Who are these Oast House people and what are they doing?
The Oast House Hop Farm is the culmination of three great friends who are avid craft brewers. In their everyday lives, Beau is a Recreation Supervisor, Marylu is a Special Education Teacher and Art works for a family owned business making deliveries. They have also built an award winning BBQ competition team and have been competing in BBQ competitions for about 7 years. Beau has grown hops in his own back yard successfully for about five years and uses his hops in the home brews he creates with Marylu and Art. The farm has been in Marylu's family for many years, originally serving as a horse farm. As the horses have moved on to greener pastures, we are looking to repurpose this land. Although there are 12 acres waiting to be farmed, we are starting small! Our plan is to build a 1/4 acre hop yard using as much material existing on the property as possible. We will be building our hop trellis using naturally rot resistant locust trees from the farm. We will irrigate the property from a natural spring fed pond on the property as well as collections in rain barrels. We have had the soil tested and have a great soil scientist at our disposal, should we need one. Additionally, we are hoping to use solar energy to power the pump and irrigation system.
What will you do with the hops once they grow?
Once our hops have grown and have been family harvested, they will be dried to a 10% moisture content in the Oast House and be prepared for sale. Our hops will be marketed to local NJ breweries as well as home brewers. The rhizomes themselves can be sold to others who may be interested in having their own hop garden! We also plan to make hop candy, hop tea and hop vine wreaths which we hope will be sold at a local farmers market. Once the hop plants are established, their rhizomes can be divided and replanted, creating even more hops. The farm can keeping growing and growing!
Why should I support Oast House? Where will my money go?
There are two reasons!
1) We love to home brew but have always had to purchase hops from the midwest. We have created some great beers (after much practice), but we really wanted to make a FANTASTIC beer from only local ingredients. Problem was, there were no local hop farms. So, we started growing our own. It was such a neat feeling to know that we had developed our own recipes locally grown ingredients. We want to share this with others and give them the chance to craft locally. There is a huge resurgence in creating your own beer recipes and it would be totally cool to use local hops! Our hope is that by supplying our hops to local breweries and home brewers who want to use locally grown ingredients, we will help other local businesses (and dreams) survive. We have all already invested much time and money into this dream of ours, but we need some support to keep it going. We feel strongly about reviving a love of crafting local beers as well as bringing back a little bit of farming to the Garden State.
2) It amazes us as parents that so many of our childrens' friends have never been to a farm! We are so excited to teach our children, who already love to garden, how to work on a farm. They have already started working with us on the farm and have so enjoyed themselves that they share it with their friends, who are in turn getting excited! As we learn, they will learn and we hope that they will grow to have a loving respect for the value of farming and we plan to share our experiences and love to people in the community.
Your backing will help us continue our building of this farm and sharing the experience with our community. It will assist in buying hop plants, cable for the trellis system, rain barrels and the irrigation system, as well as sharing and teaching what we learn to other adults and children interested in the community.
Can't afford to give? You can "Like" us on Facebook, send emails to your friends, and talk about us and our endeavor to bring back farming!
What are your ultimate goals?
In short, there are three:
Goal #1 - create a sustainable hop farm to provide local breweries and home breweries with great fresh, local hops.
Goal #2 - Teach our children and members of our community the importance of farming and hopefully instill such a love, that they will want to farm, too!
Goal #3 - We want to grow! Hops are our interest and we want our hop farm to grow, but it would be SO cool if our children or members of our community would like a piece of property to farm themselves or create a community garden. We would love to be able to create enough revenue that we could ultimately share the space with others for their creative farming desires!
A Brief History of Hops in the Northeast
Prior to 1909, the Northeastern United States was the leading producer of hops in the country. The Dewey blight of 1909 decimated the crop and a subsequent aphid infestation caused even more damage to the hop industry in the Northeast. Then along came prohibition, which put the final nail in the coffin of commercial hop production. As time passed hop production moved to the West Coast, leaving the East Coast behind. We have decided to breathe new life into the industry by building a small scale production facility that will provide fresh, locally grown hops to consumers in the central New Jersey area.
The Family Component
This project is designed to be a family affair! Our children and extended family will all participate in the planting, harvesting, drying and packaging of the hops. By doing this we are hoping that their investment in the farm will lead them to grow and nurture it for many years to come. Please help us on our journey as we try to bring "throwback farming" to central New Jersey.
Thank you for your support!
- (30 days)