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Beyond The Box

Blake Crosby Reflects on Harvest 2018

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Harvest 2018 ensued August 18 with the Centennial variety. Typically, Centennial is harvested first in the Willamette Valley, which is one reason it is an appealing hop for growers as it easily fills the early season picking window and capacity. Throughout the region Centennial yield was down largely due to early flowering in the summer, however CHF fared well with an average yield of 1,600 pounds per acre and excellent quality to go along with it. We observed normal alpha values and extraordinarily high total oil values for Centennial with certain lots clocking in as high as 3.5 ml/100g total oil! This is a great characteristic as Tom Shelhammer and OSU found, higher total oil content in this variety is correlated with stronger perceived hop aroma in dry hopping.

As we rolled through the varieties, another highlight was a strong showing for Amarillo® at CHF with another year of impressive yields. It is a continued top choice amongst brewers, albeit not our harvest crew’s favorite – the large bines are challenging to handle and take longer to process through the picking machine.

Throughout the season we were fortunate to have bluebird weather and moderate temperatures that made the 30 long days and nights bearable for the staff and enjoyable for the countless visitors. Friends, family, and valued customers gathered at the farm for our 7th annual Crosby Hop Festival on September 7th.

From an innovation standpoint, 2018 marked two ‘first ever’ crops for the Oregon hop industry. CHF produced the first commercially Oregon grown crop of Comet hops as well as Idaho 7™ hops. Both varieties did exceptionally well, and the Comet quality especially impressed many brewers who had a chance to indulge in its intense grapefruit and tropical aroma on the selection table.

The latter part of the season included the workhorse Nugget variety; it yielded well and exhibited above average alpha values with many lots hitting 15%-16% alpha. Depending on how alpha demand evolves during the season, this may be especially advantageous for the year. Wrapping up our season we harvested Crystal hops and last but certainly not least Idaho 7™, which displayed some remarkable tropical pineapple aromas for which it is known.

It was truly a special harvest for many reasons. We’re already looking ahead to harvest 2019 and making facility upgrades to accommodate increased acreages of several exciting varieties. A special acknowledgement is also in order for our dedicated staff. Every season it is humbling to see the incredible efforts from our employees during this intensive time of year and their personal commitment to bring in the best crop possible for our brewing partners.

Cheers to Oregon hops and another successful harvest!


-Blake Crosby, CEO