Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2nd Annual Hop Harvest Event!

Long time no post! Yes, it is true we have let regular posting slide a bit. Writing coherent sentences after long days fixing, building, weeding, planting, picking, washing or doing tractor work out in the field seems like an insurmountable feat. That's not to say we have not missed keeping you updated on all the fantastic progress going on around the farm!

Almost Ready to Harvest!

First, let's get to the main reason for this post. We are hosting a 2nd Annual Hop Harvest Party, along with the fine folks at Community Beer Works. This year, it will be a private event, which means you must RSVP either by email to mccollumorchards@gmail.com or on the Facebook Events page. We will have a guest list at the welcome table as you arrive.

Tell Me More
Party-goers will experience the whole process from harvest to picking to sorting to loading the oast. It is a lot of fun and smells, well, like fresh hops! And, you will be a huge help as we pick all our hops at the perfect peak of maturity. We will show you how to harvest and provide gloves. There will be samples, a homebrew demo, light food, non-alcoholic drinks and music.
We'll be harvesting rain or shine. If you want to purchase fresh hops to take home, bring a cooler to keep them fresh.

Hops Pricing
Pick-Your-Own is $1 per once for wet hops. We will have a limited supply of 2-ounce packages of dried hops for $5.00 per package. 

No Party Fouls
1) Parking is located at the front of the property. City regs prohibit parking along the street, so you have to park on our property. If the lot is full, we'll direct you to a space place to park. Carpooling is much appreciated! 

2) This is a working farm. There are electric fences, cats, dogs, chickens, tractors and implements around. Kids are welcome but must be supervised at all times. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Yep, there's a bathroom and we'll even clean it beforehand! You are welcome to walk around the house, but inside is private. You can walk around the garden outside the fence. If we have extra produce after market, we might set up the farm stand, too!

Farm Fresh Community
We. Love. Lockport. Selling fresh produce at the Lockport Community Market this summer is just another reason we like it here. The market is wonderful, there are usually 20 vendors selling produce, eggs, plants and crafts and jewelry. It has been so fun and going so well, that all us vendors got together and asked if we could extend the market through the end of September. Bree volunteered to help coordinate it. Well, the city foot the bill for the liability coverage, the Lockport Main Street Corp did the extra advertising and made it happen! Now, we will all be able to offer our fresh, local goods for five more Saturdays. 
Lockport Community Market, Saturdays 10-2pm til Sept 28

 September is a great time for produce - when summer vegetables are still going strong and fall crops are coming in. We'll be at the market on Canal Street near the locks every Saturday from August 31 to September 28, 10am to 2pm. How awesome is that?!

We recently were featured in this great article about finding a great farm stand. Sorry, we haven't had enough produce to open the farm stand for a few weeks. Perhaps our plan to sell four days a week was ambitious or our yields were lower than anticipated. (It was definitely compounded by the seeds and starts being washed out FOUR times in June and July.) Either way, we wanted to open, but knew we needed more quantity. We are hopeful that we can open the stand again this week as tomatoes and lettuce again become plentiful. Can’t wait for next year when we can grow more produce.

At the market we meet new folks who are seeking organic produce. It has been amazing to see the transformation from just three years ago. We were often told this region didn’t want organic; there was no market for it. Now, we meet people who have long been searching and are happy to find local, organically grown produce!

Planning the Land
We see the growing demand for more local, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Our top priority this year is to build the infrastructure and prepare the land for planting more next year. Plans of planting cover crops this summer were definitely waylaid by three bouts of major flooding in June and July. Instead, we did continual discing of the cleared land to solarize the deep weed bank. The method is starting to work and has done a commendable job on knocking out the dreaded hogweed.
Wheat bales between a beautiful land and sky
 After watching 2-feet deep floods wash across the fields, we realized we needed a solid drainage plan and contingency plans for washed out crops. In the past two months, the County Department of Soil and Water Conservation helped us survey the fields for better drainage. Our friend Mike helped replace the broken drain pipe under the field road. We applied for a grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation for organic seed, cover crop seed, and improving drainage. Best yet, we were awarded a federal grant through Cornell Extension to cost-share the construction of a cold storage room for better storing our fresh fruits, vegetables and hop rhizomes! Next year, we should be ready to get the hoop house up and plant a couple more acres of vegetables and keep several acres in cover crop to continue to improve the soil health.

And One More Update
Super happy farm family!
We are growing more than plants on the farm this season. We are happy, no excited, no thrilled to announce that we are expecting our first child due in January 2014. They say it is a girl. It has been a good pregnancy so far, she seems to want fresh fruits and veggies more than junk food. It is a good little farm baby, due in the slow wintertime when we can just snuggle up together (and look at seed catalogs). We can’t wait to meet her and we are pretty proud of her being the seventh generation that gets to love this old farm.


  1. This all sounds SOOO familiar (always another project!) - except the baby that is (NOT familiar to us :-)). Congrats!!!
    T&D Farms Lopez Island WA

  2. Got to know updates of different farm oriented places.I really like the article of spring training farmer style.Best article for the newbies farmers.