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NC-VA Regional Hops Conference

Bringing Hop Growers and Brewers Together

NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program at NC State University

Friday, March 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM – Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

Winston-Salem, NC

“This event is co-chaired by Jeanine Davis, hops researcher and extension specialist at NC State University and Stan Driver, director of the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative.”

For more information please please visit the event link below.

We will be speaking at Fridays beginners session. We hope to see you there.



Rhizomes- The 7 Steps to Success


Quality Cascade rhizomes from 3 year old plants at our VA farm.


Some farmers are moving towards the use of plants vs rhizomes these days, but for start up farms, back yarders and hobbyist, rhizomes are still an ideal option for growing hops. They are cheap and easily sourced. We started with rhizomes due to the local availability and the cost effectiveness at start up.

Yes, you can actually plant a rhizome incorrectly. Too deep, upside down, over water them, plant too closely together…the list goes on. However, they can actually be very simple to manage, easy to grow and will turn into the most beautiful plants in just a few months. The most imports part is to make sure your hops plant or rhizome has room to climb. The taller the trellis the higher the yield in most cases. If possible use a good sandy soil with adequate drainage. We are going to keep it very simple. Here is the rundown.


1. Plant your rhizomes with the eyes and any shoots facing up. This may mean planting vertically. Plant your rhizome a few inches in the ground. Either create a hill or dig a small hole. You can plant similar varieties 3-4 feet apart. Separate varieties 7 feet apart or further.

**Notice the eyes are slightly facing up**


Notice the eye is facing upwards.



Pen is pointing at the same eye as above. Small, but important to plant with the eye facing up.


2. Press the soil firmly to remove any air pockets around the rhizome.

3. Water until the soil is evenly moist. Do not over water. This could rot the rhizome.

4. The buds will soon break the surface and begin looking for something to climb. For most rhizomes, leave all the shoots and let them grow. As they mature over the years, the first shoots will be removed for quite some time. Typically late April or so until you start letting them grow. However, with rhizomes, let all the plant material take off. Of course, if you have one of those massive rhizomes with too many buds, then maybe remove a few.

5. As the plant establishes roots and healthy shoots have sprouted, begin to look at fertilizing. They need a lot of Nitrogen.

6. Begin training the bines to climb the string. String them by wrapping them clockwise around the string. They are coarse and will grab hold of the string no problem. Use untreated string or sisal twine. We use 2 ply sisal. It is easily available and relatively cheap.

7. Grab a beer and enjoy the show. Hops are extremely fast growers. We started our farm with rhizomes and many of them climbed to over 16 feet their first year.

7b. Yeah, we know, its not always that easy. There are disease issues, early cold spells, high winds, too much rain…There are a lot of factors that we have no control of. The ones we do, take care of them. Keep good records of what you see. Take pics of critters, discolored leaves, funky growth and anything else unusual.


There are plenty of other great resources out there as well for rhizome treatment. Google is a wonderful tool. Good luck and have fun. They are a lot easier to grow than one might think. Give them a shot and before you know it, you will be on your way to harvesting fresh hops for your next batch of homebrew.


Digging rhizomes.



NC Hops Yard Expansion

We have big plans for both our hops yards this season. But we are really excited about what we have in store for our North Carolina hops yard. An overhaul is in store.

Last season in NC we were not able to source enough poles to finish the yard as we wanted. We ended up using metal piping for a pole substitute. They worked great, but ultimately, cedar is what we would like to use. We have sourced some local cedar poles and will be replacing the metal pipes. We will be adding more rows and potentially adding a few Columbus.

We have seen potential water issues where we have our plants. The water does not drain as well as expected and we hope to remedy that. Our plan is to build larger raised beds as well as a channel for the water to flow away from the plants. This should help drastically in water standing on the roots of the crowns.

As we work the NC yard and get it just how we like it, look for opportunities to visit. We have plans for open house days in NC as well as VA.

We love what we do. We look forward to the season of hard labors that are heading our way sooner than later. Digging holes, running cable, setting poles and working the soil are all part of what we love about growing hops. However, the best part is all the wonderful people we have met along the way. The brewing community is like no other.

Thank you for your support in North Carolina and Virginia. We appreciate every ounce of it.

David Goode
Steve Brown

Spring Rhizomes and Root Pruning


This spring we will be doing some root pruning on our 3 year old plants. This is important for several reasons. The process is simple but laborious. We will simply take a shovel, a rake and some hand tools and dig around the crowns. First year plants will have virtually no rhizomes and should not be root pruned. Our second year we left them alone again. This helped establish superior feeding roots. Hops plants produce two types of roots, feeders and rhizomes. Only the true roots are feeders, the rest of the root structure are for propagation and provide very little in the help of the uptake of soil nutrients.

The main reasoning for root pruning would be the control of the hops plant itself. During the off season the hops plant will put out new rhizomes. It’s sort of an invasive plant. It can spread quickly if not controlled. These underground shoots can break ground in the spring and develop plants in unwanted areas. If hops are left unattended, you could have a massive hops mess.

“If such exuberant growth is left unchecked, the plants will
soon cover the entire acreage with a solid mass of plant
material. Needless to say, for the purposes of hops production,
this is not desireable! Therefore, one of the major
spring tasks is to prune back this growth”
Rebecca Kneen
Small Scale and Organic Hops Production Guide

Secondly, you have rhizomes on these pruned roots. These can easily be transplanted and grown into quality plants. During the pruning season, we plan to harvest these rhizomes from the healthiest of our plants and have them available to you.

Our initial rhizomes that got us up and growing came from a young hops yard in NC dug from 2 year old crowns. They were small and had several buds. Once planted and roots established, they reached the tops of our 17 ft trellis in their first season. We harvested about 1/2 lb per plant of fresh un dried hops in year 2. With this being our first spring cutting the root systems, we expect a jump in growth and higher yields. There is huge upside to root pruning crowns at an early age. Regardless of age of crown, rhizomes harvested will grow and produce hops for years to come.

We plan to have our hops rhizomes available in the spring for NC and VA customers. We do not ship rhizomes and do not have any shipped in. These will be local, super fresh rhizomes.

So, remember us come rhizome season if you want to shop and buy local. If rhizomes are not your style and you prefer plants, we plan on having some available late spring as well.

We appreciate your business.

Sorry, no commercial rhizome orders.

Good Bottle Co. 10-23-13 Piedmont Harvest Ale

We will be at Good Bottle Co for a special tasting of Starpoint Brewing Piedmont Harvest Ale. Tim at Starpoint brewed this exceptional seasonal ale using fresh Cascade and Chinook hops from our farms. These hops were exceptionally fresh and used within hours of picking.  Come try a pint or two with us.

Where: Good Bottle Co.  125 Remount Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211

When: 10-23-13 at 5:30pm

Check here for event details.

See you in Charlotte!

Good Bottle Co.

Thank You For Your Support

We would like to thank everyone who helped support us this season with their purchase of hops, rhizomes and plants. We had a very successful 2nd year and we look forward to the years ahead. We greatly appreciate your loyal support.


Thank you to all who purchased rhizomes and plants this spring. We hope they did well for you and produced some cones.


Huguenot Hops, LLC – Thank you for purchasing plant stock from us and working with us. We have enjoyed seeing your progress.


NC and VA Breweries

A big thank you for your support. We appreciate your willingness to buy local hops and support your local farms. It shows in your product. We thank you!

Haw River Farmhouse Ales– Fresh hops in a small batch

Steel String– Wet Nugget hops for a cask

Starpoint Brewing– Wet Cascade and Chinook hops for a harvest ale

Legend Brewing– Wet Nugget hops for casks and firkins

Hardywood Park– Wet Nugget and Cascade as part of the hops bill in their RVA IPA. Thank you Brian for taking the time to stop by our farm and check out the operation.


Thanks to MASH- Mentoring Advanced Standards in Homebrewing for having us for a discussion on hops growing and production.

Thank you to Richmond Bizsense for taking the time to write an article on our small farm in VA.

Thank you to Virginia Cooperative Extensions for a wonderful write up on our VA farm as well as the discussions of the future of hops in VA.

Thank you to 1000 Suns Aromatics and Botanicals for purchasing dried Chinook for aromatic products.

Thanks to Beagles BBQ for supplying food on harvest day as well as working with us on future food products with our hops.


Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers this season. Without you guys, harvesting hops would have been a daunting task. If you are interested in volunteering with us please go to the I Want to Volunteer link below and send us an email. Simply add that you are interested in volunteering with Piedmont Hops.


I Want to Volunteer


Thank you for supporting your local hops farm. We are already excited about next season and have our expansion plans set in place. We cant wait to share what we are doing for 2014.


David Goode and Steve Brown




Virginia Cooperative Extension

Recently we received an email from Laura Siegle of the Amelia County Extension Office. Laura was interested in hops production and wanted to see what hops growing was all about. Well, we invited Laura to our farm for a visit to discuss hops locally as well as across the State. We called our friends at Huguenot Hops to join in as well for the discussion. Laura brought in Rachel Grosse of the Powhatan County Office as well. The four of us had a wonderful discussion about the future of hops in VA. We learned a great deal from Laura and Rachel.

They informed us that they are here for us to lean on. If we have a pest issue, call them. If we have spots on the leaves, call them. If something is causing bines to die, call them. They are here to help. They are eager to learn about hops as much as we are.

They want to work with us to test out different aspects of hops. Low trellis vs high trellis. Chinook vs Columbus vs Centennial. When to control downy mildews and what to use that is labeled safe for hops. They want to help us to establish a good solid weed control with ground covers. They talked with us about using compost tea. They were not kidding when they said they were here to help. The list goes on. They even wanted to get in on a harvest or two next summer! Love some volunteers like that. We would love to be able to mimic some of the research that NC State has been able to do. If you have not, please check out Jeanine Davis and some of her work at NC State regarding hop production at the North Carolina Hops Project. Their project is full of useful information.

We talked about joining the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative and how important that was for us to establish relationships with other farmers and still be able to market our own product. Old Dominion is set up so that members market their own product vs every member pooling their hops into a few buyers. Laura and Rachel wanted to learn more about the growth cycle of hops, so we discussed that as well. We talked about the different varieties and what has done well and what hasnt. We spoke briefly about the challenges of hand harvesting and the importance of small scale harvesters that are being developed.

The one thing that we really discussed with Laura and Rachel was the importance of having a test facility set up in VA for hops. We need a place to have the Alpha Acids analyzed. For now we ship out of state for alpha acid testing. Having an in state lab for hop analysis is important as this crop begins to grow in VA. They are going to work with us on that. VA State and VA Tech are two good candidates for such a lab. Very exciting news for the VA hop industry.

We will continue to work with Laura and Rachel as well as other extension agents who reach out for help. Over the last several weeks, we have had 2 extension agents and 2 potential farmers contact us for advice and assistance. We love the growth we are seeing. Farms from Goochland to Virginia Beach are getting into the mix.

Farmers teaching Extension Agents and Extension Agents teaching farmers. It was a wonderful day for hops in VA. Baby steps in the right direction for sure. There are big things happening in Virginia right now regarding hops. Only time will tell. For now, we love what we see.


Extension Agents Contact Info:

Laura Siegle

Amelia Office 804-561-3224


Rachel Grosse

Powhatan Office



For a list of local offices, please click on the link below.

Virginia Cooperative Extension Offices

Farmers Helping Farmers

We would like to take a moment to thank all the volunteers that helped us pick 33 pounds of fresh hops. These hops helped fill two orders. One to Starpoint and another to Hardywood Park. Without the help of our volunteers none of this would have been possible.

In NC, we had help from our host farm, Peaceful River Farm. Lee and Larry the owners spent time with us harvesting along with Steves wife, Kathryn. They supplied picking containers as well as cold storage for our hops. We were able to keep them overnight in their walk in cooler. Catherine of Durham Urban Bee Project stopped in to help pick hops as well. We brought in a few VA hops to round off the order. We went back out Sunday morning and picked a pound of Nugget hops for Steel String for a special cask.

Farmers helping farmers.


In VA, we had help picking Cascade and Nugget from another hops farm. Huguenot Hops, LLC is located just 15 minutes from our VA yard. They were kind enough to stop in and spend the afternoon picking hops with us. They took time out from their own harvest to help us out. Josh from Beagles BBQ stopped in as well to help pick. We had a wonderful feast of local BBQ from Beagle BBQ and some superb homebrews from Devon of Huguenot Hops. It was very difficult to get back on the ladders to pick after such a meal. We did and finished up the harvest in about 3 hours. We have established a wonderful working relationship with Huguenot Hops.

Farmers helping farmers.

We will continue to establish working relationships with other farms regardless of what they grow. Working with other hops farms is very important to us as well. We feel that doing so will help the longevity of hops in NC and VA.

All the hops harvested on Saturday were delivered to Hardywood Park as part of their RVA IPA. Our 16-17 pounds is miniscule compared to the overall total.  See photo below.






Harvesting for Hardywood Park




Chinook and Cascade for Stapoint



14 pounds of Cascade for Hardywood Park

Below is a nice shot of all the hops that went into the RVA IPA from Hardywood Park. Nearly 45 pounds of mixed varieties were donated by local home growers to the making of this seasonal IPA. The rest of the hops were sourced from large and small farms like ourselves. Check back with Hardywood on the availability of this beer.  We were glad to be part of this special brew. It was wonderful seeing all the local folks donating such beautiful cones. Man that’s a lot of hops.


45 pounds of these hops were donated by numerous folks of Richmond, VA. Photo credit to Hardywood Park


Harvest Time- Hardywood Park RVA IPA

Its time for Hardywood to brew up another batch of their Reserve Series  RVA IPA. This year, we have hops to supply.

We are excited to be part of this wonderful community hopped ale.  What is a community hopped ale you ask? Well the folks at Hardywood Park have designed a beer that incorporates only locally grown hops. They give rhizomes out for free each spring. In return, the local home growers give back some of their harvest as a donation to the project. It is a wonderful way to get the local community involved.

Hardywood called us and placed an order for our Cascade. They will be purchasing whatever amount of Cascade we have. So its time to harvest the rest from our VA yard. We hope to supply them with about 20 pounds of fresh Cascade. We will be donating a few pounds as well.  This will come in the form of a complete plant cut and delivered. This will allow some of the patrons who did not grow hops a chance to pick some.

We cant wait to get back in the yard and lower the trellis on Saturday morning. We have a few volunteers from Huguenot Hops and Beagles BBQ to help us out. On average it takes about an hour to harvest 1-2 pounds of hops by hand. We will start early and end early. The plan is to deliver and socialize at the venue. We would love a chance to meet some other growers in the RVA.





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