But we are still up and running here-making our plans for the rest of the season. We still have a lot garlic for sale and soon....very soon....HOPS PELLETS!
We will be winterizing and shutting down the farm store soon, but we are planning to have an end of the season event October 14 so stayed tuned for more info on that.
After we shut the store down for the season, we are planning to try taking this show on the road for the Jamestown Pride of Dakota Harvest Show event so you can find us there too. We are excited to join the Pride of Dakota and have some other new products in the works that we can hopefully have available for the show.
Many have been eagerly awaiting the availability of our pelleted hops so I am very happy to finally have them available. However, first I would like to tell you about the journey from hops cones to pellets.
After harvest, the cones need to be dried down before they are ready to process. This requires pretty close monitoring as hops that are too wet or too dry will suffer in quality. We now have a hops moisture tester, and next year will be offering hops moisture testing services. Drying takes only a few days, and we use no heat to preserve the delicate oils in the hops.
We follow the "Best Practice Guide for Hops Processing" in our facility. This lays out everything from the design of the facility to instructions for the handling and storage of the hops, to what kind of packaging and labels should be used.
Once all the hops are dried, we move straight to pelleting. Earlier varieties are kept in cold storage until pelleting if necessary.
We spend many hours getting everything set up, greasing the machines, and getting all the tools and supplies assembled we will need for the job.
When the preparations are ready, we grind the hops in the hammermill. After grinding, they immediately go into the pelletizer. The pellets chug out low and slow to stay below the temperature threshold that degrades quality, and are cooled for a short period before packaging.
We vacuum package the hops in heavy duty mylarfoil bags with a Nitrogen gas flush. This year, we did mostly 3-lb or 1-lb (brewery) bags and 1.5 oz (home brewer) bags. A sample of each variety is set aside to for quality testing. We send our samples to a lab in Washington.
With the hops packaged and tucked away in the freezer we wait.
AND EAGERLY KEEP CHECKING FOR LAB RESULTS.....
And today they came! Whether from having more mature plants or from better handling and packaging on our part or both, I am very proud to see our quality levels are mostly on-par with the expected range for the given varieties.
So as soon as possible I will be printing and applying our moisture-resistant labels to the packages and making our hops available for sale on our website. Here are the varieties we have available:
- Nugget-grown at White Earth Valley Hops