Gooding Farms and Mill 95 with Founders Brewing Company
Many beer lovers enjoy going to breweries and tap rooms to connect with where their favorite beers are brewed. Heightening that connection to an ingredient level makes it even better. That’s why if the opportunity ever arises to visit a hop farm during harvest, it should be taken. Last month, some of the employees from CSB had the opportunity to go out to Gooding Farms and Mill 95 in Parma, Idaho to learn about hop harvesting and processing. Founders Brewing sponsors this trip because of their care for quality ingredients as well as their close relationship with the Gooding family and farm.
Gooding Farms was established in 1895. The family is 4th generation Idaho farmers (6th generation overall) with 900 acres and over 12 different hop varieties currently growing including the Idaho Gem hop which was developed in their fields. Some of the hop varieties found growing there include Citra, Galena, Mosaic, and El Dorado, which is the hop that they were harvesting on the day of our tour. The family is very involved in Idaho’s agriculture; Michelle Gooding is president of the Idaho Hop Growers Association and Diane Gooding is on the Wilder Irrigation District Board. They are also passionate about community outreach and education. The CSB tour was the 6th that week, with more scheduled for the weekend.
Recently surpassing Oregon, Idaho has become the second largest hop producer in the Northwest. With so much production, it may be surprising to learn that there wasn’t a processing facility in the state until two years ago. Before Mill 95, all of Idaho’s harvested hops had to be sent to other states (mostly Washington) to be processed.
This facility cuts down on costs and transportation and provides a better guarantee of freshness and quality. The ability to sell hops directly to brewers without the hops traveling a long way before they are pelletized and packaged makes an incredible difference. In addition to providing fresh and quality hops to the region, Mill 95 is involved in community outreach and education. They often conduct sensory education to teach about the qualities of hops and the different issues or off-flavors that can be found in beer if the ingredients are stored, treated, or used improperly.
Founders Brewing Company has invested a lot of time, money, and most importantly, passion into the Idaho hop industry. Alec Mull, VP of Brewing Operations, expresses the importance of these businesses to Founders in making their beer top quality.
They've really elevated their game in Idaho. I feel the investment & expertise for the growing community in Idaho is going to impact the entire brewing community for decades to come.
CSB would like to thank these three companies for the hospitality and education. Seeing how closely Idaho’s local agriculture and business is related to the beer suppliers is truly something special.
Written by Erika Thornton