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#BBC18: Learning to Grow Hops Commercially Again in New York – One Farm’s Story

#BBC18: Learning to Grow Hops Commercially Again in New York – One Farm’s Story

Laura Ten Eyck, Dietrich Gehring | This presentation offers a brief overview of the history of hops and their use by humans as food, medicine and ultimately in brewing beer. A description of the botany of the hop plant is followed by a summary of the history of hop production in the United States, providing a look at commodity hop production in the Northwest and the recent renaissance of small-scale hop production in the East. After this background, the presentation dives into the presenters’ story of starting a hop farm on a four-generation family farm in upstate New York, describing with humor the challenging process of scaling up from a few hop plants in the garden for home brewing to a two-acre hop yard. They will share their varied experiences learning how to grow, harvest and process hops on an increasingly larger scale each year along with producing malting barley and other grains as well launching an estate brewery and cidery with tasting rooms and a biergarten open to the public. Presenters are hop growers Dietrich Gehring and Laura Ten Eyck, authors of The Hop Grower’s Handbook: The Essential Guide for Sustainable, Small-Scale Production for Home and Market.


Zephyr Conferences

August 11, 2018


  1. Learning to Grow Hops Commercially Again in NYS --One Farm's

    Story Laura Ten Eyck, Dietrich Gehring www.ilfcb.com
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  7. Humulus Lupulus: •  Cannabaceae family •  Perennial bine •  Grows

    from underground system of roots & rhizomes •  Used to provide flavor and aroma in beer
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  9. Hops have been around for a long time-- First written

    reference made by Roman author Pliny the Elder, in his Naturalis Historia, published in 77-78 AD in chapter about wild foods. He refers to the plant called “wolf of the willows.”
  10. Medicinal Uses 1150 the Benedictine abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, a

    German nun, writer, visionary and mystic, also known as Saint Hildegard mentioned hops in a medical book often referred to as Physica •  Antibacterial •  Soporific •  Phytoestrogen •  Antioxidant
  11. History of Hops in Beer •  Originally gruit (an herbal

    blend) was used to flavor beer •  By 9th century hops were being cultivated by monasteries to flavor beer •  Antibacterial properties made beer keep longer, allowing for more trade •  In 1574. Reynolde Scot, a country gentleman in England, published A Perfite Platform of a Hop Garden •  Highly hopped beer called India Pale Ale exported from England to colony in India •  Hops were growing wild in North America •  When Europeans came to North America they brought hops with them •  These hops hybridized to create unique varieties
  12. Hop cultivation occurred throughout English colonies, originally concentrating in Massachusetts

    and then moving almost entirely to New York State. •  By 1880 New York State was top hop producer in the country •  21 million pounds of hops •  On 40,000 acres •  80% hops produced in U.S from NY.
  13. “First the flea, then the fly, Then the mould, then

    they die” --old Kentish rhyme
  14. Relocation of Hop Production to Northwestern U.S. Hop Production 2015

    ID 4,863 acres, 4,362 tons OR 6,612 acres,5,332 tons WA 32,158 acres, 29,730 tons
  15. Hop cone contains lupulin •  Alpha acids (bitterness) •  Beta

    acids (aroma) •  Essential oils (aroma)
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  18. The Hop Industrial Complex

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  24. Craft Beer Craze Goes Local

  25. 2012 Gardeners /Home Brewers Go Commercial

  26. Getting Into Heritage Hops

  27. Helderberg Hop

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  29. 2013--one-eighth of an acre

  30. July 2013: A Case of Trellis Collapse Disorder

  31. Early Harvest

  32. Sept. 2013: The remaining harvest

  33. Screen Drying with Box Fans in the Barn

  34. Spring 2014--One Acre

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  36. Scaling Up

  37. Weeds Use cover crops to suppress weeds before planting

  38. Insects Arrive

  39. Disease Arrives Downy Mildew Alternaria Virus

  40. Scouting

  41. Spray using IPM Guidelines

  42. Another crop of malting barley

  43. Barley harvest

  44. Sept. 2014 Harvesting One Acre in its First Year

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  48. Meanwhile….

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  51. Late Fall 2014 first sale to Other Half Brewing

  52. Wolf delivery from Germany, Winter 2015

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  56. Harvest 2015—Picking is good

  57. Fall 2015 But kiln & baler arrive don’t arrive until

    during harvest in pieces.
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  60. Troubles Continue

  61. 2016

  62. 2016 Expanding Hop Yard to Two Acres

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  64. Indian Ladder Farms Centennial Celebration

  65. Grand Opening Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery

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  84. Military Kitchen and Chefs

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  90. What's New?

  91. HEMP!

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