Big thunderstorms moved in overnight at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon, forcing us to hold off harvesting our Risk™ malting barley.
Maybe we’ll be able to resume this afternoon, maybe tomorrow or the next day. It’s all up to Mother Nature.
We can’t harvest wet barley. Too much moisture in the grain when it’s stored in the silo can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from fungal disease to spontaneous combustion. You read that right. Wet grain can get so hot all on it’s own that it will suddenly burst into flames.
Storm clouds over our Risk™ malting barley. This is the field we hope to harvest today.
But that’s the least of our troubles this time of year.
Summer storms bring with them other problems that are far more serious than a rain delay. One of them is hail, which can wipe out an entire barley crop in just a matter of hours.
The other danger is lightning. With everything so dry out here, a spark in the right place can set off a huge wildfire whether it’s raining or not. One of the biggest wildfires in the west, called the Shaniko Butte fire, has burned up more than 42,000 acres of trees and shrub just a few miles south of here. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for this part of Oregon through Wednesday morning, which means we have prime conditions for wildfires.
Like all farmers, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature to help us bring in a good crop. Most of the time things work out fine. But when dark clouds form overhead at harvest time, they’re a reminder that greater and more powerful forces are in play.
And all we can do is wait it out.
Eight months and nine days after seeding our 100 acres of Risk™ winter malting barley, the time has come.
This morning, our combines rolled into the fields at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon to bring in our first barley crop of the season.
All of the hard work we put into preparing the soil, planting the seed, watering and cultivating the crop is finally paying off!
There’s nothing quite like seeing 100 acres of barley waving in the wind to give you that proverbial lump in the throat. It reminds us why we became farmers.
Drive down Wigrich Road to Rogue Farms this time of year and you’ll always find something new going on.
Every July we make plans for the harvest season at Rogue Farms.
The Risk™ malting barley harvest in Tygh Valley kicks things off mid-month, followed by our seven varieties of hops at our farm in Independence in August. But you know what they say about making plans.
This year, Mother Nature and the 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees decided it was time to shake things up.
“To everything there is a season”, the ancient sage teaches us, and at Rogue Farms we’re coming to the end of one season and starting another.
We just finished planting our jalapeño peppers. This is one of the last crops we’ll put in the ground this year. The planting season is winding down and the harvest season will be here sooner than you think.
Just a couple of years ago we were growing our peppers in small, garden boxes. It was an experimental patch to see how they would do in the soil and climate of the Wigrich Appellation, and how they would taste in our Chipotle Ale and Chipotle Spirit. They turned out so well that we planted a quarter acre last year, and a full acre this year.
Ever wonder what happens when we're done floor malting, micro malting, smoking, roasting and mashing our barley, wheat and rye?
We don't like seeing anything go to waste, so we give away our spent grains to farmers near the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon.
The calendar says summer is just getting started. Not the time of year you normally think about bringing in a crop.
But Mother Nature doesn’t always stick to a schedule. Thanks to a spring growing season that was unusually warm and sunny the Rogue Farms cherries are ripe now. So what if they’re a couple of weeks early? It’s time to get the ladders and baskets out of the barn and head into the orchard to start picking.
This is the greatest time of year to be a Rogue Farms honeybee.
We’re in the middle of the summer nectar flow, when gazillions of wildflowers, blackberry flowers and clover fill the fields surrounding our farm.
It’s the honeybee’s version of an all you can eat for free buffet. But for our bees, that’s not good enough.
We’re about a week away from the summer solstice, aka the longest day of the year.
On June 20th, the sun will rise over Rogue Farms at 5:25am and won’t drop below the horizon until 9:02pm. 15 hours, 36 minutes and 31 seconds of daylight.
This is when is our hop bines go into overdrive. Long periods of daylight trigger the natural hormones within hops that cause them to grow several inches in a day, several feet in a week. You can literally watch the hops grow.
So how’s this year’s crop coming along?