Hops aren’t just for your IPA

Harvesting hops
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 6:02 AM EDT
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COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - When most of us think about hops, our minds go to beer-making.

At Hopenhagen Farm in Copenhagen lavender is usually the star of the show.

But now it’s hop harvesting season and this plant is certainly hard to overlook.

“We actually started growing hops first, before lavender,” Hopenhagen owner Mary Rumble said. “They’re great for, obviously great for, people like to make beer with them. It’s a very good preservative. People can use the cones to make wreaths, tea. I make lotions and lip balms. They’re very good for your digestive system.”

They’re rich in uses -- and rich in history.

“Beermaking has been around for thousands of years, but they didn’t always use hops,” Rumble said. “It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that hops were introduced as a preservative to make the beer.”

In the early 1800s, hop farming exploded in the state.

“New York was the leading hop production state in the nation,” Rumble said.

When a blight and then Prohibition hit, hop growing fell off in the area. But Rumble hopes farmers and hobbyists today can find renewed interest in the budding crop.

“They’re just so interesting with so much you can do with them,” she said. “Hops are a wealth of goodness.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can visit Hopenhagen Farm and purchase hops. Rumble says her next endeavor is finding more culinary uses for the plant.