The Yakima Valley is preparing for another year of hop harvest, and it looks like it’s going to be another record breaking year.
The Yakima Valley has a long history of growing hops, and we proudly produce more than 75% of the hops in the United States. Craft brewers and beer enthusiasts alike flock to the Valley this time of year to watch thousands of acres of hops being harvested and processed in just 30 short days, ready to one day be made into your favorite beer.
Since harvest is an indescribably busy time for our farmers, growers and laborers, we want to point out a few tips to help you enjoy your experience in the Yakima Valley during harvest, but also be mindful of the dangers that can go along with so much activity in the fields. Here are some pointers:
- Please don’t walk into the hop fields while there is equipment in the area. The machinery used to cut and haul hops is extremely dangerous and often moving very quickly.
- Be mindful of the loaded hop trucks coming out of the hop rows. Many hop fields grow right up to the major roadways and highways, forcing the hop trucks and tractors to turn into the roadways as they head into the next row.
- We know how tempting it can be to take that perfect selfie out in the hop fields, but please remember the hop rows are private property of the farmers and growers. If you’re looking to get a photo in a hop field without causing any issues, Bale Breaker Brewing Company has the perfect setup on their property.
One of the best ways to truly experience the scale of hop harvest in the Yakima Valley is to drive through the growing areas. There are three main hop growing regions in the Yakima Valley: the Rez, the Moxee region and the Lower Valley. Each area has their own characteristics and soil dynamics, allowing different varieties of hops to flourish throughout our valley. If you’d like to learn more about hops and the Yakima Valley, check out our Field Guide to Hops, as well as the history of hops in the Yakima Valley.
The Yakima Valley has dozens of breweries and restaurants featuring beers made with our local hops, but one of the most unique opportunities to try craft beer flavored with these our hops, is at the Fresh Hop Ale Festival on September 29th. This is the time when our local breweries get a chance to experiment with new beer varieties, and use special ingredients they normally don’t use in their flagship beers. It’s been listed as one of the top ten beer festivals in the nation, and it’s the perfect way to cap off the 2018 hop harvest. You don’t want to miss it!