5 Acre Organic Hop Farm Planting Soon

Interested in buying organic hops – or, given the general shortage, any hops?

Glen Fuller emailed to let me know he’s putting in five acres of USDA Certified Organic hops in his Paonia, Colorado farm. He invites Beer Activist readers to email or call him directly if you’re interested in putting in a custom order in advance.

Contact Info:
Glen Fuller
(970) 274-1256
trucks_at_rof.net

I also just heard that folks at the Brewers Association are meeting soon with hop growers and will be providing them with an update on the USDA rules regarding organic hops. I put in a call to the USDA today to check on the status of the ruling that came down last summer. I’ll post an update here when I get news back from them.

Meanwhile, you can always order small quantities of over a dozen varieties of organic hops from the Seven Bridges Cooperative in Santa Cruz – not to mention all your other organic brewing needs.

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39 Responses to 5 Acre Organic Hop Farm Planting Soon

  1. Brendan says:

    like a CSA for homebrewers?

  2. nryder98 says:

    That’s a great idea! I’ve purchased food through a local Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA) but always had a hard time finding good quality, organic brew ingredients. I would always be willing to toss a few dollars toward a farmer to get them to grow that produce.

  3. beeractivist says:

    Brendan – not sure if he’ll customize the crop all the way down to the homebrewer volume. I think he had small-scale commercial brewers in mind, but worth asking him.

    nryder98 – well, now that two of you have posted with similar comments, who knows? Maybe he’d do it if there were enough demand. I have a pretty strong feeling he’ll get commercial interest though so I’m not sure it’d be worth it for him. Hops are in really high demand right now. My advice? Order some organic hop rhizomes from Seven Bridges and plant a few bines in your own yard. I had good success when I planted a few on a tiny little patch of sideyard dirt (about one foot wide!) in downtown DC a few years ago.

    Happy hopping,
    Chris

    P.S. There’s a handy little guidebook about homegrowing organic hops published by the folks at Crannog Ales. Google them and check their website for a link to the free pdf of it.

  4. The Dude says:

    I’d love to grow hops at home, but I’m not so sure the climate here (Houston, TX) would be conducive to it. Are there varieties that can thrive in the subtropics? The answer to that may be in the .pdf you mention above, but I can’t do much beer related surfing here at work.

  5. beeractivist says:

    Dude,

    You can definitely grow ’em in Texas.

    Check out that handbook from Rebecca Kneen at Crannog Ales. Here’s the link: http://www.crannogales.com/HopsManual.pdf.

    There are also a couple good books on the topic. One is Homegrown Hops by David R. Beach and the other one, which is a little more commonly available, is called the Homebrewer’s Garden by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher (Storey Books, 1998).

    Happy hopping,
    Chris

  6. Glen Fuller says:

    Thanks for everyones response ..Can someone advise on what varities I should plant?I am interested in doing custom plantings. Also a CSA for hops sounds like a great idea. I will accept advance orders .Am planning on small packaging for the home brewer.Would like to talk with someone who has worker on a commercial hop farm ,might also be interested in hiring someone for the summer.

  7. Ali Hamm says:

    Organic hops grow well in Colorado! I’m a Colorado State University grad student getting my master’s degree in Horticulture studying organic hops. I picked up an old variety and overwintering trial of 66 hops planted in 2004. I have one harvest year under my belt, and will expand this summer using the new short trellis, mesh system.
    I did not have any obvious pest or disease issues, and didn’t have to spray a thing.

    I agree, Rebecca Kneen’s handbook is the most valuable tool out there for growing organic hops. I hope to produce a similar handbook with my thesis, any suggestions of issues to tackle and questions to answer?

    (Glen I’ll be contacting you shortly to hear more about your new hop yard…)

    Ali

  8. Bill Velek says:

    For those of you who are growing hops, or have been considering it, please be advised that our ‘Grow-Hops’ Yahoo group — http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops — now has 1,121 members and it focuses exclusively on growing and processing brewing ingredienits — PRIMARILY hops, but with a very minor amount of info about growing barley and brewing-herbs. HUNDREDS of links, plus photos, files, and databases — I’m confident that you will never find a better resource about growing hops.

    Cheers.

    Bill Velek

  9. Brian Palmer says:

    I am growing for the first time this summer. I am growing just outside of Philadelphia, because of the hot and humid conditions here I am anticiapting fungus problems. I am trying to grow organically, I have read that neem oil and a product called Serenade are effective fungicides against Powdery and Downy Mildew. Anyone have any experience with these products? I am hoping that I don’t have to go the Fosetyl and Fenarimol route. I relize that drip irrigation and plenty of air flow are crucial to preventing the diseases, but what other options are there to spray curatively? Also anyone have any suggestions for a first year fertilizer? I was thinking along the lines of a 0-0-50. Thank you very much.

    Brian Palmer

  10. GLEN FULLER says:

    Photos soon ,have rizomes in 5000 pots,have field ready for trellis,planting may 15th,anyone want to help Glen

  11. GLEN FULLER says:

    3000 in ground e me for Pictures

  12. Pat Hughges says:

    Hi Glen,

    We live at 7500′ on Lookout Mountain outside of Golden (foothills, obviously). When we bough this property in ’92 there was a hops plant (huge) taking care of itself down by the creek. Recently a friend informed me of the worldwide hops shortage and kidded that we should grow hops instead of sell off that chunk of property to send our 2 kids to college.

    After checking the internet, I’m not so sure she was kidding.

    What do I need to know to really “do this” besides read the booklet that was recommended a few replies earlier?

    Pat and Rick Hughes

  13. beeractivist says:

    Pat and Rick,

    That booklet is the best place to start. Growing hops is pretty easy if you’re just doing it for fun to have some around for brewing at home and giving to friends. Growing commercially is a different story, requiring harvesting equipment and a real knowledge of the craft. Picking hops by hand is very labor intensive if you don’t have a picker and the American pickers seem to designed for really large scale growers. I think Germany has pickers designed for small farmers, since they still have a lot of small family hop farmers there. I’m not a commercial hop grower myself so I’m afraid I don’t have much more insight to offer. Check out that booklet linked above. All the best!

    Cheers,
    Chris

  14. GLEN FULLER says:

    Colorado State University put on a Hops workshop Saturday. Over 70 attended from all over the country the country E me for details and pictures Glen

  15. Joe Useldinger says:

    Glen I too am considering a hopyard in southeastern arizona. I have five acres also that has been used in the past for vegetables. what varieties are you planting of hops? I have a couple of places here that are interested in buying hops. Joe

  16. Scott says:

    I have planted 1 acre of hops this year, I did not have time to get the organic cert, that will be next time. I am in Penryn, CA. east of sac, just before Auburn. I will be harvesting a few varieties next saturday. This is a small crop, but I may have some green hops for local brewers. I would be interested in learning more from others, and sharing info as well
    Scott@jordanfamilyfarms.com

  17. beeractivist says:

    Hi Scott,

    Check out my latest post about the organic hop growing workshop at Colorado State University. Good luck with your crop!

    Cheers!
    Chris

  18. Stacey says:

    I to am interested in a hop yard. I have 15 acres in Sonoma CA, ag land. However, I can’t seen to find a program for teaching you how to farm hops. If I wanted a vineyard that would be easy. Does anyone know of any college programs?

  19. beeractivist says:

    Stacey, you should contact Ali Hamm who commented above. I’ll email you offline with details.

    Chris

  20. Wow, I know this post is a little old but how exciting. These kind of hop farms are sprouting up all over the Midwest and I am interesting in starting one myself.

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