On September 10, it rained in Washington’s Yakima Valley. Rain can mean trouble during hop harvest. Four trellises—the structures on which plants had been growing since spring—came tumbling down during the storm. With them came hundreds of tons of hops.
Curiously, this was not altogether bad.
“For the growers who lost yards, it is a hassle for sure,” says CLS Farms co-owner Eric Desmarais, who was one of those growers. Despite the hassle, they harvested those yards. Meanwhile, that rain likely will benefit the rest of their crop as well as those of other farmers.
“Overall, to the industry, the rainstorm was most likely net positive,” Desmarais says, “as it settled the fire and all the ash and dust and refreshed the hops.”
Hop growers have known for years that climate change would disrupt their industry, and they began preparing for it. Events of the past 13 months suggest that the change is happening more quickly and in more ways than previously expected.