Hop Harvesting in Idaho
If you have been out to the Wilder/Greenleaf area in southern Idaho or the Bonners Ferry area in north Idaho you have probably witnessed a lot of hops being harvested. Right now hop farmers are right in the middle of the one of their busiest times of year harvesting over 3000 acres of Idaho hops.
According to the Idaho Hops Commission the area just west of Boise supports about 75% of the hop acreage in the state. Idaho is the 3rd largest hop growing region in the nation representing roughly 15% of the market with only Washington and Oregon ahead.
Idaho grows a variety of hops from popular names such as Cascade and Chinook to more experimental varieties that have yet to be named. Idaho also grows around 60 acres of organic hops. Hop harvest begins around the end of August and runs through the beginning of October.
Hops, which grow up a string tied from the top of wire and attached into the ground, do not need to be replanted each year. The hop vine is cut down and loaded on to trucks. From there the trucks enter a processing facility where the cones are removed, dried, and baled. Once the hops are baled they are often sent to a processing facility where they are turned into pellets and used by the brewing industry. However, during hop harvest season several breweries use the fresh hop cones to make fresh hopped beers. Idaho brewers such as Sockeye Brewing and Payette Brewing use these Idaho hops as well as Idaho barley to make their delicious mircobrews.
The acreage of hops continues to grow in Idaho. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is responsible for inspecting hops to determine the percent of leaf, stem, and seed to make sure that brewers are only receiving the highest quality ingredients.
Recently a group from the food and beverage industry toured Jackson Hop Farms to learn more about Idaho hops and the harvesting process.
To find out more about companies that use Idaho ingredients in their products visit idahopreferred.com