Hops

The Hawkins family have been growing & selling high quality hops for decades and have them in their blood. The farms and the region are steeped in hop growing history.


OUR HOPS

High quality hops

Early records suggest that a ‘hoppeyarde’ was operating near Bromyard in 1577. Well over 400 years later, we are still using the same terminology, all specific to the West Midlands.

Hop Gardens exist all around the world, but here, we are surrounded by Hop Yards. Hops are dried in Oast Houses; we, however, dry them in Kilns. The dialect suggests that hop production began in Herefordshire independently from other areas, and it is little surprise given the suitability of the climate and the soil to its successful growth.


Hop Varieties

More styles for more flavours

We grow a range of varieties, some traditional; Goldings for example dates back to the 1790’s, through to our latest projects; Jester, Olicana & Harlequin with their citrus flavours.  We have many trial plots on the farms, testing and developing new and exciting future varieties as part of the Charles Faram breeding programme.

Hop flowers are known as cones and their flavouring and preservative properties differ with each variety. They also differ according to where they are grown, much like grapes, so the French term ‘terroir’ is also highly relevant for hops.

Their soft resin cores are a smorgasbord of complex acids that not only preserve and flavour alcoholic drinks, but have a range of medicinal qualities, mentioned not only in folklore, but in modern day scientific study. Their potential has yet to be fully realised.


Management of hop farming

Rising to the challenge

Hops are a rewarding but very challenging crop to grow. An old Kentish rhyme said of them:

‘First the flea, then the fly / Then the mould, then they die.’

They require a great deal of sympathetic management, and then during a frenetic 5 week period around September, they have to be harvested and processed as quickly as possible in what becomes a factory environment, whilst still giving them the delicate handling that they require. No other crop in British farming can be as interesting as this one.


CHARLES FARAM

Our growing relationship

Charles Faram has been established as a merchant and processors of hops and hop products for over 150 years and has a reputation for quality and excellence across the industry.

The late Thomas Hawkins purchased Charles Faram & Co Ltd in the 1980’s and it remains in the Hawkins family’s ownership today.  With offices in Newlands in Worcestershire, Portland and Yakima (USA)  and  Toronto Canada, the company enables our hops and those of many other farmers to be marketed and sold directly to breweries in the UK and across the world. As mentioned above, hops are a world wide commodity and English hops are in demand in all parts of the globe, including the Far East. Charles Faram continues to develop this and is the frequent recipient of export awards from UK industrial bodies.

With the growth of the craft beer industry, new markets are emerging that have brought different types of demand with them. In order to meet this, we are involved in the Charles Faram’s breeding programme; developing new varieties of British hops that will successfully compete with their overseas counterparts. We have many trial plots on farm.

For more information on Charles Faram & Co LTD Visit their website