Monday, April 24, 2017

Deal Hop Farm : Can you help name Deal Hop Farm’s first beer?

Can you help name Deal Hop Farm’s first beer?

After discussions with our partners at Ripple Steam Brewery we have agreed what the brew may look like in September.

They will be brewing a Green Hop Beer using our hops and wish to badge it as a ‘Deal Hop Farm’ product with its own name.

Green Hop Beer uses freshly harvested cone straight from the garden without going through a drying process. The green hops would be used for bittering but mainly adding flavour to the beer. There needs be about 25kilos for these processes.

The precise brewing arrangements are dependent on the quantity and quality of our crop in September, which we will not really know until the harvest day.

We have agreed with them what the different scenarios for the harvest may look like from a bumper harvest of 25kilos to a nuclear winter of a summer with only 1kilo.

In the latter worst-case scenario, there is a respected brewing technique known as ‘Dry Hopping’ where a small amount of hops are added at the fermentation stage to super-charge the flavour.

The intention is produce:

a) 155 cases of Bottled beer (case of 12 x 500ml). This will have a bespoke ‘Deal Hop Farm’ label with the new name and Ripple Steam branding. This will be available in the first instance only to members. The cost of case will be discounted to members. At present we don’t know the final price (this is effected by the labelling costs etc)

b) Plus about 17 casks of badged beer for local pubs and our own celebration/tasting in October.

We recognise that this a real & welcomed commitment by the Brewery to our project. It shows a great deal of confidence in how our community farm is progressing.

The final decision & details will need to remain with the Brewery as they are taking the commercial risk & need to protect their brand.

Ripple Steam have asked us to come up with a name for the beer and a design for the bottle label by June.

At the Organisation meeting on Thursday we all agreed that this is one for all the members of the Farm.

So we will be running a competition for naming the beer with the winning entry receiving a few bottles of local beer:

· Start Date 21st April

· Final Date for entries 21st May, Noon

· One entry per Garden

· All entries by email to

· If the same name is entered more than once - only the first entry will be considered (we will let you know so you can put another one in, if you are the second one etc)

· We will post a current ‘runners+riders’ list on facebook and the website as we get going.

· We plan to run another electronic survey on how the plants are growing from the 24th May and we will use that means for capturing your votes.

· Voting will finish at noon on the 31st May

· We will discuss the final shortlist of the top five with Ripple Steam before making the final decision.

The name does need to reflect both our locality, style of beer and that it is going on a commercial product (so no ‘Boaty, MacBoat Face’ names please, although I do like ‘Hoppy MacHop Face’ [Joke]).

We will also need to stick with this name for the foreseeable future for our Green Hop Beer – in future years we may be in a position to develop more beers and more names!

Let the games commerce

This is all very positive news – I did not think we would be at this stage until 2019!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Deal Hop Farm: Late April email

Twiddling Workshops at the Landmark

We have four hops ready for twiddling at the Landmark Garden so have setup a couple of quick pop-up workshops on Saturday 22nd and 29th April.

These will start at 11:30am and last no more than 15minutes.

We will organise a few more in May as and when the plants are ready.

Twiddling your hops is not difficult and you don't need to come to a workshop to do it. These are for a bit of reassurance and an opportunity for some social hop chat.

We have posted quick guide to twiddling on the website click here

Tee Shirts

We will have the next batch of tee-shirts available at the 29th April so will be running a stall in the Landmark Garden between 11am to 12:30. Tee Shirts are £10 each – Softspun Fruit of Loam in standard and ladies fit.

Growing Stuff

We have had feedback from 71 of our 128 gardens.  About 67% report that they have growth above the ground and about 4% have even twiddled their plants. Two weeks ago this was only at a 50% level.

Should you worry if you have not seen any new growth? Not at the present

We have close contact with about 22 rhizomes at the Landmark, Station Garden and some we held back as we were concerned about them during the distribution stalls in March.

Many of these have had to be moved or repotted over the last 4 weeks – all the ones that we have had to do this too showed good root growth and considerable shoot growth underground despite not showing any indication above ground. Both the roots and shoots at this stage are very delicate so would not recommend people ‘having a look’.

Also be aware they are not always well behaved on where the shoots pop-up. I found one small purple bud a good foot away from where I thought the crown had been planted

Things are quite dry at the moment so we would recommend a weekly water if in the ground. Containers need a little more checking – check how moist the compost is about 2-3inches below the surface and perhaps water a little but more often.

We will be doing a full survey of people’s plants at the end of May.

Please let us know of any activity either will a email or FB posting per trip

Any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us

Visits to the Brewery

Ripple Steam have offered us some visits to see the brewery and talk people through the brewing process. These will be in June and July and will be limited to 12 people per trip.

We hope to details during May.

Organisation Group

Next Organisation Group meeting is Wednesday 31st May 6:30pm at the Just Reproach.

NB: there is limited seating in the pub so a few of us will be standing – so not a long meeting!

We will be doing a separate email reporting back from last Thursday’s Organisation Meeting.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Kingsdown Beach Clean Sunday 30th April

Ringwould with Kingsdown Parish Council has a village beach clean of Kingsdown Beach on Sunday 30th April starting at 10:30am meeting at the Zetland Arms on the Beach

Equipment and bags all supplied

Friday, April 21, 2017

Deal Hop Farm - Twiddling workshop dates

Mrs Stevenson Thirding. A famous Kent Twiddler.
The Deal Hop Farm will be running a couple of Twiddling workshops at the Landmark Garden on Saturday 22nd and 29th April at 11:30am. 

These will only last about 15minutes and will start promptly

We have currently about four Bines to twiddle at the garden.

Twiddling your hops is not difficult and you don't need to come to a workshop to do it. These are for a bit of reassurance and an opportunity for some social hop chat.

  • The Bines need to have at least 20cm of growth. You may have multiple Bines - select the strongest looking two (we suggest in the 1st year only doing two - later years you can do more as the root system gets established). Note the strongest may not be the first ones to emerge.
  • The Bines have prickly hairs (these are called Trichromes) on the plants stem and leaves. This operates a bit like Velcro grasping the rough coir Hop Twine we have given you.
  • Ensure your Hop Twine is quite tight and that the peg and twine are positioned to support the bine.
  • Take one bine at a time and using your hands, very gently and slowly twine the bine around the hop twine in a clockwise direction. You may need to re-train it a bit over the next day or so until it gets the idea. Simples...
  • You should remove the other shoots coming up from the soil so all the plant's energy goes into the your two bines. The plant may continue to produce shoots for new bines right thru the season so keep the secateurs handy.
  • Personally I will probably leave one spare growing for a short while in case of passing malicious goats (other accidents are available)
  • You can eat the young discarded Bines (Known as 'Poorman's Asparagus') a quick saute for 2 or 3 minutes with your favourite seasoning.
  • Once your twiddled Bines are about 1-1.5m in height you need to remove the bottom leaves at the base of the plant. Removing these leaves makes it harder for disease and insects to travel from the ground to the plant. Again, start the process slowly and remove leaves over time from the ground up. You will shock the plant if you remove more than 3/4 leaves at once.
  • Continue to do this in May/June until you have about 50-70cm of leafless bine from the ground. This is a good time to side dress with more compost/mulch

Friday, April 7, 2017

Deal Hop Farm Meeting - 'The humble pint' 6th April

A big thank you to David Cliff of Ripple Steam Brewery for his excellent talk tonight on the 'Humble Pint: a brief history of beer & hops'

We had about 1/4 of the Gardens represented in the farm (about 60-70 people) with some great feedback on the project and how people are getting on

Some exciting news on Ripple Steam's bottling plans as it may mean we have an option on bottled DHF as well as cask.

More on this soon......

Thank all for coming & hope you enjoyed it all.

Thanks to Rose, Adrian & Sue for helping and Phil at the Alma

Our 1st organisation meeting is on 20th April at the Boho at 6:30pm - all welcome who want to get more involved in the DHF.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dover Volunteering Fair 11th April 2017

Deal With It is having a stall at the Dover & District Volunteering Fair on 11th April 11am to 2pm Dover Town Hall

We will be there with our colleagues from Transition Dover

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Deal Beach Clean - 2nd April 2017

Thank you to our 25 volunteers who enjoyed perfect conditions on our Marine Conservation Beach Clean today.

The Beach was was in good condition but we still managed to pick up and log about 16Kgs of rubbish in about 1.5hrs

The next Deal Beach Clean will be on Bank Holiday 29th May at the Sandown Castle end of the beach.

We are also asking people to support the Kingsdown Beach Clean (Organised by Kingsdown and Ripple Parish Council) on Sunday 30th April at 10am

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Victoria's Green Matters - 1st April 2017

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column on Green Issues for us: 
 There are many things to worry us about the break away from Europe, not least the possible weakening of environmental legislation which, at present, protects our countryside, waterways and wildlife.

The European Commission has drafted some new regulations to protect bees and other pollinating insects from the use of the controversial insecticides, neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids have been in use for more than 20 years but since the number of bees has been declining for decades, due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use, pressure has been brought to bear on governments to ban their use. A study of Europe’s 2000 bee species, published in 2015, showed that the wild bee population was in serious decline, with one in ten species facing the threat of extinction.

Bees and other pollinating insects are vital for many food crops but there has been a ferocious battle between environmentalists, farmers and pesticide manufacturers. The scientific evidence on the toxicity of the pesticides is significantly high to warrant a campaign by Avaaz, which, to date, has 4.4 million signatures. Farmers and manufacturers continue to argue that food crops need the protection of these insecticides.

The European Union already has a temporary ban on the neonicotinoids but these new proposals are for a complete ban on their use in fields with an exception for crops grown in greenhouses.

There is some hope that our government will go along with the ban because they have rejected repeated requests from UK farmers to authorise an ‘emergency’ use of the pesticides.

While we have stepped into the unknown by triggering Article 50 this week, we must continue to campaign to safeguard our environment in any way we can.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Deal Hop Farm - April Mailing

Rhizome at Martha Trust
We have been a little overwhelmed by the response we have had locally - We now have 126 gardens involved and looks like we will plant about 260 hop plants!

This includes a fantastic diversity of sites with clusters of growers on all the allotments locally, Walmer Castle Kitchen Garden, Ripple Steam Brewery, Martha Trust, Rippledown Centre, Pines Calyx Garden, One pre-school group, Just Reproach, Lighthouse,  Sea CafĂ©, Community gardens at the Landmark and Deal Rail Station, people sharing gardens, others sponsoring them at the community spaces plus many, many gardens around the Town. We have one auxiliary site now in France!

You can see what the Deal Hop Farm looks like at our Google Map

Thank you everyone for cooperating with the ordering & collecting system (and a special thank you to the volunteers on the stalls)

Key things for April:

1) Membership Survey
We are looking at ways to collect your thoughts & feedback - We will need to a similar survey in May & August to see where the hops are in the growing process to plan the harvest & brew.

We are using this to get your feedback on how you have found joining the Deal Hop Farm, to gauge numbers for the 6th April meeting, to see if people what to be involved in the organising side or if they want a tee-shirt!
So please have a go and let us know how you get on. The survey is online here

Thursday 6th April 6:30pm - The Alma, West Street Deal.
    We have our first General meeting with a Talk on the 'Humble Pint' by David Cliff of the Ripple Steam Brewery
    Chance to people to compare notes and meet others in the 'Farm'. We will have Hop Twine & pegs available.

     As well as the Talk we will do quick progress report. Free to members - Non-members £2.

3) Thursday 20th April 6:30pm - The BoHo (upstairs) Beach St Deal
     Our first Organisation meeting - These are open to all members.
     We need volunteers to plan the rest of the year. These include but not an exhaustive list:
  • Business & finance planning
  • Planning the Harvest
  • Planning the options on brewing
  • Developing a drying solution for the hops
  • Collection of hop related songs & memories
  • Develop a constitution for the group & usual officer roles
  • Plan the Oktoberfest
  • Communications & PR
  • Just to help generally
  • Chief Taster role
Please use the enclosed survey to flag up your interest/skills

4) Deal Hop Farm Tee Shirts
We have some samples of the tee shirts available. These are £10 each 'Fruit of loom' Softspun Tees, two styles 'Standard fit' and 'Women's tapered fit' sizes S-XXL. Please you the survey to let us know if you want one & if so the size.

5) April Growing Notes
Gill B's Rhizome with seaside mulch

  • By now your hop rhizome would have been planted (if not & you need further help/guidance please contact us asap)
  • Some of you may be seeing the first buds grow above the ground. Please don't worry if yours have not come up at this time - it could take until early May.
  • If buds are showing keep an eye on them and ensure they don't become snail/slug food. You can use a whole range of measures from beer traps, physically removing them, broken egg shells as well as organic commercial products. Key thing is to keep the area you are growing free from garden litter (dead leaves etc).
  • Once the buds have formed into Bines of about 10-15cm you will train them up the hop twine. We will be doing some 'Twiddling' workshops at the Landmark Garden on this in April and sending out more info during April.
  • Now is a good time to have finalised how the plants are going to be supported: Wall/fence trellis, horticultural wire, or larger structures.
  • Watering: Probably little if any to be done now. If you are growing in a container check weekly how moist the soil is about two inches below the surface. Remember: Once the plant is growing always water the ground and not directly on the plant (bines), as could create the conditions for a couple of diseases to establish.
  • Feeding: Nothing to do at the present

Please post your Hop photos to the Facebook Group DealHopFarm or send them to us at

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Deal Hop Farm - Meeting & Talk: 'The Humble Pint' Thurs 6th April

Deal Hop Farm has its next meeting/talk on Thursday 6th April at The Alma pub on West Street at 6:30pm. 

Our speaker is David Cliff from the Ripple Steam Brewery who will talking on the 'The Humble Pint' a brief history of beer & hops.

Cost £2 for non-members

The Deal Hop Farm has also a organisation meeting at the BoHo on April 20th at 6:30pm

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Deal Beach Clean 2nd April

The next Deal Beach Clean is on Sunday 2nd April at 9:30am meeting at Deal Pier. 

This clean is part of our series for the Marine Conservation Society where we log the litter we find on the beach.

All pickers, gloves, bags supplied and the clean will last about an hour to hour & half.

All Welcome

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Deal Beach Clean - Sunday 2nd April

We have our next Deal Beach Clean on Sunday 2nd April at 9:30am meeting at Deal Pier. 

This clean will be one of Marine Conservation Society cleans where we log what we find on the beach. For full details on the MCS work please see their website here

Pickers, Bags and Gloves all provided

Deal Seedy Saturday 18th March

Thank you to everyone who came to our Deal Seedy Saturday Seed & Plant Swap yesterday - Especially grateful to all those who donated plants and seeds. 

Many seeds taken with some going to some first time growers - please tell us how you get on :)

The stalls from Deal Town team for SE in Bloom and Deal Hop Farm had a busy day

Thanks to our DWI volunteers and big thanks to our wonderful entertainment from the Landmark Uke Club (which meets on Friday's at the Landmark Centre 10-12 cost £1)

Our next Seedy will be in May/June date TBC

Our Photos are here

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Victoria Park Clean Saturday 18th March 2pm

We are organising our first Park Clean at Victoria Park meeting at the Mill Rd Car Park end at 2pm

Pickers, gloves and bags provided - clean will last just over an hour

Part of #GBSpringClean a national series of events sorting out litter in the country

Monday, March 13, 2017

Deal Seedy Saturday 18th March 10:30am

Our next Seedy Saturday will be on Saturday 18th March at 10:30-12:30pm at the Landmark Garden, High St Deal.

Please bring seeds to swap or donate (ideally seeds should be about a year old with a description of what they are :)

We will also have the Deal Town SE in Bloom on hand to tell us about this year's competition and how the community can get involved.

The Deal Hop Farm will be there with their last remaining hops looking for a loving Deal home

Gus will be there offering a garden tool sharpening service for a small donation.

Entertainment will be provided by the Landmark Ukulele Club

Monday, March 6, 2017

Deal Hop Farm - Last orders please!

Deal Hop Farm - Last orders please! 

(always wanted to say that)

We have 45 hops to distribute to paid members + 7 ones where we have requests but not paid.

We have checked the stock there are about 5 which we have to put into our intensive care nursery (ok a large DDC Recycling box with lots of compost) to check that they are Ok but we will hold these back for a couple of weeks.

This means that we will get a few more in at the end of this week ( which means placing the order by noon Tuesday).

We have had a couple of you ask for extras at the larger sites - so if you want a few more or if you know someone who wants to join please email me at before 12 Tuesday.

Final distribution is this Friday and Saturday (10/11th March) 10:30am to 12:30 at the Landmark Garden Deal High Street (please bring a bag with you)

If you have contacted me today or received an email today you are included.

Next Deal Seedy Saturday 18th March 2017

We have our next Seedy Saturday at the Landmark Garden Deal High St on Sat 18th at 10:30am

Please bring your seeds to swap/donate - all welcome

We will have colleagues from Deal's SE in Bloom team, A Garden tool sharpening service, some music from the Landmark Uke Club

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Walmer Beach Clean 5th March - Thank you

We had our postponed Walmer Beach Clean this afternoon at 1pm between the showers! 

We managed to collect over 28kgs in a little over an hour.

A big thank you to all our volunteers and special mention to all those souls who turned up to the published time of 9:30am in the middle of horizontal rain and 45mph gusts!

It was not safe to do the clean then but shows how community minded people are in Deal, that they are prepared to give it a go!

Thank you to the Sea Cafe for supporting us today!

We have our first Park Clean on Saturday 18th March at 2pm at Victoria Park (meet at Mill Rd Car park end) and our next beach clean will be a full Marine Conservation Society one at Deal Pier on Sunday 2nd April 9:30am.

Sunday 5th March Beach Clean - Weather Warning

Walmer Beach Clean: Weather Forecast is not looking good for 9:30 Heavy rain & high winds. 

The Beach Clean has been postponed to 1pm today

 meet at the Sea Cafe

Friday, March 3, 2017

Martha Trust Joins Deal Hop Farm

We have had an amazing response with over 100 gardens, allotment holders, community gardens and spaces joining the Deal Hop Farm in a little over four weeks. People just love the idea of community grown beer!

We are especially pleased to welcome the Martha Trust to the project. The key aspect of our project has been to bring the entire community together in a common enterprise and to reflect one of Deal’s great strengths; its diversity.

We will be distributing hop plants to our members at the Landmark Garden on Fridays and Saturdays between 10:30 to 12:30 (starting on 3rd March and finishing on the 11th March.)

We will be organising a number s of talks and workshops on the history of hops & beer making, tips for growing your hops and planning for harvest in September and ‘Deal Oktoberfest’ where we will get to taste the fruit of our labours.

We need to get plants into the ground in the next few weeks but we will be opening our doors for new members later in the autumn.”

George White, Chief Executive of the Martha Trust Said
“ It is fantastic for Martha Trust to be involved in local community projects such as the one with Deal With It.

The growing of Hops is a great opportunity for the residents to get outside in the fresh air, plant the hop and monitor the progress as it grows.

I have a feeling we will also have a number of volunteers to assist in drinking the proceeds in the fullness of time!

Thank you to Deal With It for involving Martha in this great community project”