Hoppy times are here again for a feast of delighted brewers as the Charles Faram HopWalk returns The annual Charles Faram HopWalk was back in
The Hawkins family have been at The Farm, Bosbury since the mid 1940’s but the earlier generations were based at farms in both Herefordshire and Kent, the two main hop growing areas in the UK. The hops are currently grown by Sarah Hawkins and Farm Manager, Matt Bailey. They are both very keen on experimenting with new varieties and new and sustainable ways of producing the crop. John and Henry Hawkins will be the sixth generation of hop growers and they are already taking a huge interest in the hops; they never miss a day’s hop picking!
The Farm, Bosbury and Millend Farm at Castle Frome are approximately 400ha in total and are currently growing 30ha of hops, 110ha cider apple orchards, Christmas trees, arable crops, Countryside Stewardship environmental scheme, wild flower meadows & traditional old orchards supporting flora and fauna & wildlife and mixed Woodland.
The farm also produces Bosbury Herefords, a 40 cow herd of prime pedigree Hereford cattle.
Hop varieties grown: Golding, Progress, Sovereign, Pilgrim, Jester® , Olicana® , Harlequin™.
Experimental: Many Charles Faram trial varieties and trial soil/pest regenerative management methods.
Top image: Hawkins Farming Ltd – Sarah Hawkins & her sons John and Henry Bottom left: Hawkins Farming Ltd – Matt Bailey, Farm Manager Bottom right: Paul Corbett & James Hawkins (pictured) will be working together with fellow Directors, Richard Phillips, Simon Parker and Will Rogers
The Phillips family have been growing hops in Herefordshire since they moved to the area in 1850. Richard farms the land at Lower Eggleton Court and Tarrington in Herefordshire with his wife Lucy and their two sons Bertie and Sam, Lucy is also from long established hop growing family. After leaving school Bertie worked in the Charles Faram office for a season and this gave him a good overview of what happens to the hops after they leave the farm. Both brothers are now studying hard and helping out on the farm when they can, carrying on the strong family tradition of hop growing into the sixth generation!
The photo you can see on your right shows Richard’s Grandmother and Great Grandmother picking hops. The family have been growing hops on their current farm since 1926. One of the hop yards at Lower Eggleton has been producing hops for over a hundred years!
Richard is the Chairman of Charles Faram Farms and works very closely with the other grower members to coordinate the varieties and volumes that are required for forward contracts. He is also a great supporter of the hop variety development programme and is keen to work with brewers to select the best new varieties for brewing.
Hop varieties grown: Bramling Cross, Golding, Pilgrim, Jester® & Harlequin™.
Top image: Richard’s Grandmother & Great Grandmother hop picking Bottom image: Richard & Lucy Phillips plus their sons Bertie and Sam.
Unusually for English hop growing, this is a relatively new enterprise, and, rather perversely, started at the same time that many of the other English hopyards were being taken out, in the early 2000s.
Sue is a farmer’s daughter, but trained as a physiotherapist, knowing the family farm would go to her brother. However, she subsequently bought a small farm for herself, initially planting half of it with cider fruit, for which Herefordshire is well known. Over time she built this up and is now in a farm partnership with her husband Frank, and daughter Olivia, farming almost 100ha, with combinable crops, and (in partnership with others) eating apples and vegetables. She also runs a livery yard.
Our first harvest was in 2008, and cropping is very variable, anything from 5 -30 Zentnors (200-1500kg) dried weight, from our 5 acre (2Ha) hopyard. This is about a ¼ the yield of a conventional yard, and we even had one year with no crop at all.
Top photo: Suzie, Frank and daughter Olivia Bottom photo: Suzie Okell and Frank Sibly