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Posts from the ‘Rogue Farms Independence’ Category

Estate Grown Flavor

We're adding a new crop to the proprietary palate of flavors we grow at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon.

This spring we planted five acres of wheat in a field next our Dream pumpkin patch.

A step forward in the Grow Your Own Revolution.

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Spring Training For Beer

In just a few weeks, May 20th to be exact, we cross a magical threshold at Rogue Farms.

On that day we’ll get 15 hours, 2 minutes and 1 second of daylight. These “15 hour” days will be with us for another couple of months.

Hops love 15 hour days. They crave those long periods of daylight to trigger growth hormones that send the bines climbing up the trellises several inches in a day, several feet in a week.

But first we have to give them a head start. It’s called training.

Training starts by picking the best looking bines from a mound.

Training starts as we pick the best looking bines from a mound. Only a few of the bines will be trained. The others we’ll cut back to the ground.

We have 1549 strings per acre, 65058 strings in the entire hopyard. We train each bine by hand. It’s time-consuming work, but one of the most important chores we do all year. Without training, the bines will just spread out over the field. Climbing up the trellis strings gives them maximum exposure to the sun they so desperately need to grow and produce cones.

The best bines are wound clockwise around the trellis strings. Clockwise because that's how bines follow the sun.

The best bines are wound clockwise around the trellis strings. Clockwise because that’s how bines follow the sun.

Bines climb the strings with tiny hairs that are about impossible to see without a magnifying glass. If you rub against them they are irritating to the skin. Which is why most of the time we wear gloves when handling hop bines.

Then they're tied in place. After that, we let Mother Nature and sunshine take care of the rest.

Then we tie them in place. After that, we let Mother Nature and sunshine take it from here.

There are a lot of places that get more sun that we do in the Wigrich Appellation. But most of those places don’t get “15 hour” days. Nor do they have our mild and wet winters and springs, nor our rich alluvial soils. Our climate and soil are two big reasons why Rogue Farms has the world’s best terroir for growing hops.

Please see for yourself by visiting us at Rogue Farms this spring. Taste the difference terroir makes the next time you open a Rogue ale, porter, lager, stout, mead, braggot, kolsch or spirits.

roguefarms we grow beer and spirits_web

 

Blossoms In Your Beer

We can’t think of a prettier place to be than spring time in a cherry orchard.

Stroll among the trees and feel the orchards glow in soft hues of white and pink. A gentle breeze sends petals drifting lazily through the air.

Stand still for a moment and take in the quiet. Because, if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear a slight buzz.

That’s the sound of our Rogue Farms honeybees.

April in the cherry orchards next door to Rogue Farms.

April in the cherry orchards next door to Rogue Farms.

The blossoming of the cherry orchards marks the beginning of the spring nectar flow, a time of year when the Wigrich Appellation offers an amazing buffet of flowers for our honeybees. As the cherries fade away, the pears will come into bloom, to be followed by the apple trees. Thousands of wildflowers dot the landscape.

All a bee has to do is fly off in any direction and it will soon find a nice source of nectar and pollen. But they seem to take a shine to cherry blossoms.

A closer look at the cherry blossoms.

A closer look at the cherry blossoms.

We started keeping honeybees because we wanted to create another ingredient to our proprietary palate of flavors of known origin. Because nothing says terroir quite like honey.

From spring until the end of summer our 7,140,289 honeybees will sample all the flavors of the Wigrich Appellation including; hazelnuts, our Dream Pumpkins, our jalapeños, our marionberries, cherries, apples, wild blackberries, clover, and a gazillion other wild flowers.

Rogue Farms Wildflower honey is truly a taste of place.

Rogue Farms honeybees returning from a trip to the cherry orchards.

Rogue Farms honeybees returning from a trip to the cherry orchards.

You can try putting cherry blossoms in your beer, or you could let our honeybees do it for you. This year’s crop of Rogue Farms honey will be put to good use by John Maier as he crafts future batches of 19 Original Colonies Mead, Honey Kolsch and Marionberry Braggot.

Spring has arrived at Rogue Farms! Come join us for another season of growing beer, spirits and honey.

roguefarms we grow beer and spirits_web

 

 

Of Thee I String

At Rogue Farms we’re having one of the nicest stretches of weather we’ve seen in months. The sun is out and the days are warm.

It’s perfect timing for the biggest chore of the season – stringing, staking and training the hops.

The "string" we use at Rogue Farms is called coir. It's a twine made from Sri Lanka coconut husks.

The “string” we use at Rogue Farms is called coir. It’s a twine made from Sri Lanka coconut husks. We cut down the string during the harvest and leave it on the hopyard floor as mulch.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

New strings have to go up in spring, or the hops won’t have a way to climb up the trellis. Crews ride through the hopyard on one of the strangest contraptions you’ll ever see, tying one end of the strings to the wires.

Stringing Crew 3

The work must be done with military like precision. There are more than 1,500 strings per acre, or 63,637 strings in the Rogue Farms 42 acre hopyard.

Tying The Knot 2

Each of the 63,637 strings are knotted by hand.

Stringing Crew 2

After the knots are tied, we drop the other end of the string to the ground.

staking

Then another crew comes in after the first one, pushing the bottom end of the string deep into the ground and staking it taut.

After about a week of stringing and staking, here's what the hopyard looks like when we're done.

After days of stringing and staking, here’s what the hopyard looks like when we’re done.

The final step is called training. Hops need as much exposure to the sun as possible, and a well made trellis system of poles, wires and strings is the best way to make that happen. But bines need our help. So when they’re about two feet fall we take the best bines from every plant and wrap them clockwise around the strings to give them a head start.

In about six weeks, the periods of daylight at Rogue Farms will run 15 hours and longer. This is when hops begin their incredible growth spurts, climbing several inches in a day, several feet in a week. Cones begin to form in June, and the harvest usually occurs in late August and September.

The season for growing beers and spirits is just beginning. See how we do it, from farm to table, at Rogue Farms.

roguefarms grow the revolution

 

7019 Miles For A Rogue

Estonians must really love their beer.

This past week, Rogue Farms hosted three dozen farming experts from Estonia who came halfway around the world to see how we grow beer and spirits.

The first stop, naturally, was the hopyard where our seven varieties of hops are about a foot high.

Learning about how Rogue Farms grows hops.

Learning about how Rogue Farms grows hops.

Estonia farmers are still struggling to rebuild following decades of domination by the Soviet Union. The visit is part of the country’s efforts to learn new and innovative farming techniques that will help their farmers grow more and to improve the quality of their crops.

Visiting our potbellied pigs, Voo and Doo.

Visiting our Potbellied Pigs, Voo and Doo.

Oregon hop growers have a three centuries tradition of helping out our fellow farmers and brewers overseas. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, much of Oregon’s hop harvest was exported to Europe where many of the oldest hopyards in the world were destroyed during WWI.

We also came to Europe’s rescue during the 1890’s when the hops crop was ruined by blight.

At Rogue Farms, we’re proud to carry on this tradition.

In addition to learning about how we grow hops, rye, pumpkins, marionberries, honey and jalapeños for our proprietary palate of flavors, there was also time to have some fun.

Playing games on the lawn of the Chatoe Rogue.

Playing games on the lawn of the Chatoe Rogue.

Enjoying a Rogue Farms beer at the end of the tour.

Enjoying a Rogue Farms beer at the end of the tour.

Making the transition from a Soviet controlled agricultural system to one based on free markets will mean a lot of hard work. But revolutions are never easy.

Growing The Revolution, 35 Estonians at a time!

Growing The Revolution, 35 Estonians at a time!

We hope you’ll join us too at Rogue Farms this spring to see how we grow beer and spirits!

roguefarms grow the revolution

 

 

 

 

 

First Growth Of Spring

Mother Nature was busy making up for lost time in March. We got seven inches of rain at Rogue Farms during the month, about 45% more than normal.

But considering that 2013 was one of the driest years on record – a little extra rain is exactly what we need.

February was wet. March was wet. April is starting off wet. We were just about ready to give up on spring when we saw the first leaves of the season on our neighbor’s hazelnut trees.

The hazelnut orchards next door to Rogue Farms at Kirk Family Filberts.

The hazelnut orchards next door to Rogue Farms at Kirk Family Filberts.

As agri-fermenters who grow a proprietary palate of flavors for our craft beverages, we’re always noticing how little changes add up to big ones. Our hop bines in Independence are almost a foot tall. The honeybees are leaving the hives earlier in the day and spend more time foraging. At Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, the first blossoms are just starting to come out on our cherries, apples, peaches and plums. Soon the hops will be ready for stringing, staking and training; the hives will be buzzing; and the orchards will be bursting with color.

A Rogue Farms Honeybee collecting nectar and pollen from a daffodil.

A Rogue Farms Honeybee collecting nectar and pollen from a daffodil.

Spring will get here, someday. We just have to be patient and trust that Mother Nature knows what’s best.

In the meantime, we’re still cleaning up from winter.

Pumping water from a flooded field in the hazelnut orchard.

Pumping water from a flooded field in the hazelnut orchard.

Six months from now, the orchard floor will be dry and the nuts will be falling from the trees. We’ll grab some of the nuts from this year’s harvest and truck them to the Rogue Brewery and Distillery in Newport where will roast them and then infuse them into Rogue Spirits Hazelnut Spice Rum.

Growing beer and spirits from bottom land to bottle isn’t always pretty, but you can taste the difference in every Rogue Farms craft beverage.

Please join us this spring for another season of Growing The Revolution!

roguefarms we grow beer and spirits_web

 

 

 

 

 

Life Of Rye

You’re looking at what might be the last field of rye left in Oregon.

This is the 20 acre field where we’ll plant our 2014 crop of Rogue Farms Dream Rye. We plowed the field this week.

When the soil dries out some more we’ll finish up with discing and harrowing it.

Plowing rye field

Plowing the field of Dream Rye. Note the soggy soil in the middle of the photo.

One of the things we learned when we started growing rye is that rye farming has all but disappeared in the state. A couple of years ago there were only 250 acres of it – all down in Southern Oregon in Lake County. In 2013, rye farming in Oregon had shrunk so small that the government stopped publishing the numbers.

The plowed field. Discing and harrowing will break up the chunks of soil into smaller pieces so it's easier to plant.

The plowed field.

So just like our barley and our hops, we learned that if we wanted to ensure a steady supply of rye, we better grow it ourselves. As agri-fermenters of craft beverages, we like knowing where our ingredients come from, how they were cultivated and how they were harvested.

John Maier inspecting the Dream Rye last summer.

John Maier inspecting the Dream Rye last summer.

Our commitment to growing our own doesn’t stop with the harvest. This year’s crop of Dream Rye will be trucked to our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley, Oregon where we will floor malt it and micro malt it by hand in small, artisan batches.

John at last year's harvest where he raked the swathed rye into windrows.

John at last year’s harvest where he raked the swathed rye into windrows.

Dream Rye is just one of the ingredients in our proprietary palate of flavors we grow at Rogue Farms. John Maier will use this year’s crop to craft future batches of Roguenbier Rye Ale and to mash a Rye Whiskey.

Growing and malting your own isn’t the easiest way to make beers and spirits, but we think it’s the best way. You can taste the difference in every bottle and glass.

Please join us at Rogue Farms this spring for the planting season!

Dare Risk Dream_web

 

 

The Beer And Spirits Growing Season Begins

The calendar says spring doesn’t arrive for another nine days, but at Rogue Farms we’re calling it now.

For starters, the sun is out and we might even warm up into the sixties by the weekend.

But the big news is what’s happening right at our feet. The bines are emerging.

First Bines

A Rogue Farms Independent hop bine emerging from the soil.

There’s nothing like seeing the first bines of the season to get us excited about another season of growing beer and spirits.

And that’s not all. Over by the processing facility we just received our shipment of coir, the twine we use to string the hopyard.

Each of these bales of coir weighs 550 pounds.

Each bale contains 550 pounds of coir, a twine made from the stringy material found in coconut shells.

Stringing and staking the hopyard is one of the most important chores of spring. Eventually those tiny hop bines will grow to 30 – 40 feet long, but only if we give them a way to grow up towards the sun.

Here’s what the hopyard looks like now.

Pole and wires but no strings.

Pole and wires – but no strings.

When stringing and staking begins, it takes about a week or so to complete the job.

A fully strung hopyard. In case you're wondering, that shadowy figure is not Bigfoot.

A fully strung hopyard. In case you’re wondering, that shadowy figure is not Bigfoot.

Once the bines are a couple of feet high, we’ll train them to the climb the strings. We wrap one or two bines clockwise around a string and tie them in place. Clockwise because that’s how hops follow the sun throughout the day.

Weather permitting, we’ll string the hopyard on April 1st. We’re also getting ready to plant our 20 acres of Dream Rye. By late spring we’ll plant our acre of Marionberries and four acres of Dream Pumpkins. Jalapeños by summer. The season of growing our proprietary palate of flavors for our craft beverages is underway.

Please join us at Rogue Farms this spring and see how we grow beer and spirits!

roguefarms grow the revolution

Make Your Own Dirt

If you want to give your garden the best possible start this spring, then we suggest making your own dirt. It’s easier than you think.

You’ll learn everything you need to know this weekend at Rogue Farms DIY Workshop: Soil Blocks. Oregon State University Master Gardener Dale Jordan will walk you through the steps of making soil blocks – small chunks of garden soil, peat moss and other material that are perfect seed starters. By the end of the workshop, you will leave with your very own soil block, complete with seeded plant!

Rogue Farms DIY Workshop: Soil Blocks starts at 2:00pm on Saturday, March 8th. The cost is $5. To reserve your seat please call (503) 838-9813. Your plants will thank you later.

Rogue Farms DIY Workshops are held monthly. Here’s what coming up next:

April 12: DIY Soap Making
May 17: Homebrewing

For updated information on these and other events at Rogue Farms, please check out our events page on Facebook.

Back In The Dirt

With the big flood of February behind us, we’re back to work at Rogue Farms for a new season of growing beer and spirits.

The flood caused an 11 day delay in the biggest chore this time of year, digging up and replacing rhizomes.

Digging Rhizomes

Digging up rhizomes by hand.

Every winter we dig up rhizomes in one part of the hopyard, split them, and then replant them in other areas to replace bines that are no longer productive. It’s an annual tradition that helps us maintain a healthy hopyard that will grow hops for decades.

But the floods put us in a real time crunch this year. We need to finish the job before the bines start growing, which could happen in the next few weeks. Everyone is hustling to get it done.

Digging Rhizomes 2

As soon as the hopyard dried out after the floods, farm hands were back in the dirt.

As far as we can tell, the floods didn’t do any damage to the hops. In fact, it might have helped. Last time it flooded like this we had an excellent crop. But there’s a lot more weather to come before we pick the hops in August and we remain – as always – at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Please come join us at Rogue Farms this spring and see for yourself how the hops, rye, pumpkins, marionberries, jalapeños and honeybees are doing.

roguefarms we grow beer and spirits_web

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