"HOP IS KING" - a common saying from a bygone era when the New York grown hop was highly sought after from breweries around the world. Hops were among the first specialty crops in New York, meaning the first crop that a farmer would plant all of his land to. At the peak of production, New York was producing 21 million pounds of hops, over 80% of the nations crop. In these glory days, small armies of hop pickers would dash to the countryside during harvest time aboard special trains called "The Hop Express", setup from New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany to transport pickers to hopyards. This time was viewed by pickers as a holiday, a break from city life, where you could enjoy the countryside and partake in nightly socials called "hops". Most factories in the cities closed down during this time due to a lack of workforce during hop harvest season. New York continued to dominate the hops industry, producing the highest quality hops, until the turn of the century when widespread mildew and prohibition led to the demise of the industry. New York hop farmers switched to dairy production and one of the states most famed industries slowly faded away. Got Hops?
Our kickstarter project is simple but will positively impact a lot of people if successful. Our project is focused on bringing together local farmers with local breweries by bringing the "New York Hop" back to life. Long Island's maritime climate, glacial soils and long summer days are perfect conditions for growing high quality hops. As a 2 year old hop farm, we've learned first hand that the biggest challenge to uniting local farms with local breweries is harvesting the hops. In order to harvest a high quality hop for local breweries, the hops need to be harvested rapidly and at a precise time based on the hop variety. This crucial standard cannot be met by hand-picking.
If this kickstarter project is successful all of the funds raised will go directly to the purchase and shipment of a German hop harvesting machine from Europe. The Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine will be available for any local farmer to use during the harvest season. Having this machine on Long Island, available for use, will be a catalyst to the resurgence of the New York Hop. It will make sense for more local farms to plant hops because their biggest challenge of harvesting the hops will already be solved by the Wolf. It has the ability to harvest an acre of hops in an 8 hour day with two people operating the machine. If hand-picking it would take about 500 hours for the same two people (~ 1 hour per person per plant). There are only a few acres of hops production on Long Island at this time but more and more Long Island farmers are considering planting hops. I know this because I get calls from farmers who are curious about hops and the potential to sell them to local breweries.
THE TIME IS NOW!
The Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine is very rare and difficult to find. They were made during a short time frame when most of Germany's hop farms were small 5-10 acre plantings. Even though most farms were of the 5-10 acre size, the manufacturer over built the machine so that it could support surrounding hop farms with a total capacity during the harvest season of up to 40 acres. As the German hop industry became more concentrated (less farmers, but bigger farms) the need for greater capacity machines made these small scale harvesters obsolete.
Finding the Wolf was like finding a needle in a haystack. It took me almost two years to even find one that was for sale. The machine is waiting for shipment on a small European farm that will no longer be growing hops. WE NEED TO ACT NOW. This Wolf is so close to changing the way people will think about Long Island beer!!!
Please make a pledge and become apart of the local beer revolution! You can make a difference and help spark the resurgence of the New York Hop, uniting local farms and breweries, leading to amazing local beers for everyone! We will only be able to bring the Wolf to Long Island if we meet our goal by the deadline. If we do not meet our funding goal by the deadline Long Island will not get the harvest machine, local farms and breweries will continue to be so close yet so far apart and there will be less great, local beer to go around. Nobody wants that! So please make a pledge and share this story with everyone!
Please join our team and help us make this project a reality for Long Island! It's easy to support us, just follow these steps:
1. Make a kickstarter account, it only takes and email and password. Click the sign up button in the top right of the page. We need this so we can keep track of our backers and get the rewards out fast!
2. You will need an amazon.com account. It's easy to make if you dont have one, it's a secure way to make your pledge.
3. Click the GREEN "Back this project button" and choose to BACK this project at any level! Your card is only charged if we meet our goal by the deadline.
4. SHARE THIS STORY with your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and anyone! LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT YOU'RE A PROUND BACKER of local farms & local beer!
5. Follow us on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/CondzellaHops
CHEERS TO YOU FOR SUPPORTING LOCAL FARMS AND LOCAL BEER!