Community hop farm spread across Deal all set to harvest first crop this month - and then create special town beer
PUBLISHED: 09:57 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:57 05 September 2017
Remarkable project has been embraced by nearly 200 people across the coastal town
A community hop farm project will see the fruits of its labour next week when it stages its first hop harvest.
The Deal Hop Farm, launched in the town in January, has grown to a patchwork farm of 130 sites in peoples’ gardens, allotments, community gardens and spaces, including English Heritage’s kitchen garden at Walmer Castle.
In a little over nine months the group has become one of the largest community growing projects in the country with nearly 200 people involved
Steve Wakeford, of the Deal Hop Farm said “The project has gone brilliantly and thanks to our enthusiastic ‘hoppers’ we are well placed for an excellent first year’s crop.
“The harvest is going to be great fun as well as quite challenging; as we are attempting to harvest on one day across all our sites. The idea is to pick our hops on Thursday 14th from 3pm and have then available for brewing very early on Friday by our partners at the Ripple Steam Brewery.
“The Landmark Garden on Deal high street will be our main base for people to drop off their picked hops for weighing. We will also have hop pickers in the garden picking hops off bines where people are away. Volunteers hop pickers are welcome - long sleeves advised but cockney rhyming slang is not mandatory.”
The project, initiated by green project Deal With It - Transition Deal aims to educate about hops and also brew some local beer.
Adds Steve: “As we don’t have an oast house, just yet, our hops will not be dried but used as ‘green hops’ to give a massive flavour burst to our beer – named by members as ‘Hopping MAD’ (Made Around Deal) which will be available in the town from the end of October.”
Mark Brent, English Heritage’s head gardener at Walmer Castle & Gardens said “From the beginning the objectives of Deal Hop Farm have been to learn, nurture and grow hops; with the prospect of some quality beer as an eventual outcome. What has been equally pleasurable to witness is its role in growing new friendships amongst the community too.”