Visit from "the Man"
While I was at the fair people would ask me, "Do you know Bruce?", or "You ever been by the farm in Wantage - Yellow Barn Farm?". They'd say, "That guy's been growing hops for awhile - got these telephone poles all over and thick vines growin' up 'em." It became a daily occurrence. By the 4th or 5th day I had made up my mind, I was going to seek this guy out once the fair was over. Well, turned out I didn't have to wait that long - Bruce found me. He had come over to the table and started asking me some questions about my hops. Within moments, I knew who I was speaking with - I exclaimed, "You're Bruce! Yellow Barn Farm!" A little taken aback, Bruce confirmed my discovery to be true. We continued to talk hops for close to an hour, after which, I promised (more like threatened) to follow up with a call and a possible visit to Yellow Barn Farm.
Less than a week after the fair was over, I gave Bruce a call and we arranged a day for he and his wife Barbara, to come by and get the penny tour of my hops. Bruce and Barbara arrived and we headed out to the hopyard. I was kind of feeling amped up and a little concerned about what "the Man" would think of my setup, the plants, etc. Bruce was great. While he was generous with his compliments, he was even more generous with his advice and suggestions - can't place a value on what he shared with me about really nailing it and producing quality hop cones. It was more proof of what I've been saying about the character of the craft brewing community - there's a tremendous level of interest and exchange amongst those who are involved... a willingness to work with each other.
It's unfortunate - Bruce's health has kept him from working with his hopyard. He really is the pioneer of hop farming throughout our area.