Hops to be Featured at NC Field Day

The Mountain Horticultural Research Center in Mills River, NC will be hosting a field day getting underway at 12:30 pm today. Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor and extension specialist in the department of horticultural science at the Mountain Research Station goes through some of the events planned:

“We will start out with the tomato taste test and taste some of the new varieties that our breeders are creating. Then we will climb on the wagons and go out and see what is happening with mildew that is devastating some many of our crops. We will look at applications of insecticides that we can put through our irrigation water on crops like peppers and cucumber. We will also learn about food safety. We will see sweet corn and how it responds to different tillage systems and look at the effect of organic and conventional production on water quality.”

North Carolina is quickly becoming known as a hub for craft beer brewers, and the research station at Mills River has been working on growing hops. Davis explains the progress they’ve made:

“We have a big trial on Echinacea and taking the extract to control colds and flu. Its harvest time for hops so we will take some cones and be able to smell the hoppy scent.”

And according to Davis, several growers are trying their hand at hops:

“We have 80 craft breweries in NC and couple that with our strong local food movement and it makes sense that our brewers would want to use what is grown locally. Hops is something we are just learning how to grow. We have our challenges but its being sold all over the state.”

Davis says this year’s crop of hops is looking good:

“Our first year they were beautiful. Last year we had some real struggle with disease. But we learned quickly and are doing well this year. Right from the site you can see one of the cranes of the new Sierra Nevada brewery that is being put in across the river.”

In fact, that new brewery that Davis mentioned is going to create a detour to get to the research station:

“It will be at the Mountain Horticultural Research Center, at 74 Research Drive, in Mills River NC. One thing to be aware of if you use GPS to arrive, the new brewery has the main road closed and you need to detour on highway 131.

For more information on today’s field day at the Mountain Horticultural Research Center, visit our calandar

Jeanine Davis, associate professor and extension horticultural specialist.

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