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From Farm to Bottle: The Story of Our Hops


For over 30 years Mountain Rose Herbs has taken special care to curate our relationships with trusted farmers and partners to provide only the freshest, highest quality, locally sourced botanicals. We are intentionally located in the verdant Willamette Valley so that we may optimize the opportunities for sourcing as much local abundance as possible. These botanicals are the foundation for our line of expertly curated extracts and tinctures.

FarmToBottle_EugeneHops1

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One morning this past August, we got a call from the farmer who grows fresh hops for our extract; it was time to harvest. We headed over to this family-owned and operated farm, nestled just outside of town and surrounded by agricultural land, to witness harvest magic unfolding. It’s obvious that these hops have been lovingly cultivated and that our supplier takes pride in what they’re offering us. We arrive just in time to witness the hops being plucked from their vines and carefully packaged, and then to deliver them to our facility just fifteen minutes from the farm to begin the extraction process the very same day.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are a climbing vine native to the Northern Hemisphere. The vines are dioecious, meaning there are both male and female plants. In the case of commercial hops, it is the female plants that are cultivated. Once the vines reach a certain height, and if the weather conditions are desirable, the plant bears an inflorescence known as strobiles—otherwise known as the beloved hop flower.

Organic hops plants being cut down from their trellises for harvest.

On the farm, the hops were cut down by hand from their sprawling trellis and transported to a mechanical hop stripping machine, where the ropy vines were efficiently separated from the fluffy and aromatic cones. The cones were then packaged appropriately to be transported to our extract facility across town.

Farmer preparing a mechanical hop stripping machine for action with hops at the ready

Once at the facility, the hops were immediately reviewed by our quality control team. When we had the green light from QC, we proceeded with our extraction process. Each botanical offers a different array of helpful compounds, and has different physical and chemical properties, so must be processed differently according to the plant.

First, all ingredients were carefully measured out. The hops were then macerated in a grinder. This step ensures that maximum surface area will be in contact with the menstruum, leading to a strong and potent extract. The cut plant material was then placed into large, clean glass jars and covered in organic grain alcohol (the extraction medium) until the plant matter was adequately submerged, at which point the jar was sealed and labeled according to regulatory standards, then placed on its designated shelf. However, the process didn’t end there.

Beautiful hops flowers still on the vine after harvest

Each day for two months the jars will be inspected by a staff member and hand shaken to ensure that the precious desired compounds from these plants is being fully extracted. Once extraction is complete, the jars will be opened, and the liquid separated from the plant matter using a mechanical extract press which ensures maximum yield. Waste not, want not. The liquid is then bottled accordingly and shipped to our warehouse and Mercantile, where it is placed for sale. From the farm, to the bottle in your hands.

 

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Topics: Our Farms, Herbalism

Katheryn

Written by Katheryn on September 22, 2020

Kat Crane is a Procurement Agent at Mountain Rose Herbs. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Sustainable Agriculture from Oregon State University and is a self-proclaimed soil nerd. She grew up in the verdant Willamette Valley where she cultivated a deep appreciation for the agricultural community around her and the challenges in the food system today. She is passionate about the potential for regenerative agricultural practices and soil health to reshape the production paradigm from a harmful one to a healing one, and that passion informs the work she does for Mountain Rose Herbs. In her free time, you will find her in the kitchen learning to cook new types of cuisine, foraging mushrooms with her family, exploring new camping spots across the state, or adding to her vinyl collection.


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