Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hop Picking

I have never had a liking for beers or ales but, after a recent trip to Kent, I have developed a taste for it and will happily sample any that come from small local breweries. 

Hop picking machines have to be one of the most amazing pieces of farm machinery and it is interesting that, although the company that made them ceased to exist many years ago, the Bruff hop picking machines are still going strong in remaining hop farms.  My Mother worked for Bruff in Suckley, Worcestershire, for a year or so when we lived nearby for a while.

I have always loved the smell of hops and several family friends in the past have been hop growers. Two farms I visited frequently as a child were in the Teme Valley east of Tenbury Wells. Back in 1990 I painted a picture for one of the farmers but I haven't got a copy of the original. I do have a copy of an initial picture I created (shown here) but I had to re-paint it because the farmer didn't want the name on the apple box to be visible. I have searched high and low for the photos I thought I had taken at the time but can't track them down. Trying to capture the scale and perspective of the huge machine was rather difficult and I couldn't get it all in. The other pictures here are photo-collages of a hop picking machine at the other farm that I took in October 2001. Again, the pictures don't quite get it all in and miss out all the adjoining drying kilns.

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