Press Release: ‘Ontario’s hopping’ – re-establishing a heritage crop in Ontario

The re-emergence of commercial hop production in Ontario took a major step forward this past week with the formation of the Ontario Hop Grower’s Association.

Formed as an initiative by a network of 28 independent growers, both conventional and organic, from across the province – the Ontario Hop Grower’s Association (OHGA) is a non-profit association of hop growers, brewers, herbalists and enthusiasts interested in supporting the re-emergence of the Ontario hop industry.

Commercial hop production has been all but non-existent in Ontario since the 1920s. That direction is now changing due to a strong interest amongst the Ontario Craft Brewing Industry to produce an all Ontario beer made from local ingredients. This is part of a national trend, reflecting the growing awareness and/or interest in food sustainability by both consumers and businesses alike. Currently, there are 8 hectares (20 acres) of land in hop production in Ontario, with another 4 hectares (10 acres) planned for this year.

An elected five-member executive took over their official positions March 7, 2012. The new Board of Directors is: Nicholas Schaut, Hugh Brown, Melanie Doerksen, Dai Matthews and Shane Eby. The mission of the association is to act as a central voice for growers in Ontario; thus serving as an advocacy group recognized by the provincial government, brewers and related businesses. The OHGA will also promote hop-growing fundamentals through education, research, promotion, and marketing. Some of the early objectives include setting up a database of relevant growing and management information specifically for Ontario. In addition to, working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to make affordable Alpha Acidic Unit (AAU) testing available to growers across the province.

For more information about the Ontario Hop Growers Association contact President, Nicholas Schaut at 519.538.1026 or Vice-President, Hugh Brown at 705.734.2846 or email: ontariohopgrowersassociation@gmail.com.

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