We call them Free Range Chicks for a reason, and lately they’re ranging farther and farther away from their base of operations near the Rogue Farms Hop ‘N’ Bed.
Just the other day, we started seeing them on the lawn between the Hopyard and the Chatoe Rogue. For a Chick, this is a pretty good hike. So what’s going on?
The sad-looking picture you’re about to see is our Potbellied sow Voo on the examination table at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State. Voo’s had some trouble with her back legs, so we took her in to find out what was going on. The official diagnosis is Bilateral Stifle Osteoarthritis. AKA, knee arthritis.
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Hops bines appear in early March and are ready for the first cut by the end of the month.
It’s almost time for the first cut of our 42 acres of aroma hops.
We trim back the bines every March. It’s good for the health of the bines and it prevents uneven growth.
Hops are susceptible to mildew and fungal diseases, which are most likely to start in early spring because that’s when we get the most rain during growing season. The first cut removes diseased leaves and spores. As the the bines and leaves grow back, the weather turns drier and the crop is more likely to be disease free.
We also want to give the bines a “fresh start” so they grow and ripen at the same rate. I’s important that the all the hops are ready for harvest at about the same time. The harvest is usually spread out over a two or three week period in August and September. That gives us enough time to process one variety while the other varieties finish ripening. But what we don’t want is a situation where half the Revolution hops are ready for harvest, but the rest won’t be ready for another week. That’s a hop growers nightmare.
And so, the first cut is almost as big of a deal as the second cut, aka the harvest.
While waiting for the bines to grow, March is also a good time to repair and maintain the trellis wires.
Our first Farmstead beer of the season, a farmhouse style Saison, goes on tap tonight at the Chatoe Rogue Tasting Room.
This is a perfect beer for celebrating the spring season. The Saison style dates back centuries to the farms of Belgium and France. They were brewed in the winter months when work was slow, and then served to farm workers during the spring and summer to keep them happy and hydrated.
Although lots of breweries make Saison style beers, ours is made the traditional way, with ingredients that were grown on the farm where the beer was brewed. A true Farmstead beer.
For his Saison, Farmstead Brewer Josh Cronin used Rogue DIY Dare™ Pilsner Malt made from the barley we grow at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, and Independent and Alluvial hops grown here at the Rogue Hopyard.
Josh Cronin (left) brewed the Saison during our DIY Homebrewing Workshop in February.
The Chatoe Rogue Tasting Room and the Rogue Farms Hopyard will be open daily starting Monday, March 25th.
Here’s our new spring schedule.
Monday – Friday: 4pm – 9pm
Weekends: 11am to 9pm
The Chuck Wagon, serving meals made with Rogue Farms grown ingredients, will be open Fridays – Sundays.
Guided tours are available on weekends.
Please join us for a season of growing the best ingredients for beers and spirits!
Last year a field of rye, this year a ten acre pumpkin patch.
That picture you’re looking at is our new ten acre pumpkin patch. We just got done tilling the soil and making it ready for planting. All we’re waiting for is the right time, some strong backs, and pumpkin seeds.
The new location is what used to be our Dream Rye field. But we outgrew that spot and moved the rye over by the Willamette River.
The really hard work is yet to come. Just like last year – and the year before – we’ll plant the pumpkins by hand. The rows will be laid out, thousands of tiny holes will be dug, even more thousands of seeds will be dropped into those holes, and then we’ll cover them up. The difference this time around is we’ll plant ten acres this year while before it was just two acres. Planting is scheduled for May, but a specific day is TBA.
We grow our own pumpkins for Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale. John Maier won’t brew with canned pumpkins, pureed pumpkins or extract. It’s gotta be fresh from the farm.
Here’s some photos from last year’s planting.