It’s the end of week one of the 2022 hop harvest and we are off to a flying start!
Matthew and his team of Hogs Back Hoppers have crunched through all the Farnham White Bine!
Day 1 sees an enthusiastic crew gather….
The new automatic bine cutter is proving a hit. Instead of sending a Hopper down the alley with a good old-fashioned bill hook to cut the bine and string at the base of the plant, the automatic bine cutter grabs hold of the bine in its rotating wheel, cuts and pulls it down from the overhead wirework…..
…All the Hoppers need to do is lay the bines out carefully in the back of the trailer so that they don’t get tangled up and are easy to unload.
Our experienced Hoppers seem quite at home on the tractor….
…and the deer seem quite oblivious to all the fuss!
Just when Matthew thinks everything is going smoothly, the tractor springs a fuel leak and the picking machine has a major malfunction. Luckily, our engineering friends and neighbours at Joost, turn up trumps.
All in all, there’s over 200kg of Farnham White hops compared to about 280kg last year. The hop cones are large and fragrant, so a good year for Farnham White.
It’s then smartly on to Fuggles, with the first trailer-load of hops heading for the brew house.
30kg of the freshest, green hops go into the waiting brew of Tongham TEA in the copper, for this year’s Green TEA.
The Hoppers make light work of the incoming Fuggles ……
....until a power cut puts pay to all activity…..
Nothing goes to waste as the hops left behind on the wires are collected up and brought in to go through the picker....
Then it’s over to Matthew on the late shift to kiln the hops….
Heavy rain hampers the Hoppers’ progress, but we’re still on track. Despite the hiccups, that’s 55 alleys harvested in just six days! It’s all about quality not quantity this year. The hops may not be so large and prolific, but the quality is good!
Why not become a Hogs Back Hopper and become part of the action? There's help needed all year round, so if you fancy lending a hand, click here to register your interest.