Hop harvest 2011 begins
While checking out the progress of my hop plants, I noticed some of the cones were becoming pretty dry on the bine and aromatic when squeezed. Thus, I decided to initiate my first hop harvest! I took about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the hops on the Cascade, maybe 1/6th of the Centennials, and a total of 1 and 3/8ths oz. (undried) of Northern Brewer plus a few Hallertau cones and zero Chinook cones, as those bastards are just starting to form.
I picked them on 9/11/11. The cones I took were in a variety of stages, from overdone to perhaps a bit underdone. I’m worried that there is a frost warning out for the night of Wednesday into Thursday and what that could do to the cones yet to be picked… It’s frustrating because they’re just NOT ready yet, but chilly Minnesota is about to kill them before they have a chance to become ready for picking! Agh! I may throw a sheet over the plants that night to try and keep ’em going. I suppose as the years go on, I’ll have such a high yield that I’ll be thankful I won’t get the chance to pick them all but this is kind of a bummer in my first season, where I’m guessing I’ll only get two or three ounces.
For now, I’ve got the maybe 10 oz. (undried) that are drying on a screen on the porch, which gets pretty hot during the day. I’ll probably try and package them Tuesday or Wednesday night.
Innovative picking technique!
Cascade drying on the left, Centennial on the upper right and Northern Brewer with a few Hallertau on the lower right: