“Leslie Von Pless believes social change is best captured on film. And one of the faster growing issues she’s latched on to? Hops, and the people who grow them…The 15-minute film mostly features Dave Pasick and his wife Kayla of Szaro Farms, who fell into hops growing when they discovered the flower-like cones used to bitter and flavor beer creeping up the side of a barn on their Schuyler property.”
I’m very excited to launch the full HOPPED UPSTATE film today. I spent the last 8 months traveling around Upstate NY, collecting stories from some really wonderful brewers and farmers who are working hard to start new ventures in hopes to do what they love for a living and contribute to revitalizing their home state.
Watch it below and visit the HOPPED UPSTATE page to learn more about the film, find production stills and additional footage.[vimeo 75160196 w=640 h=360]
Last weekend I headed to Munnsville, NY to interview Steve Miller of Cornell Cooperative Extension at Foothill Farms. Steve is the resident NYS hops specialist and is doing a ton of work across the state to bring information to new hop farmers. He’s the founder of the Northeast Hop Alliance and he started the “GeoHopping” project that is tracking the varieties and locations of wild hops in New York.
Steve told me that in the last few years, we’ve gone from having just about 15 acres total of hops growing in the state to over 130 acres today. That’s still not much, but the interest is booming and new hop yards are popping up all over. Despite the heritage of hops farming in NYS, today they are basically a brand new crop and every farmer is starting from scratch to grow them.
I also stopped at Szaro Farms in Utica for an update with Dave Pasick. He strung wire on new poles he put in and told me about the research he’s been doing on funding opportunities through Empire State Development’s one-stop shop for the beverage industry. Lots of questions remain for him as far as qualifying for grants since his farm hasn’t been in production for many decades. For now, Dave is learning as he goes and doing what he can to keep expanding his hop yard.
As I continue with my hops farming and craft brewing video project, I’ve been doing a ton of research on food, farming, and sustainable agriculture – and the people behind it – as profiled via video. One of my favorite series I’ve found so far is Food. Curated. by Liza de Guia.
Today she debuted her latest story, from the Bell & Anchor farm-to-table restaurant in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. It encompasses exactly how I feel about living in Brooklyn right now – that I’d rather be out of the city and in the woods, on the farm.
One of my all time favorites from the series is from last summer in Montauk, NY on Long Island. The founders of Montauk Shellfish Company talk about their passion for great seafood, sustaining the ocean, and simply supporting their families.
And my first introduction to Food. Curated. was through this video – the first attempt at a farm-to-keg pumpkin ale by Captain Lawrence Brewery of Elmsford, NY and Katchkie Farm.
This is the first installment of my video project following the craft beer boom in New York state. Legislation passed last summer gives breweries incentive to purchase ingredients like hops from local farms. Dave started growing hops on his family’s farm in Utica, NY last year and is planning to expand the yard this spring. Feeling confident that Upstate New York’s craft beer scene will continue growing, he’s hoping it will create a new market for hops needed by local breweries.
Dave has just started his second growing season and is looking to produce a larger harvest this year. I’ll be following his progress throughout the next few months with more video to come. (More info here)