Hops Harvest: Part 1
After five months of caring for the plants each and every day, it’s finally harvest season. Time to get out the clippers and knives to chop down the massive plants we’ve been working hard to keep alive and thriving since they were mere buds emerging from the dirt.
This first part of the harvesting process works best with teams of two, with one member being the tractor driver while the other person rides on the harvest platform cutting the plants and swinging them onto the wagon. One good row of plants takes almost an hour to cut, and is enough to fill the wagon, yielding up to 400lbs of wet hops.
The next phase is taking the recently cut bounty and putting each individual plant through our Wolf harvester. This machine uses a combination of picker fingers and suction to separate the heavy, dense hop cones from the rest of the plant. You can do this part of the process alone, but it runs more efficiently and is more enjoyable with two people! Once the cones are separated from the undesirable part of the plant, they are conveyed into our false-bottom bins to await the next phase in their road from plant to pellet! The leftover parts of the plants are loaded into our dump truck and transported to a nearby field as compost.