Growing Our Own Ingredients
Drive down Wigrich Road to Rogue Farms this time of year and you’ll always find something new going on.
Our hops are bursting with cones, the wheat kernels are filling, and new shoots of pumpkins and corn are poking through the soil.
Here’s a look at some the ingredients we’re growing for our beers, spirits, ciders, sodas and how they’re doing.
Seven Varieties Of Hops
Our 42-acre hopyard is on track for an outstanding season. The bines are overflowing with healthy looking cones. There seem to be more of them, and they appear to be larger than they were this time last year. We expect to start the hop harvest in mid-August.
The irony is that all the flooding and snow we had this winter was a huge help. The week long soak replenished the soil with some badly needed moisture.
Our five acres of McKercher wheat is at full height, headed, and the kernels are filling up with a milky liquid that will eventually ripen and harden into grain. Look for a harvest in mid to late August. The timing depends on how much sun we get over the next month or two.
Growing and milling wheat runs through our veins. Our founding family, the Joyces, are descendants of brothers Duncan and John McKercher who emigrated to Oregon from Scotland in the 1800s. They were pioneer wheat farmers in Crawfordsville and ran a grain mill on the Calapooia River for five decades.
We planted five acres of sweet corn in late June, making it one of the last crops we planted this season. For now, only the first leaves have emerged. But soon the stalks will start growing and our Wigrich corn will be “high as an elephant’s eye” before you know it.
We plan to harvest our corn in October, micro malt it at our Farmstead Malt House in Tygh Valley, and then truck the grain to the Rogue Brewery and Distillery in Newport where John Maier will get to work mashing it into corn whiskey, bourbon, or maybe even a corn beer.
We’re also a month into the growing season for our Rogue Farms Dream Pumpkins. Bright orange pumpkin flowers will pop any day now, and then small green fruit will appear by the end of July. Harvest time usually comes in mid-September.
This isn’t everything we grow, by the way. We’re also growing Dream Rye, Rogue Farms Jalapenos, Rogue Farms Wildflower Honey and Juniper berries at our farm in Independence; and two varieties of malting barley at our farm in Tygh Valley. All together we grow nearly two dozen ingredients, creating a proprietary palate of flavors of known origin that John Maier uses to brew and mash Rogue beers, mead, kolsch, braggot, spirits, ciders and sodas.
Please visit Rogue Farms this summer and see what’s growing!