July 11, 2013

This Friday: Tour the NC State Hops Research Yard in Western North Carolina

Image via NC Alternative Crops and Organics
If you missed the Hops Growing in North Carolina workshop this past March, don't despair. The Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River, NC, is offering a free, public tour of their hops yard this Friday, July 12th, from 4pm to 6pm.

This is a great opportunity to learn all about the challenges that face a possible hops industry in the Southeast. In case you haven't heard, Sierra Nevada's building a giant brewery down in Mills River, so see below for travel information. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.

Via the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Blog:

"In direct response to the expressed needs of hops growers in North Carolina, three years ago we established a hops variety trial at the research station in western North Carolina. Ten varieties were planted on a 20 foot trellis. The first year (2011), we had one of the prettiest hop yards in the Southeast. The second year (2012), Downy Mildew, spider mites, and Japanese beetles took a terrible toll on the plants and the differences between varieties really became apparent. We lost one variety completely; Newport. Downy Mildew actually killed the crowns. This spring we took the opportunity to informally test a few new varieties by planting them where the Newport crowns had been planted. This year we have taken a much more aggressive approach to controlling diseases and insects. We have also done some cultural practices, such as spring pruning in an effort to increase lateral formation and yields. 
So, come on out late Friday afternoon.  Take a look at these varieties and let's share our experiences growing hops in western NC. As many of our longer-term growers will attest, research such as the variety trial here is so important to the success of this industry.  It can help you, the grower, prevent some costly mistakes. When a variety, spray material, or practice doesn't work in our yard, it is "lesson learned for all of us". When it doesn't work in your yard, it is time and money lost.
Note, the construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery next to the research station has resulted in a temporary road closure.  If you come in via I-26 please follow these directions to get to our facility:
Revised temporary directions to the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station:  Construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery near our facilities has resulted in a temporary road closure for road widening. Old Fanning Bridge Road is closed on the Hwy NC-280 side; that is the direction most people come in on from I-26. So, to get to our facilities from I-26, continue south on Hwy NC-280 for several miles. Turn right on Hwy NC-191 (Old Haywood Road). Go several miles and turn right on Old Fanning Bridge Road.
No registration is required. This is an outside event, so dress accordingly. Suggested donation of $5 per person.  If you have questions, please email or call Kelly Gaskill, Kelly_Gaskill@ncsu.edu or 828-684-3562."

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