FARMING PARTNER(S): H.T. Rea Farming
CROPS GROWN: 2-ROW SPRING BARLEY. LCS Genie (64 ac); OSU Full Pint (11 ac)
CERTS & ATTRIBUTES: Salmon-Safe Certified; Dry Farmed
Planted ON: April 15, 2017
Harvested ON: August 2-3, 2017
For our 2016 vintage, we worked with H.T. Rea Farming to select their highest quality, Salmon-Safe Certified, dry-farmed winter wheats going into harvest. Finished wheat malt from these lots is now available to PNW brewers, distillers, and bakers. This year, the Rea family has also committed to growing our premium Salmon-Safe malting barley. And we're all really excited about that.
The barley was seeded on April 15th to two fields, both with substantial frontage on the North and South Forks of Russell Creek. Genie was selected due to its agronomic, malting, and brewing performance from our 2016 vintage. It's been doing an excellent job. Also, using Genie in each of our 2017 locales will enable brewers and distillers to explore cross-locale and cross-vintage impacts on malt flavor. Full Pint was selected due to its newfound cult following in the craft beer scene. Cross-locale comparisons will also be possible with 2017 Full Pint from our Willamette Valley locale.
With such a late barley seeding, this was an interesting year to watch unfold. Certainly much different than 2016. The beauty of these dry-farmed crops, as opposed to those nursed by irrigation, is that the difference should translate into nuance in malt quality. On the flip side, they're also a bit more likely to fail. Turns out that this year, lady luck was on our side.
April 22, 2017
A narrow seeding window allowed us to seed all of both spring barley fields on April 15th. The rains promptly returned. We went out with the landowners today to tour a recent stream restoration project. Our barley has germinated and should fully emerge in the next few days. Happy #EarthDay!
May 6, 2017
We had the pleasure to tour the fields with Co-Founder/CEO of Berlin's BRLO brewery. A soaking rain settled in the night prior, topping off soil moisture for the next bout of sunshine and warmth. Both fields are coming on strong.
June 4, 2017
The Genie and Full Pint are both looking fabulous. Hot and dry weather set up for a couple weeks in this locale, with little reprieve. We started to get a bit nervous about the trajectory of these fields. Then we received two days of clouds and intermittent rain to restore some soil moisture, followed by warm sunny days. There's another dose of rain in the forecast. Things are looking good again.
June 27, 2017
The stressors of summer, heat and drought, are at work in the Walla Walla Valley. Fall seeded grains are turning golden in a hurry. Our spring seeded malting barley goes through pollination and early stage kernel development. Multiple wicked storms rolled through yesterday, leaving behind an extra inch or more of moisture in places. Hail and 60+ mph winds dealt a bit of damage to more mature crops.
July 27, 2017
The storm of June 26 was the last precipitation of the growing season for this barley. And boy are we thankful for it. From that point forward, the plants have relied on soil moisture reserves during their critical grain fill window. Soils beneath the Genie barley are effectively bottomless silt loam, which has allowed the barley to develop into a uniformly plump stand. Unfortunately for the Full Pint, located on the South Fork Russell Creek on a patchwork of cobblestones, its shallow rooted patches were stressed during grain fill. Like the Athena barley, there will be more thin kernels than we would have liked. We remain hopeful for the quality of the barley that remains once these "thins" are screened out during cleaning.
August 3, 2017
Our Walla Walla Valley 2-Row crop (both Genie and Full Pint varieties) is off the fields and into the grain bins! We're pleasantly surprised with the plumpness and yield. Please stay tuned for more information on yield and quality for these two grain lots.
August 31, 2017
Our QA results are back from the lab and compiled. All six 2017 vintage grain lots across our three locales are malt-worthy. Brewers and distillers can now reserve grain from these lots, in craft malted form, for delivery through 2018.