After a brief rain delay, we’re back in the fields at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, harvesting our 100 acres of Risk™ malting barley.
It’s been touch and go the last couple of days. Heavy rain and lightning rolled through the farm on Wednesday afternoon. So we worked when weather permitted, and took a break when we had no choice. This morning, we woke up to bright sunny skies and a forecast for perfect harvest weather over the next several days.
The calendar for our 2014 Beer And Spirits Harvest is taking shape. So we’re officially inviting you to visit us at Rogue Farms for the harvest season. Here’s a look at what crops we’re harvesting this year and when. Keep in mind that these date are estimates. The exact timing is up to Mother Nature.
The noises coming out of the hazelnut orchard told us something was up. As we walked over to investigate, we realized what we were hearing was the sound of hazelnuts falling to the orchard floor.
Of all the crops we grow, hazelnuts are unique. If we want to know when our hops are ready to pick, we break open the cones, sniff them and run dry matter tests. For our malting barley we bite into the kernels and test for moisture. But when our hazelnuts are ripe they drop from the trees.
Mother Nature was telling it was time to begin the Rogue Farms hazelnut harvest. A new journey from ground to glass.
We could not have asked, prayed or even begged for better pumpkin growing weather this summer at Rogue Farms. Our six acres of Dream pumpkins produced a bountiful crop that’s wonderfully sweet.
And as if she had a point to make about who’s in charge here, Mother Nature decided this year’s harvest would be ready three weeks earlier than last year.
So how you do make farm fresh pumpkin beer from real pumpkins? Here’s how we do it at Rogue Farms.
We’re taking a break during the hop harvest here at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon to give you an update on what’s happening.
As you may have seen in our earlier post, we kicked off the harvest season when we started picking our Freedom Hops. And two days later we picked our Revolution hops.
That leaves us with four more varieties to pick before the harvest winds down in early September.
We do more than grow and pick the hops that we use to create Rogue Farms ales, lagers, stouts and porters… we also process them on the farm just a few feet away from the hopyard.
Here’s the journey, from bine to brew, in photos.
There are two things we worry most about this time of year at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon – wildfires and storms. Either one could wipe out a crop in a matter of minutes.
This weekend, we got a taste of each. Read more
Just 11 months ago they were tiny seeds in the ground.
But now, thanks to some hard work and nurturing from Mother Nature, the 2013 crop of Risk™ malting barley is golden ripe and ready.
The Rogue Farms barley harvest is underway. We have taken another step in the journey from ground to glass.
The first winter flood of the season came and went, leaving behind some water in the fields and some muddy hops rows. Not that we expected anything more. But just in case we had stocked up on extra food for the Potbellied Pigs, Free Range Chicks and Royal Palm Turkeys. Josh, Rogue resident Beekeeper, moved a few of the beehives to higher ground. The honey made in these hives is a key ingredient for Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies of Mead.
The worst of it was a 24-hour period when there was too much water covering the road into the Hopyard. That gave us some time to catch up on paperwork. Perspective is important at times like this. The terroir of the Wigrich Appellation is almost perfect for growing aroma hops. But it also means putting up with floods every winter. As someone said on our Facebook page, “When God gives you water, make beer.”
One of the byproducts of the Rogue Farms Honey harvest is beeswax – lots of beeswax.
The Rogue Farms Honeybees produce beeswax for a variety of reasons. One of them is to cap off full honeycombs and preserve the honey as it mellows and ages.
Slicing the beeswax off the honeycombs.
When our Rogue Beekeeper, Josh, harvests the honey, he first slices off beeswax caps from the honeycombs. That’s what allows him to extract the honey in the spinner. But that’s not the end of it for the beeswax. This week, he melted it, strained it to remove impurities and then let it cool into solid blocks.
Beeswax has another life beyond harvest. It’s used in soap and candles. It’s also used to build what’s called honeycomb foundations. These are honeycomb designs that are stamped into beeswax, framed and put into the hive. They become the foundation for the new honeycombs the bees will build the following spring and summer. A place to keep their brood and store honey that we’ll harvest again next fall.
Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead is brewed using 5 ingredients: Rogue Hopyard Honey, Wild Flower Honey, Jasmine Silver Tip Green Tea Leaves, Champagne Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water. No Chemicals, additives or preservatives were used.
Click here to watch the Rogue Farms Honey Harvest YouTube Video
This year the Rogue Farms Hopyard became home to 19 colonies of honeybees. The Rogue honeybees spent their days sampling the flavors of the farm and absorbing the terroir of the region. From blackberries, raspberries and cherries; to woodruff, lavender and pumpkins; to rye and corn – the honey they produced is a taste of the terroir of the Wigrich Appellation. From comb to cup, so is Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead. Check it out at http://rogue.com/store/
Click here to see how we harvest our Rogue Farms Hopyard Honey
Some rain kept Rogue Ales Farmer Doc McCallister and the crew out of the fields for a few days this past week, but soon they were back to work planting the rest of the Risk™ 2-row winter malting barley.
The process is often called drilling, because the rotating discs that drop the seeds into the furrows are said to “drill” them into the ground. Drilling next year’s Risk™ crop began a few weeks ago. That first section of barley is now 2-3 inches tall and thriving in the cool weather and rain.
We get some amazing scenes this time of year as the weather transitions from summer into winter. The alternating days of rain and sun create some great images like this stunning photo of rainbow over the Rogue Ales Barley Farm.