Now growing conventional crops is cool, but, we have a section of land that needs to be planted with something productive. I’m kinda over mowing it for sport. We did some research on historical crops grown in Ontario and discovered that Hops were once a going concern. Being a beer brewer myself, I figured that “further investigation is required”.
It appears that there were a few reasons for the initial collapse of the once successful hop growing industry in Ontario. One of the main reasons was that the crop was hit by a blight that caused a lot of damage to the crops and another was that around the same time, many of the smaller “craft” breweries were either being bought out by the big boys or just closed down.
No market, = no business.
Good thing for us is that peoples taste buds have been revitalised by the new wave of craft beers. Good beers need fresh top quality hops, and that is where we come in.
The Test plots, hop yards A & B were started with locally sourced wild hops. We are on a shoe string budget so rhizomes at the right price seemed logical.
Two varieties were planted. 128 rhizomes of “Tim” hops and “Doog” hops. I’d read a few books and brochures by now so I figured I’d give it a go.
It was an epic fail…. of the 128 plants only about 12 survived…. Bummer…
Those that did were fascinating. Even though all that work was in vain we decided to keep trying.
The next year we imported 450 Rhizomes from Crosby Hops in the U.S.
150 Sterling. 150 Mount Hood and 150 Centennial.
The Sterling pretty well took off, The casualty rate on them was quite low.
Centennial did ok and the Mount Hood not quite as well. It’s been quite the learning curve. But I’m into it… and I have decided to do my best to excel in this niche farming adventure.