In 2013, we constructed a one-acre hops yard, one of the largest in Ohio at the time. Our cedar poles were locally-sourced from an independent logger from Maysville, Kentucky who hauled the poles across the Ohio River on a ferry. Our cables were donated by some good friends in Tennessee. Chris Habel, the president of the Board of Valley View Foundation, his dad Bob and 10-year old son Ben, his good friends Doug Bulla and Greg Elsner along with several friends built the trellis in July and August 2013. In 2014, we planted over 800 hop plants from the fine folks at Great Lakes Hops. We let the plants spend 2014 rooting in while we focused on advanced harvesting and field equipment. We have Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, Zeus, Galena, Willamette, Chinook, Brewers Gold, Magnum, Glacier and Mt. Hood growing. Proceeds from all hops and rhizome sales go to benefit Valley View Foundation.
In 2014, we turned our focus to harvesting. No one in Ohio had automated hops harvesting capability until 2014. Doug Bulla traveled to Poland on business in the spring and made a road trip to southern Poland to meet with some fine folks there who refurbish and export used older vintage Wolf hops harvesting and other specialized hops equipment. We imported a 1973 Wolf 140 hops harvester that is rated to process about 150 bines per hour. We connected with Mike Hudak of Weathertop Farm & Hopyard in Palmyra, New York to share the shipping across the pond. Our friends at Total Quality Logistics did an excellent job getting this monster from New Jersey to Ohio and then our good friends at Fenton Rigging and Contracting delivered it to our site and set it in place. This is one of the finest pieces of German engineering we've ever seen, but we had to purchase a 1985 diesel military generator and truck it from Florida to make it run. It was all worth the effort as we are now set to process our own hops and those that local farmers bring to us. All proceeds from any harvesting we do for other farmers goes to benefit Valley View Foundation.
Chris, Doug and Greg attended a hops conference put on by the OSU Extension in March 2014. At the conference they heard a presentation by Professor Eric Stockinger about the history of malted barley farming and production in Ohio. In 1900, 4 of the 5 largest malting houses in the country were located in Cincinnati and the majority of the malted barley grown in Ohio was grown here, in southwest Ohio. But today no malted barley production occurs in Ohio. Professor Stockinger and OSU are working to reverse that and we are glad to help in this effort. In 2014, we planted a half pound of Conlon and Scarlet variety two row barley. It grew, we learned, and we will be working to expand this new research and educational endeavor in 2015 and beyond. Professor Stockinger's research showed southwest Ohio was such a prominent barley producing area due to the many German immigrants coming to the region in the 19th Century with hops rhizomes and barley seeds in their pockets and sacks. The cool thing, much of the Valley View land was first farmed by the ancestors of Chris's father-in-law, Bob Laudeman, who immigrated here from Germany in the early 1800s.