harvesting hops in virginia

I spent the day with reporter Laura Peters at Blue Mountain Brewery, where a collection of hops farmers were helping to harvest the hop yard on the brewery property. I really love agriculture assignments, but I love them even more when the final product involves beer. Douglas Glander moves a bine of hops aside during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.I learned a lot about growing hops with the guys from the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative, a group of hops farmers in Virginia that work together to teach and educate about hops farming.

David Lovin throws a bine of hops over his shoulder during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Lovin is from Boston, but was hiking the Appalachian Trail and stopped in Afton to visit a friend who was a part of the harvest.Apparently, hops need very little space to grow. Clusters of hop plants are called crowns, which grow upward toward the sun, and farmers build rope contraptions to help the plant grow up. And the eventual rope of hops, which is cut down upon harvest, is called a bine, not a vine.

Merielle Stamm cuts down bines of hops as David Lovin helps during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.Many hop farms — or hop yards, as some call them — are less than an acre. Blue Mountain has a couple different hop yards on their property, where they grow Cascade hops, and all of them are about a third of an acre.

Stan Driver drives a tractor between crowns of bines as Steve Bunch of Stuarts Draft and Devon Kistler of Richmond cut them down during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.We had a great time with the guys from the hops co-op. We didn't sample any beer while we were out there, but rest assured that we will return to indulge in beer on our own time.

Stan Driver drives a tractor between crowns of bines during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.Devon Kistler of Richmond cuts down bines of hops during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.Hops go through the bine harvester during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Stan Driver, the chairman of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative, owns the bine harvester, but lends it out to members of the co-op.Steve Bunch, Scott Wilcox, Stan Driver and Randy Green cut down bines  during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative came together to help with the hop harvest at the brewery.Barbara Green and son Jon Green of Shipman handpick hops during a hops harvest at Blue Mountain Brewery on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, in Afton. Whlie members of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative sent their hops through a bine harvester, members of the public were invited to handpick the hops.