Join Iowa State Extension and Cedar Falls Hops for a virtual field day on October 21st at 10 am.
Due to the challenges of an in-person event in 2020, this will be a combination of pre-filmed field footage, live questions and answers, and even a sensory section!
Participants are asked to register by October 15th to receive their box of Iowa grown hop samples which will be rubbed, smelled and discussed during the 45 minute event. This is free but registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/124266669955
It may seem like all hope is lost, but don't worry, we have your last minute holiday gifts ready to go!
We have hats, hops and ornaments all ready to go! You can call us at 319-240-7581 to pick up your items locally if you are worried about the holiday shipping rush.
Our home brewer gift basket will make the perfect present for the beer lover on your nice list this year!
Cedar Falls Hops Co. is very excited to be selected by the Hop of the Month club as their featured grower for October! You can read the full article here: https://hopofthemonthclub.com/blogs/news/from-florida-theme-parks-to-mid-west-hop-farm-keri-from-cedar-falls-hops-co-plays-20-questions
Want to know more about Hop of the Month club? "We source hops directly from family farms and small co-ops and offer them to home brewers. Because a lot of the farms and co-ops we work with are small or offer unusual varieties, quantities are limited. Many small farms sell out within a few months of harvest.
Unless you live close to one of the featured farms, these aren't the hops you'll find at your local homebrew supply shop. These are unique hops from small producers and when they're gone... they're gone until the next harvest.
Each monthly shipment includes:
Thanks to the folks at Hop of the Month Club for including us!
Our fall harvest newsletter is published! You can read it here or use this direct link:
What a difference a week makes! Where there once stood a forest of hops swinging in the breeze there is now a wide open field.
We will allow these small rows of hops to continue to grow. This new growth will return energy back to the plant so they can grow vigorously again in the spring. We will continue to control weeds and mow the clover between the rows.
This is also the time for us to reassess the varieties we are growing, review the growing season and plan for the future. We always appreciate feedback provided from breweries and homebrewers alike, this helps us to make business decisions with a more well rounded view.
Once hop plants reach the top of the their strings at 18 feet tall they start the process of flowering, ultimately producing the cones that make beer. These tiny flowers start out as small spikes and quickly begin to resemble the finished product.
The flower shown here is a female flower-- and so are all of the others in our field! Cultivated hops are all female plants; they do not need males to be pollinated. In fact, pollination will result in the production of seeds within the cones which will result in extra weight and decreased oil content. Wild plants (yes, there are native wild hops) will produce male flowers and are occasionally seen.
Each hop variety will have a different final size and these range from 1 inch to over 3 inches in length. Here you can see the difference a couple of weeks makes in turning those small spikey flowers into what we can see as hops. These will continue to develop and elongate over the next month or so until harvest.
Growing hops is hard work, but this is the time of year when we love to share the beauty of these fields with you! We were honored to host BlackRock Brewers from Tucson, Arizona last week and show them what's going on in the fields right now.
If your brewery team or group would be interested in learning more about the process of growing hops we would be delighted to host you. August is an especially great time to visit and we promise to have hops ready for you to smell and appreciate!
The summer solstice is a key date for hop growers around the world. Hop plants have the amazing ability to tell when days quit getting longer and begin to get shorter. On June 22 our summer solstice told our hops to start changing modes.
Up until this point in the season our plants have been growing almost exclusively in a vertical direction. These plants are trying their very best to get to the top of the 18' tall trellis. Once they see that they days are getting shorter they begin to send out "sidearms" at each of the leaf nodes. These sidearms and basically the lateral branches where the plants will set the actual hop cones.
Once the sidearms are developed on the plants they will start to send out "burrs", or the small hop flowers, that will be the precursor to the cones.
Whew! What a time to visit the fields!
Our first task of the year is hanging strings for the hops to climb during the coming months. These are special twines made of coconut fiber. This special string, called coir, is rough enough for the plant to climb, strong enough to support the heavy hops at the end of the season, but still an organic material that can be easily chopped up as the hops are processed.
Our trellis system is designed to be a "V system" which means that each plant has two strings to it. So, if you do the math, our entire field requires close to 16,000 hand-tied strings. And that's only part of the work. Each sting is then secured into the ground with a W-clip. These small clips are amazingly effective at securing the strings in the ground in the highest winds.
Once in the ground, the small "wings" on the W provide resistance against any pulling on the string. These are made of steel so they should rust away within a year or two so we don't have to worry about an accumulation of clips in the soil.
We need your help! We are often asked what can be done to promote Iowa grown hops and this is a big part of it!
There is a new bill, SSB 1102, that is going to help hop growers. It's designed to be a tax credit for brewers using Iowa ingredients. It would pertain to fruit, hops, barley, honey, etc.
Here's the bill: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook…
We would love it if you contacted your legislator to encourage their support. You can find your representative here: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
Cedar Falls Hops Co. grows Iowa hops. Follow us on here to keep up with the newest progress in our fields.