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.