Hops harvesting in full swing.

September 6, 2014
Blake Mazurek poses over his crop.

Blake Mazurek poses over his crop.

Carter Tyndall feeds hop into the harvester.

Carter Tyndall feeds hop into the harvester.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

CARR SETTLEMENT — The end of August and beginning of September means harvest season for area hops farms. Out on the eastern county line, Blake and Anna Tyndall, along with several helpers, have been busy harvesting at Carr Creek Hops Farm on Tyndall Road.

The centennial farm (Anna’s family, the Tyndalls, have owned the farm for four generations) has been growing hops for three years. This year, over 3 acres are being harvested. Most of the hops are of the popular varieties centennial, chinook and cascade. However, Blake has devoted a few rows to some other varieties as well.

This is the first year the farm is harvesting its own hops. In the past, the vines were cut down and transported up to a harvester in Leelanau County. Recently, they purchased a harvester that was imported (in several pieces and without all its parts and without instructions) from Poland. Blake had to borrow some parts from Custer Township farmers Dan and Allison Wolf, who purchased a similar harvester earlier this year from Germany. It came with instructions — in German — but theirs isn’t running yet.

Several neighbors, family and friends showed up to help along with members of a Grand Valley State University brew club.

This year, Carr Creek Hops became 100% certified as organic. Blake said it’s been a challenge to grow the crop without chemicals but he’s proud of the outcome.

Hops is the primary ingredient of beer. The flower (also known as a cone) grows on vines that grow up from the ground. String is used to “train” the hops. Several farms around Mason County have begun growing with others planning production next year.

See more photos at www.facebook.com/MasonCountyPress.

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