How did Hukins Hops get started and by who?
Hukins Hops started over 100 years ago when the current owners Grandfather, purchased the farm. Hukins Hop farm is now fifth generation and still family run.
Can you tell us about your varieties and how they are used?
Our varieties include intense apricot from Ernest, oranges from Bullion and the classic English flavours of Fuggle, Golding’s and Challenger amongst others. We supply “green” fresh hop cones for seasonal green beers during harvest time. Alongside this, we have a decoration business which supplies fresh and kiln dried garlands up and down the UK delivered direct to your door. Our beautiful hop garlands are displayed within homes, pubs, restaurants and for large events, such as weddings.
What makes your area of Kent the perfect environment for the hops you grow?
The unique terroir in the Weald of Kent is very well known for growing British hops.
What’s the lifecycle of hops from January to December (i.e. when are they sown, when are they harvested, etc.)
Hops are perennial and have a lifecycle of upto 30 years. They yield best in their 4-10th year. After harvest, in early winter the hop plant is cut down to ground level. New shoots appear in Spring and by then the gardens have been strung ready for the years crop. In late Spring the shoots are ready to be “trained”, this means selecting the best bines to wind up onto the string. Once we reach the longest day of the year (21 June), the hops should be at the top of the wire, which in our case is 16ft! They then put their energy into lateralling and will go into burr in mid-July in preparation for the hop cone. Late August to late September, the hops are ripe and ready so we harvest the hops.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about hops that people may not know?
Did you know that when the hops are trained up the string, they have to be trained clockwise. This is because they grow upwards towards the sun. If they are not trained clockwise, they will unwind!
Hops have sexes – male and female.
An old farmers tale is that if you put them under your pillow it will result in a good nights sleep!
Hops can grow up to 12 inches a day.