Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hop Harvest

Well the time finally came to cut down the hop bines and pick pick pick and pick some more!
It started last week really, when the Hubbinator and I looked up at the deep green vines and agreed it was waaay over due.
The Hubby put an ad up on the internet which read=
"MMMMM!! Fresh Homegrown organic hops! We don't use sprays. Gently caressed by the Sun! Carefully tended beds! Pony Poo fertilizer! Lady Bug aphid wranglers! Oregon's best liquid sunshine throughout the season!"
The phone calls began in earnest, and Iam happy to say it all went well. Over some coffee we sat in morning cool and picked hops until our fingers were yellow with the sticky resin, and the courtyard smelled like, well pungent, like good hops. Or it's cousin Cannabis Sativa, But that is a good thing, as it means the hops are ripe. People came and went, happy as heck to have fresh hops to brew with.
We have two varieties=Willamettes and Nuggets. The buyers wanted Willamettes most of all, so they went for a higher price, due to scarcity . The Nuggets sold too, and now we only have enough left for us to brew a batch of Yuletide ale with.
Note to Self= Brew Yule ale this week...

Hop Orgy at the Lucky Lab
We also went to the annual ho
p picking fest. at our local brew pub of choice , the Lucky Labrador.
It was a grand time and a record weigh in of over 125 lbs. of fresh hops! Mountains of hops piled on table tops, pitchers of real ale, happy people enjoying a day sharing a common effort=Bringing in the harvest.

The above is of Myself(in the big sun hat, with my mouth open...thanks honey...nice shot...ahem)
and Wolf Woman. We laughed, drank bier, discussed upcoming elections and realised too late that we should have worn long sleeves..hops are scratchy.
The batch to be brewed from this is called "Mutt", since all the hops chucked into the wort are different varieties.
Now I know that here in Willamette Valley entire families once earned their wages picking hops from dawn til dusk. It was hard, itchy work, little communities sprung up to support the migrant workers.
For some interesting old photos from the Depression era of Oregon hop harvesting, and a little history on it=

So Autumn is coming, just a few days away for the Equinox. But Nature has already starting showing the signs that the wheel of the year turns once again. It is these rituals of planting, growing, harvesting that make life full.
Whatever you harvest this year, may it be abundant and what you need.

1 comment:

paula said...

This takes me back to when I was a small child on leave with my parents in Kent at my grandmother's house. The hopping season was extraordinary, the whole countryside resonated with thousands of Eastenders down for the harvest and the heady scent of hops permeated everything. I loved it!

Ps love the sign you made in the post above – it’s a real work of art – fantastic