Craft brewing businesses are springing up across the state – at recent count there were over 60 craft brewers in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Grown and Fresher website. Savvy farmers, such as Nate L’Etoille at Four Star Farm in the Connecticut River Valley, are growing hops to tap into (pun intended) this growing industry. In 2014 Four Star Farm’s harvest yielded about 2,500 pounds of dried hops, and sold out quickly to breweries across New England. Demand for more hops pushed Four Star Farm to add ten new acres of hops to their existing six-acre hop crops.
With craft brewers seeking specific varieties of hops to achieve just the right nuance to their beers, Four Star Farm grows several different varietals whose flavor profiles are influenced by the soil and growing conditions of the region. In addition to hops, this fourteenth-generation, sustainable farm also grows grains, freshly milled flour, and turf.