Just a few days into spring and we’re starting our first big chore of the season – stringing and staking our 42-acre hopyard. The job requires nearly a dozen farmhands and days of back breaking work. But if you want to grow your own beer, this is what you got to do. It starts with the string…
The string is called coir, a biodegradable twine made from Sri Lanka cocoanut husks.
Coir is a perfect climbing material for hop bines. Growers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley have been using it for decades. Farm hands ride high in the hopyard, tying one end of the string to the trellis wires.
And letting the other end fall to the ground.
Right behind them comes another crew.
Pushing the strings deep in the soil and staking them tight.
The work continues all this week, come rain or shine. When we’re done we’ll have strung and staked 253 miles of coir across all 42 acres. Now we’re ready for the hops to grow.
A strung and staked hopyard at Rogue Farms.
How important is stringing and staking? Without strings, hops are a weed that ramble across the field. With strings, hops climb off the ground, away from moisture and bine killing fungal diseases. Strings allow them to seek out the sunshine they so desperately crave during the growing season, and to produce cones filled the precious lupulin which gives beer its bitterness and aroma.
Because of strings, a weed becomes a crop.
Come to Rogue Farms this week and see how we string and stake the seven varieties of hops we grow for Rogue ales, lagers, porters, stouts, meads, kolsch and braggots. Join the Revolution!