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UVM Hops Baler!

Just one of our freezers, packed full of aromatic leafy green goodness.

I know it might not seem like it now, but time has a way of flying by, and the next thing you know, it will be hop harvesting season!  If all things go as planned, your freezer will look akin to ours.

Hops, while light and fluffy, do occupy a lot of space.  That’s why we partnered with the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences to design a small-scale hops baler.  Seniors in the Electrical Engineering (EE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) Programs in the School of Engineering at UVM take a year-long “capstone” course that challenges students to design and fabricate solutions to  multidisciplinary problems. This unusual course is critical to preparation for the students’ post-academic world: it moves them from  textbook assignments to project-driven activities typically experienced by an employed engineer; and it requires that they collaborate across typical academic boundaries and interact with working engineers.

SEED (Senior Experience in Engineering Design) is a products and systems design course. Projects originate as statements of need from regional companies, start-ups, individuals, state agencies and consumer groups, as well as faculty research groups. They are conducted by teams of students, typically three to five, with the direct, continuous involvement of our faculty as well as engineers and other professionals from partner organizations. The culmination of each project is a prototype device meant to address the stated need. Each May, the prototypes are formally presented and demonstrated the general public at Design Night, an event attended by hundreds from the University, the community, industry and state government. Now in its fifth year, SEED has become a renowned and climactic element in our students’ curriculum and an incubator for ongoing connections on campus  and collaborations between UVM and industry.

We were lucky enough to get two teams working on this project.  The first team has completed their prototype, and you can watch the YouTube video that Ian Pfeiffer and Brian Pinand made of their finished baler!

Ian and Brian will be at our Annual Winter Hops Conference to talk about their design.  We are close to setting a date, stay tuned here for the official announcement!

This project was funded by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, and these funds were secured through the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy.

Preliminary Results from the UVM Extension Hops Variety Trial

The results are in folks!  For the last year the UVM Extension Crops and Soils Team has been collecting extensive data on what hop varieties do well in the Northeast.  Check out the preliminary results from UVM Extension Organic Hops Variety Trial!  Keep in mind that these results are from a first year of production, and variety performance data from additional test sights over several years should be compared before you make a conclusion.

NeHA 2012 Cooperative Purchasing Survey

On behalf of the Northeast Hop Alliance, I would like pass along the NeHA 2012 Cooperative Purchasing Survey. Please complete it by December 15 so that they may request quotes from suppliers. Note that this is only a survey, but will be the basis of NeHA’s request for quotations, so please be as accurate as possible. A link to the survey can also be found on the NeHA website at www.northeasthopalliance.org.

Once they have quotations with pricing and availability information, we will post here to alert you of a formal order.

Webinars, conferences and Hoppy Hour, oh my!

On November 15, 2011 at 2PM EST, Dr. Rob Sirrine from Michigan State University Extension and Brian Tennis from the Michigan Hop Alliance will be conducting a webinar on small-scale organic hops production.  (A webinar, for those who don’t know, is a seminar conducted on the internet.)  We’ve been lucky enough to work with Brian and Rob in the past, and they are very knowledgeable and engaging.  You can register on eOrganic, and find out more details by following this link.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming NeHA Fall Hop Conference on November 5th in Troy, NY!  Yet another reason to make the trek to Troy, recently announced is Hoppy Hour organized by the Northeast Hop Alliance.  This event will take place the night before the conference at Brown’s Brewing Co., starting at 5 pm. A group of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn (just a short drive from Brown’s) has been blocked off for Friday evening.  To reserve a room, call 877-782-9444. The Group Name is Cornell University or Fall Hops Conference and the Group Code is CURC. The rate is $119 plus tax. All reservations must be made by the cut-off-date of Monday, October 31, 2011.  As always, please be responsible and don’t drink and drive.

Hop Cam

One of the many amazing things about hops is how quickly they grow!  This spring we got Harold the Crop Cam to document it all. In under three minutes you can watch our first full-year growth from emergence all the way through to harvest.

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