Our family Does Hops... from Bale to Brew.
Farmers in France at this time, the family forefathers moved to Canada, fleeing religious persecution.
Following the move to Canada, extended family joined the workforce in Washington state, working as a State Surveyor. Soon after, a letter arrived in Canada from family in Washington, “I have found the land of milk & honey.” On discovering the fertile soil and ideal climate for hop farming in the Yakima Valley.
And just like that, the 1st generation made the move from Canada, settling in the present location of our farm here in Mabton, Wa.
Cluster rhizomes were the first to be planted, our pioneer variety – unbeknownst to the family, this root stock would grow and evolve into generations of a family-centered, passion-driven livelihood. All for the love of hops.
The original Cluster hop yards still remain today and thrive year after year, producing commercial yields.
The farm continues to grow each year, adding acreage in hops when land is available.
From picking hops by hand to installing our first picking machine, hop kiln and baler.
Diana Puterbaugh established Hops Direct, LLC, selling our farm grown hops online, direct to brewers and cutting out the middle man.
There was an increasing demand for hops in pellet form over leaf; this was the year we installed our California T90 Pellet Mill.
Determined to figure a way around hanging each vine by hand for processing in our picking machines, a new hop harvest combine was developed here on our farm.
Meet Spongebob, our combine that strips the hop vines in the field, filling our hop trucks with hop cones, leaves and stems, leaving vines in the field and eliminating the manual labor of hanging vines by hand for processing.
This new combine would join our Top-Cutter combines in the race to finish harvest before the first frost.
The demand for hop pellets grew stronger, so we added on to our Pellet Mill, investing in an automatic packaging system and other technological advancements for a more efficient process.
We continue to expand in hop acreage, which ultimately led to the expansion of machinery and processing equipment. Our 2nd picking facility was built to keep up.
Stacy Puterbaugh discovers a hop vine growing on its own up the side of our homestead picking machine. The rouge vine grew heartily on its own, creating a very curious farmer.
Stacy sent a sample of the vine to be tested. Test results revealed it was a daughter of Japanese variety, Kitamadori and Magnum, two varieties we were not growing on our farm at that time.
Rhizomes from the mysterious hop were planted and a new variety was born under the name, Belma®.
Belma® is sweetly named after the road our family’s homestead and farm has stood since the 1930’s.
Belma® imparts strawberry, citrus, melon and grapefruit notes.
Belma® continues to produce commercial yields which is ideal for the growing demand of innovative varietals within the craft beer industry.
Grown exclusively on our farm.
Acreage on our farm continues to grow, but the “picking window” set by Mother Nature stays the same. To stay within the ~42 days of hop harvest, harvesting all yards before the first frost, Stacy created Gary, a harvest combine designed to harvest our yards quickly, safely and efficiently.
This new combine would join Spongebob and our Top-Cutter combines in the race to finish harvest before the first frost.
Stacy’s brain child, Gary, combined old school and new school techniques, strategically modified to fit the needs of our farm specifically.
Our 3rd picking machine is built. With the continued growth in the craft beer industry and the increasing demand for hops, we continue to add acreage each year as land and resources are available. An increase in acreage inevitably created the need for another hop processing facility. Our 3rd machine was strategically built and modified to fit the needs of our farm specifically, combining old school and new school techniques to process hops quickly, safely and efficiently.
Today Stacy, his extended family, including his two sons work the ~1,200 acre hop farm. We take pride in knowing that 4 generations have worked to grow and harvest only the highest quality crops, paving a path for our growing 5th generation to carry on the legacy.