Our story starts with a Christmas party in December of 2013 where three individuals meet over delicious craft beer. Two of them were relatively new to Central Oregon, were farmers at heart, and were looking for a new adventure. The third…well he possessed a love of craft beer and a thirst for knowledge.
A challenge was declared: discover all that there is to know about starting and running a hop farm, including marketing and sales to local brewers, in less than three months. We began in earnest, contacting every hop grower in Oregon that we could find. Lucky for us…they all responded. We learned the most from the wonderful owners of Tumalo Hop Farm, Gary & Susan Wyatt. Their generosity would set us down a path of sharing everything we would learn along the way with others starting their own hop journey. And with that, Smith Rock Hop Farm was officially started in the spring of 2014…an energetic and enthusiastic addition to the local Central Oregon hop growing industry.
Or first season we would see 14 feet of plant growth and a harvest of 25 pounds of fresh Cascade and Centennial cones. The entire lot was used by Worthy Brewing of Bend and Wild Ride Brewing of Redmond to create a collaboration fresh hop beer named Worth Wild. After eight months of work, it was extremely satisfying to hand pick hops, see them used in the brewing process within 24 hours, and then within just over a week have a pint of delicious craft beer in hand!
We continue to grow the hop farm by planning new acreage and new hop varieties, and hope to be close to six full acres by 2017.