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Estate Grown Hops

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?

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Seeds Of A Revolution

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather this weekend to plant this year's crop of Dream pumpkins.

It's amazing to think of how these tiny seeds revolutionized the way we do things at Rogue Farms. We'd been growing our own seven varieties of hops and two varieties of malting barley. But when dropped our first seeds of pumpkins in the soil a few years ago, the GYO revolution took a big leap forward.

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Tree To Table At Rogue Farms

We are officially exhaling at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley.

There's only about a week left in the month of May and our orchard crops are in excellent shape. Lots of good-looking apples, cherries, plums, pears and apricots.

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Back In The Land Of Hops And Honey

Feel that buzz in the air at Rogue Farms?

That's our honeybees, just back from a working vacation in California.

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New Summer Hours At Rogue Farms

The forecast for next week is warm and sunny, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate than to join us for a beer at Rogue Farms.

In honor of the excellent weather, we're going to be open every day of the week with expanded hours Friday and Saturday.

Our new summer schedule is:

Sunday - Thursday, 11am to 9pm
Friday and Saturday, 11am to 10pm.
Farm Tours, Weekends at 3pm.

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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

 

Planting Season

A long stretch of rain ushered in the barley planting season here at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon.

We’re just getting started on seeding our fields of Dare™ spring malting barley. And like so many things in farming, the rain is a mixed blessing this time of year.

It’s great for the barley. The rain will help the newly planted Dare™ seeds germinate and grow.

But if you’ve ever tried running a tractor through a wet field, only to see it bog down in the mud, then you’ll understand why we wish it was a little bit drier right now.

Drilling Dare In The Rain

What we’re pulling behind the tractor is called a seed drill. It cuts furrows into the soil, drops in the seed, and then pushes the dirt back over the seeds.

So far the fields have been in good enough shape. Moist but not wet. We’ve got a lot more rain coming in the next several day so we’re going to take it nice and slow. Drill when we can. Wait when soil conditions are too wet.

Spring rains over our fields of Risk malting barley.

Spring rains over our fields of Risk™ malting barley.

Meanwhile, the Risk™ winter malting barley we planted in the fall is healthy and green, and about 8-10 inches tall. It too, likes having rain during spring.

But we did lose a few acres of Risk™ during an extreme cold spell over the winter. We’ll replant them in Dare™ next week.

When you grow your own proprietary palate of flavors, you work with whatever Mother Nature sends your way. Things usually work out in the end, but she sure loves keeping us on our toes!

Please join us this spring at Rogue Farms, agri-fermenters of craft beverages, and see how we grow beer and spirits.

roguefarms grow the revolution

 

 

 

 

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

 

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