We grow 10 types of proprietary hops on 52 acres at Rogue Farms in Independence, Ore.
For Rogue, spring begins when the bines of our 10 hop varieties emerge from our 52-acre hopyard. At first the bines are just about an inch tall, but within months they will stand well above 20 feet high. Once the hops hit their first growth spurt it's time for stringing, staking, and training.
We start with stringing. Crews move through the hopyard on cherry pickers, 20 feet in the air, stringing the hops, trying one end of the string to the trellis wires and letting the other end fall to the ground. We use coir (pronounced core), a string made from Sri Lankan coconut husks. This fibrous material is easy for bines to grip and climb. For this year's hop growing season, we used 78,788 strings. At 21 feet per string, that's 314 miles of coir.
After stringing, it's time for staking. Another crew comes in behind the stringers, pushing the string into the hop mounds and staking them taut. This keeps the strings in place during rain and strong winds, all while supporting two to four hop bines, which can weigh up to 100 pounds.
Before the bines get too big, we train them to climb by wrapping them clockwise around the strings. After training, the bines' natural ability to grow takes over and they climb up the coir chasing the sun.
In a few short months our 10 varieties of proprietary hops will be ready to be picked, stripped, sorted, kilned, cooled and baled before being driven 77 miles to the Rogue brewery in Newport, Oregon.