Brien tennis is a new mission organics also the processing facility for a statewide organization called Michigan Hop alliance, Michigan, Hop alliance helps a lot of smaller Farmers from around Northern Michigan Help process their hops that they’ve got like a half acre. You know one or two acres They can’t really afford all the processing equipment. So what we’ll do is. We’ll buy their crop process it through here And then we’ll sell it [for] them just hand them a check Instead of them having [to] buy. You know like a fifty thousand dollar picking machine. We’ll just run it through here We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for the [sare] [grant]. That’s for sure because it’s It’s magnificent and this is You know we’re one of the few farms in In the country doing a short trellis, and I don’t know if we would have really had That much [money] to play with to do it MSU five five or six years ago. They had a seminar on on sustainable crops and doing just other other crops other than cherries and apples and stone fruit and one of it one of the ideas that came up with with this area Would be hops so we jumped on the bandwagon being the craft beer fans. We’ve always had a Real love for you know craft beer even when we were broke we we always fought good beer Just just not a lot [of] it, but you know and when we found out we could actually grow hops we’re like well You know we’ll give it a shot we put in one acre and then eventually you know one thing led [to] another and we had the somehow figure out how to process it [because] you can’t really handpick anything over a quarter acre, so We came up with Michigan. Hop [alliance]. It’s basically a group of individuals who pulled their money to get the equipment You know because we obviously couldn’t afford to do it ourselves So pulled our resources bought a a woof machine from Germany brought that over here, and then hammer mill [palletize] [Er] vacuum sealer we built our own most. So this basically is a self-contained hop farm now We can go from this this yard Processing this facility this this facility and then turn around and sell everything so it’s all self-contained this is the property that we’re on right now was originally intended to be a subdivision somebody bought 40 acres they put in a road they ran Electricity and they had it all rezone back into residential and we’re at Leelanau Township. You’ve got to have at least Ten acres in order for you to have a house on it. So they divided the four acres in the ten acre parcels They were going to sell it and this was 2002 2003 whenever they did that and the housing market At that [time] was you know starting to tank. So they never could get off the ground with it So we eventually bought 30 of the 40 acres and had it rezone back in the egg So when we bought this parcel there was no No wells or barn or tractors or anything like that. We originally bought it just a camp on and one thing led to another There was three acres of organic cherries that was that was on here Which is probably why the land was so cheap everybody knew what they were getting into so we’re like Yeah, we’ll give it a shot. So we’re actually living in Grand rapids a couple hours south of here and we were driving back every weekend taking care of it [and] one thing led to another and we moved up here and We pushed the cherries out a couple years ago, and just replanted it with hops the yard that we’re looking at right here is one of the few Short trellis systems that you’ll see in the united states one is we are lucky [enough] to get the the variety summit which is a proprietary hot there’s only six or seven farms in the united states that can legally grow it and Through a grant program that we are working with the usDa and Michigan State university Washington State University and the University of Vermont One of the growers in that study that we’re working with Roy farms They helped a patent to summit so we basically begged them to you know put in a few acres up here, and they’re like well You know first six times we asked them. They said no and then the seventh time I think they just got sick and tired of us bugging them so they said yeah We can do it as long [as] it’s you know like a limited planning They didn’t want us to put in you know a thousand acres of it because it would basically dilute their market It was actually bred and developed to be a semi dwArf variety so it only gets to be Ten or twelve feet tall so the side arms are a lot shorter, [and] they’re more compact But you can get over 2,000 pounds an acre with summit it’s a it’s just a really big yield and it’s a su super high Elf – it’s a It’s a really gnarly. Hop that’s got characteristics of Green onion garlic Tangerine Lemon, [I] mean you walk through the through the hop yard right before harvest And you can smell all those different different fragrances in the yard But it’s a it’s [a] crazy hop to grow and it’s perfect [for] us because it’s so cheap To put in you know an acre of short trellis because you’re just looking at one wire [basically] Down the whole line and the poles are you know poles are only? 14 16 feet [Deep] so you drill down Maybe three [or] four feet drop a pole in it And then keep going whereas the tall trellis poles are a lot more expensive There’s a lot more wiring involved and it’s a little more difficult to put the poles in place stronger most of this stuff is Second and third year plants like the big bushy ones those [are] third year, but we do have some some holes where we had to replant this year, but The end we had to start with rhizomes – because it’s a proprietary hop [it’s] not like we could get rhizomes or plants from anybody else so we had to get the root cuttings from the guys who hold who held the patent and The first year we tried Just putting in rhizomes and rhizomes You know at best your propagation rate is maybe 75 to 80% the first year we put in summit our propagation rate was maybe 20 or 25 percent Which was crushing because you do all that work you plant the rhizomes and then you walk through six weeks Or eight weeks later nothing’s coming up. So what we did this year We got rhizomes again from from the source But we pawed them potted them up and stuck them in a greenhouse for for two months, so by the time we turn around Take those rhizomes put them in the ground They’re a pretty established Plant so the propagation rates that we’re dealing with now are pretty close to 100% [I] mean some of [those] great. It’s a fantastic Hop and we’ll just keep planting short trellis, but we also want [to] experiment with some other short trellis varieties There’s tea maker that we now can get we we haven’t been able to up until recently But there’s also a couple varieties over in England that are semi dwarf varieties that we’re trying to get our hands so far it hasn’t been we haven’t been successful, but as long as you have the Plant short Trellis is definitely the way to go, but the key is getting the plant The thing about the way we harvest, we’ll just do like one rope Here where as opposed out in yakima Valley where they’ve got seven or eight hundred acres of this they’ll actually have combines that drive over the top of the rows and Knock the cones off kind of like a cherry picker But that piece of equipment is half million dollars, so we’re just making [this] work now beginning [in] the summer We’ll go here go through here. We’ll drop ropes on the entire yard, and then we’ll train the plant and then in a couple weeks here probably mid-september, so we’ll just go through here cut the bottoms and then cut the tops and throw them it on a Converted hay wagon that we’ve got and just run it through this barn and the woof machine will strip the cones off of it So we don’t we don’t have to do any hand picking it fortunately Now in Grand Rapids [there] the Grand Rapids brewing company It’s the first certified organic brewery in Michigan So we now actually have a market for [the] product when we first started You know five [years] ago this would be our fifth year growing hops we? Groom organically you [know] just because this farm was an organic farm to begin with and it’s just something we believed in so we kept Going even though we didn’t have a market most of this will go to Grand Rapids Brewing company or to Brewery Vivant and to shorts over [in] elk Rapids They’re not certified organic brewery, but they they love the hops so much that they’ll they’ll pay the premium to get it oh

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Dennis Veasley

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