As summer fades into fall, we shift our energies from analyzing crop samples to planning for the future. Winter grains are planted in October and harvested in May or early June throughout the south. Orchestrating the harvest, cleaning, and planting of these grains requires a tremendous amount of communication between the malt house and our network of growers. Working on a contract model helps us secure our raw materials for the upcoming year and gives the farmer peace of mind that he will adequately compensated for his harvest. This year we were able to expand our network to include new growers in Western North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. See below for some highlights.
Carolina White Wheat – Hickory, NC
We partnered with our friends at Carolina Ground to sustain production of this newly developed white wheat variety. To our knowledge, it has never been malted before and we are eager to see how it performs next summer…maybe the perfect addition to an all NC bourbon recipe?!
Streaker Oats – Kinston, NC
We got a chance to experiment with this hulless oat variety in 2014 and fell in love with the flavor…think toasted almonds and top shelf oatmeal! After talking with several of our brewer friends we realized this ingredient serves as a “secret sauce” in everything from export stouts to Belgian farmhouse recipes. We were able to secure over a ton of certified seed and will hopefully have a strong harvest in 2016.
Endeavor Barley (2-row) – Heathsville, VA (Mantua Farm)
While we have several farmers planting Endeavor for us this season, this farm is something special. This bicentennial farm is located in the Coan River watershed, a major tributary of the Potomac and was considered as a potential site for our nation’s capitol. The property is amazing, beautiful rolling land with a Colonial mansion that dates back to 1790! Our farmer has really done a great job of managing this land. Crop rotations, not till practices, and vegetated buffers all serve to limit nutrient and sediment runoff into the adjacent estuary.
This picture doesn’t do it justice, but the stand was already well established by early November, which will hopefully translate into a high yielding, disease resistant crop.