As much as we love sharing the story of Rogue Farms, and our grow your own, craft it yourself way of doing things – we especially appreciate it when others share it too.
Take a look at what Craft Brewing Business did with the pictures from our Winter Crop Report. They created a beautiful photo essay showing the highlights of what we’ve done over the past months to grow our beers, spirits, ciders and sodas. Click on the image below to view the full story.
When we last checked in with the Rogue Farms honeybees, they were shipping out south to spend the winter pollinating an almond orchard near Tracy, California.
Much to our surprise, their story caught the attention of the Oregon Beer Growler, which wanted to know why we’d go to so much trouble for our bees.
Here’s what they discovered.
“The journey across state lines and back again may sound like one big endeavor for a bunch of bees, but their contribution to the flavor of beer and the health of the environment in general is truly greater than their physical size.” -Oregon Beer Growler.
Click on the image to read the February issue online and see what’s happening in Oregon’s beer scene. Then head to page 18 to read about our honeybees.
At the end of every one of these stories we invite you to come visit us at Rogue Farms.
For us, there’s nothing better than showing folks how beer and spirits begin in the dirt. Spend a day with us and we’ll open your eyes to how that Rogue you’re drinking is actually a farm product, made with crops that we planted, grew and harvested ourselves.
Here’s what you might see on any given day at Rogue Farms.
Walk Among The Hops
Brewmaster John Maier in the rows of Rogue Farms Freedom hops in August.
At Rogue Farms we’re used to getting up before the sun. But today began especially early, as we loaded up our 7,140,289 honeybees for the start of their California vacation.
Our bees will spend the next couple of months pollinating an almond orchard near Tracy, California. That’s a 600-mile drive to the south, and an early start was necessary because we want to arrive by tonight. The less time on the road, the less stress on 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.
A scene from this year’s honey harvest at Rogue Farms.
click on the photo to continue reading
Here’s the deadline we can’t put off at the Rogue Farms Hopyard.
In about three weeks, someone’s going to pull up in a big truck and unload 100 starter hives, also known as nucs. It’s a huge expansion of the Rogue Hopyard apiary.
That gives us three weeks to finish constructing 200 new hive boxes and 200 new super boxes. Otherwise the new honeybees won’t have a place to live.
When the first flowers of the season appeared in our neighbor’s cherry orchard, we knew the spring nectar flow had begun.
This is one of the prettiest times of the year on the Rogue Farms Hopyard. And for the Rogue Honeybees, one of the busiest.
Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin visits a hive in early spring.
Shortly after we wrote about the honey detective in Texas, comes this story about honey laundering.
Two of the country’s largest honey packers admit to taking part in a plan to mislabel honey from China and pretending that it came from other countries. The federal government says they did so to avoid paying $180 million in import duties that only apply to Chinese honey.
We wouldn’t know how to buy Chinese honey even if we wanted to do it. Instead, we’ll make more honey this year by growing it at the Rogue Farms Hopyard in Independence, Oregon. We’re adding another 100 hives to our Original 19 Colonies, which means adding roughly another 5,000,000 honeybees and producing another 4,200 pounds of Rogue Wildflower Honey.
If you want to know the origin of the honey we use in our 19 Original Colonies Mead, then please come out to the Rogue Farms Hopyard and see for yourself.
A Rogue Honeybee enjoys a decaf blackberry flower.
Here at Rogue Farms, we want to calm any jitters that our honeybees are addicted to caffeine.
In an article in the journal Science, researchers report that some plants give honeybees a tiny shot of caffeine when they visit the flowers to collect nectar. It’s not enough for the honeybees to taste, but they are more likely to remember the caffeinated nectar and are more likely to return to those flowers. The evolutionary advantages to the flowers are obvious.
Not so widely reported is that the plants they studied are coffee flowers and citrus flowers (grapefruit, oranges, pomelo and lemons). None of which grow anywhere near the Rogue Farms Hopyard in Independence, Oregon. The Rogue Honeybees get their nectar from the wildflowers, daffodils, roses, hazelnuts, non-citrus fruit trees, pumpkin flowers, raspberries and wild blackberries that grow in abundance in the Wigrich Appellation. As far as we know, they’re all decaf.
Our bees come by their buzz naturally. You might find yourself experiencing a similar natural high if you visit the Hopyard this spring.
There’s no going back now. Just a few days of sunshine is all it took to turn winter into spring. In addition to the first bines of the season, here’s a look at the other signs of spring at the Rogue Farms Hopyard.
Left: A Rogue Honeybee in a maple tree. Right: Visiting a daffodil.
As the days get warmer, the Rogue Honeybees can leave the hives more often. They’re finding nectar in some of our maple trees, daffodils, early blooming wildflowers and the hazelnuts next door.
A Free Range Chick enjoying a walk in the sunshine.
Sunny days mean better hygiene for the Free Range Chicks and Royal Palm Turkeys. The extra light makes it easier for them to remove bugs and dirt from their feathers. The sun also kills germs, in effect sterilizing the feathers and keeping the poultry healthy.
Not a sled, but a real rosebud.
What you’re looking at here is one of the first buds on our roses. We’ve been using Oregon grown rose petals in our Mom Hefeweizen and in the custom beer we created for the Portland Rose Festival. So why not grow our own? These rose bushes were planted a year ago and we’ll get our first harvest of petals in 2013.