Here’s what two week old whiskey really looks like.
The next several days are going to be stunning at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley. Lots of sun and warm days in the upper 40’s and 50’s.
Which means it’s time for us to get to work.
This morning we began plowing, discing and harrowing the 100 acres of fields where we’re going to seed this year’s crop of Dare™ malting barley.
We want to give our Dare™ seeds the best start possible on the growing season. So we plow, disc and harrow to break up the clumps of dirt and sod into smaller and smaller pieces, and to return left over field debris back into the soil where it breaks down into natural humus. When we’re done the soil will be smooth, easy to plant, and full of nutrients.
While that’s going on, we’re also inspecting our irrigation system, making repairs, and moving the big wheels into place.
If Mother Nature continues to cooperate, we’ll plant our Dare™ malting barley during the first half of April. Rogue Farms Dare™ barley is a spring variety that grows quickly during a season that lasts about four months. So mark your calendars for late July or early August. That’s when we expect to harvest this year’s crop.
From there, we’ll send it to the Farmstead Malt House where we’ll floor malt and micro malt the grain in small artisan batches. Then we send the bags of malt to the Rogue Brewery in Newport where we’ll smoke and roast it into a variety of flavors for Brewmaster John Maier. Dare™ barley and Dare™ malts are just of the proprietary palate of flavors we grow here at Rogue Farms.
The journey from ground to glass isn’t fast and it isn’t easy. But as agri-fermenters we believe growing, malting, roasting and smoking your own barley makes a difference that you can taste in every bottle of Rogue Ales and Spirits.
Please join us at Rogue Farms this spring as we begin another season of growing beers and spirits.
We need rain at Rogue Farms. Days of steady rain last week – with more to come in the forecast – is welcomed after one of the driest spring seasons on record.
But that Saturday hail and wind storm we could have done without, especially after we saw what it did to our Field of Dream Rye.
Our first snow of the season arrived over the Christmas holiday and dropped a foot of snow on the farm and barley fields.
We always look forward to the snow, and not just because it is so beautiful. The snow is like a blanket over the field protecting the Risk™ winter malting barley from extreme cold temperatures. At the soil surface, the snow is warmed just enough to melt, slowly replenishing the moisture in the dirt.
Notice we’ve got the light on at our newly opened Farmstead Malt House. Our operations continue throughout the day and the night – whether there is rain, snow, sleet, flood or ice. Mud, however puts the farm fieldwork on hold. The recent heavy rains have made the soil far too soggy to support the tractors and other heavy equipment.
Nuc is beekeeping slang for nucleus, a small group of workers, drones, a new queen and a mini-hive with enough food and brood to get them started on becoming their own colony.
Beekeepers buy nucs to add more colonies and increase honey production. Or they may build a nuc from one of their current colonies. This splits the hive and prevents swarming.
Either way, the key to a successful nuc is making sure the new queen gets along with the workers before she’s introduced. A special device, called a queen excluder, separates the queen from the rest of the hive until it’s clear that everyone is getting along.
– The workers are feeding the new queen through the excluder.
– The workers are trying to kill the new queen – also known as balling the queen.
– The workers are producing emergency queen cells, which means they’ve rejected the new queen and want to produce one of their own.
Whether a nuc is a success or a failure should be obvious in about eight days. After that it’s okay to remove the excluder. And then after about a month, the new colony can be moved out of the mini-hive and into a regular one and begin foraging and producing honey.