Monday, August 31, 2015

Hopping along

And now for something completely different! My friend Christine and her brother grow hops near here. Yesterday they had their first-ever harvest, and we got to help out.

It's fascinating how hops grow! These are huge telephone poles with support wires strung across them, then coir (coconut fibre) ropes hanging down for the hops to grow up.

Hops are bines, not vines. No tendrils or suckers to support the plant!

Christine and her bro worked hard for this! The yard is certified organic.

Hops are the female flowers of the plant. No boy-plants in this hop yard!

But there WAS an adorable cat, adopted from our local OSPCA shelter!

Here are hop plants that have yet to be put in the ground.

When it's time to harvest, somebody gets to stand up on that yellow platform (moved along by a tractor) and cut the ropes.

Then the hopes are loaded into the back of the truck...

...and carefully taken out!

This is my friend's grandfather holding a beautiful string of hops!

Next we all sat down and picked off the flowers, or "cones." Gordon did well!

Hops smell great. A bit like IPA beer, but also, in my opinion, a bit citrusy/piney. Very fresh!

The picking party.

Grab a string and get going!

We done good.

We had a great time and would love to help out again next year.

I found it fascinating to learn all about hops. I'm sure Christine will be very successful with this! What a great way to spend a morning. If you're on Twitter, you can follow Christine the Hops Baroness here: @christineob7 


  1. Oooooh, I loved this! My Dad went hop picking as a was like a paid vacation.
    Jane x

  2. that is so interesting.... I had no idea that is how they grow

  3. How interesting! Harvesting hops probably hasn't changed in technique in so many years. Lots of Hands on work. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Had no idea! Fascinating... thanks for the education. And great pics!

  5. What a great way to harvest! Love it!

  6. Looks like fun , Great photos . Hope the harvest does well for them ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  7. We always hear "hops", but we nevER knew how it was grown.

  8. ... and I learned something again on your blog. It sounds like pecan nuts where people sit around and shell them.

  9. I'm originally from a part of England where Hops were grown extensively. They were like huge hedges, and the growers walked amongst them on stilts. They were usually picked by Londoners, who came down for a paid holiday, or by gypsies. Harvest time was always fun.

  10. We grow hops on our far fence. Once they get acclimatized they really take off....and you really don't have to do anything for them. We top dress the plants with some old manure in the fall, then cover it with straw. I never thought they would grow in the Ottawa Valley!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!