Hops season in the southern hemisphere / by Kathy Dunbar

It's hops season in the Southern Hemisphere and we're looking forward to harvest!  I wanted to start giving everyone a regular update and hopefully some useful insights into what's happening on the farm through the growing season and harvest.  My hope and intention is to, over time, provide the understanding needed to foster meaningful feedback on our efforts, in small digestible bits.  To this end, a brief note and a few captioned photos follows.   As harvest fast approaches, the sheep are still out in the fields nibbling off he bases we’ll be pulling them out in a week or so.  Milder temperatures this year combined with rainfall means a later start date to our harvest (we are currently forecasting a March 3rd start).  At this point in the season, the varietals are at different stages of growth, with our Motueka looking nice and big, with lots of lupulin, while our Nelson Sauvin is still forming buds.  I’ve included some photos of the farm (below) which is looking great and some interesting ones of cool new equipment we have installed.  This year we custom built a mini arm picker and stick walker; the only one in the world!  This creation eliminates the recycling of almost clean hops back to the start of the picking line (and finishes their cleaning with a much gentler process), ensuring the hops are super clean but still allowing us to get through tough to pick varietals like Nelson Sauvin in their narrow picking windows.