With St. Patrick's Day here, we are sharing five fun facts about hops.
1. With trends for local craft beers, the demand for fresh local hops has increased. In addition to their use in beers, hops can be used in many other ways including lip balms and beard oils.
2. Hops grow on bines. These bines grow vertically to the top of their climbing space then expand out in width.
3. Ironically, the Sunshine State does not provide as many hours of sunlight as hops typically require for maximum production. Brian Pearson, assistant professor of environmental horticulture at the University of Florida says that hops need 16 hours of daylight. In Florida, our longest days provide 14 hours; as a result, Florida produces less pounds of hops per acre than the Pacific Northwest growers who have longer days. Researchers suggest that a new variety of hops that does not need as much sunlight is the key to larger hop production in the state. According to Alfred Huo, assistant professor at the University of Florida, this new variety of hops could take up to seven years to create.
4. Male hops plants produce pollen that fertilize female plants so they can produce seed. The cascade variety of hops can produce both female and male hop flowers.
5. In Central Florida, hops are harvested twice a year, in the Fall and the Spring, an advantage to the leading hop producing states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, where harvesting is only once a year in the Fall.
HAVE A HOPPY ST. PATTY'S DAY!
For more information on hops and hop products, we recommend checking out the following resources: