From the time the plants wake up in the spring, till the time they are sent out to your brewery, Top Hops Farm works non-stop to produce the best hop product available to craft brewers.
The Top Hops yard designs, irrigation and fertilizing programs, soil and plant tissue testing, pest management program, pre-harvest hop testing, and every other aspect of growing top quality hops are performed to the best of industry standards, resulting in consistent, top quality Michigan hops.
Harvesting of the hops is completed in a newly constructed picking facility that is only used for hops. Our picking machine is cleaned thoroughly each day after use, and has been refurbished to ensure a quality sort to minimize leaf and stem count to virtually zero. Hops coming from the picking machine are immediately transferred to the dryers to ensure no stewing or spoilage.
Drying hop cones is an extremely critical step in hop quality. Drying with too high of temperatures, final moisture percent either too high or too low, or too much or too little air flow all can have damaging affects on the finished hops. Top Hops Farm has a custom drying system designed to retain the highest quality of aromas and oils in the hops. Our hops are never heated higher than 100F during the process, and are conditioned in place vs being dumped on a floor which is standard in many applications. Hops are conveyed directly to the bailer from the drying bed to ensure no unnecessary loss of lupulin. Our bales are also custom size and are completed with a low compaction ratio to ensure no destruction or rupturing of lupulin glands from the force of compression.
On a pelletizing day, whole cone hops are pulled from the freezer, pelletized, packaged, and back in the freezer within a 12 hour period. Our Hammer mill is designed to provide a coarser grind to minimize damage to the lupulin glands and reducing material separation in the silos while still providing a tight clean pellet. Our pellet die utilizes a heat exchanger that ensures pellet temperatures never exceed 11o degrees.
Top Hops Farm’s number one priority is food safe, top quality hops in every package. For food safety, our farm is working to complete the USA Hops Food Safety Module 1 program and has allowed audits by the National Hop Quality group and also the Hop Growers of Michigan for their beta Food Safety and Hop Quality program. Our Processing center is also inspected by MDARD and we hold a whole sale food processors license by the State of Michigan. Our picking and Processing buildings are “hops only” meaning no “farm work” or “farm storage” take place in either building.
Top Hops Farm works hard all season long to maintain healthy hop plants to ensure top quality hop cones. Our team works equally hard during harvesting and processing to maintain the hop cone quality we worked so hard for all growing season. From soil to boil, we put everything we have into these hops to ensure top quality product for our customers and to ensure the success of the hop farm business. If your brewery is not completely satisfied with any of our hops, we will always do everything we can to make it right. From 2013 to Spring of 2018, Top Hops Farm has grown, harvested, dried, and processing approximately 50,000 pounds of hops and has sold over 35,000 pounds of hops to over 100 breweries in 21 States in the same amount of time!