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Hops are dug in late March/early April (depending on when the snow disappears and the ground thaws), with shipping generally late April through mid-May.
Last year's hops harvest was excellent, as we have spent a lot of energy rebuilding soil fertility and improving irrigation for our babies. The excellent plant growth indicates that they should have an abundance of rhizomes for us - or so we hope! At the moment, everything in the hopyard is dormant, as they sleep under a blanket of snow.
As always, we represent only certified organic hops grown either on our own farm of those of our partners in BC's interior. We do not carry any restricted or trademarked hops, and we do not export outside Canada. Copies of our organic certificate and that of our member farms are available on request.
Why you should buy Canadian rhizomes
We grow in the same conditions you do - or for people on the South Coast of BC, a bit harsher. This means that our hops are adapted to climate conditions similar to yours, so they will have minimal challenges to thrive on your farm. We start digging only a couple of weeks before we ship your hops, so they are in a dormant state when they are shipped. Dormant rhizomes withstand shipping better, and are ready to grow as soon as they hit your soil. Plants that have excessive growth when dug will have spent most of their stored energy already, and will experience a setback from shipping. At the same time, rhizomes that are dug earlier and stored for longer before shipping will start to lose energy, negatively affecting their viability.
Rhizomes take off quickly, and develop strong root systems rapidly, setting you up for early production and a healthy hopyard. Many tissue-cultured plants have small roots, requiring more babying and a longer lead-time to develop a strong root system.
We are certified organic within BC only - so when we send our rhizomes outside BC our certification is no longer valid. Rest assured, we meet all the same standards of care that every Canadian certified organic producers must adhere to. The only difference is that our local certification agency is a community non-profit organization operating with a strong and educated network of volunteers, rather than a paid and for-profit agency. We are rigorously audited and inspected annually. In fact, we also work on the regional certification committee and federally to ensure that Canadian Organic standards remain ethical, rigorous and strong.
Organic hops are fed with compost, kelp meal, sheep and chicken manure, green manures (plants that are tilled into the soil to feed the soil) and nitrogen-fixing plants. We use management techniques to control downy mildew rather than spraying with ecocides. We use sheep to prune our hops vines, instead of chemical defoliants - and of course, no glyphosate to dessicate the hops prior to harvest. Sometimes our yards look a bit messy - after all, there's clover between the rows, and we have extensive plantings of insectary host plants around in within the yards to encourage beneficial insects.
We are looking forward to a healthy spring, and we wish the same for you! Logan is pictured here with the rhizomes from one particularly vigorous plant last spring. (The hopyard is still under snow, so it doesn't look like this yet!)