Hoppy Trails Hop Farm began growing hops in 2014. We started small and built our experience with hops production before expanding to 2.5 acres in 2016. We have the rich soil, an ideal latitude, and we certainly have the commitment and drive it takes to grow these incredible plants to their highest potential!
We work diligently every year to improve our soil health from the previous year. We steward the soil with organic compost and nutrients with careful attention to application rates to avoid runoff into water sources. We keep cover crop in our rows to attract beneficial insects and to prevent soil erosion.We apply spray applications with caution, always considering our neighbors, neighboring wildlife, and of course the label, which is the law. We walk and scout our field regularly to identify and correct concerns early to protect the health of our crop. And finally, we irrigate in the early morning to maximize absorption and benefit of the groundwater we consume and always defer watering after a rain event.
Harvest is an exciting time at Hoppy Trails Hop Farm. We put in long and hard days to ensure all of our hops are harvested at their peak aroma and alpha acid content. Our Hopster 5p harvester picks and sorts the hops like a champ. Drying occurs in one of three modular dryers that use a combination of enormous airflow and gentle dehumidification to precisely dry our beautiful hops without driving off aroma from excess heat. Properly dried hops are baled and refrigerated to extend the lively and aromatic essential oils in the hop lupulin glands.
At Hoppy Trails Hop Farm, we work well with others and value resource and cost sharing initiatives. We enjoy many great partnerships in our hops production, but none makes us more proud than our founding member status as part of the Northwest Iowa Hops Alliance. Together with our neighboring hop farm, Star Sister Organic Hops, Northwest Iowa Hops Alliance operates a-state-of-the-art Buskirk Engineering pelleting system in a food-grade facility for processing hops. All of our hops are packaged in oxygen, moisture, and light barrier mylar bags with nitrogen gas purge. Hops are kept under refrigeration before and after pelleting. Processing hops is serious business, and one that we are serious about!
Follow Hoppy Trails Hop Farm progress below, or @hoppytrailshopfarm on Instagram!