Oregon Hops, 1865: A Superior Flavor for Beer

Hop Field, ca. 1900, Willamette Valley

Hop Field, ca. 1900, Willamette Valley

The first hops, used to provide flavor in the making of beer, were planted in the Willamette Valley in 1865. When the hops were harvested brewers raved about the quality, claiming the hops grown in the rich soil and under the sunny skies of Oregon, had a superior flavor.

Hop Harvesting 1940

Hop Harvesting 1940

Oregon hops were sought after on the world market. But growing hops was labor-intensive and farmers sought any able-bodied worker to work in the harvest. Many homesteaders left their farms and worked and camped in the hop fields.

Oregon children harvesting hops, 1915

Oregon children harvesting hops, 1915

Entire families, from the oldest to the youngest, picked hops for curing and gingerly
packed the fragile flower cone buds for shipment to distant ports. By 1910 Oregon had
become the leading producer of hops in the United States.
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