Ramble On

Monday, February 1, 2016

@hawksbillhops Developments

It's the offseason, but there is a lot of planning and early purchasing going on to support the hop yard.  The Old Dominion Hops Co-op had its quarterly meeting, for one thing, at the Bad Wolf Brewery in Manassas.  After the business meeting, some of the members took a brewery tour - the photo above.

Some of the things we've done since the last post are to order our rhizomes for the spring.  I am going to add another row of 60 Chinook; pull out the Centennials and save them for later, but replace them with another row of Fuggles; and add 50 or so Cascades to fill the rows where some plants didn't make it last year.  

I've also spent some time this year doing research on getting an orchard ladder that we can use for minor maintenance during the season.  It will save us from having to run the tractor out if we have a string that needs repair, or for other small adjustments.  

This thing is designed as a tripod, so it has flexibility and stability on unsteady ground.  It's 15 feet tall, but the highest standing platform is 12 or 13 feet, which should allow any of us to reach the top cables of the trellis.  In the photos I am not all the way to the highest standing platform - I am still two steps below it!

As far as purchasing details go, as you might expect for a piece of professional gear like this, it wasn't cheap.  It's Japanese made by Hasegawa, and they have quite a few other styles and heights as well.  The dealer I worked with is New England Ladder Company - click that link rather than a Google search, because you could get some local fire department.

The dealer was absolutely great.  If we need more ladders that's who we will work with, couldn't recommend them more highly.

The road ahead?  Well, there is a meeting with north Valley growers coming up - we'll talk about all these new breweries opening in Edinburg, Woodstock, and Winchester - and see if there are areas where we can collaborate as growers.

Also, there is a regional conference coming up in early March down in Richmond.  I'm planning to attend that, as I did last year in Winston-Salem.  The co-op tells me we have 180 members now, which is incredible!

No comments: