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Posts from the ‘Rogue Farms Independence’ Category

Taking Care Of Our Honeybees

Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for the beekeeper at Rogue Farms.

There’s no more wild sources of nectar and pollen for our honeybees to forage and soon it will be too cold for them to leave the hive. So in the next few weeks our beekeeper has 7,140,289 mouths to feed, medicate and shelter before winter arrives.

The bees took care of us this spring and summer by pollinating our crops and making the honey we used in our kolsch, mead, braggot and sodas. Now it’s our turn to take care of them.

Honey Harvest

A scene from this year’s honey harvest at Rogue Farms.

Taking care of our bees begins with the summer honey harvest. We only harvest honey from the top two boxes in the hives. Called supers, this is where the bees store their surplus honey. We don’t touch the honey in the two lower boxes where the bees live, tend to the queen and raise their brood.

Pollen Cakes

Spreading out a pollen patty in one of our hives. Pollen is a honeybee’s source of protein.

To make sure our honeybees have enough food to last through winter, we’ll add supplemental sugar syrup and pollen patties to the hives. When honeybees can’t find enough wild sources of food it’s called a dearth. The fall and winter dearth can last up to six months.

Beekeeper With Smoker

Using a smoker to calm the hive.

This is also the time of year we give our bees medicine to fight off Varroa Destructor Mites and fungal diseases. These are the two biggest winter time killers of honeybees.

Whenever we add food or medicine we use a smoker to keep the bees under control. Smoke interferes with their ability to communicate. So if one of the bees sends off an alarm pheromone when we open the hive, none of the other bees will notice and everyone stays calm.


We put the hives on stands to keep them off the damp soil and away from predators.

Come February we’ll give our honeybees a break from the cold and rain and drive them 600 miles south to an almond orchard in California. There they will spend their days in the sun pollinating the world’s largest almond crop. Almond pollen is an excellent source of protein for honeybees and the warmer weather will allow them to start building up the population of the hives.

Then, when the wildflowers fill the fields surrounding Rogue Farms, and the blooms appear in the neighboring hazelnut, cherry and apple orchards, our honeybees will come home to begin another season of growing honey and Growing The Revolution!

Don’t forget, we’re open five days a week during fall and winter. Please join us at Rogue Farms and see how we grow beer, spirits, cider and soda.

roguefarms we grow beer and spirits_web

Join Us For A Pumpkin Patch Party!



Cover Up At Rogue Farms

There’s two things you can count on during winter at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon. It’s going to rain, and it’s probably going to flood.

One of our most important chores this time of year is to protect the soil from erosion during the winter rainy season. And the best way to do that is to plant some barley.

Barley Cover Crop1

Here we are plowing the soil between the hop rows. The ground is covered with a stubble of left over bines, twine and plant debris. It all gets broken up and plowed back into the earth.

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Growing And Picking Our Own Soda

When Rogue Soda Jerk Steve Distasio is looking for inspiration – all he has to do is drive 62 miles to Rogue Farms.

Steve mixes honey harvested from our 7,140,289 honeybees in every batch of Rogue Soda. And when he wanted to create soda with a citrus and cucumber flavor, we picked cucumbers for him right from our garden.

So it was no surprise when we looked out the window the other day and there was Steve, wandering through the pumpkin patch.

Man on a mission. Rogue Soda Jerk Steve in our four acre patch of Dream Pumpkins.

Man on a mission. Rogue Soda Jerk Steve in our four acre patch of Dream Pumpkins.

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A Real Nut Job

Waiting for a hazelnut harvest is all about patience.

The nuts began falling from the trees nearly a month ago. But we have to wait until there’s enough nuts on the orchard floor before the harvest can begin. The timing is entirely in the hands of Mother Nature.

This week Mother Nature said, “Let’s go.”

Hazelnuts begin falling in early September as the nights get cool and the winds grow stronger.

Hazelnuts begin falling in early September as the nights get cool and the winds grow stronger.

Click on the photo to continue reading

Foggy Morning Hopyard

We woke up this morning to find the hopyard shrouded in fog and thought it was so stunning we just had to snap these photos.

Fall is here and winter is coming. Each season here at Rogue Farms is different and beautiful in its own way.



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Learning As We Grow

At Rogue Farms, we’re always up for trying something new and revolutionary. If someone around here has a good idea, we’ll go for it, even if we don’t know exactly how it will turn out.

A good example of the Rogue way of doing things is our Wigrich Corn. We planted four acres this summer with plans to floor malt and micro malt it at our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley.

Well you know what they say about making plans…

Our four acres of Wigrich Corn on harvest day.

Our four acres of Wigrich Corn on harvest day.

to continue reading, click on the photo

Slow Picked Peppers

The harvest of our jalapeño peppers is unlike anything else we grow at Rogue Farms.

With all of our other ingredients, the entire crop is ripe and ready for picking at the same time. We can pick one of our hop varieties in a day. Harvesting a field of our malting barley takes a few days, maybe a week if the weather is bad.

But our peppers? They have a mind of their own.

This yea, we planted three varieties of jalapeños in an acre size patch.

This summer, we planted three varieties of jalapeños in an acre size patch.

to continue reading, click on the photo

Corn As High As An Elephant’s Eye

There’s an old saying that corn should be, “as high as an elephant’s eye” when you harvest it. With elephants in short supply in the Wigrich Appellation, we at Rogue Farms use more traditional ways of determining when our crop of Wigrich Corn is ready to be picked, shucked and shelled.

The answer? Any day now.

High Corn


click on the photo to continue reading

The Original GYO Guy

Our friends over at Oregon Beer Growler have a great article this month on how to grow your own hops. It’s aimed at gardeners, not farmers, but check out the photo they used to illustrate the story. They called John the “Original GYO-er.” Click on the image to read the September issue.

Growler page

Grow More Hops!

Locally brewed beer deserves locally grown hops!

Atascadero Brewing Company

My Path to Probrewing & Adventures Along the Way

Belgian Beer Geek

Always thirsty.....Dedicated Beer drinker

Shaker and Spreadsheet

Cocktails, Technology and Bartools

beer track mind.

craft beer goodness

alder & ash

A permaculture plot in Suffolk


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