KAMLOOPS — With the 2016 growing season all but over, the time has come for many local producers to harvest whatever remains in their fields, and get ready for the winter ahead. At the Tk’emlups Hops Farm, they’re doing just that. After their first full year of operation on the Tk’emlups Reserve, they’re optimistic about what the future has in store.
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“It wasn’t an ideal Kamloops summer, this year,” Joey Bedard told CFJC Today. “A huge reason we brought the hops farm to Kamloops was for the heat, and IBUs”. For those of you not fluent in the language of craft beer, IBU stands for International Bitterness Units, which is a standard measurement of flavour in many beers being produced today. Those units come from alpha acids, which live inside hops flowers. Which happen top be one of the main ingredients in all styles of beer.
Bedard is one of the partners with the Hops Canada and Tk’emlups te Secwepmec farm located on the TIB reserve on the east bank of the North Thompson River. He says the farm chose the types of hops they grow because of the style of beers being brewed in the region.
“We grow a lot of Cascade and Centennial [types of hops]. Right now I’d say the market is driven towards citrusy, piney, very strong, pungent, fruity notes. That’s a lot of what we’re going for,” Bedard explained. “I’d say the biggest movement in beer right now is the Northwest style beer, and our field is very much aimed towards complimenting that. On the same note, we can also offer… bittering hops to a large brewery, as well.”
The farm is a partnership between Hops Canada and the Tk’emlups Indian Band, which provides employment opportunities for members of the Tk’emlups community.
“That [partnership] will establish the foundation, and from that foundation, we can grow… from a hops growth standpoint… but, also from a profitability standpoint,” George Patel, CEO of Tk’emlups te Secwepmec told CFJC Today.
Ian Matthews is the Operations Manager on the farm. He oversees many of the day-to-day responsibilities which come with running a large farm, and says this operation is huge benefit to the community.
“At our peak this summer we were employing between 20 and 30 people , full-time. The majority of them band members and community members,” Matthews said.
This years harvest is a meagre one, as many Hop Farms don’t produce peak volumes for several years, until the plants themselves are more mature. Despite this fact, the farm is still taking what they can off the land, and supplying as many breweries as possible this year.
“It’s been a really rewarding, and exhausting year and a half,” Matthews said. “I’m really happy to be part of this project. It’s really exciting.”
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