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Thread: In the Hop Garden

  1. #241
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Sad to see, but something that may be of interest to some...

    I wasn't planning another post here for a while, but what turned out to be a fool's errand because we went a year too late to find some hop gardens hidden away in the High Weald.
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    Yes, with the poles and wirework cleared and the ground ready for ploughing, it was all a bit sad.

    However, having foolishly left the research until after the event, I found this video from a local vlogger with an interest in machinery of all sorts: Hop Harvest Kent 2019.

    This illustrates three things for those with an interest in hops and hop picking:
    1) It starts with the hop-growers second worst nightmare (after an outbreak of Verticillium Wilt) - an entire crop of hops being brought to the ground by severe weather (which in extremis can result in a full season's work being lost, with drastic financial consequences).
    2) Probably the most authentic - if not professionally polished - footage of a hop-picking machine in action; in this case, one produced by Bruff Engineering from Suckley in the heart of the Worcestershire hop yards, reputedly so efficient and well made that the company went out of business because no grower ever needed to buy a second one (and certainly many are still working after 40+ years, holding their second-hand value for those looking to upgrade from something else). With their unmistakable noise and the smell of green hops, finding one of these working is an unforgettable experience.
    3) A modern 'industrial oast' in operation, with hops dried in a train of heated bins rather than being moved into and out of kilns manually using 'scuppets'.

  2. #242
    This Space For Hire Wittenden's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rpadam View Post
    I wasn't planning another post here for a while, but what turned out to be a fool's errand because we went a year too late to find some hop gardens hidden away in the High Weald.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes, with the poles and wirework cleared and the ground ready for ploughing, it was all a bit sad.

    However, having foolishly left the research until after the event, I found this video from a local vlogger with an interest in machinery of all sorts: Hop Harvest Kent 2019.

    This illustrates three things for those with an interest in hops and hop picking:
    1) It starts with the hop-growers second worst nightmare (after an outbreak of Verticillium Wilt) - an entire crop of hops being brought to the ground by severe weather (which in extremis can result in a full season's work being lost, with drastic financial consequences).
    2) Probably the most authentic - if not professionally polished - footage of a hop-picking machine in action; in this case, one produced by Bruff Engineering from Suckley in the heart of the Worcestershire hop yards, reputedly so efficient and well made that the company went out of business because no grower ever needed to buy a second one (and certainly many are still working after 40+ years, holding their second-hand value for those looking to upgrade from something else). With their unmistakable noise and the smell of green hops, finding one of these working is an unforgettable experience.
    3) A modern 'industrial oast' in operation, with hops dried in a train of heated bins rather than being moved into and out of kilns manually using 'scuppets'.
    Didn't realise that they'd gone-haven't been past much this spring for obvious reasons. As an aside, I think the modern oast was opened by Prince Charles after a fire several years back.
    "At that moment I would have given a kingdom, not for champagne or hock and soda, or hot coffee but for a glass of beer" Marquess Curzon of Kedlestone, Viceroy of India.

  3. #243
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Late July in a mid-Kent Hop Garden

    About time to see how the hops are getting on, and Wittenden should recognise where these healthy examples are growing:
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  4. #244
    This Space For Hire Wittenden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpadam View Post
    About time to see how the hops are getting on, and Wittenden should recognise where these healthy examples are growing:
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    Should drive past them tomorrow.
    "At that moment I would have given a kingdom, not for champagne or hock and soda, or hot coffee but for a glass of beer" Marquess Curzon of Kedlestone, Viceroy of India.

  5. #245
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default East Kent Hop Harvest

    Amid the heady aroma of lupulin from the freshly cut bines, here is the start of the East Kent hop harvest (in this case, most likely headed for Gadd's Ramsgate Brewery) in the curiously-named hamlet of Shatterling.
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    On the other side of Canterbury, the same operation has started at the the much larger facility at China Farm, Upper Harbledown (although the process remains essentially the same, and unchanged for the last 60+ years).
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    The dried hops in those bales beginning to accumulate in the shed will be coming to your pint soon!

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